Navigating the tumultuous waters of adolescence can be a daunting task for both parents and their teenage daughters. In a world where social anxiety, peer pressure, and the quest for identity reign supreme, maintaining an open and honest relationship is the cornerstone of a supportive and understanding family life. In the first conversation I had on the Reconnect with your Teenager podcast earlier this year: Dr Judy Osterhage shone a beacon of light on some of these intricate issues, offering invaluable insights into understanding and connecting with teenagers in the most profound ways.
#TriggerWarning: the podcast episode does discuss some sensitive topics, including abuse, sexual assault, and trafficking.
Every parent yearns to understand their child's behavior, to unravel the mysteries of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. The teen years are a labyrinth of explorations and discoveries, where most teenagers grapple with feelings of being socially awkward, yearning for alone time, or seeking a safe haven in the solitude of their rooms. It's important to spend time with your teenage daughter, turning each moment into an opportunity to foster an open relationship, build trust, and create a space where she feels heard and understood.
In a society where teenagers often find themselves battling social anxiety, feeling lost in the crowd, or drowned in the noise of societal expectations, creating a safe and supportive environment becomes paramount. The podcast guides parents in transforming their home into a safe haven, a place where a teenager, who often stays in her room, finds solace, understanding, and the warmth of genuine connection.
But how do we bridge the gap when our teenage daughter feels socially awkward, spends most of her time alone, or is navigating the challenges of traumatic experiences? In the first episode of The Reconnect with Your Teenager podcast, Dr Judy Osterhage unveiled strategies to foster communication, encouraging parents to be present, listen empathetically, and engage in meaningful conversations. It’s about turning the home into a sanctuary where your teenage daughter feels safe to share her thoughts, fears, and dreams without judgment.
You can listen to the first episode of the podcast on how to connect with your daughter on Apple Podcasts, Podbean Spotify, Amazon, iHeart Radio, Podchaser, PlayerFM, and BoomPlay, but first, here are some useful tips:
Spend Time Together: Try to be with your daughter and do things she likes. It makes her feel important, valued and respected - and it is a common teaching belief in Pasifika culture that when a young person feels important, valued and respected: they not only act the part, but also reciprocate.
Listen to Her: When she talks, listen. It shows that her feelings matter, which is especially important for our young women, as we generally tend to raise this generation to swallow their emotions, stay quiet about things that matter, and not reach out for help when they need it.
Create a Safe Space: Make your home a place where she feels safe to share her thoughts and worries without fear of negative repercussions including anger, violence, or punishment. This is not to say that boundaries shouldn't be implemented and kept, but there's a big difference between being firm and restrictive.
Be Positive: Use words that are kind and encouraging. Research suggests that young people live up to the language that they hear. If they're constantly being fed negative messages about who and what they are: they'll act accordingly. Similarly, if they are fed positive messages about who and what they are: they'll step up and be, and do better.
Keep It Simple: When talking, use simple words. It makes conversations easier and clearer.
Of course, it's not always that simple, so let's take it one step further, and look at some specific issues you may be trying to navigate:
Some kids are naturally more introverted. They enjoy spending time alone. Your teenager might find peace and comfort in their own space, away from the noise and crowd. There is NOTHING wrong with that!
Being Shy to Interact with Other People
Shyness can make social interactions seem hard or scary. Your daughter might feel more at ease in her room, where things are familiar and safe.
Insomnia Leads To Staying Up Late And Sleeping All Day
If your daughter has trouble sleeping, she might stay up late and sleep during the day. Her room becomes the place where she tries to catch up on rest. If this is the case, take some time to understand why she's having difficulty sleeping, try to make the home calm and quiet at night. Support a regular sleep routine to help your child rest better. and, if needed, seek professional help.
She Needs A Lot of Privacy
Teenagers often seek privacy. They have new thoughts and feelings and sometimes need space to figure these out. Again, this is where establishing the home as a safe place can be helpful - so that she can feel comfortable sharing those thoughts and feelings with you, so you can process them safely together.
They want to feel in control
In their room, teenagers feel more in control. It’s a place where they can make their own rules and decisions.
She Has Problems and Doesn't Want to Talk about It
Sometimes, teenagers face problems they find hard to talk about. They might stay in their room to deal with these issues alone. But that's all the more reason to...
Talk about it
Try talking to your teen. Ask them how they feel, and listen to what they say. Feelings of being misunderstood or not fitting in can make teenagers isolate themselves. They might use their room as a refuge. It's important to note that when we listen, we listen to understand - not to respond. Giving your teen the opportunity to come to their own solutions, instead of solving the problems for them is hugely empowering.
Did Her Diet or Schedule Change Drastically?
Big changes in diet or daily routines can affect behavior. Your daughter might stay in her room more if she’s adjusting to new changes, especially with the constant hormonal changes she's undoubtedly experiencing.
Are There Other Reasons as to Why My Daughter Is Always in Her Room?
There could be other reasons, like stress or worries, that make your daughter stay in her room. It’s good to be open to various possibilities. There’s no specific age that teenagers start to withdraw, but teenagers often start seeking more personal space as they grow older.
Which totally makes sense - they're learning to find their own path in life.
Here’s how you can lure your teen out of their room
- Try to make home a fun and loving place.
- Offer to do things that your teen likes. It might encourage them to spend more time outside their room.
- Understand their feelings. Tell them it’s okay to feel stressed or sad, and they’re not alone. Many teenagers feel the same way, especially because of the pandemic’s challenges.
- Create a self-care routine for everyone. Make a daily plan that includes going outside, exercising, eating healthy, and spending time with others face-to-face.
- Do fun family activities. Try to do things that will encourage boys to leave their rooms. You could go hiking, play games, ride bikes, or work on a house project together.
- Limit tech use. Try not using tech devices during meals or before bedtime. Also, have times on weekends or whenever you can when no one uses tech devices.
- Support their friendships. Help your teenager find safe ways to meet or talk with friends. Encourage them to call or text friends, and share their feelings, even if it seems hard.
- Lead by example
Having a Mental Health Problem
Mental health issues like anxiety or depression can make teenagers withdraw. They might spend more time alone, trying to manage their feelings.
She's Busy with Her School Work
School work can take up a lot of time. Your daughter might be in her room, working hard on her assignments.
How Do You Get A Teenager Out of The Room?
Be supportive and understanding. Show interest in their life and encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings. Offer to do fun activities together to make them feel loved and valued.
Want to learn more? Watch the full podcast here. It has many helpful ideas on how to make your relationship with your teenage daughter better.
And if you're new here, before you go: I'd love to introduce myself properly. My name is Emma G, and I'm a singer/songwriter on a mission to help people through the art of music and songwriting. I established Youth Empowerment through Songwriting [YES] Coaching back in 2019, with the aim of helping parents reconnecting with their teens, and teens reconnect with themselves using the power of music, and magic of songwriting.
As part of this mission, I started the Reconnect with your Teenager podcast series [the same name as my second book, which can be purchased here]: both with the aim of giving you, dear reader, some helpful, perhaps unconventional tips and tricks to help you help your teen.
Of course, if you are interested in exploring this further, please click here to book a discovery call with me, and let's help your teen find their way back to their best selves.
I look forward to speaking with you soon.
~ Emma G