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What’s the best way to support your daughter if she hasn’t found her “just right” tribe?
As a caring, resourceful, and hard-working parent, if this question is keeping you up at night, you’re not alone.
Welcome back to Episode #13
Where we’re going to answer this question because it can be tough to know …
- if it’s time to address certain friend or peer issues
- or if it’s best to step back and give your daughter some space
In my private coaching practice, I’m often asked by parents, just like you, what’s the best way to support your daughter as she begins to spread her beautiful, independent wings, and establish a tribe outside the family.
As you know, raising teenagers isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of experience, though, over the years, I’ve noticed patterns emerge as teenage girls begin the tribe building rite-of-passage.
And I want to share that information with you so you and your daughter can make the best decisions for her health and wellbeing.
One of the first signs that your daughter is ready to discover who she is outside the family is she’ll begin to prioritize time with her friends, over family time.
That’s why, ideally, her tribe will:
- share common interests, values, and goals
- embrace each other’s uniqueness
- and encourage individual greatness
But what if she doesn’t find a tribe that honors and appreciates her value?
This can get a little tricky.
So, let’s identify the 3 Signs Your Daughter Hasn’t Found Her Just Right Tribe Yet.
The first sign is Isolation – spending increased amounts of time alone.
You’ll see her spending profuse amounts of time scrolling through posts and pictures from her social media “friends.”
The Second Sign is Attention Seeking – going overboard to get attention.
You may hear her harshly criticizing her peers for everything, their clothes, hair or friend choices.
Or you’ll see her trying to “control” what her friends are doing.
The Third Sign is Compromised Values – ignoring her needs to please or placate others, especially the queen bee of the group.
You may notice her grades slipping, her clothing choices change, or her attitude change towards activities she used to enjoy.
As she starts doing things that she believes will earn acceptance from the tribe she wants to be part of.
But, as Dr. Christine Carter, the author of The NEW Adolescence, Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction remind us, “connection is the most important predictor of happiness that we have in a hundred or so years of research.”
So, let’s identify 3 Key Steps to Support Your Daughter and help her build the tribe she craves.
First, Validate that She is Enough
First and foremost, remind your daughter that she is worthy of love and respect, and deserves to be happy.
Reinforce her worthiness even if she believes she accidently said the “wrong” thing at a group event, doesn’t make the school volleyball team or receives a crappy score on her test.
And, if you haven’t yet listened to Podcast Episode #12 A Simpler Way For Your Teenage Daughter To Be Happier you may want to, because, well, your daughter deserves to be happy and there really is a simple way to create what she craves.
Second, Let Self-Awareness be your Golden Ticket
If your daughter hasn’t found her just right tribe yet, that’s okay.
Use this time as a golden opportunity to learn what an ideal friend looks and feels like, by exploring:
- what does a good friend say when you’re having a tough day?
- what are some fun things that YOU enjoy doing with your friends?
Establishing clear and healthy personal boundaries will definitely help to create the connections your daughter craves.
And she’ll be less likely to turn to social media for support when she’s having a meltdown – an action she’ll likely regret later.
Third, Listen to your Parental Instincts
If you get the feeling that your daughter’s personal boundaries are being compromised in order for her to “fit in” that’s when you’ll want to address your concern.
All teens take a slightly different approach to tribe building, and now is an ideal time to talk about and identify what’s truly best for your daughter.
As your parental role moves from “manager” to “guide,” remember that your unconditional love and support IS NEEDED, maybe now, more than ever.
And, as you know, there are several rites-of-passage that your daughter will go through in the next couple years, and learning how to build a happy, supportive tribe outside the family is really an important one.
Yes, there will be natural ups and downs, so try to keep in mind that every life lesson will help strengthen your daughter’s resiliency muscle.
As a teenager I didn’t realize that my ‘social and emotional intelligence’ and ‘resiliency muscle’ were being strengthened, but looking back, I’m truly thankful for the up’s and down’s and the folks who guided me.
So if your daughter needs a little guidance right now, head over to my website grab a 90-Minute Breakthrough Session
They’re perfect for:
- Helping your daughter with anxious thoughts, limiting beliefs or chronic over-thinking
- Choosing a friend group or tribe where she feels a deep sense of belonging
- Creating a home environment where tough conversations create connection
- How to approach screen time and social media with sensibility
- Or – just pick my brain about a specific teen-girl issue
I look forward to helping you guide your daughter through these tough adolescent years with clarity and strategies that really do work.
Until next Tuesday, here’s to cultivating a more resilient teen!
The NEW Adolescence, Raising Happy and Successful Teens in an Age of Anxiety and Distraction | Christine Carter, Ph.D.
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