How Well Do You Really Know Your Daughter?
This week we are looking at unpacking how well you really know your daughter as she undergoes developmental changes in her life.
If You Feel Like She’s ‘Pulling Away’
Heading in the teen years your daughter’s core support network will shift. Parents and family are no longer the central relationships in her life, stronger formative friendships are established, and these new relationships hold a great amount of significance as she becomes independent.
It may feel like she is pulling away and becoming less accessible or that suddenly you are wrong about everything, if this is the case… do not panic, this is normal!
This is called the ‘Identity Stage’ of development, exploring her interests, likes and dislikes, independent from you. This may be a bit of a tough reality; she is growing up quickly and if you are not proactively engaged in her life, she will grow into a young woman who you don’t know that well. But fear not, by understanding where she is developmentally and being in tune with her emotional responses, you can be in the loop with your daughter without imposing on her new–found independence.
Questions To Be Explored With Your Daughter
At this stage in her life, her brain is not fully developed, and she will not always be able to identify her emotions, she will just feel them. As a parent, you can recognise patterns of behaviour and see where these emotional responses come from. Ask yourself these questions:
- What lights your daughter up and sparks joy within her?
- What makes her feel safe and what is something that makes her fearful?
- What are some of her triggers that set her on a negative emotional path?
Getting Out Of Her Comfort Zone Is Key
As she grows older, she will start trying to push boundaries and experience new things. It may be tricky for you at first, but allowing her to be exposed to new experiences will only further improve her cognitive development. As her parent, by learning to identify her emotional triggers you are better equipped to approach situations where she may come to you with any thoughts or feelings about the new world she is experiencing.
There is a healthy level of exploration she can cope with and by keeping open communication channels, you can guide her in the direction of experiences that will have a positive lasting impact on her as she grows up.
As she is growing up, if slowly she is distancing herself from you, this is inevitable, but rest assured she still needs her parents to give her a hug when times get tough and talk through the ins–and–outs of what is going on in her life!
Next week we will delve into Neuroscience 101, understanding the teenage brain and the best communication methods to manage a healthy relationship.