How to deal with a difficult teenage daughter? And what is the best way to manage the parent daughter relationship in her teen years. Do you think about this question often? Then this post is just right for you!
Being a parent to a teenager is just as onerous and demanding a job as being the teenager herself. On top of that labels & remarks like the difficult teenager, the Mean teen, the Rude teen, the Obnoxious teenager etc. do not make it easier for either parents or teenagers.
In this post, we will talk about why a teen is ever labelled as a difficult teenager. We will also explore the best way to deal with the so-called difficult teenager. Parents to a teenage daughter will definitely find a lot of value in the discussion below. For some it will open up a whole new perspective. And for others, it will be a gentle reminder to walk those extra steps and build loving strong relationship with their teen daughter.
How to deal with a difficult teenage daughter?
Let us open our discussion with a valid question that keeps popping up in my mind time and again when I am asked this by my fellow parents & clients. Who is a difficult teenager and what compels us to label our loving children as difficult teenagers? All of us parents have lived through these years which are marked by emotional mess, future unpredictabilities, identity crisis and non-stop questions in our minds. Those teen years were difficult for us.
What makes it all significantly more complex for our kids are the globalisation, increasing competition by the second, job automations, internet & information overload, changing definitions of beauty, even changing genetic compositions and DNAs, changing lifestyle & critical environment issues. We see it or not, these issues are impacting our kids everyday lives.
Why are our teenagers difficult to handle?
Let us see what all issues are adding on to the everyday stress in our teenagers which are getting them labelled as Difficult teenagers. As a next step to this we would explore various strategies on How to deal with a difficult teenage daughter.
With all these stressors strengthening their ground in our teens’ lives, with each passing day, the teens end up having too much up their sleeve to handle. And when they are trying to react to this stress, they are labelled as difficult teens. Read about how to deal with your teen daughter’s mean behaviour here. Of course the right way to deal with the stress is to respond and manage stress positively but is it right on our part to expect too much so soon from our just turned little adults?
So then we agree, instead of “How to deal with a difficult teenage daughter” we should be discussing “How to deal with difficult teen years in your daughter’s lives”.
Breaking the Myths about your Teen’s Difficult Behaviour
Parents usually tend to keep a biased view towards their teenagers improper behaviour. They often see the small deviations from ideal behaviour as Magnificent examples of misconduct by their teenagers. On the way, they usually to develop certain perceptions and myths about that teenage daughters behaviour. To set it straight we need to first bust all those myths and misconceptions and clear the ground to nurture better parent daughter relationships.
Your Teen Daughter is acting difficult intentionally
You teen daughter is trying to figure out a lot of things about herself and her environment. And this process sucks too much of her energy. While indulging in demystifying others emotions and actions she ends up ignoring her own behaviour and comes across as being difficult. Also her brain is undergoing changes that brings about changes in her emotional wiring & processing as well. So No she is not acting out intentionally.
By Disagreeing to you, she is acting difficult
Teen years are associated with teens trying to figure out their ground. Their opinions on various subjects starts taking shape with new information and widened perspectives. So if your teen shares her stand point which is different than you, it definitely means she is getting ready for the world and not doing it to make your life difficult.
By being non inclusive, she is hiding things or doing wrong things and acting difficult
The need to be secretive and non inclusive is something which is naturally increasing in your teenager. A major reason behind it could also be her past experiences with you. So, the past judgements, punishments & sarcasms might make her want to hide things and not share secrets freely with you.
She is being overtly critical of me and acting difficult
Criticising someone can be both a positive and negative behaviour trait. Figuring out the intention behind the criticism is key to finding whether its constructive criticism or criticism deriving from insecurity and lack of meaningful interactions. So, if your teen daughter is critical of you, it means that she has the ability to form her opinions. Whether those opinions are right or wrong, they present you with an opportunity to coach and influence her to develop empathy and gentle communication.
It is difficult for her to admit her mistake and say sorry
It is all the game of power. With onset of teen years, your daughter wants to gain more power. The choice of handling her positive power intentionally of letting her take and use power negatively is in your hands.
She does not get happy on things she used to, she has become a difficult person
She is growing and suddenly a whole new world of opportunities , information and materialism is opening up in front of her. She is stepping out of the cocoon you had made for her. So definitely you need to widen your horizon too and grow along with her. She is not acting difficult but may be you are finding this change to be difficult to cope with.
She does not adhere to the rules & routines sincerely
Her skipping routines is also a function of how much she has on her platter. So not necessarily your teenage daughter is acting difficult but is genuinely exhausted with the demands from all across. Help her ease out the stress and support her in her chores.
