Raising a teenage girl these days is not as easy as it was back in the 1980s, when I was growing up and you possibly were too. You will have to deal with and understand modern teenage girl behaviours such as their (constant) use of social media, their late night habits, the way they dress, and the way they communicate. All strangely familiar behaviours and issues, yet their growing up is happening in such a different time now and for many parents it’s bamboozling!
Exhausting too….I know!
Being a mum with so many responsibilities at home…. sigh…. plus adding in a day job is already tiring! Then piled up high on top of all that is trying to navigate through the murky waters of raising a daughter in today’s world. You may even be asking “did I really sign up for THIS?”
Well hanging on for the ride is your only option, but I’ve got some advice for smoothing out the potential (ok, ok, probable) bumps. Keep reading super mum, because here’s the lowdown on what you need to know when you are raising a teenage girl.
Stop Showing Your Daughter That You’re TOO busy for her
Your daughter may put on the airs and graces of being all independent and old enough to hold her own BUT unconsciously she still seeks your attention and approval. She’s not after your ‘always nagging’ attention – she’ll tell you she’s sick of that, she wants to talk with you about her day, what’s been happening and growing up stuff. She needs to feel you have this time available for her.
Believe me… She needs to hear about life from YOU more than from any other teenage girlfriends she has.
It’s true you’re probably busy, we all are, but showing her you still have time for her is important to her sense of self and will help avoid her having conversations like this with friends you may not want her hanging with….
“Hey! Can we meet later? My mum is too busy anyway. I want to tell you some stuff about the guy next door. Let’s meet uptown around 10 pm. Don’t worry about my curfew. My mum is too busy to notice that anyway.”
Uh-Oh! That’s where problems can start and they may even be avoided by investing regular time to spend with your daughter.
- Be open to hearing her and let her talk things out.
- Don’t make every conversation a big deal. Make sure that once in a while you have a lighthearted talk with your teenage girl.
- When she opens up don’t let her feel she’s being judged, because she won’t be as willing to again .
- Instead of giving her long lectures, share with her some stories of your own experience as a teenage girl – she’ll see you as having more in common.
- YES! Have that #ThrowbackThursday conversation with your girl and laugh things out – you may be surprised at the questions she could ask you.
- Give advice if and when she asks and not because you think you know better.
Don’t Be A Creepy Mum
Yes, you read it right.
Some teenage girls call their mum crazy, weird and creepy. Don’t be like those mums!
SO what could make a teenage girl think mum is a bit creepy?
Creepy, crazy mums are the type of mothers who ask far too many questions and try to invade their daughter’s social life. Mothering is one thing, smothering is another…. and weird!
Don’t try to control or oversee your teen’s private life too much. Let her breath and let her enjoy these teenage years. If you don’t have any specific safety or behaviour concerns, there doesn’t need to be constant watching over her shoulder.
Remember: A scared and uncomfortable teen can hide many secrets and you’d much prefer to keep the lines of communication open, right?
Instead of being the creepy mum, be the kind of mum who’s friends with her daughter on Facebook and who follows her social media profiles not to stalk and spy but to be present and positive. Comment on her selfies and tell her she’s pretty and if she’s out with her girlfriends give the thumbs up and comment with something positive like “have fun!”.
She needs to feel you’re open, supportive and understanding of her and her decisions. If not, be prepared for the chance she’ll try to hide pictures from you on social media and even possibly create another profile just because she senses you’ll be watching and judging everything she posts.
Let her been a teenage girl BUT set the limits on this too…. and yep, for sure, it’s a complex balancing act!
You may also like: How You Can Reduce Your Argument With Your Teen
Can you commit to a weekend Family Getaway?
Ever heard your daughter compare your family to that of a friend who has a cool mum and is close to her family?
“Like.. Sarah’s mum takes her to the plaza shopping and then they meet up with her dad and brother and go out for lunch. Like.. every single weekend. And we never do anything… like it’s so not fair…..”
Yes, there are REAL stories like these. Everyone else’s grass is greener and Sarah really does have the cooler mum…. (is an eye-roll emoji appropriate here? You get the picture!)
So what can you do about it? How can you lead your daughter towards believing you value quality family time as much as she craves it?
If possible, and yes it’s a big ask for time poor and budget-strapped families, plan a weekend family getaway where everyone can join in, have fun and spend time together. If you can’t manage to get away from home, then a ‘staycation’ at home – where you commit to activities and time together – is perfectly acceptable too!
Making an effort to do this will help you bring you closer to your teenage daughter, it’s true! Remember to plan ahead to show her you respect her own plans and already arranged social calendar and it’s not just a plot to ‘ruin her life’. Be clear about respecting her schedules and commitments and request she returns the courtesy.
It seems little girls are growing up so quickly these days! Quite often a sweet tween girl heads to bed, only to rise the next morning as a hormonally charged young woman with sass, opinions and too much eyeliner. Behind the makeup and Top 40 playlist, I’m sure you’ll find your daughter is still in there looking for your love.