I want to address a poignant question raised by one of my Instagram followers, who expressed concerns about feeling a growing distance between her and her teenage daughter.
It's a challenge many parents face as their children navigate the tumultuous waters of adolescence.
To shed some light on this matter, I turned to Dr. Cam Caswell, an Adolescent Psychologist and Parent Coach, who provides valuable insights into why teens may withdraw from their parents.
Dr. Caswell identifies three key reasons why teens may stop sharing their lives with their parents:
1. Teens Feel a Lack of Active Listening: Teens want to be heard, not just talked at. When parents don't actively listen, it can create a barrier to communication.
2. Feeling Judged: The fear of judgment can be paralyzing for teens. If they sense criticism or disapproval, they may be hesitant to open up.
3. Parental Overreactions: Teens often navigate intense emotions and need a safe space to express themselves. If parents consistently overreact, it can stifle communication.
So, how can parents rebuild that bridge and foster a healthy, open relationship with their daughter?
Dr. Caswell suggests three key strategies:
Active Listening: Resist the urge to offer solutions or share judgments immediately. Instead, focus on genuinely understanding your teen's perspective.
Empathy and Validation: Acknowledge your teen's feelings, even if you don't necessarily agree. Validating their emotions fosters a sense of security.
Maintaining Calmness: It's crucial for parents to stay calm in the face of challenging discussions. Remember, it's not about you; it's about creating a safe space for your teen.
How would your daughter respond to these questions:
1. Would your daughter share with others that you understand her experiences?
2. Would your daughter say that you are concerned with the issues that are important to her?
3. Does your daughter feel that her issues are annoying to you or too much of the same problem and that you are tired of hearing about it?
4. Does she believe you are there for her, supporting her journey into independence?
If you find that every attempt at conversation with your daughter leaves her feeling annoyed or triggers her, causing her to shut down, I have a valuable tool to help you navigate this.
Take a step towards fostering healthier communication with your daughter.
Communication Strategies To Use With Your Daughter is one of the many workbooks from my Survive & Thrive in Middle School Course. Download a section of this tool to break free from the phrases that trigger your daughter and move into deeper conversations and effective problem-solving. This resource is suitable and beneficial for girls of all ages.
Growing up is tough for our girls, and we see a big dip in their confidence happening at the start of 5th grade. That is why we created The Brave Girl Tribe, our online virtual coaching community for girls in 5th to 8th grade. We meet each week on Sunday at 7 pm EST / 6 pm CST / 4 pm PST, and we'd love to extend a warm invitation to your daughter to join us as our guest.
If your daughter is navigating the ups and downs of friendship challenges, feeling a dip in her confidence, and feeling the pains of growing up, we would love for her to join us as a guest for our weekly coaching call. It's a safe and supportive space where we openly discuss and tackle the issues that girls experience, empowering each girl to navigate her challenges with confidence.
Here's why joining could be a game-changer for her:
Feel free to send me an email to [email protected], letting me know that your daughter would like to join us as our guest. I will send you our Zoom link and can answer any questions that you might have. If you would like to schedule a chat, you can visit my calendar and schedule a free complimentary call.