Set Limits With Your Daughter
It can be a struggle to know how strict or permissive to be when talking to your teenage daughter. You want to encourage responsibility without triggering rebellion. Setting limits can take the confusion out of being a teenager for the both of you, says Bliss.
“I encourage parents to set limits early on and specify what the consequences will be if they’re overstepped. Speak to teenagers in a compassionate way and be open-minded,” she says. “Kids are having sex, using drugs -- especially marijuana -- and drinking. You can tell them, ‘I know what goes on and this is what I expect, this is what I don’t expect.’”
In fact, behavioral parameters provide security that your teenage girl craves. “Part of a loving relationship is the safety that is created when mothers set appropriate boundaries and limits. So, mothers need to consider asserting their parental authority as a reflection of their love and connection with their daughters,” says Kaslow.
Be Detailed in Talks With Your Daughter
When is your well-intended information considered TMI for your daughter? Your teenage girl will tell you when to stop, verbally or otherwise, says Kaslow. Look for the signs. “If she is getting overwhelmed or shutting down or pushing them away, it is best to change subjects and go back to the topic at a later time.”
Don’t be afraid to be specific, Pollack tells WebMD. “I encourage parents to talk until their teenager says ‘that’s enough now!’ If you’re keeping the conversation too general, she may not feel comfortable asking questions.”
Find Solutions Together
“It works best when mothers and their daughters collaborate and problem solve together when there are differences of opinion,” says Kazlow.
Allow your teen to sort through her options when you talk about a problem she’s having. Teens need some guidance, but they also “want to be a part of the solution -- not just told what the solution is,” Entrekin tells WebMD.
Have Family Rituals and Outings to Get Your Daughter Talking
No matter how well prepared you are, talking with your daughter about sex, drugs, alcohol, and emotions can feel daunting. But there are ways to break the ice.
“Have family rituals, like Friday night dinner, for example,” says Bliss. “If you start these traditions early, your child will want to keep them going through their teenage years.”
“If the child has siblings, especially, do things that that just mother and daughter enjoy: shopping, manicures, watching a movie or television show, cooking dinner,” suggests Bliss.
“Car rides are also a great time to talk because you don’t have to make eye contact,” Bliss says. “An overnight trip can be a great way to talk too, because it gets the teen away from their peer group. It should be something exciting.”
Some activities with your teenager can foster other good things in addition to positive shared time. “Try baking and cooking, outdoor activities, paint pottery, volunteer as a chaperone for a school or church outing for your daughter’s age group, go out to eat or shopping,” says Entrekin. “My favorite is participating in community service.”