Whether or not your teenage daughter is struggling with serious issues, you want to maintain a connection with her. As teenagers tend to pull away from the guidance of their parents and want to act more like adults, they might make poor choices or get into trouble. As your child ages, they naturally drift from your influence.
Even though you won’t be having tea parties or curling up in a blanket fort anymore, you can and should stay connected with your teenage daughter as she matures and finds independence. It just might look different than you’re used to.
Are You Connected?
Not feeling connected to your daughter can be alienating. You may feel worried and like you’re always in a world of unknowns. Not only are you worried about your relationship as a whole, but you want to make sure your daughter feels safe and comfortable coming to you with her worries and fears.
Having that connection won’t necessarily take away your worries. You are a parent after all, but knowing that you can bond in a way that makes her feel safe and secure is so vital to her growth and your parent-child relationship. Even if your daughter doesn’t seem to crave a connection with you, there is a natural urge to have that bond. Without it, you can both like you’re missing something.
Accepting Your Teenage Daughter Is Changing
The teen years may be filled with angst and drama, but there is more to this turbulent time than you may expect. Teenagers not only face peer pressure, stress, and anxiety — among a host of other problems — but they are also growing into themselves and may not reach out to you for help as they once did.
Parenting a teenager while staying connected to her is all about balance. When should you get involved and when should you hold back and let her make mistakes? You know your teenager is capable and strong, but letting her learn some hard lessons so she can mature and gain independence can feel scary.
As your daughter grows up, you must adjust your parenting style as she steps into new phases of life. You may even realize that she is struggling with attachment or trauma issues. These can be linked back to childhood trauma brought on by anything from abuse, loss of a parent, racism, and other adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Anything like this can lead to a lot of challenges when it comes to connecting.
Such experiences can be linked to chronic diseases in adults, as well as social and emotional problems which can be observed in adolescent and teenage years. It can feel impossible to connect with your daughter when she is struggling with attachment or trauma issues that professional intervention is needed to treat.
Connecting to Your Teenage Daughter
Whether your child is struggling in school or seems to have it all together, staying connected with her is key. Keeping the lines of communication open — for anything from her interests to her deepest struggles and everything in between — is vital to a healthy parent-teenager relationship.
Being available for casual chats and remaining non-judgmental for deeper conversations helps your child feel comfortable enough to come to you when they need help. Your daughter can also gain more confidence in herself to try new things knowing she can trust you to cheer her on or help her pick up the pieces.
If you’re looking for ways you can increase those moments of connection with your teenager, here are some guidelines to follow:
- Be present. Put down your phone or turn off the television so you can catch up with your undivided attention.
- Be interested. Show interest in your daughter’s hobbies. You don’t need to be nosy, but ask how things are going with a club, video game, or show she likes. Listen to her opinions so she knows you care.
- Don’t judge. Try to hear her out without judgment or anger. As a parent, you’re allowed to worry, but if you get upset every time she opens up to you, she may stop telling you things.
- Stay available. Whether you are together or not, send a text once in a while so that she knows you’re there. If you don’t make an effort to show that you’re open to conversation, she might not take opportunities to start one.
- Schedule time together. Make time to do things together, such as exercising, grocery shopping, or going out for breakfast. This gives you time to bond and connect without distractions.
- Let her lead. Ask your daughter what she wants to do. Does she want to go bowling, clothes shopping, or try a new restaurant? Motivate her to plan an outing.
- Try new things. A great way to bond and improve your teen’s confidence is by trying new things together. Take a trip, learn a new skill, or make a new recipe together. Any activity where you are learning together allows you the chance to be a team and connects you as you share responsibility and feel more like equals. This allows your teenager to feel more in control and for you to get an idea of your child’s abilities and self-esteem.
By maintaining these connections with your daughter, you can continue to grow together and allow her the freedom and independence she craves and needs to mature. When you communicate, spend time together, and enjoy those moments, it is easier to be heard and have an open conversation without arguing and misbehaving.
Trusting each other becomes easier when you are connected. Having a positive influence from a parent leads teenagers to become more successful, confident, and proud of themselves.
Havenwood Academy was created to promote wellness and success for young girls. We pride ourselves on providing the best care and attention to the teen girls who come to us. Our program promotes healing for your daughter while incorporating family into every aspect of our treatment program. The more involved you are, the better. Whether your daughter is struggling with school, behavior, mental health, or trauma, we are here to help you and your family work through any issues and overcome any hurdles. Havenwood Academy can help you rebuild that connection with your daughter and teach you how to stay connected. You can trust us to be on her side and yours throughout her stay and beyond. You are not alone in your struggles. Call us at (435) 586-2500 today to hear more about our program and how we can help your family.
Think Havenwood Might Be For You?
We encourage any visitors considering placing their daughter in treatment to fill out our online assessment as soon as possible. This two minute form will give our admissions team all the information needed to determine if your daughter is a good fit for our program.