Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, but as you may know, teenagers are not always eager to get moving. How can you motivate and inspire your teenage daughter to stay active? Not only is exercise crucial to her overall health, but it can be a wonderful tool through which you two can connect and work on your relationship.
The attachment between you and your daughter is a crucial influence on her and who she’ll become as an adult. By working together through a positive activity, like exercise, you can improve your connection and provide her with a good example of a healthy relationship.
What Is Your Attachment Style?
Your attachment style is the way in which you interact with your child, and this greatly affects their life and health. This connection is known as attachment theory and begins with the infant-child relationship. Attachment styles are an important factor in all relationships, especially parent-child, even in foster and adoption settings.
Your and your child’s attachment style will impact your bond and their future connections with friends, coworkers, and romantic partners. You must understand your attachment style so you can work at fostering or improving it. Knowing what typical attachment looks like can also help you identify whether your child may have an attachment disorder that needs to be addressed.
Secure attachment is when a child has a positive connection with their parent. A secure relationship would mean that, when frightened or in trouble, your child comes to you for support and comfort. It is often said that adolescents who experience secure attachment grow up to become more well-behaved and mature than others.
Avoidant attachment is not quite the opposite of secure attachment, though rather than seeking out a parent, a child in distress will avoid them. They may not outright reject attention from their parent but they also don’t seek it out. They likely won’t prefer their parent to other adult figures but may feel the same about each. A child who grows up with an avoidant attachment style often avoids intimacy and close relationships.
Anxious attachment is common among children who have unstable parental figures or have been abandoned. In this case, a child would show distress when their parent leaves, and their reappearance may not soothe them. This behavior is linked to an unreliable parent and resentment on the child’s side.
Improving Your Attachment With Exercise
Whether these attachment styles are referential to your relationship with your adopted child or their past, it is essential to work through these styles properly. Exercise is a great activity to help build a more positive and connected bond.
Even if you’ve achieved secure attachment — the most positive attachment style — all bonds can benefit from more quality time together. Working with your teenage daughter to make healthy choices boosts your connection and overall wellness. Even the best relationships can benefit from family exercise.
Try going on nature hikes together. This will get you out of the house in nature and connect you all on a deeper level. Even deciding to do an activity like this is beneficial to your bond. Try rotating which family member gets to choose where to go and what snacks to bring every week. Doing so builds trust, reliability, and connection.
When Attachment Is More Difficult
Although these tips are useful for those in any attachment style, avoidant and anxious attachments may be more challenging to maneuver. Suggesting group exercise activities with a child who feels indifferent or anxious may be too lofty a starting place.
When an attachment disorder is present, whether it be reactive attachment disorder, enmeshment, or otherwise, it is so important to practice patience. Instead of jumping right into an exercise routine with an unwilling teen, start with small things that they’ll enjoy and work your way up. If your teen isn’t excited to do an activity with you, instead of pushing the issue or blaming yourself, accept that they have a history that has made them feel uncertain about your intentions.
Take steps to get closer and build trust so that your attachment can improve. Ask them to go to the store with you to pick out some healthy snacks. If that goes well, mention how you’ve wanted to take more walks around the neighborhood and if they’d like to join. Make spending time together seem casual and not like a big deal so they don’t feel any pressure or anxiety about it.
As you progress into spending more time together outside, you can take the next step by finding an exercise class together or trying an adventure like rock climbing or hiking. Your bond can strengthen as you try activities together, learn about nature, and develop new hobbies. You will be talking more and relying on each other to make plans, keep them, and show up excited.
Exercise is essential for living a healthy lifestyle and can be an excellent tool for building a healthy attachment with your teenager. Your connection will benefit from sharing positive experiences and working on your health.
Havenwood Academy places a significant focus on healing attachment disorders and works with those experiencing family issues as a result. If your daughter is struggling with trust or behavioral issues, we will use multiple therapeutic modalities to work with her and you to overcome hurdles from her past. We use trauma-informed care to delve into the cause of the problem and offer safety and comfort to improve her ability to trust and connect with others. Your involvement is crucial to her success in our program, as your relationship plays a key role in her life and future. Let us help you work on your attachment style and thrive together as a family. You don’t have to deal with this alone. We can help you reconnect with your daughter through therapy, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. Call us at (435) 586-2500 now for more information.
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.