Relationships and family
Women of all ages are complex social beings, and teenage women are among the most intense, communicative, interdependent people on the planet. Today’s explosion of methods for young people to communicate (texting, e-mail, twitter, blogging … the list goes on) has compounded the challenge for teens to sort out which relationships are healthy for them, and which are not. Teach your daughter to love and respect herself, and to expect and require the same from her friends.
Talk frequently and honestly with your daughter about her friends, her life, her worries and her joys. Share your own stories. And most of all, listen with an open heart. Let her know you love her unconditionally and will be there to help her whenever she needs you. Work out a secret code word that means she needs you to come get her right away when she calls to let you know she’s in over her head with friends.
Get to know her friends and their families, and open your own home to them, so you can participate in (or at least keep track of) what’s happening with your teenage daughter. When she goes out, find out whom she’ll be with, where they are going, and when she’ll be back. Wait up to be sure she makes it home safely. Set a curfew that is reasonable and provides adequate sleep time.
Set clear boundaries for cell phone and computer use. Remind her that these rules are in place not to squash her freedom, but to assure that she has time to eat, do homework and rest.
Make time for family time. In today’s busy society, teens are torn in many directions, but nothing is more important in the long run than maintaining a strong family. Consider a weekly family night with pizza or games, and expect everyone to show up – including parents! Share meals together – eating as a family promotes closeness and allows you time to exchange ideas and gather important information about each other. Above all, love your daughter the best way you know how.