“How to Connect with your Teenage Daughter as a friend?”  Have you been thinking about this lately? Do you get worried about the growing gap in your relationship with teenage daughter? And are you getting affected by her secrecy & non-inclusivity? Let us explore some ideas that can help you connect with your daughter as her good friend and confidante.

Teen years in a kid’s life are often coloured with capricious moods, increased privacy & defiant behaviours. Moreover, these changes in their behaviour are not always intentional. At times, these changes happen when teens are trying to understand and untangle complexities of their own life situations. Additionally, these changes do not in any way imply that your teen daughter does not want your love care and attention any more. 

In her not so easy teen years, when she is struggling with bigger issues like self worth, peer pressure & career chaos, what your teen daughter really needs is unconditional love and support. An empathetic ear & a non judgemental heart eases her life a little bit. Therefore, talking to your teenage daughter as a friend and connecting with her helps build a better relationship with your teen daughter. Also, operating from a friendship platform helps in having those crucial conversations with your teenage daughter . The conversations on subjects like dating advice, importance of team work, sex and self respect.

How to Connect with your Teenage Daughter as a friend?

Having positive parent teen relationship has a far reaching impact on your teenage daughter’s life. Additionally, being a friend to her is the first step to building positive parent teen relationships. So, let us see some of the proven benefits of positive Parent Teen Relationship on a teenager’s life. 

How to Connect to your teenage daughter as a friend

Source: Child Trends

FAQs about being a friend first to your Teenage Daughter

Parents across different cultures have shared concerns regarding teen years being the most demanding and crucial years in the parenting paradigm. However, when handled sensitively, these years serve as a great foundation to building strong character and positive personality in teen kids.

However parents often need to skill them for handling the teen issues the right ways. This skilling does involve breaking some traditional & old mindsets and adopt the new age thinking. Here is a list of FAQs that I have come across in all these years from parents about “How to connect with your teenage daughter as a friend”. They are surely going to break some mindsets and simplify some complexities in parents’ minds.

Should I be a friend to my teenage daughter?

A parents role always oscillates between being a friend and being a parent. However the onset of teen years comes with an unstated need to intentionally skew the scale towards being a friend more than being a disciplinarian parent. Teenagers need a friend who can act as their sounding board, who is there to listen without the urge to speak and give advice. Yes, it’s absolutely necessary for you to bring this change and be a friend to your teenage daughter.

My teenage daughter might take me for granted if I am to be her friend?

No, this is not going to happen. Infact, the chances of you, being respected more for your opinion and suggestions is much higher. Treating your teenage daughter as a friend is seen by your teen as an act of respect for her individuality. And in turn makes her cherish the relationship with you as one which accepts her for what she is.

My teenage daughter might cross her boundaries & take my instructions lightly, if I were be her friend ?

Being a parent and being a friend are not two mutually exclusive things. You can be your daughter’s best friend and still parent her at the same time. Being a friend means being there for her when she needs you & being fun to be with. It also means being able to encourage her, pull her out of her lows and criticise her constructively.

And when it comes to her safety & other critical issues, you got to switch back to your parents’ role in an empathetic way. Being a friend does not mean that you have to be ignorant about her slipping out of preset boundaries at all.

I am mother to my teenage daughter and hence enjoy the authority to make decisions on her behalf. I might lose this authority if I were to be her friend?

Parents do have more experience about life than their children. But if that experience comes in the way of your teen daughter’s learning experiences in life, you need to step back and let her take the lead.

The basic premise that the parent is on a higher platform of Hierarchy in any way in the parent child relationship is incorrect. The role of a parent in this new age is more of a mentor rather than disciplinarian. And so the authority to take decisions for your teen daughter should lie with her and not you as parents. Ofcourse you can influence the decision, educate her to take informed decisions and calculated risks but finally it has to be her decision. 

If you are enjoying authority to make decisions for her currently, it is time to bring about the change. The change which is marked by her increased inclusivity in decision making process. 

This way your teenage daughter would not only learn how to make good decisions and but also learn to be responsible for her outcomes. Being a mentor & guiding her to decision making is something both parents and friends can do.

Why do I need to be a friend to my teenage daughter? I am happy being a parent and things are working fine.

Various studies in the past have indicated that parents struggle to be connected to their teenagers and feel left out and highly concerned about their lives. More so because in the teen years the need for secrecy and trying out new things increases manifolds. So teenagers often prefer not sharing their new experiences with their parents. Hence it is imperative for parents to break the shell and be a friend to their teenage daughter.

To avoid this from happening in my life, I tried to lay an open communication policy with my teenage daughter so she can come and  share anything with me without the fear of being judged, punished or advised. I suggest her and extend my advice only when she asks me to. This required me to better my listening skills and develop a lot of restraint .

