Maybe you didn’t quiet get to that whole list? Perhaps your teen is growing up so quickly, you need the shortened version, the cliff notes, and the cheat sheet? You are not alone! Stop reading the 100 things lists!!
Besides, what teenage girl is going to listen to 100 things you’ve got to say anyway??
Here is it, the single most important thing to teach your teenage daughter.
Say it like you mean it.
Show her how you know this to be true.
Let her know when she nailed it!
Let her know where she is struggling.
Say it as often as you can squeeze it in!
Your amazing strengths will help you handle whatever life brings if you take care of yourself along the way!
That’s it. Build her confidence. Build her self esteem, build her self-worth. Build her up. The world and the people in it will try to break her down, one little tiny bit at a time, or in big painful blows. When she was little you could repair the damages. You could make her feel better. You could talk it out and show her a solution. Now, your job is to make sure she carries her own first aid kit and can repair the damages as she goes along without you. Show her how to feel good about herself even as she makes mistakes, or fails or struggles to find her way in the world. Teach her not only how to repair the little hurts, but that it is so important to take the time and energy to make the repairs. Give her the confidence to know that it is OK to feel the hurt, learn from the hurt and then pick up the pieces and move on.
Seem like a big task? It is. Build these strategies into your everyday interactions with your daughter and the job won’t seem so impossible!
Talk about her strengths every chance you get. You are so…… I really admire how you do this….I love that you have this gift… You are so kind, sweet, strong willed, able to navigate difficult people, feel other people’s emotions so strongly, stand up for yourself, do your own thing, etc. You need to find the strength in everything she does. Maybe you hate 99% of an attitude or behavior. Deal with that, but be sure she knows you see the other 1%. That tiny part of her attitude that is her standing up for herself and seeing good in people or not caring what her peers think, find that 1% and help her grow and develop that part.
Teach her positive self talk. There is lots of research about who talks more, men or women. You can probably answer that great debate yourself looking at your own relationships, but what the experts do all agree on is that 80% of all of the talking we do each day is self talk. As we go about our daily lives we are constantly thinking about and interpreting our situations. That means what we say in our own heads, out loud to ourselves, our attitudes, our conscious and unconscious beliefs and assumptions; add up to 80% of what we say to ourselves every day. That means 80% of what she hears and knows can be in her own control! Teach your daughter to speak kindly. Show her how important it is for her to “say” positive things about herself. Her own attitudes, beliefs and assumptions can be the largest percentage of everything she hears in a day. With a number that big, she can survive and manage the negative words and attitudes she may hear from others. Show her how to change the inner voice with your own self talk. As crazy as this may feel, take your conversation out loud once in awhile. As you are drinking your coffee and she is hanging around, talk out loud. Today is a new day. You got this Mom. Today I will tell my coworker how I feel. Today I will eat one vegetable with my lunch, or whatever else you are stewing about in your own mind. Change the dreads, fears and negative ideas and beliefs and words into positive. You will be surprised how inspired you are too!
Show her how to take time for herself. Show her how to relax. Show her how to take downtime, how to do something she really enjoys. Instill in her that taking time for herself, by herself is as important as any other task she has in a day. For teens this absolutely means putting the phone down and taking a few minutes or even ~gasp~ an hour away from all social media! Read a book in front of her and say I’m taking a little me time. Invite her to watch a show together and no one interrupts or distracts from the show. Enjoy your own hobbies and let her see your accomplishments and pride. Help her find relaxing activities.
Eat, Sleep, And Exercise! The very foundation of good mental health comes down to committing to three very basic human needs. Eat, sleep and exercise. The benefits of keeping these three needs in healthy, working order has shown time and time again to lead to reduced feelings of depression, lessened anxiety and greater happiness.
- Teens need to eat regularly. She does not need to worry about gaining muscle or losing weight. Teens are growing and facing stressors every single day. They need adequate nutrition to keep up with their bodies needs. Just ask yourself if she is eating regularly? Is she eating relatively healthfully? Is she getting her metabolism up and running in the morning by eating and is she maintaining throughout the day? Is she drinking too much caffeine? Is she obsessed with energy drinks? Both will interfere with her body’s ability to regulate mood. Find a healthy eating pattern that works for your teen and help her commit to that pattern because she knows she feels better when she is on track!
- Sleep, sleep and more sleep! Teens need more sleep than they are getting. Nine to ten hours a night! Click here to read more about sleep and teens: http://joyhartman.com/put-cell-phone-better-sleep/. Teach your daughter the value of a good, quality sleep. Help her figure out what environment is most supportive for her sleep. A dark, quiet space, free of distractions is a great starting point. Get her cell phone out of her hands at bedtime. Have her leave the cell phone away from her sleep space so she is not tempted to be on her phone checking one last thing or responding to one last text. Lead by example and get yourself to sleep on time and without distractions. Sleep is an invaluable gift to give your daughter. Healthy sleep habits lead to greater happiness and satisfaction in life.
- Hmm. Couldn’t we all stand to do more of this? And who doesn’t feel better after a brisk walk or a peaceful run? Yet, it seems to be the first thing to go when life gets busy. Get your daughter involved in regular daily exercise. Hopefully it’s a sport or club she loves and this is the highlight of her day. If it is not, show her the value of walking the dog every day, or mastering yoga in the living room on Wii, or sign your whole family up for a festive 5K or take weekend hikes to new places. Find ways for everyone to be active. It will vastly improve the whole family’s happiness.
You have amazing strengths that help you handle the incredible responsibility of raising a teenage daughter! Continue to take care of yourself along the way! So skip cooking dinner and doing laundry tonight and read a book and go to bed early!
Now the job doesn’t seem so hard : ) You are just giving your daughter what she needs!
*check back next week for the single most important statement to say to your teenage son