You know the deal. Your joyful and happy daughter has transformed in record time into an emotional, moody teenager. It seemed to happen overnight! And everything you say seems to be wrong, wrong, wrong.
“You don’t understand, Mum.”
“How would YOU know what it’s like, Mum? You’re soooooooo old.” (my personal favourite – sigh)
“Things are different now, Mum.”
Or you may not be getting any response at all, which is a real worry.
So, what can you say to help your teenage daughter get through a tough time, even when they’re not listening?
Firstly, let’s reframe this. While it feels like your words are falling on deaf ears, they aren’t. Anything you say or do will consciously or sub-consciously enter their psyche. They need to know that you won’t give up on them, that you will be there for them through the good times and the tough times.
And while you may want to say the opposite sometimes because of your own hurt at being treated with indifference and disrespect on particularly bad days with your daughter, reinforcing your support through positive and calm phrases will remind your daughter that she always has a safe space with you and there is someone who believes in her. Always.
Make these your mantras:
“I’m here for you always.”
“I will never give up on you.”
“I love you.”
“You’ve got this. And for the moments you feel you don’t, I’ve got you.”
Sometimes these phrases may need to be accompanied with boundary setting if things have become very difficult and your daughter is projecting her fears through nasty words or worrying behaviours.
Be calm when stating those boundaries. Don’t fall into the trap of using threats and raising your voice. If your daughter is in that pattern, then a composed approach from you is required.
“I’ll never give up on you but it’s not okay for you to speak to me like that.”
“I think it’s a good idea for us both to have some time out. Let’s step away from this for half an hour and calm ourselves down. I love you very much.”
“I know things are hard right now but yelling at me isn’t going to help. I’m here for you always and we can work together on a solution.”
Remember that teenagers lash out at the ones they feel safest with. That will hurt sometimes but holding your nerve and remaining calm and supportive at these times will ensure you remain that safe space, so when things simmer down, you’re the one listening, advising and holding your daughter.
If your daughter’s behaviour has transformed from happy and confident to moody and sullen,