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tips for raising teenage girls

tips for raising teenage girls, teenage girls, Signature swing park, Boston

It’s summertime and I’ve been spending a lot of time in close quarters with my tween and teenage girls. Not going to lie, being present all the time for girls this age is challenging ( they have a lot to say, all the time) but if you can just listen through the noise that surrounds all the very important things they are trying to tell you, you will find that these young ladies are pretty freaking amazing.

Not in a hokey, sugary sweet way but in a fierce, no none sense, stand up, speak up soul beauty that sees love and wonder in the world. Teenage girls intuitively seek the good and they are not taking the other bull ish. These girls are powerful and they have voices they are not afraid to use and I’d like to think we, the women who came before them; their mothers, sisters, grandmothers and aunts who busted their butts to be seen have empowered them to fight back. Maybe we couldn’t make the world exactly what they deserve but we’ve raised them to be fierce enough to survive it and continue the work to make the world better for their daughters.

tips for raising teenage girls, teenage girls, Signature swing park, Boston

READ ALSOTips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship Part 1

Teenage girls are by far the most powerful force and resource our world has to offer. They are change makers and a force to be reckoned with. As parents, we have to ensure that they never lose that. I want to lift my girls up to always keep that fire burning inside of them. I never want them to be afraid to speak their truth. I want them to know that their words, thoughts, beliefs and ideas are important and worth being heard.

“If you have something worth saying, stand up and tell your truth. Never be afraid to speak up and stand up for what’s important to you!” My dad taught me this. ” Where there is a will, there is a way. You can be and do anything you want to if you are willing to work for it. No dream is too big.” My mom taught me this. These are words that carry me through my life. These are the gifts I want to give my girls and all the little girls and teenage girls and women of the world. “You are amazing and you are stronger than you know. You can do anything you want to. You are worth it. Don’t let anyone else steal your joy. The only person you need to make happy is you. You have to live with the woman in the mirror. Be your best version of you. Nobody’s opinion counts.”

tips for raising teenage girls, teenage girls, Signature swing park, Boston

These are  my tips for raising teenage girls and not damaging your relationship Part 3

Teach them respect; of others and most importantly of themselves.

My dad was all about respect and I never fully understood his obsession with his need for us to be respectful. He wanted us to respect ourselves and respect others, especially our parents. Then, I realized that the respect you have for yourself sets the bar for how others treat you. If you don’t respect yourself enough to make good choices and be willing to walk away from people who don’t respect you, you will never be able to live your best life. You will be at the mercy of other people’s opinions of you. Treating others with respect is a reflection of who you are as a human being. I teach my girls to treat everyone with human decency but reverent respect has to be earned. Parents you also need to remember to respect your teenage girls. They need to feel like they have a say. They are no longer toddlers, they are an active part of the family and as such their thoughts and opinions do matter.

Let them know that you don’t give a damn what everyone else is doing.

I tell my girls daily, “I don’t care about other people’s kids.” I do. But my point is, if Claire wants to vape and send sexts to the entire 7th-grade male population, that does not make it ok or acceptable.  I’ve taught my girls since they were babies not to compare themselves to others so I hope it works out in the end. I know everyone feels peer pressure but I’m hoping that I’ve raised the girls with enough self-respect and confidence that the need to like themselves trumps the need for others to approve of who they are.

Family time.

This is so important. Teenage girls need family time. Don’t be fooled by the devil may care, self-absorbed persona they’ve taken on recently, they still need that touchstone of family. They need to be able to let down the façade of coolness that all teenage girls put up to fit in. They need time to be goofy and funny and imperfect with the people who will love them no matter what. These moments playing games, traveling, telling jokes, being silly, doing face masks or just watching movies or going for walks are where the memories are made. This is the downtime they need in their life to survive the stresses of being teenage girls.  It’s hard. Remember?

Limit screen time.

Not because you are mean and you hate devices but because time is precious and it’s moving a million miles a minute at this phase, give them space and respect their ideas but make sure they know how to interact socially with people face-to-face before you send them out into the world. So many children have their faces stuck in a device from toddlerhood, it’s just a symptom of the world we live in today but I refuse to let the girls be so digitally engaged that they are not physically engaged with the world around them. I want my girls to talk to people, look them in the eye and be present in those moments. You can’t do that when you are distracted by your phone, iPad, social media or the online world. I want them to live and act in the real world because those experiences with people, even the bad ones, are worth living.

Don’t be afraid.

