Raising teen girls is not a task for the faint-hearted parent and you may not feel like you are ready to do it. However, your teen girl needs you now more than ever. Even though teenagers may act as if they don’t care what their parents say and that they can’t wait to leave home, they still need a solid foundation and unconditional love during the teen years to best prepare them for their adult lives. As a parent of a teen girl, there are three things you need to put time and effort into teaching her.
Lesson #1. Communication
Keeping the lines of communication open between you is an important part of helping your teen girl navigate her confusing and exciting adolescent years. Not only will she feel more comfortable talking to you about important issues, but she will be in a better place to be open to your guidance and advice. Communication isn’t just having big, heavy talks now and then. It’s having fun together, sharing responsibilities and tasks, and using common life lessons to teach and educate. Don’t forget as a parent that you are communicating with your teen even when you aren’t talking by modeling behavior. Teen girls watch their parents closely for clues on how to act, so make sure your body language is saying what you want.
Lesson #2. Self Worth
Your teen girl needs to learn that she has importance and self worth, both within the family and in the community at large. Avoid making all her accomplishments and compliments about looks, because teen girls are often mistakenly thrust into a social scene where appearance is the only measure of success. Stress her courage, smarts, social skills, smile and more and give her opportunities to succeed in all areas, not just in appearance-related events. Let her take on more and more responsibility within the family and help her participate in community events like volunteering. When your teenage daughter learns to value herself, she will demand that respect from others as well.
Lesson #3. Boundaries
All teenagers make mistakes, and some of them continue to do so because they don’t fully understand the consequences of their actions. If you ask for respect for your belongings or your rules, your teen daughter should comply. For example, if you ask that your teen daughter be home by midnight and she does that regularly, you can extend more freedom and more trust. If she fails, then trust and freedoms are limited. Because this is how things work in the real world, your teen daughter will learn valuable lessons on responsibility, consequences (both good and bad), and trust.
It’s hard to know exactly what kind of an adult your teenage daughter will be, but with the right approach to communication, self-worth and boundaries, raising teen girls this way can boost the likelihood of them becoming successful, healthy women.
What are some ways that you encourage your teen girl to gain life experiences?