Happy Wednesday! I’m loving the weather we’re having here lately. I was writing this post yesterday sitting on our back patio in the shade. There was a light breeze and the temperature was just about perfect!
Last weekend I was in Florida with our two daughters who are in college. I hadn’t seen them since we dropped them off at the end of August, and it was so good to spend time with them. On Saturday we went to a corn maze with a couple of their friends, so that put me in the fall spirit, too!
Our oldest daughter will soon be 21. (Okay, how is that even possible??) Over the weekend, I was reflecting on how grateful I am for the wonderful young lady she’s become.
I learned a lot about being a mom during her teen years. I for sure didn’t get it all right! However, I did learn a few things in the process. Maybe you’ll find these rules helpful if you’re parenting a teenage daughter.
1. Make trust a foundational part of your relationship with her.
Parenting during the teenage years is so much harder when we have to wonder if our daughter’s lying to us. We want to believe that she’s actually where she says she’s going to be or that the story she told us about what happened at school is actually true.
Hopefully, we’ve established trust with her during the early years. But don’t be afraid to talk about this often. Grant more privileges and freedoms as she continues to prove that she’s trustworthy. Be willing to implement and stick to consequences if trust is broken.
Trust goes both ways. Make sure she can trust you to do what you say you’re going to do. Don’t share things she tells you in confidence with other people.
2. Never let her doubt your love for her.
Tell her often that you love her, even when she doesn’t give much of a response. Show her by giving little gifts or by doing something kind like taking over a chore for her when she’s having a hard week.
It’s even more important to communicate love when she messes up or disappoints you. Reassure her that she doesn’t earn your love by her behavior. Our daughters need to know that we love them no matter what.
3. Pray for her.
It sounds so simple, in a way, but I was driven to pray during our daughters’ teenage years like I’d never been before. It’s such a pivotal time in their lives. And we’re not always there with them like we were in the early years. They’re beginning to make their own decisions, their own friends, and forming their own values.
When it seems like we can’t reach them, God can. He is always with them. His Spirit can convict them in a way that we can’t when they’re making poor choices.
4. Always be willing to listen.
Whatever she’s trying to communicate, listen. Don’t put down her ideas. Listening doesn’t mean we’ll agree with everything she says, but we want to be a safe place for her to talk things out.
Now the trick might be getting her to talk! Sometimes you just have to be in the vicinity. Drive her places when you can. Hang out in the kitchen when she’s getting an after-school snack. And know that lots of teenagers have the most to say very late at night!
5. Remember that you’re parenting for the future.
A friend and I were talking recently about how we’re parenting for 25. Our teenagers may not like the boundaries we’re setting. It may seem like any advice we’re offering goes in one ear and out the other. But our goal is for them to become a Godly, responsible adult. And that can mean dealing with some discomfort in the moment so that we can see that desired result in the future.
Do you have any other rules for living with teenage girls? I could come up with a few others – like don’t ride the drama roller coaster with them! – but I’d love to hear any that you’d like to share in the comments below.
- 4 Bible Verses to Hold on to as We Parent Teenagers
- 7 Ways to Show Love to Your Teenage Daughter
- 10 Prayers to Pray for Your Daughter