These are few questions that I have often come across in my parenting & also while dealing with other parents to teens. These doubts and apprehensions needed straightening the basics of parent-child relationship. Once the parents understood that having a child does not entitle you to lead and direct her with authority rather a parent-child relationship is a symbiotic one which provides amazing growth opportunities to parents and children alike, the whole puzzle about why & how to connect with your teenage daughter as a friend starts to get solved.

Creative Ways to Connect with your Teen Daughter

Spend time & connect with your teenage daughter

Taking out exclusive time and spending it mindfully with your teenage daughter alone as a ritual can go a long way in creating strong meaningful bond with your dotty.  I am a mother of a teenage daughter and as a rule I go out for a coffee date and a pizza lunch with my daughter once a month. We talk about everything under the sun and this time serves as such an amazing way to listen to her stories and concerns, her fears & her opinions.  This is one time of month, we both so look forward to. 

Doing things she enjoys with her creates lasting connect

Going an extra mile and doing something with her that she enjoys can help her see that you care and that she is important. Even with all the new found independence, her need for getting the love, attention and care from you does not go away. So doing things small and big with her will never go unseen. 

While we were travelling to UK this year, we did have a couple of unplanned days which we kept aside for last minute plans for shopping. one day, we just made a plan and carried her favourite diaries, mandala colouring books, Connect 4 and Felt tip pens and planned a lazy day out at Hyde Park. It was a beautiful time we spent there with no agenda just chilling and doing small things she likes. 

Connecting with my Teenage daughter

Standing with her on her decisions helps create strong bonds

A sure shot way to build trust respect & a strong bond with your teenage daughter is to support her in her decisions. Her decisions might prove to be right for her or might go wrong. It is still imperative for parents to support them. Of course critical decisions are out of the preview here.

Once your daughter is taking a decision without consulting you, or even after over riding your suggestion, it is still very critical for her that you support her and watch her back. And that is how we all have learnt. Learnt from our right decisions and learnt from our mistakes.

A Mistake is only a mistake till you learn from them. After that they are called Lessons for Life.

Also restrain the urge to say “I told you so…” post she commits a mistake. You might look for the right opportunity to coach her to learn from her wrong decision at a later stage.

Doing things for her helps strengthen your connect

We all humans have an innate need to feel significant. And once you plan to do something out of the way for your teenage daughter, it is sure to strike the right chord. Making her feel special would make her feel good about your relationship with her. 

I try this with my daughter often. Last weekend I gifted her favourite tinted lip balm & Eyeshadow Palette out of the blue. It was such a small gift but wrapped with love for her, she felt happy receiving the parcel in her name too. Small things go a long way.

Dealing with her emotions with love & empathy creates friendly connect 

Listening to her when she needs to talk and dealing with her emotions, the way a friend would helps you get closer to her. Empathise, be non judgemental, sometimes complain together about homework, bitch about the neighbours, and hug her in her emotional meltdowns. Be genuine with her and voila you are on your way to be a bff to your daughter.

Accepting your Mistakes in front of your daughter helps build solid relationship

Saying Sorry, accepting your mistakes in front of your teenage daughter not only gets the courtesy right but also extends a friendly comfort & fearlessness in your teenagers. Because they realise that it is ok to make mistakes. Even their parents make mistakes too. Also its a great lesson to accept and not fight over what you did wrong and learn from it. 

Ask you Teen to teach you something and connect with her

With information available at the drop of the hat, it is quite possible that your teenager knows a skill that you don’t. Ask your teenage daughter to teach you something new and you will be amazed at what all she knows. I often indulge in this and always get surprised with amazing things and life hacks she is aware of. Last week, I learnt how to make a bath bomb from natural ingredients available in my pantry. 

By asking them to make you learn something new, you are at one hand starting a conversation on the other hand you are spending time with them. The other most important need that you are fulfilling in them is the need to feel important and significant.  So it is a great tool to create strong bond and connect with your teenage daughter. 

I have shared quite a few strategies I am using to connect to my teenage daughter. And there is no end to being creative in this arena. I am sure all of us are trying our best to build meaningful relationship with our teenagers. Do share with me in comments, your ideas on how to connect with your teenage daughter as a friend?

“How to Connect with your Teenage Daughter as a friend?” always starts with the intent and backed by consistent intentional efforts in congruence with the thoughts. It does require huge efforts to build a strong friendly bond. However the results and benefits of having created this kind of relationship is something which the parent and the child finds fulfilment and joy in.

I would just like to sum this post up by quoting an unknown author – “The surest way to a child’s heart is by spending time with them” – Source Internet. So look out for creative ways to spend quality time with your children and you are sure to find the key to their hearts. And that’s them magical way to connect with your teenagers and build loving relationship with them for life.

Happy Parenting!

Hi, I am Kushal Singhal – Parent of two lovely kids and the Founder of Cafe Whiz