Both me and my husband have been “netflixing “ a lot this summer. The term “nexflicting” I learned a couple of years ago from one of my teenage clients. We have recently found a great show “Friday Night Lights” and have been watching it every evening and even on the weekends. We are only on Season Two, however, I am reminded of the many up’s and down’s of parenting teenage girls in this show. Sometimes it my work, I feel like I am building the plane while I’m flying it and that’s how the relationships with the two main parent figures (the football coach and his wife the high school counselor), with their high school daughter Julie are depicted. Navigating the teen years in this show and in life can be very dramatic.
One of our summer interns at ATFG put together some tips from a recent book we have been reading about “Parenting a Teen Girl”by Lucie Hemmen, Ph.D, both Kaylen and I agree that the book gives simple (almost too simple) techniques that can be helpful. Here are some highlights….
- Disrespectful behaviors. List behaviors that your daughter engages in that you feel are disrespectful. Now, know that her display of disrespect is most likely a coping crisis derived from feeling overwhelmed. Meltdowns follow pressure. Zoom out: rather than getting angry at your daughter for not picking her wet towel up off the floor, empathetically zoom out and consider the pressures of life she may be facing. Your demand for her to do such a simple task may be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Cognitive flexibility is the ability a parent possesses to both zoom out and zoom in. Zooming in on certain situations through a mindful approach is beneficial.
- Developmental behaviors: independency and identity. Your daughter needs to pull away from you at some point in her life. Do not mistake this as her trying to be cruel. Adding energy into your life apart from your daughter will help you both foster a healthy independence apart from one another. Your daughter will most likely create her own sense of identity through nit picking and making fun of yours. Instead of feeling offended, remember she is devaluing you so that she can feel big and independent. If you want to connect with your daughter find music, a movie or TV show (highly recommend Friday Night Lights) that you can watch/listen to together.
Look for more on our Parenting a Teen Girl by our ATFG summer interns in the next couple of weeks.