Sometimes it feels very difficult to relate to our ever changing children, but especially when they become teenagers. But one thing I learned early on was that my daughter was going through similar stuff I went through. As she went through issues or "drama" I tried to relate to her, not control her. The more I started showing her my support and compassionate ear, and shared some of my own stories, the more she felt it was safe to talk to me openly. Just like adults, teenagers have very specific needs and ways they would like the people in their life to behave. As wives, we desperately want our husbands to be what we need them to be! If they aren't, our defenses go up and we start "protecting our own". We start to shut down in many different forms if we aren't getting what we want or what we need from others.
Well with Teenagers, it's even more so.
They want to know we can be trusted, just as we want to trust them. If my daughter starts opening up early on, say around 12 years old, and early on my responses don't give her a reason to trust me, well then I don't blame her. I have to be able to handle what she shares by listening attentively (which takes time), not judging her, and not automatically try to tell her what to do. First I usually think about if there is a way I can relate to what she's sharing. And if there is, I'll share that. Usually she's pretty interested in the fact that I've gone through almost the same thing! It makes us parents not seem like such aliens to our kids.
This also usually opens up a pretty decent dialog and she'll start asking questions.
With this, it shows I am relate-able, and I'm not some far off distant clueless Mom.
To a point we want to be relevant. Not so much that we are forgetting discipline and all that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sayin that. But we have got to show them that they can come to us, and that there is an OPEN DOOR POLICY. I make this very clear to my daughter and ALL her friends!
I think so much of the time Mothers are trying to be "right" and they are trying to BE THE PARENT so they come off as not approachable. It's all about being relational and being able to maintain a parental authority without being controlling, GOT THAT? Probably not, cuz I don't have it down yet either! Don't sweat it!
I am sure there are plenty of things that your daughter goes through that you have at one point in your life. Whether it was friend trouble, hurtful gossip, being teased, a broken heart from a boy, pressure from a boy, etc. the list goes on.
So recall back to those moments and what you did as a kid yourself and how you dealt with it and what you learned. This is a SURE way to get your teen to ENGAGE you!
And remember, this is her journey, think of what is the healthiest, most encouraging way to handle what she shares with you. You might not like what she has to say, but she's needs to know you have her back; and always, always STAY POSITIVE.