Figuring out how to deal with a teenage daughter’s attitude can be one of the biggest challenges of parenting. Your sweet kid is pulling away and it hurts, and she may seem so self-absorbed, you’re wondering how to parent her while keeping your temper in check. These seven tips will help you navigate this testing time period while keeping your cool.
Easier said than done, right? Your daughter may know just how to push all of your buttons and emotions are never running higher than when it’s your own child involved. Take deep breaths, take a pause, recite a mantra — whatever you have to do to calm down. Start meditating for just a few moments a day and go back to that place of peace when you need to throughout the day.
Remember when you were a teenager? You might have had a moment when you said “When I’m a parent, I’ll never act like that.” Now that the roles are reversed you probably have a little more insight into what your own parents were going through. Remember that your daughter is an imperfect human, just like you, and that she is still your child who needs your support, just like when she was crying over a scraped knee as a toddler or was nervous for her first-ever day of school years ago.
The teenage years are notoriously difficult, and your daughter’s attitude will not be like this forever. Your relationship will not be strained or unpleasant with her forever, either. Remember that the teen years are the final stage before adulthood with many potential joys ahead like gathering for the holidays as a family after you’ve had a chance to miss her. While she isn’t acting as cute as she did when she was three right now, this is still your child that you potentially only have a few more years (or months) left to live with at home. Remember that perspective that you’ll miss her soon enough and that you only have to make it through this moodiness for a relatively short period of your life.
You may be fighting over things like chores and rules, so shift the conversations to learn more about what’s going on with her. Who are her favorite TikTok creators or Instagram influencers? What’s going on with her friends? Who is her favorite teacher? While you already are up on what’s going on in her life, try to start conversations about neutral topics just to listen to her even more about what’s important to her in her life right now. Having these positive conversations will help balance out negative ones.
She may not, and giving it may just plain annoy her. Listen, listen, listen more than talking. Any advice you give may come off as a lecture or make her feel distanced, so offer to listen without judgment and ask if she wants any advice before giving it, making it clear it’s OK to say “no, thanks.”
Time is marching on and your daughter is growing up no matter what. Nothing can bring back her sweet pre-teenage self and nothing can stop the fact that is she is going to reach an age when she moves out. Don’t fight against her growing up and welcome the changes.
You may disagree about her opinions or even her values, but at this point, she is allowed to make her own choices and have her own beliefs. You may disagree, and you can say that, but you can’t force her to think differently. You will never stop instilling your values as a parent, but she is growing into adulthood where she may disagree with you and live her life differently than you hoped. Keep following the advice above not to fight against her growing up — this is part of it. Instead of making your differences a point of conflict, try to celebrate it and find common ground.
Above all, remember that pushing her away will not be good for either of you, so be available to listen so she feels safe coming to you with problems. You can make it through this together.
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