How to stay connected to your teenage daughter
Keep your bond strong
With the rise of social networking, teens are taking cues from their peers rather than from their parents. But friends cannot provide the same consistent support as adults. If you suspect you're losing your bond with your daughter, watch for signs, such as lack of eye contact and little respect for boundaries; trust your intuition. To reconnect, spend time away together with no mobile phones or internet. It's not easy, and it might take more than a weekend, but if you give your relationship special time and space, you will retrieve your bond.
Don't take the bait
If your daughter is angry or rolling her eyes, and you're feeling exhausted and emotional, it's easy to react with your own teen tantrum. Take measures to ensure you feel calm and balanced. Find support in friends, have a healthy diet and get enough sleep so that you can think clearly as an adult, and not take insults personally when you are challenged by your daughter.
Make a date
Plan and cook a meal every Wednesday night, or map a route and take a walk every Sunday. Investing time to focus on each other will keep your bond unique, and making it a routine means you're less likely to get distracted. Invite her input and encourage her to lead the activity. This will help her build her confidence in communicating as she grows.
Conflict is natural
Conflict produces a healthy cycle of rupture and repair, allowing your relationship to evolve. It's important the relationship does not become static during the teenage years when she is experiencing brain growth, hormonal fluctuation and a changing sense of identity. After a fight, lead the process of repair. Communicate what went wrong and have a real conversation to get to the bottom of the conflict.
Acknowledge the changes
Tension is often caused when the teenager feels as if she is not being seen as she grows. If you feel overwhelmed by how different she's becoming, her new independence and your evolving relationship, tell her so. This dialogue lets her know you can see her developing and will help you not to feel scared by it.
Practise what you preach
Your teenage daughter is like a sponge. Be conscious of how you act, both positively and negatively, with regards to your romantic relationships, appearance, weight and work ethic. She won't listen to your advice if you don't follow it yourself.