I wanted to share a personal conversation I had with a dear friend I’ve known for over 30 years because she raised a great question that’s relatable to anyone raising teens.
My girlfriend and I met when we were in the thick of our teenage years and now, we’re both raising teens, so we naturally we found ourselves talking about all the social complexities teens experience, particularly when it comes to concept of defining your daughter’s ideal “tribe.”
I’m so grateful my girlfriend brought up this issue because, honestly, as a new podcaster, it’s really easy to get caught up in what the experts say you’re supposed to do to have a successful podcast.
The Proverbial Box
But between you and I, I’ve never thrived when I’ve had to operate inside the ‘proverbial’ box.
And when it comes to defining a tribe that feels good to your daughter – that doesn’t fit inside a box either.
Which may cause some confusion if she’s comparing her interests to what she sees on her media platforms.
Because the larger and fancier the group photo, the more she may think … huge tribe = happiness.
But deep down, we all know that what we think we need isn’t always what we really need.
The Million Dollar Question
And that’s why I’d like to ask you … how does YOUR daughter define her tribe?
In my work as a parent and teen coach, I’ve heard a variety of answers to this question.
And perhaps, your daughter isn’t quite clear just yet – and that’s okay.
We’ve talked a lot on this podcast about your daughter developing a strong sense of self and how to design healthy social scenarios because her sense of self and her social scenarios go hand in hand as she’s learning to define her ideal tribe.
So, you may want to go back and listen to episodes #16 and #18 when you’re finished with this podcast.
An Inevitable Rite-of-Passage
As your daughter begins to discover who she is outside the family, finding friendships that feel good is an inevitable rite-of-passage.
Though as parents, I think we can all attest to how painful it is to watch your daughter courageously spread her wings and stretch herself outside her comfort zone only to snap back, retreat, and feel wounded when things don’t go the way she hoped they would.
Of course, the timing varies, though, from my perspective, 5th grade is about the time when there is an increased awareness and desire to deepen social connections.
As this quest revs up in middle school and peaks in high school, it becomes increasing important for your daughter to tune into:
- How she defines a true friendship
- Identify who she feels safe and comfortable around
- The difference between fitting in and feeling truly accepted
Because, as you know, your daughter’s social social experiences have a significant influence on her development.
Focus on the Process
So, what can you do to help this situation?
Remind your daughter that she’s continually evolving and the best way to learn and grow from her experiences is to focus on the process.
- Build an awareness around what feels right to her
- Pay attention to what situations make her angsty and sweaty
The keys here are to focus on how she feels and what she discovers along the way.
Because what she thinks she needs, versus, what she actually needs, is worth figuring out.
Think about it this way … if you had a meal at a local restaurant that caused you to have an upset stomach you might think it was a fluke and go back a second time.
But if you go back and order the same meal again and feel crappy again – would you really go back and order the same meal a third time?
And the same concept goes for defining a tribe that works for your daughter.
Give this a Try
So, let’s encourage her to operate outside the box and build what feels right for her.
One Last Thing
Lastly, one of the best parts of this podcast is YOU.
And our community is growing quickly.
It’s super cool to see you’re listening across the globe because we all share this common trait – we’re stronger when we feel connected to one another.
So, if you’d take a moment and post one strategy you’ve found helpful on the iTunes podcast app, that would be awesome.
Your interaction helps other parents, just like us, find the show.
Okay, that’s all for today.
I look forward to connecting with you next time.