Dear Your Teen:
How do I handle my 13-year-old daughter’s attitude? I get it’s her age, but it can be tough to ignore when she’s mean and snarky.
EXPERT | Dr. Carol Langlois
First, let me say . . . 13 is a tough age. At this age, teenagers are moody, overly dramatic and in some cases incredibly fragile. After a long day at school, where maybe your teen had a fight with a friend, got annoyed by a study partner or even scolded by a teacher, she needs a safe outlet. You know the expression “you always hurt the ones you love?” Well…it applies here mom and dad. For good or bad, you are that safe outlet. I highly recommend giving your daughter more room at this age and not forcing conversation. Pick your battles wisely, but also draw a line in the sand for what is acceptable and what isn’t. You are still the parent.
4 Tips for Dealing With Tween Girl Attitude
Being clear in your communication with certainly help. I think many parents can relate to this question, which really comes down to how, when and where to communicate with your teen. I’ve pulled together a few tips to think about before engaging with your “snarky” teenager.
1. Take the time to “listen” to your teen first
Don’t dismiss what your daughter says as stupid or silly. This can be crushing for a teen. If this happens just once, she will not open up to you again and make that same mistake. Parents please be engaged. Look at your teen when she’s talking to you and show that you are interested in what she has to say.
2. Find another time to talk to your teen besides the dinner table
At dinner, questions seem forced or even rushed because everyone is so busy these days. Your teen knows you still have a million things to do later so she’s not telling you anything of significance over dinner—trust me. Talk to her on a walk, a long drive or over a lunch date. Be engaged.
3. Remember, there is more to talk about than just school or the generic “How was your day?” question
Parents, don’t play it safe all the time. Ask your daughter about her friends, pressures, stress, boys, anxiety. Teens are perceptive. They can tell when you are really listening to them. If you start to get the “everything is fine” routine, don’t buy it. Dig deeper.
4. Sometimes when your teen doesn’t want to talk, she just doesn’t feel like talking
Remember what is was like being 13? It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong. The more you push, the more your teen will retreat. Give her some breathing room and your snarky teenager will come around.