You’ve always enjoyed styling your daughter’s hair before she heads off to school and you’ve enjoyed singing her lullabies before she falls asleep. Years went by and your little girl is now a teen, and knowing what’s running in her mind can be challenging. Don’t lose hope yet! Maybe, she’s just waiting for you to connect with her, and you just have to formulate the right questions to ask your teenager.
Here are some conversation starters and teen question parents need to ask that may help you re-establish the bond you once had.
Fif-Teen Questions for Your Daughter
1. What is a perfect day for you?
2. What particular incident made you happy (or sad) today?
3. Who do you want to be?
4. Is there something that’s bothering you lately?
5. What are you most afraid of?
6. Would you say you have happy childhood memories?
7. Can you tell me your plans for school?
8. So….want to tell me more about this boy?
9. Do you want to go watch a movie with me?
10. Thoughts on the current issues in our country?
11. Are there days when you feel like no one understands you?
12. What will make you feel better when you’re sad?
13. Can you tell me more about your friends?
14. Anything you need from me today?
15. What do you want us to do more of?
As you may have noticed, the questions listed above vary in gravity. Note that it is not necessary to always talk about serious matters when connecting with your kids. Also, giving your daughter a hard time answering tough questions wouldn’t be the right choice if you want to start a conversation with her, more so when you want to make the conversation last longer. So, pick the right questions, lend your ears, open your heart, and have a fun conversation with your daughter.
Understanding the Struggles of a Teenage Girl
Chances are, you’re reading this article because you’re either a mom or a dad who wants to understand your teenage daughter to maintain a healthy relationship with them. And when you think about it, you were once a teen yourself. Thus, you have an idea of how struggling adolescence must be.
Adolescence is the stage where teenagers either get misdirected or redirected. They discover their teenage identity as they seek independence. As they transition from childhood to adulthood, they will experience physical and psychological changes that sometimes, could be too much to bear. This is when your parenting abilities will be put to the test. In this section, let us learn more about the challenges teenage girls face and how you can help deal with them.
1. Physical Appearance
Adolescence is the time when teenagers undergo changes in their bodies. For girls, there will be a buildup of fat in the breasts, hips, and thighs. Apart from that, they may also get pimples on their faces. Because of the continuous change in their bodies, they will be so conscious of it, and they will always strive to achieve that “beautiful” physical appearance dictated by society. They would be struggling to maintain high self-esteem as they compare themselves to the “perfect” bodies and faces the media portrays.
To help your daughter regain her confidence, remind her that we are all beautiful in our own ways. As cliché as it may sound, that is one thing teenage girls have to bear in mind so that they won’t feel so bad about themselves and be comfortable in their own skin. Remember, girls, don’t have to conform to the standards of society. Nevertheless, it would work best on her part if you see to it that they don’t adapt to unhealthy eating habits. You can also encourage her to direct her attention towards honing her skills and doing more of whatever she loves to do.
2. Mental Health
Research from the Department of Health and Human Resources showed that out of five young adults, one has a diagnosable mental disorder. Moreover, an article from Psychology Today adds that the mental health conditions some adults deal with are already manifesting during their adolescence.
With the state the world is in right now, teens struggle with anxiety and depression. They tend to feel so down when they experience bullying, peer problems, abuse, or failure in their academics. Most of the time, they just keep their problems to themselves for fear of being invalidated.
Protect the peace of your teenage children by asking them about their thoughts and experiences regularly. You can also learn how to identify the early signs of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Always remember to check on them, especially when you notice that they don’t behave the way they used to. This way, you can help manage the issues they are facing and prevent the disorder from being severe. But if you are in doubt, it would be best to consult the experts.
3. Academic Problems
Apart from the standards they set for themselves, most teens worry so much about meeting or exceeding their parents’ expectations when it comes to academics. Because of the pressure they feel, they study hard to the point where they burn themselves out. They also want to be the best in everything they do at school. Who doesn’t want that, anyway? However, the pressure to meet the expectations of their parents and to go to college leads to undue stress on their part. If you have noticed, this may be the reason why they are moody, irritable, and angry.
Of course, you wouldn’t want your daughter to slack off in school and not care about her grades. While pushing her to her limits will help her realize her potential, you should not express disappointment when she fails to get the perfect marks. Your daughter is trying her best, and you know that. Moreover, make her realize that her grades don’t define her as a person and that it’s okay to fail sometimes as long as she learns something from it. Motivating her to get involved in extracurricular activities will also help her discover what she is capable of doing.
