Have you ever wondered how to raise your teen daughter and still stay connected with her? This common concern gnaws at moms at both a conscious and unconscious level. It’s the unconscious worries that contribute to moms behaving in ways that undermine their heart’s desire for connection, communication, and closeness with their daughters.
As your daughter enters her teen years, here are three key things that you can do to raise your teen daughter and still keep a connection with her.
Key #1: Face The Internal
The crucial thing you need to understand with this key area is that . . .
“In order to face and deal with your daughter’s future teen years
you need to face and deal with your past.”
Dr. Michelle Deering
The most important thing to understand with is that if you don’t know what’s fueling your fears/concerns about your daughter’s teen years, then you will be flying blind.
Gusts of wind (i.e. her emotions, behavior changes) will hit you and throw you off balance. And amidst the turbulence, your reactions to those situations may not be helpful to your goal of building or maintaining a close relationship with your teen daughter.
Your awareness of your internal thoughts and feelings about “the teen years” spells the difference between you successfully or unsuccessfully navigating your mother-daughter relationship during that time.
Also, facing your feelings about what has already transpired between you and your daughter prior to her teen years will help you take stock of what your current internal resources are (e.g. are you feeling stressed, depleted, fearful). This information will help you understand what you are physically, mentally, and emotionally able to do and handle, especially in-the-moment.
How To Face The Internal
So, to “face the internal,” you will need to assess:
- When you’re getting upset with your daughter
- What is going on inside your body each time you find yourself upset with your daughter
- What is it about the interaction that’s specifically upsetting or worrisome for you.
Keep track of this information. It will give you clues into what interaction pattern you’d like to do differently with your teen daughter.
Also make sure not to internally beat yourself up with disparaging or derogatory thoughts. Beating yourself up internally will zap your mental and emotional resources and physical energy. And when you’re internally drained in this way, you’ll end up reacting and not being able to fully pause to consider your behavior. So, your unchecked reactions could possibly drive a wedge between you and your teen daughter.
Key #2: Face The External
Having examined the “internal,” you’ll now need to face the external. This means that you’ll need to take stock of what resources you can access outside of yourself.
One way to think about this is that not facing the external is like feeling hungry and desiring a certain type of meal. You then go to the kitchen to make the meal only to realize that you don’t have all the ingredients or the necessary cooking utensils that you need to create the meal.
Sometimes a mom can fall into the trap of thinking that she has to be able to “do everything on her own.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
For the above metaphorical meal, you did not “make the meat” or build the utensils. Instead, you had to go outside of yourself to buy them or receive them from an outside source.
When it comes to facing the external, you will want to do two things.
How To Face The External
- your family’s overall rhythm (are there any tensions, timing of events, temperature mood occurring).
- the accessibility of your friendship base
- the helpfulness of the current messages you’re getting from family, friends, & “fingertip sources” (e.g. social media)
Second, ask yourself, does the input…
- “…build up, tear down, or make murky my mother-daughter relationship?”
- “…move me beyond my comfort zone?”
- “…get me closer to my ultimate goal of relating better with my daughter?”
Not pausing to consider these areas can result in a lot of time and energy being inefficiently used towards improving your mother-daughter relationship.
Key #3: Face The Community
One thing is for sure, your motherhood and mother-daughter relationship journey does not happen in a vacuum.
“A mom community is a diverse community.”
Dr. Michelle Deering
The important point to understand here is that there is something liberating and empowering that occurs when you are part of a community of like-minded and like-hearted moms who are singularly-purposed in their parenting.
However, moms in a mom community don’t have to be in a similar stage of life. This diversity can actually be beneficial.
Why? Because the differences give perspective.
Groups of women need to:
- soak up sage insight from seasoned moms
- link arms in the trenches with their peers
- reach back to help (younger) moms earlier in their motherhood journey
Ultimately, when you “face the community,” you are helped because it:
- saves you time and energy by hearing and learning from others’ experiences
- gives you perspective from those who are at different developmental stages
- opens you to resources (e. organizations, materials, professionals) that can further assist you in the trenches.
How To Face The Community
So, with this in mind as a mom and for your next step, you will need to:
- Look for a community that resonates with the desires of your heart for your mother-daughter relationship
- Join a community that welcomes you and in which you can not only ask questions and get answers/information but also give your experience and perspective in a guilt-free, no-judgement zone and encouragingly supports your emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
- Participate in that community of moms.
“Relationship builds as you relate.”
Dr. Michelle Deering
As a mom, you don’t have to sit worrying about raising your daughter while keeping connected during her teen years.
Just take the steps to face the internal, face the external, and face the community. Doing so will give you a firm(er) foundation for your mothering approach and help you navigate the teen years without losing connection, communication, and closeness with your daughter.
©Dr. Michelle Deering | All rights reserved.