Do you feel like your relationship with your daughter is strained? Do you feel disconnected from what is going on in her life? You aren’t alone. Many parents tend to feel this way when their child becomes a teenager, but taking an interest in her life will help to foster connectedness even during a difficult stage.
Connecting with teenagers can be difficult. Often they respond with one-word answers or shut themselves off in their rooms. But starting with less invasive questions (What’s your favorite class right now? What did you think about last night’s episode on TV?) can sometimes open the door to more. The key is to show warmth, interest and care, even when you feel shut out.
Though you might feel like you are bothering her, check in with your daughter every day. Even if she doesn’t feel like talking, she will appreciate having your full attention for a period of time each day. If she does feel like talking, here are some good questions to ask to learn more about her life and to show you care:
What do you need from me in your life right now?
It’s important to know when your child needs someone to lean on. Be there to talk to her and listen to what she’s saying. It’s important that she knows you are always there for her and a consistent source of support.
What happened in your day today?
This can seem like one of those questions that would annoy your daughter, but it shows you are engaged in her life and want to know about what she’s going through. This simple question can spark a great conversation between the two of you.
Do you know how much I love you?
It’s always special to remind your child that no matter what, you will always love her. The teenage years can be some of the hardest of her life, and reinforcing your love will allow her to open up to you.
What do you daydream about?
This is an important question to ask. Knowing what she is hoping to achieve in the future can allow you to lead her in the right direction. Let her achieve her goals as independently as possible, but ensure she knows you are there to help whenever she needs it.
What makes you happy?
Knowing what makes your child happy can be invaluable information, though she might find it hard to put into words. Knowing some things that make her happy can help you connect with her in ways that she enjoys. She may seem to always prefer friends over time with parents, but she will appreciate your attempts to connect with her world.
Sometimes a simple question is all it takes to strengthen bonds with your daughter. She still needs you even if she doesn’t show it, and she wants you even if she doesn’t know it.