10 Things Your Daughter Wants You to Know
I’m so excited about this topic because the points literally came from the mouth of the teen girls that I work with! What I’m sharing are the top 10 things that I hear my clients say over and again that I find myself saying, “gosh I need to chat with my parents about this!” So here they are….
Now, I’m not saying that every single teen girl says every single one of these, but these are common themes that I hear all the time. My hope is that from hearing their thoughts, you can tweak your perspective if it will help your personal situation with your daughter or make a slight change in something that you’re doing because of the insight you gain. Doing something a little different can bring you two closer and improve your communication. Plus, when you know better you do better, or in this case, when you hear what the girls say, you can use the information to your advantage. Take what makes sense to you, and leave what doesn’t, okay?
1. Your daughter really does look up to you, especially you moms.
She looks up to you. She respects you. She even values your opinion. She wants your opinion, but she doesn’t necessarily want to ask for it. Deep down she likes to know what your opinion is, yet she often doesn’t act like she even wants to consider it. If you just volunteer your opinion, she’s going to roll her eyes at you, but I promise you, she already knows what you think. She’s been with you since she was born. She already knows what you think. Trust me, when she’s out in the world, what you think is in her head. She really wants to have a deep relationship with you as her mom or dad.
2. When she comes to you with her problems, it’s not necessarily because she wants you to fix them.
Sometimes it’s that she really just wants to vent. Sometimes she gets home from school and she is so frustrated or stressed or overwhelmed that she wants to get it out and say what happened, but she doesn’t want you to attempt to solve her problems. She knows she can figure it out. She will when she’s ready. Just because she’s venting or complaining doesn’t mean she wants you to fix the problem right away or solve it for her. She just wants to know that she’s been heard and has a safe place to vent and get things off her chest.
3. She really considers what happens on social media to be an important part of her life.
Let me first say this, you’re not going to like this one but don’t shoot the messenger …..I’m just passing along what I hear. Her phone is really necessary. Social media is not just for fun…. in their minds. They feel so disconnected when they can’t keep up with what’s going on on Instagram, Snapchat, and all the social platforms. It drives her absolutely crazy when you act like it’s a game, toy, not important, or something that she really shouldn’t be paying attention to. Yes, they are glued to the phone. Yes, they FaceTime and text all the time.
I’m not saying you have to agree with them or even that you should allow this type of phone use. I don’t agree with their perspective either on this one. However, what I am saying is that by understanding just how important staying connected is to them, you can be sensitive to it when you approach the conversation. Or, maybe simply respecting their perspective even when it seems ridiculous.
When I work with families, I usually recommend they come up with a policy or system. Find a way to find a common ground where everyone in your household can come to terms with what you’re going to do as far as managing cell phones and social media. I have some clients who turn their phones in at night. They have to put them on the parents’ dresser or nightstand. Or, when it’s study time and they do their homework in their bedroom, they need to leave their cell phone in a central location downstairs, like on the kitchen counter. You just need to figure out what works for you and your family. I have another family, parents included, who choose to leave all cell phones off the dinner table. You can find a way to have some boundaries that work for your household. You can fight it if you want to, but the truth is, social media isn’t going away.
My suggestion is to figure out what platforms they are on and understand how they work, then set your boundaries and expectations for your family. I have one parent with a 17-year-old daughter who joined Snapchat. She just made up her mind to figure it out. She added her daughter as a friend on Snapchat. They found out they had a lot in common in how they both like to be silly. Snapchat has given them a chance to connect with each other, let their hair down, and use humor together, which ultimately improved communication.
4. She really doesn’t like it when you have conversations about family issues that she’s aware of, but you don’t include her in them.
What I hear from the girls is that they just can’t stand it when their parents don’t talk to them about it and aren’t open about it. They know what’s going on and all it does is makes them feel isolated and like you are treating them like a child. A “family issue” could be when there’s a big family secret or a stressful situation going on between you two as parents. Let me tell you, she knows all about it. She knows the secret, whatever it is. You may think she doesn’t know, but she knows.