Teenage girls can sense fear. Just kidding, they’re not bears.  But I do have to say, I am really loving this phase of raising teenage girls. Like I said it’s just begun but I feel that we are growing closer. I am the welcoming wagon for womanhood and I feel like I’m a pretty damn good party thrower. Just remember beneath all those gangly body parts, confused skin, hormones, and eye rolling is buried that newborn baby they laid on your chest all those years ago and they need you, even if it seems like on some days they don’t want you. Don’t be afraid just love the shit out of them, all day and every day. At the end of the day, you are doing the right thing.

READ ALSO: Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship Part 2

Well, these are the last of my Tips for Raising Teenage Girls and Not Damaging Your Relationship for now, what are yours?

 

 

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raising teenage girls, teen girls, tween girls, teenage girls, parenting teenage girls

If you read last week’s part 1 of tips for raising teenage girls and you’ve returned, welcome back. You are certainly among friends. Raising teen girls is difficult regardless of how the kid behaves. She can be the most complacent, compliant, sweet teenage girl of all teenage girls and you will still need to know these tips because there is a hormonal storm brewing inside that child and it is our responsibility as parents, to try and make the transition as easy as possible.

Not like we can have any kind of control of what they are thinking or how they are feeling or how any of it is going to land on them. Just remember puberty is like a bomb going off inside of a girl. She has no idea how to deal with all of these emotions, her body and the sexual way she might be feeling towards boys (or girls). It’s all okay. We don’t have to fix it. We just have to be there to listen and understand.

READ ALSO: Faster than a Speeding Bullet.

I know you are going to have days where you feel at your wits end. I’ve got a tween and a teenage girl, so this happens to me quite a bit these days. I’ve learned to try and not take it personally. The truth is it hurts. There is nothing wrong with taking a minute to react. Sometimes you just have to step back, take a breath and think about what you are about to do because blowing up at a teenage girl is about as helpful as carrying a paper umbrella in a monsoon.It’s actually ridiculous and someone might get hurt.

raising teenage girls, teen girls, tween girls, teenage girls, parenting teenage girls

Here are my Next 5 Tips for Raising Teenage Girls

The time for catching your teenager when they fall is over. It’s time to help them up when they stumble because they have to learn some lessons on their own.

Obviously, no one wants to watch their child get hurt. When they were learning to walk, I sheltered them; catching them before they fell. But as parents to teenage girls, you have to let go a little. This is when they learn to make good choices on their own. This is when we have to have a little faith in all the parenting we have done up until now. We have to teach them to live in this world without us, so we have to learn to trust them to make those good choices.

READ ALSO: Parent the Kids You Have

Alone time with your teenager.

Bella hit 13 and it suddenly became abundantly clear to me that our time together under the same roof, seeing her sweet sleepy face stumble into my kitchen every morning and kissing me good morning are coming quickly to an end. I have 5 years and it is not enough so make time to have alone time with your teenage girls. They may not seem like they need or want it but they do, more than ever. These alone times are when they feel free to ask you questions and talk freely. Do something they like. It doesn’t even matter what it is. It’s not about what you do or where you go, it’s about the time together. Always remember that.

Privacy for your teenager.

They are no longer children. My tween and teenage girls are starting to look a lot more like young ladies and a lot less like children but they still need parental guidance. At the same time, they need and deserve privacy to think and be alone with their thoughts. This is a delicate balance of letting go and holding on. Check-in. I know my girls need space sometimes, so do I. They are trying to figure out all of this too. Their bodies are changing. Their minds are focusing on different things. It’s like being reborn and your own skin doesn’t feel like it fits anymore and everyone you know is going through the same thing. You love it but you kind of hate it but mostly, you need space to figure it all out without someone over your shoulder at every moment. But remember to let them know you are still there, whenever they need you.

raising teenage girls, teen girls, tween girls, teenage girls, parenting teenage girls

Love your teenager for who they are, not who you want them to be. They are a person, they have free thought and you have to give them the independence to explore who they are becoming.

Just love them no matter what even when you don’t completely understand or you think they are overreacting to something you know will pass. You know because you’ve already lived through it. Remember, when you are a teenage girl and going through these things for the first time, you don’t have the benefit of experience or wisdom. It is huge. Also, the teen years are for figuring out what you like and believe independent of your parents and those around you, so give them that space and don’t discourage them because they aren’t just like you were or are. Just remember how much you love them and remind them that you will keep on loving them, no matter what. Love them unconditionally. No matter how big they get, they are still your child and will always need your love and support.

READ ALSO: What to do when You Catch a Child Lying

Listen to your teenager.

Teenage girls like to talk a lot. A lot of it is not relevant to your life. I can tell you my girls love to share with me all the business of everyone they know or will ever know and everything that is going on in their world. 95% of it is not that pertinent to my life but what is very important to my life is them and keeping those lines of communication open. Sometimes you have to listen to a lot of stories about Kayley’s sister’s best friend’s boyfriend to hear one nugget of who your own teenage daughter is crushing on and how she is feeling and what is going on with that. You need to be there for that and they need to know you are listening so put on your best “interested” face and listen because it’s worth it when they talk to you about the important things.

