How to Build a Better Relationship With Your Teenage Daughter

By David Stewart
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You will likely have more success with handling your daughter’s teen years if you consider these years as an opportunity to watch her grow as an individual rather than as a frustrating aspect of parenting. Learn to respect her personal space and combine discipline with love. Knowing how to handle her teen years can help you build a loving mother-daughter relationship.

Step 1

Respect your daughter’s feelings and her opinions. Allow her to have her voice and listen to her, whether the opinions she expresses are about education, career, marriage or other matters. Realize that it’s not necessary for mothers and daughters to think alike; if you realize that individuals differ and that you respect that these differences exist, even if you do not accept these differences, you are more likely to build a better bond with your daughter.

Step 2

Set boundaries with essentials, such as matters that concern her health, her safety and her future. Let her understand that listening to her views doesn’t mean you will let her have her way every time. If she says, “I’m old enough for midnight parties,” and you say, “No, you’re not,” to which she retorts, “You don’t ever listen to me,” say something like, “Oh, no. I listen to you but we just have different viewpoints on the matter.” Use a clear, firm tone to convey that you are serious without being harsh to your daughter.

Step 3

Share power to avoid the “you or me” conflicts. Involve your daughter in voicing her say in things that concern her. For example, if you’re setting consequences for breaking house rules, discuss with her which consequences she would consider fair.

Step 4

Let your girl have some breathing space. Allow her to do some things her way. Realize that comments like, “Sierra, you should’ve been in bed by now,” or “Don’t you think your makeup is heavy?” are more likely to rub her the wrong way.

Step 5

Practice not offering opinions about things that concern your daughter unless she asks you for opinions. Realize that although your intention behind the criticism might be good, they are more likely to hurt your girl when stated inappropriately or at an inopportune time. For example, a comment like, “That dress would’ve suited you if you were slimmer,” is likely to hurt her self-esteem. If you’re really concerned that she is going to make a fool of herself, express the concern in a different way: “You’ve got a fuller figure Veronica. I think you should try the red dress to complement your figure.” Realize that the key is to make her see the positive things about herself.

Step 6

Communicate. Realize that it’s unrealistic to expect that each of you would know what’s in the other’s mind just because you’re mother and daughter. Take time to talk to each other instead. Encourage honest communication so that you both know what is on your minds.

Step 7

Indulge in joint activities. Visit a spa during weekends, watch a movie together or attend a carnival in your area.

Step 8

Get help from other mothers. If you encounter your girl’s friend who impresses you with her behavior, get on the phone and ask her mother what she does to manage her daughter.