Teenage girls need adult guidance and support as they sort through their feelings.

How to Encourage Teen Girls to Discuss Their Feelings

by Brenda Scottsdale

Although a teenage girl may seem sophisticated, articulate and mature, she hasn't had a lot of experience out in the real world yet. Temptations like alcohol, drugs, peer pressure and teenage sex abound, and sometimes a teenage girl can become overwhelmed, confused and not know what to do. Making your teen feel safe with you is important, according to the National Health Service website. If you come on too strong, preachy or judgmental about everyday matters, it's unlikely your teenager will come to you when she's in serious trouble.

1 Listen to your teen talk about routine events in her life. Show her you are interested and she'll be more likely to come to you when she's struggling, according to the Parents Toolshop Consulting Ltd. website.

2 Paraphrase what she just said after she finishes talking by giving her a one- or two-sentence summary. Speculate on how she may be feeling and ask her if you got it right. You can say something like, "Okay, let me see if I understand what you said -- Betsy offended you by talking to the same guy you like and now you feel betrayed." Paraphrasing demonstrates to your teen that you aren't just being polite, you actually care about her feelings.

3 Control your emotions, no matter what you hear. If your teen thinks you are judging her, minimizing her problems or getting upset, she'll shut down and you'll close down the channel of communication.

4 Ask questions that stimulate your teenager to solve the problem in a healthy way. If she says "John is a real jerk because he cheated on me," you can respond by saying something like, "How did you react?" Then, use a follow-up question like, "How did that work for you?" This line of questioning doesn't make your teen feel interrogated -- it opens up the conversation further while providing the message that you think she's mature enough to solve the problem herself.

5 Be honest when your teen asks you for advice. If you tell her never to drink, for example, and you get abuse alcohol yourself, she's not going to take your advice seriously. Share the positive and negative implications of choices you have made and how you have paid for your mistakes.

About the Author

Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.

Photo Credits

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