In my last post, I mentioned that a couple of years ago, the entire planet was panicking because Covid-19 was sweeping through our population. Today’s teenagers were pulled out of middle school while you scrambled to continue their education.
Eventually, most of our kids returned to high school, along with the baggage created by their interrupted middle school experience- teen anxiety. By default, you are in a unique parenting situation. Unlike the previous generations of parents, you don’t have a set of moms who’ve already gone through what you’re going through, so you don’t have anyone to garner advice from… except me, of course.
By the way, have you managed to locate that How To Manual that came with your child? No? Don’t worry about it. I got your back. Here are two more strategies you can use to re-connect with your post pandemic-panic high schoolers.
An Awesome Mom’s Question
How can parents work to re-connect and build-up their relationships with their anxious teens struggling through this post-COVID era? How do we promote positive mental health during this touchy age? Are there things I can do to make my daughter feel emotionally safer and more secure, and less anxious?
Awesome Advice for Moms of Post-Pandemic-Panic Teenagers
Tip #3: Where to Begin
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Conversation is Key, and I mean any positive conversation. These happy interactions interrupt the steady stream of anxiety flowing through your child.
Sometimes the best way to engage your anxious teenager in a chat is to use an outside source to generate a topic. Choose an article, a song, or even a comic strip to share with her. Say something like, “I know you’re busy, but I have something to share with you. Do you have a minute now, or would you like to wait until after [supper/homework/etc.]?”
Follow her lead.
After you get to share your tidbit, you can say something like, “When I was younger than you, I felt [this way about that]. How do you think [your best friend/movie character] would react to that?”
Your job is to listen without judgment, no matter what she says. Her ideas and opinions are hers, and she’s entitled to them. The proper response from you is, “That’s interesting!” or the classic, “Hmmm.”
Once you have a conversation going, you can add, “How do you think [her parents/grandma/your teacher] would react?” Or, name another friend, or a boy, or a neighbor, or an auntie—you get the idea.
Conversation is key, but keep these types of conversations short, unless she wants to prolong it. Otherwise, after about 5 minutes, give her a hug, tell her how much you enjoy the person she’s becoming, and sail out of the room, leaving her in the warm, fuzzy wake of a positive interaction with you, her mom, the most important female relationship in her life.
Tip #4: Set the Stage
If you want to have a conversation, set the stage to invite a conversation. My favorite way to initiate a tête-à-tête with my daughter is to set up a side-by-side scenario. When you’re shoulder-to-shoulder, you’re physically on the same side, facing forward together.
Conversely, somehow facing a person can add to the flame, should a topic get heated or uncomfortable. It’s probably because physically your bodies are on opposite sides. Also, you are positioned to see (and misinterpret) facial expressions.
Try one of these side-by-side scenarios:
● Go for a stroll together, and see where the conversation leads you.
● Sit together on the porch while you paint your toenails.
● Sort and fold the laundry together.
● Experiment together on a recipe of her choice.
If you think about it, you’ll come up with tons of possibilities. Plus, it puts you in the ideal position to sneak in a quick hug.
When your activity ends, say something like, “I really enjoyed myself with you. Thank you for spending the time with me, especially when you have so much on your mind. I cherish these moments with you. Let me know when you have time to do it again.” Give her one parting hug, and leave her in her own space, basking in the warmth of your love. Isn’t that a great way to reduce teenage anxiety? (Don’t be surprised if she follows you in order to extend the interaction.)
In case you missed it, Part 1 of Awesome Advice for Moms on How to Re-connect with Your Post Pandemic-Panic Teenagers has two more excellent strategies for you to try out on your anxious guinea pigs (I mean teens).
Have fun with your kids today!
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You can also find a lot more in-depth information on this topic in my book, How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door.
About the Author
Are you overwhelmed or frustrated with your role as a parent? Deborah Ann Davis (B.S. in Science Education, M.Ed. in Supervision, and W.I.T.S Personal Trainer Certified) is a parenting coach and strategist who can help you sort things out.
Whether you’re looking to bring more positivity into your life, or you’re ready to seek the advice of a Parenting Coach, she’s eager to help you put happiness back into parenting.
Deborah has decades of experience dealing with teenagers – as a mother, and as an educator. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of families using her expertise.
Learn how to improve your mother-daughter relationship today. Every minute you delay prolongs the isolation your child feels while disconnected from you. She’s waiting for you to figure it out, so why not skip the “trial and error” parenting route?
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