Are Your Teen Daughter’s Expectations Tough to Handle?

Are you ready to watch your teen daughter achieve that personal VICTORY she desperately desires?

Whether her goal is in individual or team sports, club activities or the science math Olympiad,

chances are, the standards are high.

Ideally, she shares her clear vision of the OUTCOME … that happy place where everything falls into place —the sweet taste of victory, the high-fives and the attention she quietly craves.

But, as you’ve likely experienced, sometimes instead, your daughter shows up to her event feeling …

  • Anxious and unable to focus
  • Overcome by negative mind-chatter
  • Set on unrealistic expectations

I’ve seen this happen repeatedly. As a parent, it’s tough to watch and hard to handle.

On a cognitive level you hope she’ll reflect on her experience and build resiliency as a result. After all, learning how to navigate the bumps in life is an essential skill.

If the experience leaves you with a heavy heart, you may be tempted to offer your daughter well-meaning, confidence-enhancing reassurances.

Unfortunately, this usually backfires because she doesn’t want to hear you dismiss the significance of her perceived failure or suggest an alternative activity she’ll excel in.

So, what can you do to support your teen when she doesn’t meet her expectations?

Take a deep breath … and … look below the surface.

Chances are, your daughters desire to nail a particular outcome is rooted in the thoughts she has about her own self-worth.

When the time feels right, have an exploratory conversation with your daughter about the difference between GOALS and EXPECTATIONS.

Goals are:

  • Future focusedWhere do you want to be? What are one or two steps you can take today to move you toward your goal?  If your negative mind-chatter surfaces, acknowledge the thought and then remind yourself that you’re consciously forging a new path.
  • Forgiving – Embrace a growth mindset, where you’ll allow yourself to re-evaluate and re-calibrate as you work toward your goal. You’ll practice being compassionate with yourself by observing your mistakes and recognizing that you’re human … and human beings make mistakes.
  • Feel good – Stop for a moment and pay attention to your heart rate, your posture and the space between your brows. If you’re tense and anxious, it’s time to stop and re-consider your intentions.  Goal setting that comes from your heart will energize you and you’ll be excited to share your ideas with friends and family.

Expectations are:

  • Shame builders – You’ll have thoughts that are rooted in scarcity (I’m not enough). You’ll keep your desires a secret for fear of failure or rejection. If your thoughts and feelings are rising and falling like a roller-coaster ride, your expectations may be ego-driven. Your ego likes to stir up internal drama and self-doubt.
  • Should makers – Are you “shoulding” all over yourself by saying “I should have __________!”  When you start comparing yourself to someone else, the “should” statements arise. Self-comparison will lead you down the road of despair … every time.
  • Short term – Guilting yourself into action is not going to motivate you and it’s not sustainable. The high you get from instant gratification is short term and won’t have enough momentum to move you toward your goal.

Remember, your daughter is growing into her own person, but you can still play an important role in her development, especially when it comes to helping her set realistic, reachable goals.

When you engage in an exploratory conversation, she’ll begin to build an awareness of who she is, what her heart desires and how to move forward with self-love and compassion.

It’s important for her to feel joy and take pride in the small steps and little victories because this is where she’ll build character and discover what she’s made of.

One of my daughter’s favorite quotes is “You were born an original, don’t die a copy.” ~ John Mason

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? Share it with us here!



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Posted in: Parenting Tips