She is disrespectful towards me and is acting difficult
You need to communicate the boundaries clearly and regularly to your teens. Being disrespectful once in a while is something you need to ignore. And choose your battles wisely. But often ignored and this transforms into a regular habit that is unacceptable to any parent.
7 Strategies on How to deal with a difficult teenage daughter
Strengthen your Communication
Communication is the key to handling any difficult relationship. And having open channels of communication where one is free to present his or her stand point without being judged or misinterpreted is the basis of any good relationship. And so is true for a parent daughter relationship too.
A parent daughter relationship should rely on communication and not assumption. Clearly communicating what you expect and what she expects and needs from you is a great start to a positive relationship. However, many a times it would be difficult for her to express clearly what she needs, it is at these times that your experience, maturity & wisdom comes into play. Understand the underlying need & respond accordingly. So it is always not the direct words that are being said but also reading in between the lines is what can help. And with unconditional love and right intentions, it would come naturally to you parents to decode the actual needs from her words.
I had read this book on relationships and all I know about managing relationships is from this book. It is a bible to learn about people & their behaviours. This has helped me manage different relationships both professional and personal, very well in my life. I relate to the life learnings that are presented so simply in this book and have used these learnings extensively in my relationship with teenage daughter.
Provide Validation Often
The greatest good that you can do to your relationship with teenage daughter is to validate her self. Validating means accepting her for what she stands for. So accepting her for what she thinks, what she feels, and what she holds important.
However validating does not mean accepting the wrong in her. As a simple example, it is fine to accept my daughter’s dislike for a particular mean friend of hers but not ok to validate her actions to bother her mean friend back,
Your teenage daughter is looking for validation from you often. Since they are exploring new things, making mistakes, and developing their character. And your validation helps them gain clarity of perspective.
Empathise with her
We have talked about the stressors in your teen daughter’s life that are playing their role in making her life difficult. So being mindful about these stressors and looking at life wearing her shoes and adorning her hat would be the first step to developing positive parent daughter relationship.
Just by displaying an empathetic behaviour, you are conveying that she matters and that she is understood. This takes care of her anxiety and fears that create emotional troubles often. And hence she is more at peace with herself and more at comfort with you as a parent.
Ignore Societal Conformities
There are times when you need to choose between the societal idealities and realities of your child’s life. I suggest that at time like these, parents should choose their child and ignore societal pressures of conformity. This sets a great example in front of your teenage daughter. She learns to stand up for herself and live life fearlessly. Also this provides your teenage daughter the confidence & security of you being with her and watching her back. And on a more strategic level, she starts to understand & value relationships that stand by her.
Have Realistic Expectations
It is easy for us parents to look at the best of the world and set similar expectations from our kids. However these expectations act as a strong pressure on our teenagers. So the ideal situation is to have realist yet challenging expectations from your teenage daughter. So communicate your expectations and then support her whole heartedly to achieving her goals.
Leave the Ego & Power Struggles
While you lay emphasis on the bigger picture, these everyday ego issues and power struggles seem such a small and unimportant part of growing up years. However, once you are into rearing your teens, it seems like the end of the world. And so the key to handle the difficult behaviour in your teenage daughter is to live by design and choose your responses mindfully. Not reacting to her prompts of getting into arguments and power struggles.
Be easy on your rules
Again, rules are something that you can collaboratively design with your teenage daughter for your household. Involving her not only gets her buy in but also increases ownership of living by those rules. However one thing to keep in mind is to be easy while making rules. Apart from discipline there is an important goal of teen years; that is to live and enjoy teen years fully and create precious memories. So discipline and rules are fine as far as they are humanly and takes care of the core spirit of your teenage daughter.
Get Some Fun in
Try being a kid again, sing, dance, get some laughs, crack silly jokes or sometimes just play with your teen. Spending time just chilling helps ease the air and brings in the breath full of freshness in your relationship. And serves as a great strategy on how to deal with a difficult teenage daughter. Recently I gifted a baking hamper to my teen. I got the baking mix and supplies kit to my teen daughter who has shown some interest in baking cakes & cookies last week. The hamper had baking gloves, Icing bag, icing nozzles, edible confetti for her cake decorations. And yes, we had amazing time while baking her first.
Having said all this, the journey of “how to deal with a diificult teenage daughter” begins with the right intent and is carried forward by the love, mindfulness and wisdom. So while dealing with the difficult teen years in the life of your teenage daughter, keep love and empathy in the core and play around with intent, wisdom and awareness.