You know - the sweet daughter who used to live in your house and greet you cheerfully and tell you everything?
Raising a teen is extremely challenging. Especially in this world of media messaging, social pressures, and I-everything.
Did you know teen girls are especially at risk for developing depression, low self-esteem, and inflicting self-harm to themselves during these years? As she undergoes many changes during this time, she may want you to think you're not needed anymore.
The reality is you're needed now, more than ever.
One of the best ways to maintain connection with her as she goes through adolescence, is to pay attention to her body language and non-verbal cues. She's testing the waters. Learning what it means to move from childhood to adulthood. Let's face it, that transition isn't always smooth. It can also be a very confusing time for her.
She's most likely being confronted for the first time with
Smoking, Vaping, Drugs
Kids Dating - Kissing at School
Sexting, Sexual Pressures, Pornography
Technology Pressures - Keeping up with the Latest Apps
Juggling - Mean Girls, Bullies, Teachers, Parents, Technology, Hormones, Homework
That's a lot!
She may feel silly asking you about any of the above - thinking you don't have a clue. And to be honest, we might not really understand the pressure kids today are under. For the past 15 years, I've been leading Kurukula™ workshops I'm always saddened when I learn the #1 complaint I hear from girls is (actually it's a tie between 2...):
Their parents put too much pressure on them. They feel their parents don't listen to them.
Here's the thing, despite her reluctance to open up and ask you something, or share her true feelings with you, often what she needs is shown in her body language. You just need to be paying attention and know what to look for.
This may help
She says "I don't care" Really means: She feels that you don't care. Be available to just sit and listen.
She sits with a slumped posture Really means: She feels self-conscious, unhappy, or stressed. She needs a real heart-felt hug from you, extra love, attention and support. Don't scold her by saying, "Sit up straight." Try to remember the pressure of being a teen yourself.
Poor eye-contact Really means: Teens are still developing eye-contact with adults. Find time to talk where you're not facing each other- like while driving in a car or watching a sporting event. It takes self-confidence and a certain comfort level to be able to look an adult in the eyes. Pick your battles on this one.
She's hanging around Really means is: She wants to engage with you but feels intimidated. Ask an easy question to engage her or include her in whatever activity you're doing. Let your tone be playful and light.
Most parents struggle with raising teens. You are not alone.
Chances are your teen will guide you in the right direction of what they need. And it's crucial as her mother that you start off with the right tools to ensure your relationship is filled with love, respect, communication, and healthy boundaries.
The good news is, that if you put the time in now your daughter will not only flourish, but she'll come to you when she needs something - and not turn to an abuser (or something else harmful) for love and attention.
That's why I'm so passionate about the work I am doing. It provides women essential life-skills to be prepared to make healthy choices and live Confident, Fearless, and Safe. The short-term investment in my program now is priceless for her future. Isn't she worth it?
In support of you,