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Parent's Corner

Rehabilitation vs Incarceration

A mother-daughter connection is the most complicated of all. You argue. You make up. You laugh. You cry.

Mother-Daughter Relationships

Helpful Tips To Soften Your Mother-Daughter Relationship

Listen Way More Than You Lecture

It’s so tempting. The minute your daughter wakes up in the morning or walks in the door after school you start reminding her about the family gathering next week, lecturing her about how she promised she’d clean her room and it’s still a disaster and how she, once again, left wet towels on the bathroom floor.

But heads up, if every interaction with your daughter involves lecturing, constant reminders or, worse, nagging, what’s your daughter’s incentive to talk to you?

Communication between you and your daughter needs a drastic overhaul now that’s she’s a teenager. She’s growing up and becoming independent. She doesn’t want to feel quite so “managed” the way she did when she was younger and she’s not interested in having you fix her problems or you offering her mounds of parental advice. She merely wants you to listen. Give her the opportunity to feel truly heard. (Once she feels she can talk to you and be heard, you might be surprised to find she actually starts picking up those wet towels on the floor.)

Put Yourself in Her Shoes

Teenage girls can be fickle. One minute they’re smiling and life is good, the next they’re blaming us for ruining their life. And, for the most part, they simply can’t help it. Being a teenager is hard.

To truly understand what’s going on in your daughter’s head and close the chasm that may be keeping you from enjoying a meaningful relationship, you have to put yourself in her shoes. You have to remember what it’s like to be a teenager. You have to step into her world. And, you have to try to understand her daily struggles – even if they seem insignificant and trivial to you – trust me, they matter to her.

Mostly, you have to remember that her body and brain are under major construction. So much of her moodiness, unpredictable behavior and “offishness” are just as confusing to her as they are to you. Take comfort in knowing it will all eventually subside. In the meantime, just hang on for the bumpy ride.

Pick Your Battles

My oldest daughter decided a few years ago that she wanted to get her belly button pierced (I know… painful, right?). Even though I thought they actually looked cute on other girls, I surely didn’t want my daughter to get one. And, that’s where the battle began. After a few weeks of back and forth debate and conflict, I finally came to the conclusion that it simply didn’t matter in the long run.

When you’re a parent of a teenage girl, you have to pick your battles to avoid mother-daughter conflict. Some battles (in fact, I’ve found most battles) aren’t worth fighting. If your daughter decides she wants pink hair, let her. If she wants to paint her room orange, let her. If she wants to wear shorts in the dead of winter, let her.

If it’s not going to matter a year from now, then it isn’t worth fighting over. Your relationship with your daughter is far more important than a silly battle of the wills that won’t do any good for you, your daughter or your relationship. Follow Elsa’s wise words of advice and just “let it go.”

Have Realistic Expectations

No two teenagers are alike. They all deal with hormones, frustrations, academic pressure, fighting for independence and life, in general, differently. What that means is that we can’t compare our kids to anyone else’s kids. We need to have realistic expectations of our own daughter’s teen years.

Frankly, even the most harmonious families have their share of trials and tribulations during the tumultuous teen years. It’s a given that you’ll have at least a few bumps along the way and, that’s okay.

The sooner you recognize and expect that there might be a few hurdles to overcome, the more normal you’ll feel (and the more normal you’ll view your daughter) as she moves through her teen years. Bottom line, cut your daughter and yourself a little slack during this time – you’re both learning, growing, and navigating unchartered territory together.

Don’t Let Her Emotions Get the Best of You

Not every snarky remark deserves a reply. Not every argument needs to be won. Not every fight needs to be fought. Sometimes, the absolute best thing to do is walk away.

Don’t let your daughter’s unpredictable moods, frustrations or attempts to rile you get the best of you. You are the adult in the room. You need to set an example. You need to set the tone. You need to walk away and give her time to calm down without contributing to the conflict or chaos.

You might be surprised how it transforms your relationship with your daughter when you come to the realization that conflict always takes two. And, when you remove yourself from the equation, you’re removing yourself from the conflict and, inevitably, creating more peace between the two of you.

Find a Common Ground

When my girls became teenagers and started having an interest in makeup, we used to have “makeup dates” where we’d hit the store and I’d let them pick out one or two new makeup products to try.

Then, when we returned home, I’d hang out in their bedroom with them while they tried out their new products. Years later, we still have makeup dates.

Whether your daughter is into makeup, art, shopping for deals, sports, binge-watching a particular show on Netflix or any other hobby or interest, jump into her world and find a common ground.

It doesn’t matter what it is, the idea is to narrow the divide between you and your daughter so you have something in common to talk about. Once you find an interest you can share together, you might be surprised how she opens up and actually looks forward to your time together.

