In part one of this post, we talked about the significant impact that actively listening to your daughter can have on your relationship. We also discussed the importance of recognizing your child’s emotions and emotional responses. Going forward, it’s vital to not fall into denial about your teen’s behavior. Be willing to acknowledge whether or not your teen is acting out due to natural developmental changes, or if their poisonous behavior is a deeper issue. If your child has steadily become withdrawn or is showing strange behaviors, what is happening is likely neither normal nor healthy.
Connecting through Conversation
Start talking, even if it’s a challenge. Communication can only happen if you’re willing to try. The feeling of closeness that you’re searching for with your teen can only exist if you’re able to connect, and real connections can’t exist without genuine communication. Keeping lines open for communication is key. While you’re working on becoming an effective communicator and active listener, nurture your current relationship as best you can.
If you and your teen still have an open line of communication, try connecting with them over anything big or small. Schedule one-on-one time with your daughter. The extra time spent with your teen could be enough to reopen otherwise damaged lines of communication. Connect with your teen over their stories and hobbies, and be willing to share your own.
Connecting through Faith
If faith and spirituality play a part in your household, use that faith as a chance to connect. By sharing your faith, you’re actively showing the care you have for their spiritual growth. Show a willingness to talk openly and honestly about faith and the role it plays in their daily life. Let your child as you the difficult questions, displaying respect, love, and patience.
The Importance of Family Therapy
If you’re dealing with a teen that has cut off emotional ties with you and is ceasing any form of communication, you should actively seek the help of a professional. If your teen’s behavior has taken a swift turn for the worst, to a point that you are concerned with their wellbeing as well as yours, you can’t assume that basic communication will be enough to help them.
By seeking out a family therapist, both you and your teen can sit down with a professional and talk about what’s going on internally as of late. It’s often the case that a parent is too close to the issues at hand. Not only is it difficult to speak with your teen, but it might be impossible to see an issue from their perspective. This could be creating unnecessary tension and frustration with every talk. A therapist can act as a new door to communication with your child, and a mediator during conversations.
Help Her Help Herself
Therapy for your teen is highly important, regardless of if her behavior has been more or less distressing. If your teen feels she can’t talk to you openly, you should give her the option to talk to another adult who is able to actively listen. Lowered self-esteem and misdirected anger are things that take time and energy to correct, and parents have to admit when they might be in over their heads. By recognizing a teen’s damaged relationship with themselves you can begin to recognize where those displaced emotions and lack of trust for you as a parent are originating from. Don’t wait for intense emotional issues to work themselves out. They likely won’t without the help of a trusted professional and yourself.