Do different opinions and priorities with your teenager lead to messy communication and endless power struggles?
Whether your daughter is the engage-in-battle type or more reserved, the Back-Door Approach may help you create that authentic connection you crave.
In our full-speed-ahead-world, it’s increasingly difficult to slow down long enough to get a pulse on what’s really going on in your relationship.
Rather than taking the rapid-fire, nagging or lecturing approach … first ask yourself these two questions:
- What’s happening right now, for me, that could influence my reaction?
- Is my approach bringing me the result I desire?
Then, try The Back-Door Approach:
Peak your daughter’s curiosity and take her off the hot seat by talking in the third person.
- Approach your time together as rapport building around interests or hobbies, rather than a fact-finding mission. You’ll see that the conversation will likely flow naturally – and those are the moments she’s more likely to engage with you.
- Watching a YouTube video of something she thinks is funny or interesting, taking a walk or uniting to help an organization can help keep things neutral.
Avoid becoming the “Bad Guy” by steering clear of negative comments and judgement.
- If your daughter is sharing a story about her friends, even if she’s frustrated with the interaction, avoid making off-handed remarks about her tribe members. You’ll end up being the bad guy because her loyalty to the tribe may run deeper than you realize.
- Anger tends to be a go-to emotion because it’s more acceptable than shame, guilt or sadness. Keep in mind that if your daughter says she’s “mad,” use that as an opportunity for her to find constructive ways to cope with her emotions and uncover the heart of the matter – what’s really fueling her discomfort.
Think incrementally because the little connections are what will sustain you and build momentum.
- The quality of time you spend together exceeds quantity, in most situations. If it’s only possible to squeeze some time together in-between events, do your best to be present and actively listen.
- Circling back a day or two later about something she shared with you is a great way to let your daughter know you’re paying attention – and – keep the conversation going.
If your daughter continues to offer little in the form of conversation, try to hone in on her non-verbal cues:
- facial expressions
These behavioral cues are a window into her inner-world and a may serve as a conversation starter and avenue to explore.
Remember, when you try the back-door approach, it’s about being curious, open-hearted and patient.
What’s your best approach to avert the blank stares and get the conversation going with your daughter?