How to Help a Teenage Daughter Deal With Emotional Issues
As a parent of a teenage girl, it's likely that you're already quite an expert on your daughter's emotional issues. Whether it involves conflict with friends, concern over body image, trying to fit in with peers or other problems, teenage girls might respond to emotional issues in ways that seem baffling to parents. Your daughter might cry easily, lash out in anger or become depressed for what seems to be no apparent reason at all. By staying supportive and remaining a constant presence, you can help your daughter cope and navigate the trying emotional waters of adolescence.
Ask her to tell you about her problems, advises FamilyDoctor.org, a website operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Adopt an attitude of inquiry and use a kind, gentle and compassionate tone. She might not reach out to you for help, so taking a proactive approach when she's obviously dealing with heavy emotional issues may be advisable. Don't pressure her to talk -- it's enough to just make the offer and wait for her to respond. She might not open up right away, but knowing that you're concerned might encourage her to come to you at a later point.
Encourage her to keep a journal. Writing in a journal can be a helpful way for teen girls to process their emotions and cope with stress, according to GirlsHealth.gov, a website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 3. If she prefers to keep her feelings to herself or has difficulty verbalizing her emotions, journaling might be beneficial for self-expression.
Engage in fun activities together. Not all emotional issues are best handled by over-processing and excessively talking them through. Sometimes, a distraction and an opportunity to connect with you through a fun activity can help relieve stress and help her cope. And doing small activities like grocery shopping or cooking together can help set the stage for easier conversations, advises child and adolescent psychologist D'Arcy Lyness in an interview with "U.S. News and World Reports."
Empathize with her struggles and conflicts. Being a teenage girl isn't easy; it helps to have someone on her side when she's dealing with emotional issues. Let her know that you can see how difficult things are for her right now. Ask her what you can do to help. Don't tell her you understand, because she might be feeling that no one could possibly understand what she's dealing with. But letting her know that she is loved and supported might help ease her emotional pain.
Consult a mental health professional if she seems to be having a lot of difficulty expressing or handling her emotions. Counseling might help her work through problems and help her express herself verbally, according to counselor Poul Poulsen, M.A., in an article for the Clarity Child Guidance Center 4.
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