The most delicate age is between the ages of 13 and 14, when they think you are ‘mean’ with all your laws and they are desperately trying to be not like you at all, everything you say is lodging in there somewhere!
Your child isn’t a little kid anymore. They’re a teen, or a tween — and it’s time to tweak your parenting skills to keep up with them.
Yes, they’re probably moodier now than when they were young. And you have new things to think about, like curfews, dating, new drivers and friends who make you raise your eyebrows.
No doubt about it: Your teen, or tween, will test your limits, and your patience. But they’re still your child and, though they won’t admit it, they still need you!
So let us deal with three main ways of influencing your daughters at this age:
This accounts for about half of the influence YOU will have on your teenage daughter. “Think about not just what you do, but how you do it.
Think about how to be kind, how to be patient towards others – your daughters are watching the way you deal with that other driver who just cut you up; that house help in your home; how you respond to the assistant who serves you slowly in the shop; how you respond to your business workers. If you are unkind, or sharp or disrespectful, they’ll learn that’s how you deal with other people, and they’ll go on to deal with other people in a similar way.”
Looking back over my first 30 years of parenting, I can see that – while it often felt as though my messages were being ignored or, worse, even ridiculed – they do seem, on the whole, to have made it through. My joy was the day my first daughter said to me that she finds herself using same methodology for her son! I felt GREAT!
You need to explain why you do certain things – not just tell them “because I say so,” or “you are too young to understand”.
Explain your values to your kids: that it’s good to take care of yourself, that you also need to care for others, that it helps if people keep to their agreements, that most situations can be solved with some compromise, that everyone’s voice counts, that honesty is better in the long run. You might see your daughters rolling their eyes, but a day or two later they’ll be adopting your philosophy – often with friends when you’re not even around. Also focus on your child’s interests and hobbies, even if you don’t understand them. You could open a new path of communication, reconnect with the child you love, and learn something new.
You need to be careful the other women to whom you expose your daughters. You might need to do a bit of social re-engineering because they need role models who have same values as your own and not a negative influencer.
Fathers also matter to girls. At this age they start becoming more aware and interested in the opposite sex, and their confidence right through their life will draw on their first main relationship with a man – their dad. If he is kind, respectful and, most of all, interested in her, she will have been given a benchmark. It makes a girl know she’s interesting and worthwhile, and it means that if some boy comes along who treats her badly, then she’ll have the confidence to get out of that relationship. This link between father and daughter is very important and is part of foundational errors of low self-esteem and self-confidence.
Written by – Laila St.Matthew-Daniel