Breaking the Ice with Mom and Dad

Do you talk with your parents about what’s going on in your life? And if you don’t, do you wish you could?

According to a new national report by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund called “Real Girls, Real Pressure,” girls everywhere want better communication with the adults in their lives to help them deal with the many challenges they’re going through.

“The top wish among girls is for their parents to communicate better with them, including more frequent and more open conversations, as well as discussions about what is happening in her life. However, as girls enter their teenage years, there is a significant loss of trust and communication with adults, particularly when they are feeling bad about themselves.”

And here are some stats:

  • 67% of girls ages 13-17 turn to their mother as a resource when feeling badly about themselves compared to 91% of girls ages 8-12
  • Only 27% of girls ages 13-17 will turn to their father for help when feeling badly about themselves compared to 54% of girls ages 8-12

When I was a teen, I had a decent relationship with my parents, but I didn’t share a lot of the deep, dark stuff I was thinking and feeling about myself and the universe because I was afraid of getting in trouble or I knew they wouldn’t understand. I remember envying those perfect families on TV (Family Ties and Growing Pains) and wished I had that same kind of openness and understanding in my home. Of course, I knew that the families on TV weren’t actually real, but still, a girl could dream…).

Now that I’m a parent and I have relationships with many moms and dads, I see it from the flip side. I know that most parents actually do want to know what’s going on in the lives of their teens. They want those lines of communication open, and they want to be the ones that their children turn to when they are feeling down.

So if teens want to more communication with their parents and parents want more communication with their teens, what’s going on?

Someone’s got to break the ice. And I propose that it’s you.

Why not approach your mom or dad (or both) and tell them you’d like more open communication, but you’re not sure where to start? Or tell them honestly what your fears are (they’ll get mad at you, they’ll judge you, they’ll stop loving you, they’ll ground you…whatever) in talking with them, but at the same time, remind them that you’re going through a lot of changes and you need all the help you can get.

It may not be easy, but I guarantee you if you take this first step, it will go a long way in building trust between the two of you. Not only will your parents be relieved (and maybe even shocked) about your openness, they’ll start to see you as a growing, maturing, and thoughtful person. And that will only help your relationship in the long run.

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