Talking to Teen Daughters

Tips to Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Mother and daughter (13-15) laughing together and drinking hot cocoa
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Keeping the lines of communication open between you and your teen daughter may seem like an insurmountable parenting goal at times. This is okay! Everyone is allowed to be moody at one time or another and there are issues that happen during adolescence that lend credence to their moods, which will impede your daughter from wanting to talk to you. But if you are unable to reach this parenting goal most of the time, then your daughter is traversing the world without your loving guidance which can lead her into all kinds of trouble.
Here are some tips to help you keep the lines of communication open between you and your teen daughter:

Develop a routine where you check in with your daughter daily. Know when your daughter is in the best moods and talk to her at those times. For instance, if she is a morning person, talk to her at breakfast and avoid talking to her before bedtime. Strive to keep this time for upbeat conversations and say any tough talks you may have to do for another time of day. Forming a good communication habit like this will make other conversations you have to have much easier.

Use all forms of communication. Teen girls like to be chatty by texting or using a social network. Learn to use these types of communication so you can keep connected with your daughter. Use a dry erase board on her bedroom door to write messages back and forth. Write a motivating note and stick it inside her math book so she sees it when she gets to class.

These little tricks will let her know you are there for her.

Be proactive. Give her the words she needs to use with you when she really needs to talk about something important or she needs to get you to back off when she doesn't feel like talking. Respect her wishes when she uses those words by being prepare to listen or backing off if that is what she wants.

Use your active listening skills. Sometimes teen girls just need someone to listen. Be that someone when your teen daughter needs you to be. There are times when I am unsure this is what my daughter wants or if she wants my opinion. So, I simply ask, "Are you just running this by me or do you want me to tell you what I think?"

Be sensitive to what she feels are the important things going on in her life. Math tests, the cute boy in class and the fact that everyone has a new pair of the latest style shoes except her are topics that may be inconsequential to you, but are very important to her. The more you pay attention to her when she talking about these things, the more apt she will be to talk to you about more important things - like when that cute boy tells her he likes her new shoes and asks if she wants to study for the math test together.

Don't judge her opinions. Teen girls are developing their social and emotional identities - that is what adolescence is all about. While they are doing this, they will form opinions about things happening around them that may seem outlandish.

When your daughter chooses to share this type of opinion with you, rejoice! Then, enter into a conversation asking why she feels that way. Tell her you understand and give your opinion if you have one. Explain that just because you feel differently doesn't mean either of you are wrong, you just have different perspectives. The one thing you will want to avoid is saying something that will stop the conversation in its tracks like, "I can't believe you think that!"

Keeping the lines of communication open with your daughter will help keep your relationship strong through the turbulent times of their adolescence. I hope these tips will help.

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