Having a teenage daughter can be overwhelming. There are so many challenges they will face as they move toward adulthood, and you want them to be prepared, but what exactly does that look like? For many of us, that means trying to guide their path to destinations like college. Despite our best intentions, we might cloud their personal path with our expectations. That is when you might find a rebellious or indignant teen on your hands.
While it is true that your daughter needs guidance to make good choices along her journey, it is also important to take the vision she has for her future seriously. Trying to find that balance in these critical years can leave you wishing you had a “how to” manual on hand. While we know there are no cut and dry manuals, there are ways to help you help your child to choose wisely.
Guidance, Not Force.
As hard as it may be for parents to accept, the truth is that our teens will make decisions that we do not necessarily agree with. The dreams they have for their future may not coincide with our dreams for them.
Perhaps they want to go to college for a major you think will not be profitable, or maybe they have no desire to go to college at all. These choices may sound scary, or downright crazy, but it is important to take a breath, and listen. Motivation to succeed must come from within her! At some point in her life, she has to truly want “it” for herself, whatever “it” may be. So one of the best things you can do is to help her discover who she truly is and what she genuinely wants out of life. Naturally, you will have an influence on her, but she has to own her future. Finding that mutual understanding when what you each want for her life can be really tough if you are on opposite ends of the spectrum. But I already know you want what is best for her, so perhaps it’s time to make sure you know her and hear where she is coming from. Make her see that you respect her and value the direction she envisions for her life. As hard as it can be for some, this is where your role in the relationship shifts from sole authority figure to more of a coach and supporter.
A Confident Teen, Is a Responsible Teen.
I have worked with countless teens through the most vital years of their young adult life, and what I have found is that ALL young women need three things:
- A person to listen without judgment
- Confidence to trust her own decisions
My goal is to help your daughter identify her strengths and weaknesses, find a fulfilling direction for her life, and give her the tools to get there. One of the most important tools in any woman’s arsenal is a strong sense of self-worth, and a healthy dose of self-esteem. When a young woman is secure in who she is, and where she is going, she is far more likely to make good decisions, and that is the end result we all want!