THE BLOG

5 Tips for Moms Raising Teen Daughters

05/07/2014 05:34 pm ET | Updated Jul 07, 2014
Compassionate Eye Foundation/Rennie Solis via Getty Images

Happy Mother's Day!

To celebrate, my life coaching team wants to share with you a super special gift. Super special. Typically, we help girls via life coaching, but today, we wanted to share the love by sending out our five highly-coveted secret tips through the medium of writing. (Shhh, don't tell them we're spilling the beans!)

1. Stay Calm

It's SO easy to let your worrying get a hold of you. It's even easier to let it show. And that can stink, because when your daughter senses that you are freaking out, she will probably freak out too.

Before you respond to any crazy thing that might have just flown out of her mouth, count to five. Even though you might be super nervous that she's dating the wrong guy, showing your intense concern boosts both you and your daughter's anxiety. It also ends the conversation, and offers a slim chance for the sequel.

Think about a plane with turbulence. If the pilot comes on the mike and says "everything's fine," then you feel way more relaxed, right? You are the pilot. If you freak out, your daughter tenses UP and the conversation goes DOWN.

All in all, you don't want her associating stressful conversations with mom! If so, talks won't happen anymore. We KNOW you want to be there for her when this jerk of a guy leaves, so breathe as much as you possibly can during those tense interactions, and she'll open up more.

2. Let Her Solve Her Problems

It normally goes like this: She starts venting about an issue going on in her life, and she's struggling on how to respond. What should she choose? What does she say? What should she do? She's really upset, confused and looking for answers. You offer practical advice, and she gets P-to-the-O'd.

Great.

When you offer your super amazing wisdom, she receives the message that she is not smart or capable enough to solve her own problems. Girls must develop the confidence to go out into the world and take care of themselves, and they can't do that if they don't believe they have the answers.

Helping her organize her choices can be a great way of being productive while still honoring her autonomy. Present her the options, and try to objectively go through a pros and cons list. You can let her know that you support her no matter what (even if it's clear which choice you would prefer for her to make).

Being supportive unclogs her mind and allows her to clearly see what's in front of her.

Remember, she is the product of you. Which can be totally scary. But look at you -- you've made it! And so will she. Have faith in her so she can have faith in herself.

3. Compliment Regularly

Mom: "Oh my GOSH your hair looks so great! I love the way she styled it!"
Daughter: "Wait, so you're saying I looked bad before?"
Mom: "?!??!?!"

We know. It sounds silly. Here you are, giving a compliment, and it turns into a fight. (How??)

It all comes back to the confidence factor. Girls, especially teens, are always dealing with body image. They're faced with this crazy ridiculous standard of having the perfect hair, teeth, legs, stomach and even feet (?) without the confidence to fight it off. So, when you notice that something looks BETTER than it did before, it makes her question her beauty judgment. And, it makes her wonder what else doesn't look so hot currently. Here is an example inner monologue:

"What else isn't she complimenting? She hasn't complimented my figure in forever. Is this dress cutting into my hips? Have I gained weight? What else looks horrible? Was my hair really that awful before? What if I don't know how to make it look like this again?"

The bottom line: If compliments are only unleashed when something is different, insecurities run rampant. Try to be consistent with compliments. Every girl needs to hear they're beautiful on a routine basis. Even Sofia Vergara.

4. Take It Seriously

When referring to high school or college issues, I always hear people say, "Well, it's not like it's the end of the world!"

Wait, but it is.

Metaphorically, it IS the end of their world. It doesn't matter if they're in middle school or college. Their job is to excel in their schoolwork, not get arrested, make friends, be involved, do the right thing, and figure out who they are and what they want to be. That is their whole world.

When any setback happens -- breakups included -- girls only want you to understand. Belittling any of their struggles, relationships, grades, fights or setbacks just makes them feel even more inadequate. They already get labeled as dramatic and overreactive everyday -- but their mamas are their rocks! You remember what it was like! You can be her source of comfort and solace. You've been through it all. Let her know that you understand how she feels, and let her know you are there for her. She'll feel better soon, especially with your support.

5. Listen More

Most of these tips can really be boiled into one golden nugget: Talk less and listen more.

She just wants to be heard. If you find times when you really are listening, but she doesn't see it that way, try using active listening. Validate her feelings. Affirm her emotions. Parrot back the message. Whatever it takes just let her know that you are on her team. Sometimes you might find that she is in the wrong, and that's OK. You'll be much better off understanding her story and her emotions than immediately abandoning her in her time of need. If you are both on the same team, you can work it out together.

Alright moms, we want to give one big over-the-top cyber hug to all of you! You are all rock stars! Happy Mother's Day -- enjoy your special day with your special girl.