This stage in our lives is the time when most of us start to date. You may see your teenage girl having crushes or admiring someone. But teenage love doesn’t only revolve around happiness. On top of all the burden they may be carrying, your child may also deal with unrequited love, cheating, maturity, isolation, abusive or toxic relationships, or a parent’s heavy disapproval.
As a parent, you have to find the perfect balance between offering them guidance and giving them freedom. Therefore, one of the most important things you have to reflect on is the right time to talk about their relationship problems. Because sometimes, teenagers will feel like you’ve intervened and controlled when your only intention was to guide them. Talk to your children about their romantic relationships when you suspect abuse, you feel like they have been badly influenced, or when she shares that she has been arguing with her partner.
Along with the development of your children’s social skills are the challenges they face in their relationship with friends. During these years, the strength of a friendship may waver, and teenagers may have fights with their friends. Aside from that, teenage girls are also worried about the changes they see in their friends; because they know that with this change, they may lose their ally. And you know how difficult it is to reconnect with someone close who you have drastically lost.
When you feel that your daughter is in a shaky relationship with their friends, teach them that having a fight with them doesn’t automatically mean that they have bad friends. Sometimes, there is just a difference of opinions, and even the best of friends don’t agree with everything. You must also teach them the value of forgiveness and advise them to sort out their problems with their friends. Furthermore, part of your responsibility as a parent is to make sure that your daughter is in the right circle.
As girls reach a certain age, another challenge will be added to the long list of struggles they have to deal with: their monthly period. Even if having their first menstruation is a physical milestone, teenage girls have to encounter various problems that come with it. As featured on Rady Children’s Hospital’s website, menstrual problems include premenstrual syndrome (PMS), cramps, irregular periods, delayed menarche (late first period), amenorrhea (the absence of periods), menorrhagia (heavy periods), dysmenorrhea (painful periods), and endometriosis. These problems can cause serious physical pain and mood swings. During your daughter’s first menstruation, she may also have lots of questions about it.
What you can do as a parent is to educate her about the menstrual cycle. Tell her that it is a normal occurrence she has to experience as she transitions to being an adult. Moreover, remind her to bring extra sanitary napkins, tampons, and medicines for menstrual cramps just in case.
One of the most common problems girls face during their menstruation is PMS and/or cramps, which causes great discomfort to the point that it is already a distraction in routine. If you notice that your daughter is having a hard time handling such a situation, you may do the following: prepare a balanced meal for her, filled with fruits and vegetables; tell her to reduce her salt and caffeine intake; suggest that she eat food with calcium; give her over-the-counter pain relievers when the pain becomes hard to bear. You can also take her for a walk in the park to lessen the stress that she’s feeling. Above all, try to understand why she’s so cranky that she seems to have anger issues once a month. 🙂
7. Substance Use
Data from the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics showed that half of the teenagers in the United States experienced drug misuse at least once in their life. Moreover, 43% of college students use illegal drugs. When it comes to alcohol use, 19.3% of the youth in America are currently alcohol drinkers.
Parents have always feared that their teen boys and girls will resort to substance abuse. With the statistics presented beforehand, it is entirely understandable why they worry so much about their children. And with over 80% of teenagers who know a smoker, drinker, or drug user, it is not impossible for such teens to be tempted by the people around them. However, teenagers are also enticed to use the said substance because of their curiosity.
Whether it is because of peer pressure or their mere curiosity, you have to exert your best effort to inform your kids about the choices they make. Tell your daughter how their decisions can make a lasting impact in their lives and how substance abuse can break their lives in just a split second. Explain to her how the temporary feeling of freedom and bliss brought by alcohol or drugs can ruin them physically and emotionally. Most importantly, remind her to do all things in moderation.
In 2017, 20% of teenagers experienced bullying, as per the National Center for Education Statistics. Note that bullying comes in various forms, not just physical bullying. This extends to verbal abuse, relational aggression, sexual assault, and cyberbullying.
Sadly, your daughter can be a victim of such bullies, no matter how kind they are to other people. This is one of the serious issues your teenager may be facing right now. And you’ll never know how much it affects them until you see how they look so down or they seem to dissociate themselves from the world.
Thus, always remember the power of communication. Discuss with your daughter the issue regarding bullying and teach her to stand up against the bullies as much as possible. Moreover, tell her that it’s okay to ask help from someone, and teach them how to ask help from an adult when you’re not around.
The moment you welcomed your daughter into this world, you can never get enough of her. As she grew up, she has become your partner in shopping, having tea parties, bonding, baking, or playing sports. While this special bond may not last a lifetime as they transition from childhood to adulthood, communicating with them remains essential. Always put in your heart that no matter how old you children get, you are their parent, and nothing can change that.