As you held your tiny, lovely baby daughter in those newborn days, you were probably focused on her peacefulness (when she was sleeping!) and innocence…. not necessarily how she’s going to be during her teenage years. Right?
Awww…. yes, the memories! Those heart-touching priceless moments you enjoyed like other mothers before you. A bit like a fairy tale wasn’t it? And maybe you continued to feel that special mother-daughter connection through the toddler and primary school years too.
But…. and many stories have a but… such tender moments can and often do, come to an abrupt end when that girl of yours enters adolescence!
Your darling innocent girl grew speedily to a toddler, then a tween, now a teen, and eventually she’ll be an adult. And as a mother, you are probably overwhelmed trying to keep up with it all and totally bewildered by the years flying past so quickly. But right now, your focus is more than likely on these bloody teenage years and how on earth you’ll both make it though!
If there’s one priority as the mum of a teen girl, I’d say it’s to raise a confident teenage girl who knows – and values – her worth.
Of course, raising a teenage daughter is complicated – especially in today’s digital world. You’ve undoubtedly said goodbye to playing dolls, role plays, and teddy bears and landed head first in a world of iPhones, Instagram, and SnapChat.
These popular social media platforms…. and the 24/7 access they have to commentary from their peers (sadly, not always positive or helpful)…. means that YOU will need to plant and nurture the seeds of empowering messages and valuable life lessons. Simultaneously you ’ll probably be battling and fighting against what she tells you is “cool”, “normal” or even acceptable. It’s a bloody tough gig.
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Truth be told, your daughter’s tween to the teen stage is one of the most critical – and also vulnerable times – of your not-so-little girl’s life. This is when you get the chance to help establish your daughter’s values, beliefs and attitude towards what life may have in store. Being there for her is super important and the main way you’ll be able to help her see what a wonderful young woman she’s becoming.
In fact, raising a teenage girl who knows her worth and importantly values it too, is the ultimate goal, isn’t it? So with eyes on the prize, here are some simple, keep-your-sanity tips for making it through the teen girl years…. and coming out the other side with a confident, well-rounded young woman you’ll be proud of.
Shower Her With Love… even when you may not like her much.
Yes, you read it right. Even when she’s at her most difficult and least lovable she needs your attention and affection more than ever. If she doesn’t feel she’s getting this need met from you, it’s more than likely she’ll search for it elsewhere.
Don’t wait for your teen to seek for other people’s love and affection, she may not always choose appropriately. Give it to her in a way she can recognise and accept it.
- Don’t try to control or micro-manage your daughter, it rarely works. Reasonable and fair boundaries can usually be negotiated without her feeling that every move is being scrutinised.
- Don’t constantly nag at her, telling her you’re chasing things up out of love. Some life lessons she needs to learn herself by doing it her way.
- Stay cool and try not to buy into any drama. If she does try to suck you in, and you recognise it, walk away and come back when it’s settled.
Tell her – and demonstrate – your love in the clearest ways you can. Even the simplest of actions will help, and although they may seem mind-numbingly obvious in the busyness of life these sometimes get overlooked….
- Ensuring she leaves each the morning with a kiss and good wish
- Asking how her day went when she gets home from school
- Having a favourite snack in the fridge as a treat
- Making a point of saying ‘good night, I love you’ before bed
- The occasional small treat like a magazine, or new nail polish
Yes, all the little things you do for her, like the above, DO matter. She may roll her eyes in your general direction, she may answer back, heck, she mightn’t show even the slightest appreciation for your efforts but that’s not the point. Showing her genuine love, without demanding it in return will contribute to her positive self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
Instill Social Skills and Confidence
Raising a confident girl is one of the best ways you can be sure she knows and appreciates her worth. Ideally, even before she’s a teen, you’ve helped her develop confident social skills that she can apply to a range of situations.
Confidence though is a quality that needs to be fed throughout the teen years, as it can get a bit shaky. You can help her confidence grow by…
- Showing her new ways to accomplish things
- Trusting her
- Listening to her opinions and taking some of her suggestions on board
- Not criticising when offering your feedback
- Helping her with good decision-making processes
- Providing opportunities for new experiences
- Encouraging her to have a varied network of friends
- Supporting her to explore out-of-home activities such as part-time employment or sports
Praise Her Imperfections and Make Her Feel Special
Now, remember when you were a teen, and how appearance was so important…. Well, that hasn’t changed. As a mother, you need to let your girl know that nobody’s perfect and we are all beautiful in our own different ways, imperfections and all. She will undoubtedly have times when she analyses, criticises and judges appearance – her own, and that of others and you’ll need to be on standby to help her process this.
She’ll probably tell you stories about how her friends are so gorgeous, attractive, and ‘on fleek’ (I think that’s the current slang for it!!) but remember at this time, your girl is probably inside her head comparing herself to them. At these times she needs to be reminded of what makes her special and beautiful too.
Teen Breathe Magazine, Australia is the go-to resource for promoting positive body image, self-acceptance and confidence in teenage girls. While most adults appreciate beauty is more than the outside package, teen girls still need a reminder. A yearly subscription to this magazine (no, this is not an affiliate link I just LOVE it!) would be a fantastic way to support any teenage girl’s emotional well being.
So mum, I’ve not once said it’s easy…. as that’d be quite untrue, but being your daughter’s greatest supporter will help you raise a teenage girl who knows her worth. Consistency, empowering words and actions, all wrapped in love is the key. You’ve got this one, ok!
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