Well, it’s happened. Your little girl is now a teen. This change in your family can be so difficult for everyone involved. You may feel like you no longer know how to relate to your daughter. It feels like you are not important in her life now. She doesn’t even want to spend time with you anymore.
Transitioning to the Teenage Years
Teenagers can be very difficult for parents, siblings, and families as a unit. All teens are trying to find themselves, create relationships, and feel like they fit in. A big part of this transition is spending more time outside of the family unit than ever before. For many teens, friendships become more important than family relationships. As a parent, this can be disheartening, scary, and lonely.
All the changes that occur as your daughter enters adolescence can be overwhelming. She may push you away, but this does not mean that she doesn’t love you. Or, she may make some poor choices. But this doesn’t mean she’s doomed or going to end up in a bad place. She’s only trying to figure out the world from her perspective.
Often, when our children act in ways we don’t understand, they may not even understand what’s going on themselves! Adolescence is a wild ride. There’s the raging hormones, bodily changes, and moodiness. It’s likely that your daughter doesn’t know what she wants or needs, and it’s her time to figure that out for herself. And whether she knows it or not, she still needs your guidance and support.
Your Teen Daughter Needs Support
When your teen is pulling away from you in an emotional and physical way, you’re likely to feel at a loss for what to do. This may take the form of them not spending as much time with you as before. How do you sustain a relationship in which it feels like your daughter doesn’t care? Will you need therapy just to connect with them?
As a therapist, my first piece of advice is to practice patience. She will make choices you don’t understand. She may not want to share her life with you as you’d like. Practice patience by letting her share with you when she’s ready. Don’t poke and prod. Remind your teen that you love her and support her with both your words and actions.
How to Provide Your Teen Daughter Support
The parenting styles or tools you’ve used in the past will likely not work today. You’re going to need to adjust how you communicate with your teen. The tools shared here can be applied throughout her adolescence and young adulthood. She is going to change and evolve, so the way she interacts in relationships will as well. Here is one way you can communicate support to your teenage daughter.
What’s her love language?
Think about your daughter’s love language. Do you already know what it is? Also, keep in mind that it can change as she gets older! Does she like words of affirmation, physical touch, acts of service, gifts, or quality time?
Regardless of whether you do or do not know her love language right now, ask her about it! Asking about her preferences shows you see her as a person with different needs and wants than your own. This is so important as she navigates her individuality. And, it’s a great way to model communication for the other relationships in her life.
Approach the conversation with an open mind and curiosity
Here’s an example. “I have noticed that you’re not spending as much time with our family as usual. I’m so excited for you to explore other relationships in your life! I’m wondering if there is a certain way I can show you how much I care about you now that you may not spend as much time with us. Can I help you with any of your tasks? How about this, can I give you a hug when I see you? Or, I’d love to tell you how proud I am of you. Would any of these be okay? Do any of these things feel better or worse than others? I want to show you how much I care about you.”
Remember that during this time, it may be hard for your teen to reciprocate these conversations
She may not have much interest in making you feel loved. This doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you, it only means she is so immersed in her own world. She is consumed by her thoughts, worries, hopes, and dreams. This can make it difficult for anyone to consider others’ feelings. Especially one going through puberty.
Establish an even playing field of respect by asking her preferences and collaborating
By doing so, you show her that you care about her opinion. You acknowledge that she can make decisions for herself. But, you’d like to be a part of that process. With time, openness, and nonjudgement, you can communicate to your daughter that you’d like to be a part of her life.
Therapy for Teens in Orange County, CA Can Help
If you’re struggling to figure out how to communicate with your daughter, you have options. Our Orange County, CA-based therapy practice serves teens, young adults, parents, and families. It is our passion to help women and their families become strong, safe, units that support one another. If you’d like support with this, our team of therapists can serve both you and your daughter.
Teen therapy can help your daughter process the feelings and issues that arise. Forming a relationship with a third party, like a teen therapist, can give her autonomy. Therapy for teens can allow them to speak their minds and receive healthy feedback. Many are hesitant to start therapy for teens at first. But, once they begin, they often appreciate their parents’ support by getting them in the door. Giving your daughter the option of starting therapy for teens can help her feel supported by you. Even if you are not the one providing that direct support.
Begin Therapy for Teens in Orange County, CA
Connecting with your teen is something so much easier said than done. But, our team of caring therapists is here to offer support in helping you and your daughter maintain a healthy bond. We offer support from our Orange County, CA-based therapy practice. To start your therapy journey, please follow these simple steps:
- Schedule a free consultation
- Meet with a caring therapist
- Start receiving the support you and your teen deserve!
Other Services Offered at Moxie Family Therapy
Therapy for teens isn’t the only service we provide at our Orange County, CA-based practice. Our team offers counseling for young adults, children, women, and couples. We also offer therapy for therapists, clinical supervision, adoption therapy, art therapy, and play therapy. Our team is also happy to support to the LGBTQ+ community. Contact us today and learn how we can help you reclaim your moxie.