We’ve all endured the dreaded teen years as a part of growing up. Now, as you face your own children going through this phrase, you may be filled with a new sense of dread. But these years don’t have to be awful — they can be positive instead. With a few helpful tips, you can grow exponentially in your relationship with your teenage daughter even through the rough times.
Family therapy with an adolescent can be extremely difficult. Although it’s viable to go to a traditional therapist together, there are more effective ways that can help transform your daughter’s important relationships in general—not just to you.
Equine therapy targets building relationships with ourselves, others and nature. This offers an opportunity for young women to recreate healthy patterns and attachments, because horses want authenticity and trust. They rely on instinct and often reflect the attitude of the person with whom they are interacting. According to Renewed Hope Ranch, equine therapy can help your daughter create and maintain healthy relationships, learn how to appropriately set boundaries, learn self-discipline and self-respect as well as patience.
Spend Time Together Doing Activities She Likes
ChildMind.org reminds us that communication doesn’t only happen through words. It’s important to spend time together doing activities your teenager enjoys. Sharing positive experiences in a neutral setting where she doesn’t have to worry about any important “talks,” allows her to open up to you in new ways and start building trust that you appreciate her for who she is. It also creates a foundation of positive memories between you two that she can fall back on when you aren’t getting along as well.
Listen and Validate
Wake Counseling advises that genuinely listening to your daughter is highly important. She’s spent years listening to your thoughts, now is your chance to listen to hers. Do this with love and acceptance. Some bits might surprise you, but if you shut them down early, you’re only hurting her trust in you. This is your chance to truly show that you take an interest in her life. It’s also a great way to learn more about her life without having to push. The more you listen, the more you’ll hear.
Remember that you’re still the parent at the end of the day. When reaching out to your teenage daughter, it can become fairly easy to blur that line of parenting and friendship. Despite your friendship with your teen, it is ultimately your responsibility to keep her safe, and she will respect you for it if she knows you have the best intentions and truly care about her and her feelings.
Here’s another article you might enjoy reading: Why You Need to Be Open With Your Children About Mental Health