As your teenage daughter goes through a lot of changes and becomes more aware of the world around her, communicating with her can become quite challenging. The two of you will likely clash and disagree over a lot of things during this time, and this can make you feel like you and your child are drifting apart.
However, if you’re able to maintain a good connection with your teenage daughter, you’ll be in a better position to offer her sound advice as she tries to navigate the world more independently. It will also help you get to know each other better, grow closer, and foster a stronger relationship during this phase of your lives.
With these goals in mind, here are a few practical ways of making sure that you and your teenage daughter are able to stay on the same page:
Ways To Communicate With Teenagers
Find a Common Interest or Shared Activity
One of the best ways to stay consistently connected to your daughter is to share some of the same interests and activities. If you have something that you both like, that can serve as an anchor for lighthearted conversations or an opener for deeper ones. A fun and distinctive shared hobby that enables you to connect over style preferences and even create your personalized t-shirts together is creating fashionable custom t-shirts. You can experiment with various designs, talk about your favorite prints, and make something that captures the essence of the two of you.
If you both like dressing up in nice clothes and accessories, for example, you can talk about the latest style trends and fashion conventions. Many teenagers try to fit in by adopting the latest fashion trends, which can be quite confusing to someone who’s just discovering their sense of style. Perhaps you can sit down together and discuss these trends, what works, what doesn’t, and why.
Let’s say your teen wants to wear hosiery to school to stand out. You can talk about why such a garment is the norm in an office setting but not in a school and suggest alternatives like tights or long socks. At the same time, you can still indulge her curiosity by letting her incorporate hosiery into her outfits for more formal occasions that you’ll be attending together.
You can also have a shared love of sports, online games, music, TV shows, or movie franchises. Whenever there’s an event or activity that concerns your shared interests, you can update each other, talk about it, and participate together or support each other.
Make a Habit of Communicating with Each Other
Fostering an open line of communication is something that you should be doing with your daughter before she hits her early teens. Even if you weren’t able to establish this before, though, don’t worry. Now is as good a time as any to start adopting good communication habits.
The two of you can dedicate a few minutes to catching up with each other every day, at the very least. You can do this by eating breakfast or dinner together and asking each other about your plans or how your day went. If your schedule during weekdays is a little too tight, how about setting an hour or two every weekend to get tea or coffee and talk about what happened during the week?
You can also make use of digital tools to initiate casual conversations. For example, the two of you can share memes that remind you of a funny joke, a relatable experience, or a topic that you talked about in the past. These snippets of conversation can assure your daughter that you are willing and interested in listening to what she has to say and that you value your time together.
Share Your Experiences as a Teenager and Listen to Hers as Well
Your teenager only knows the adult version of you, the one that acts as her guardian and sets the rules of the home. It may be difficult for them to envision you in your youth doing teenage things, so they might not think that you understand what they’re going through. Fortunately, you can clear this sort of misunderstanding by sharing with your daughter a bit about your youth and the challenges you faced back in the day.
Perhaps you can talk about a waning friendship, joining clubs, dating, or getting a part-time job—experiences that many teenagers are currently dealing with. This way, she can see that you’re coming from a place of experience and understanding.
At the same time, you have to understand that the experience of being a teenager now is not exactly the same as that of your teen years. Listen to how things have changed and be receptive to the nuances of your daughter’s experiences. Doing so will help your daughter feel that you’re not dismissing her concerns or undermining how her current issues are affecting her.
Volunteer for Community Events and Activities Together
Your teenage daughter is naturally curious about the world and the society you live in. You can help satisfy this curiosity by talking about it at home. You can discuss why the issues she cares about matter and need immediate action, and what you can do at home to make a difference. It’s also an option to know more about these causes by joining organizations and efforts that are aligned with the topics close to your daughter’s heart.
Joining her in these activities will reaffirm to her that you truly care about her concerns and are intent on doing your part in making her future better. Also, doing these activities together can be a bonding moment for you two, one that you’ll likely remember fondly well into the future.
Perhaps she feels strongly about climate change and how it will impact her generation. In this case, how about finding an environmental organization near you and volunteering to ‘adopt’ and clean up certain areas, spread the word about the plastic problem, or spearhead campaigns to reduce household waste? Such a move will help her become more aware of what happens on the ground and how she can do her share in advancing the causes she cares about.
Teenagers have different concerns than adults, and it can be a challenge connecting with them when your priorities can be quite different from each other’s. However, by dedicating time and effort to communicate with your teenage daughter and improve your connection to each other, you’ll be able to meet eye-to-eye and serve as each other’s pillar of support during this time. Paying special attention to your relationship is also a good way of seeing your similarities and differences, having fun together, discovering the kind of person your daughter is growing up to be, and perhaps even finding out something new about yourself in the process.
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