A couple of years ago, the entire planet was panicking over the realization that Covid-19 was sweeping through our population. Today’s teenagers were pulled out of middle school. Parents and teachers alike scrambled to continue their education while wondering about their own safety.
Eventually, most of our kids returned to high school, but without the feeling of invincibility normally associated with youth, and without the typical socialization of junior high. So much had changed in their lives, like school, social gatherings, outings, etc. Their norm was uncertainty and trepidation about the future, compounded by their interrupted middle school social skills steering high school bodies and brains.
Although today’s society is much more casual about the virus, many teens don’t feel as safe as they did prior to it. Instead, they are anxious, overwhelmed and disconnected from the world around them. Now, more than ever, our daughters and sons need strong parent-child relationships to help keep them grounded and feeling safe.
Do you still have that How To Manual that came with your child? No? Maybe I can help. This is one of the more common inquiries I get when moms are facing their parenting challenges.
An Awesome Mom’s Question
How can parents work to re-connect and build-up their relationships with their teens who are 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?
Awesome Advice for Moms of Post-Pandemic-Panic Teenagers
Tip #1: Let It Go!
Address the uncertainty of what this school year holds. Eventually, you should tell your daughter that the best way to handle worry is to let go of the things you cannot control. When the school decides what to do, they’ll tell you, and you’ll do it. If that doesn’t work out, they will make a new plan, they’ll tell you what it is, and guess what? You’ll do it. Nothing you say or do is going to change that situation (unless, of course, you’re the principal) so let it go. Focusing on it will only make you anxious and worried. That will add to the anxiety of your teen.
Wait. Did you think I was talking about your daughter? Nope. Not yet. It has to start with you.
Once you orient yourself to focus on things you actually can control, and after you begin to model letting the rest go, then you can talk to your daughter about doing the same.
Say something like, “We both know this school year may not be normal, but I want you to know, we got this. Whatever the school throws at us, we will figure out how to handle it. Until then, don’t worry about it. I got your back. So, go ahead and make today count. Let the rest go. Our job is to learn to be flexible. We’ll deal with tomorrow together when it comes.”
It’s never too late to hold this conversation. Even if school has already begun, have at it!
Tip #2: Conversation Is The Key
Casually talk to your daughter as often as you can. Conversation is the key to
● a good relationship
● understanding the world around her
● figuring out how she fits in to her world
● the exploration of new thoughts and ideas
The more mothers interact in a positive manner with their daughters, the more understood they will feel. The more they feel like you get them, the more they will trust you to have their backs. The more they trust you, the more they’ll open up to you, even when the conversation is about a difficult subject.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. If you don’t share ideas regularly, left to her own devices, your daughter will solve issues in a way that makes sense to her undeveloped teenage brain, or follow the advice of her peers’ undeveloped teenage brains. Then, when your developed adult brain disagrees with her choices, you end up with conflict instead of conversation.
When these disagreements are unexpected for her (regardless of how inevitable this outcome is to you), the negative situation makes her feel misunderstood, and instills doubt in how she’s handling herself. The more this happens, the less she’ll feel like you understand her. If you don’t get her, she’ll feel isolated from you, and trust you less and less when it comes to having her back. She won’t want to have heart-to-heart chats because you won’t understand her anyway, and she’ll just feel worse afterward.
That’s why conversation is the key, whether you are maintaining a good relationship, or repairing one… and they can be repaired. Just start by telling her that’s what your intention is.
I’ll share two more tips in my next post, Awesome Advice for Moms on How to Re-connect with Your Post Pandemic-Panic Teenagers. Until then, you got this, Mama!
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 and experience.
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?
Don’t forget to book your Free 30 Minute Chat.