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preteen daughter listening to music and rolling eyes with her mother trying to talk to her

Staying Close With Teenage Daughters

When your daughter goes from being your adorable little girl to the difficult preteen stage now called “the tweens”, it can be daunting for you.  Girls of that age can be moody, self-centered, overdramatic, surly, condescending, and prone to throwing tantrums.  Tween girls can also take on mature demeanors and be affectionate and very kind, but the hormones that are flooding their changing bodies sometimes make it more important for them to feel like they are figuring out their place in the world.  This can often come at the expense of their family’s feelings among other things.  She is likely to be working very hard to feel grown up and independent which means that it may be hard for her to show her need and affection for you as her parent.

If you are willing to adjust your thinking to the changing needs of your growing preteen daughter, this could be the perfect opportunity to keep your relationship solid so that you can both weather the coming years together.

Five Tips To Stay Close With Your Preteen Daughter

1. Give her some independence

It is normal for your preteen daughter to want to have some freedom from you.  She should be able to make some of her own choices.  Trying to control all of her choices will only be inviting rebellion.  If you can find appropriate ways for your daughter to make some of her own choices, then she will not need to rebel.  She is not always going to make the right choices, but even adults do not do the right thing all the time.

2. Encourage the things she is passionate about.

Any place that your daughter can feel confident and competent is a good thing.  She will be able to lose herself in the activity and forget everything else.  When she finds something that she is passionate about – it could be sports, painting, singing, dancing, or anything else – encourage her to continue doing it.  Help her to make it possible to continue doing the things that she loves the most.  It should be her decision rather than something that you or other family members push her towards.

3. Schedule quality time with your daughter.

In recent years, there has been a big push for families creating time to spend together.  Take that notion one step further and schedule time for you to spend with your daughter alone.  Choose a time each week when she is unlikely to have other conflicts like school or opportunities to be with friends, and choose something that you both like to do.  Even something as simple as taking a walk together is enough.  You are taking this time to seek a connection with her so that she knows that you care about her and understand that her life has meaning.

4. Insist that your preteen daughter get at least nine hours of sleep.

It is going to start to be harder for her to fall asleep.  With everything that is going on in her body, getting enough sleep can be difficult.  Science has attributed some of the moodiness of teenagers to not getting enough sleep which causes too much cortisol to stay in their bodies making them edgy and difficult to deal with.  She may fight you, but an earlier bedtime is going to be better for her in the long run.  If she is having trouble falling asleep, teach her some relaxation exercises so that she is at least getting some rest while waiting to fall asleep.

5. Talk about anything she wants to talk about.

Because of her age and her proximity to the teenage years, your daughter is going want information about love and sex.  She has certainly picked up some information along the way, but it has been proven that kids who are close with their parents or kids who are free to talk about what they want to know with their parents tend to be better equipped to deal with situations when they arise.  Teaching your daughter to walk away from any situation that is too much for her to handle is one of the best things that you can do.  Make it okay for your daughter to talk to you about anything and everything that she has questions about.  And be honest with your answers.

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