Your teen is facing many obstacles as she’s growing up, and you’re trying your best as a parent to keep her on the right path.

Imagine how well you’d sleep at night if you could communicate with your teenage daughter in an open, respectful, and constructive way. Not to mention how much more effectively you could problem-solve together for issues large and small.

You want her to make good choices. You want her to be take care of herself. You want her to chose the right people to hang out with. You want to know what’s going on in her life…

You may be thinking…

“I just want her to know that I am here to help.”

You’re on the right track. But it’s easier said than done. And it may be difficult to gain her trust.

If you become familiar with the following guidelines, I guarantee that your relationship with your daughter will be stronger, healthier and easier.

It’s a process that will take some time to learn. However, if you start practicing today, sooner than later you’ll see results that you won’t believe.

Here’s how:

1. Find the line.

If you’re confused about how to walk to the line of being involved vs. giving her space (or the line between discipline and freedom, or the line between being concerned or furious…) find something to ground yourself.

When it comes to your relationship with your teen, things can feel fine one minute and completely chaotic the next. Many parents get stuck in a cycle of negative emotions, expending massive amounts of energy with little to no positive effect on their teen’s behavior.

Prioritize and practice consistency in your responses to your teen’s behavior. Think more about how you want to behave rather than how you feel you need her to respond.

For example, many parents fall into the pattern of trying to be overly involved, then completely backing off for a while, and then exploding because of all the bottled up frustration, curiosity, or worry. Instead, create a plan internally and/or with your co-parent about how to practice involvement in a way that protects both your teen’s safety and her privacy. Think about how much involvement you feel is necessary vs. how much is ideal (in other words, what is a rule you’re setting vs. what is up for debate). You will have a better opportunity to communicate with your teenage daughter if you’re clear on your own thoughts and feelings first.

(Note that there is a difference between how involved you’d like to be and how involved you need to be in order to be a responsible parent. Decide where the difference is in your family!)

2. Recognize your impact.

Your daughter hears what you’re saying, even when she chooses not to acknowledge it in the moment.

To communicate with your teenage daughter in a way that will invite her to respond, always keep it calm and respectful conversation. I know that it’s frustrating not feeling heard, but I’m here to encourage you not to give up!

Keep your words focused on possibilities, and your daughter’s forming brain will learn to think in terms of possibilities. You’ll start to notice a more capable, confident and responsible person across from you when you communicate with your teenage daughter.

3. Act appropriately on an opportunity.

Countless well-meaning parents miss an opportunity to connect with their teens because the opportunities can be so hard to recognize. Don’t let it happen to you!

If you want to communicate with your teenage daughter, try subtle, consistent attention with much more focus on listening than on speaking your own words or advice. Your advice is probably is excellent, but 9/10 times that won’t provide the growth in your relationship that’s necessary in order to communicate with your teenage daughter. Remember, communication is the priority, not solving the topic of the day.

Try the Listening Challenge: wait at least 5 seconds after your daughter is done speaking before you respond. That way you’ll be sure she’s done. You may be surprised what she’ll share if you wait. Just be sure you’re offering eye contact and your full attention while you listen. Showing an interest in what she cares about will have a positive impact on your relationship over time. 

If you’re up for a bonus challenge, try the Zero Complaining Policy. No complaining to your daughter about your life, relationship, or communication. (It not only models unhealthy communication and stunts progress, but it’s inappropriate). If you need to complain, pick a trusted adult confidant to be your recipient. If you want to express your anger or disappointment to your daughter, know that it’s not a learning moment for her if it’s a “poor-me” moment for you. A common misconception is that making your teen feel bad for you as will help her open up to you or to chose better behavior. In most cases, nothing could be further from the truth.

4. Master the five core communication tools.

Listening and Being Consistent are only two of the Five Communication Tools that are vital practice when you want to positively and constructively communicate with your teenage daughter.

If you’re interested in learning how to make these tools work for you, I provide tons of useful information and strategies for practical application in my course, How To Communicate So Your Teen Will Listen.

Join my list of proactive parents to get updates on the next launch of my interactive parenting course (and receive a .pdf version of this article).



Communication is a two-way street. Past grudges and current emotional or psychological struggles may be impacting your teen’s ability to communicate with you. If you feel that something may be getting in the way of healthy communication with your teen, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional who can provide assessment, support, and useful tools.

Contact me for personal feedback to help you find the solution for communication with your daughter.

Posted in Teen Counseling | Comments Off on You Can Communicate with Your Teenage Daughter: Four Tools for Parents