Hope you’ll come back next week when I’ll share the last of my 5 tips for raising teenage girls (so far).

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raising teenage girls, teen girls, tween girls, teenage girls, parenting teenage girls, Madison Hu, Olivia Rodrigo, #DisneySMMC

I’m officially the mom of a tween girl and a teen girl and honestly, I’ve been afraid of raising teenage girls ever since I was a teenage girl. Hormones make teenage girls feel crazy and I was awful in so many ways. I occasionally read my old diaries to remind myself that I was the worst. This allows me to have some patience with my own teenage girl.

Don’t get me wrong, I got straight A’s and I didn’t smoke or drink or do drugs but I was driving at 13 and going to clubs in downtown Chicago since I was 14. But it was very innocent because I was so naïve. I know how ridiculous it sounds.

We’ve hit that point in raising teenage girls where I can’t say, “When I was your age…” because I’ll be ratting myself out and giving them too many bad ideas. I would die if Bella wanted to drive my car or, heaven forbid, asked to go to a club in the city. I’d be too worried. Apparently, I am way less cool than my mom must have been. I want to tell my girls to keep singing at the top of their lungs when the rest of the world tells them to be quiet. That’s the kind of mom I want to be.

What were my parents thinking? Maybe I didn’t even ask. Maybe I bent the truth as to where I was going and what I was doing. I can’t even remember. I’m sure my teen brain rationalized it somehow. I just know I was doing a lot of things that could have gone really terribly and been pretty dangerous, only I was too stupid and pumped up on hormones to realize it.

READ ALSO: Dear Me: A Love Letter to my 13-Year-Old Self

My youth was not misspent, it was very much lived and I have no regrets but the thought of my girls doing some of the things that I did, scares the hell out of me. I’ve spent some time reflecting on what it really means to be raising teenage girls and figuring out how to get through this phase with our relationship intact and without them doing anything that puts their lives in too much extraneous danger.

raising teenage girls, teen girls, tween girls, teenage girls, parenting teenage girls

Here are my tips for raising teenage girls (and tween girls) that I’ve learned so far.

Let them be who they are meant to become.

You have to stand back to give them space to make mistakes and not judge them and tell them that you told them so. You’re a parent so your main job is to love unconditionally and support them, even when they don’t make the choice you would’ve recommended. The difficulty of this task is not lost on this reformed helicopter mom.

Speak positively.

As a mom, for the past 13 years, I’ve had to learn to lose the sarcasm and learn to speak more positively. Thankfully, for all of us, I was getting my Masters in Elementary Education when I got pregnant with Bella and so I had a couple years of actual courses that taught me how to interact with small children. Positive reinforcement is always better than punishment, so moms, always look for the sunny side, even in the teen years.

Remember to breathe and count to ten.

This one is hard for me sometimes. Patience is not something that comes naturally to me. I am very much a speak first then think kind of person. But, especially since entering the tween years, I’ve made it a point to stop and step back for a moment before reacting. That doesn’t always work because I’m a human but just the fact that I am cognizant of the situation helps me to react better to my girls.

READ ALSO: How to Talk to your Tween about Everything

See past the eye rolls.

Oh, the amount and severity of eye rolls that I have endured while on my journey to raising teen girls has been head spinning. I find this tween/ teen habit to be particularly offensive but I try to remember how often I rolled my eyes at my parents (and still do to people on a daily basis) and I try not to be too offended. I know it’s not personal, teen girls think everyone and everything is stupid. This is their defense for when they don’t understand, don’t approve or don’t know what else to say. I’m not even sure they know they are doing it anymore so don’t take it personally and if you can, ignore it. Easier said than done.

raising teenage girls, teen girls, tween girls, teenage girls, parenting teenage girls

It’s good to have expectations but don’t force your agenda on them. You can’t relive your life through them.

Your teenage daughter is not your chance to relive your youth. Don’t force them to be who you were; who you wish you were or who you could never have been. My philosophy is that they are people and by the time they are teenagers, they have formed some thoughts and beliefs of their own. You have acquired wisdom from living through it already once so be there to guide them and offer advice but you cannot tell them what to like or enjoy. They are their own people. Let them be fierce. 

These are my tips for raising teenage girls (and tween girls) that I’ve learned so far.

Well, I started writing this post and it ended up being very long, so I am making it a 3 part series. I will publish the rest of the 15 tips over the next weeks.

What are your tips for raising teenage girls?

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