What ends up happening is the parent will say “You’re just too young” or “You just don’t understand. Maybe when you’re older.” It’s really conflicting from her perspective. In one instance you are telling her, “Be responsible. You need to be mature. You’ve got to get ready for college.” But then when it comes to the “grown-up conversations”, she’s completely left out of them. So it sends a mixed signal because one minute we’re telling her to grow up and the next minute we’re telling her she’s not old enough. I’m not telling you that you need to tell her all your business, but I am telling you so that you are aware so you can figure out a way to make this work in your favor.
5. Her choice of clothes is not for the reasons you may think.
She doesn’t normally choose her outfits to look a certain way. She’s not trying to wear the slinky dress for the reasons that you might be thinking. Deep down she really is just trying to find her way and fit in. Or she wants to find her way, and not fit in at all. Different girls have different ideas on whether they want to go with the flow or against the grain, but either way it’s all about finding her way. And yes, it is influenced by what she sees on Instagram. And yes, it’s influenced by what she sees other girls wearing at school, or on TV, or whatever the case maybe. She wants to experiment. She wants to see how she can express herself with her clothes or jewelry or whatever she wants to try. Her expression may be things you do not necessarily like, but what I hear all the time is, “My parents are telling me I’m showing too much skin or trying to make a name for myself. I’m really not trying to dress that way it’s just that…” By all means, teach your daughter how to dress according to what you feel is appropriate, but also think about when there’s a time and place that she can really explore and express herself.
6. Sometimes she just wants to be alone.
She just wants some space to think. She doesn’t want you to worry. She doesn’t want you to think she’s depressed. What I hear come out in different ways is some girls are just introverts and they literally need the time to decompress and be alone. Some girls are processing the day and just want to sit and think or listen to music and let their mind process. It doesn’t say anything about you as a parent. They aren’t trying to be mean or nasty. They just want to be alone.
And here’s the funny thing, they know their parents need that down time, too. So then they don’t understand why they can’t have their time. “Dad needs his time to sit on the couch after work so why I can’t I? I know that mom needs me-time, why can’t I?” She will see herself in one of you and want the time as well. Giving her a little space to reset will go a long way in building trust and mutual respect.
7. She does not want to be responsible for your mood.
Just because she may be in a bad mood because she is hormonal, has a bad attitude, or whatever, she doesn’t want it to put you in a bad mood too. She really doesn’t want you to get upset just because she is. When you do, she starts feeling more pressure. It’s OK for you to still be happy when she has a funky attitude.
8. It’s awkward to talk about sex, but she really wants you to.
They want you to bring up sex. They want you to talk about it. They want to know how you feel about it. It’s awkward for them, too. They’re trying to figure out their own position on it. They’re trying to figure out what their beliefs are on it and what they think. What I’m hearing more and more now over the past three years or so is that a lot of teens are saying that our generation as parents is too judgmental. They want to talk to you about things like their sexuality and STDs. They find it unfair when they don’t hear it from you. So if you’re one of those parents who are hush-hush when talking about sex – don’t be. Don’t be afraid to bring it up. Be the parent. Be in charge. Yes, she’s going say it’s awkward and yes she’s going to say it’s uncomfortable, but I promise that she wants to talk to you about it.
9. She wants to talk to you without you freaking out.
I have girls tell me all the time, “I would talk to my mom but she’s just going to freak out. I want to talk to my dad but, oh my gosh, he’s going to freak out if I tell him this.” They say it all the time. They want to open up to you, but they already know once you hear about whatever it may be, it may make you “freak out.” That’s what they say, verbatim. So, in an effort to improve communication and strengthen your connection, really learning how to listen without freaking out will help open up the lines of communication.
10. She really wants to see you have fun and have your own life outside of being a parent.
You know as parents, we can sometimes really make it all about the kids, but not only does your teenage daughter want to see you have a life of your own she needs to see you have a life of your own. She needs to see that you are honoring your goals and dreams. If you’re chasing one of your own dreams or working on something you’re passionate about, you are also giving her permission to do the same when she is a parent. Don’t be afraid to have the girl’s night and date night. Have a fun life outside of being a parent. She will be totally fine with that. In fact, she loves that.
I’m on a mission to inspire girls to stand up and shine. I want them to shine from the light deep within that comes from knowing and loving exactly who you are and sharing that person with the world. If your daughter is struggling to discover her beauty on the inside, the uniqueness that makes her beautiful in her own right, we need to talk! Book a complimentary call here