Show Up

One of the most undervalued ways to show our kids how much we love them, that we’ll always be here for them and that no matter how offish or moody they are we’ll always be their biggest cheerleader is to just show up.

Show up for her games, her recitals, her tournaments and her performances. Show up on her good days, her bad days and every day in between. Show up when she needs you and even when she doesn’t. Show up when it’s easy. Show up when it’s hard. Show up so she can see you. Show up so she can count on you. Show up so she knows that, no matter what, you’ll always be on the sidelines in life cheering her on.

Love Her Unconditionally

Our love for our daughters isn’t “IF” or “BECAUSE.” Our love is “ANYWAY,” and “EVEN THOUGH,” and “IN SPITE OF.” Love her unconditionally. Love her so powerfully that she never questions your steadfast adoration – even when it’s hard, even when she’s moody, offish or pushes you away, and even when she’s not quite so loveable.

Remember:

  • Don’t take difficult behavior personally
  • Establish ground rules and boundaries
  • Communicate
  • Focus on the positive
  • Let them take healthy risks
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Compromise
  • Practice unconditional love
  • Don’t be afraid to seek help

She’ll Grow From It

Keep in mind that you too was once a teen girl. Just as it was a temporary phase for you, so will it be for your daughter. Before long, your mother-daughter battles will be a thing of the past and she will emerge on the other side of her teen years a different person and the roughness of your relationship will smoothen out.

Through it all, embrace the good times, keep the lows in perspective, definitely keep your wits about yourself (truly, without humor, I don’t know what I would have done) and continue loving on your daughter. Do it for her so that one day, she can do it for own daughter.

Juvenile Justice System

Juvenile Justice Terms

Juvenile Court Term

Delinquent

Take into custody

Petition

Summons

Initial hearing

Held in detention

Hearing

Adjudication

Disposition

Placement

Aftercare/Supervision

Adult Court Terms

Criminal

Arrest

Complaint; Charge

Warrant

Arraignment

Jailed

Trial

Conviction

Sentencing

Imprisoned

Parole

Near­ly 100,000 young peo­ple are drawn into the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem each year for

sta­tus offens­es. Sta­tus offens­es — behav­ior such as tru­an­cy, run­ning away , cur­few vio­la­tions, underaged drinking, being unruly — are not crimes, but they are pro­hib­it­ed under the law because of a youth’s sta­tus as a minor. While sta­tus offens­es are not seri­ous offens­es, they can have seri­ous con­se­quences for youth

What is “Status Offense?”

A status offense is a noncriminal act that is considered a law violation only because of a youth’s status  as a minor. Typical status offenses include truancy, running away from home, violating curfew, underage use of alcohol, and being unruly.

Most youths who engage in sta­tus and oth­er minor offens­es nev­er progress to more seri­ous behav­ior, accord­ing to a 2015 lit­er­a­ture review by the fed­er­al Office of Juve­nile Jus­tice Delin­quen­cy and Pre­ven­tion. This kind of behav­ior can be a nor­mal part of ado­les­cent devel­op­ment, per the Vera Institute of Justice’s Status Offense Reform Center. But, for some young peo­ple, it can sig­nal under­ly­ing prob­lems at home or in school that need clos­er attention.

Young peo­ple should nev­er be adju­di­cat­ed or for­mal­ly processed for sta­tus offens­es,” – Steven Bishop

Do youth go to juvenile court for status offenses?

In some juris­dic­tions, sta­tus offense cas­es are referred to social ser­vice agen­cies or fam­i­ly cri­sis units that can offer young peo­ple guid­ance and sup­port. Oth­er juris­dic­tions rely on the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem, despite evi­dence that puni­tive respons­es to these types of behav­iors are inef­fec­tive. In 2016, the most recent year for which nation­al data is avail­able, 94,700 sta­tus offense cas­es were han­dled by U.S. courts. Dur­ing this year, juve­nile pro­ba­tion was the most com­mon sanc­tion ordered by the court for sta­tus offense cases.

The best thing we can do for teenagers doing things like stay­ing out late and drink­ing beer is let them, or help them, mature with­out being pulled into the jus­tice sys­tem,” says Bish­op. Young peo­ple who get locked up for nor­mal teenage behav­ior often end up worse off than if the sys­tem hadn’t got­ten involved in the first place. That’s because con­fine­ment dis­rupts pos­i­tive con­nec­tions to fam­i­lies and schools and the usu­al guid­ance, edu­ca­tion and sup­port net­works that could keep them on the right track.”

What’s the worst that can happen to a status offenders?

The fed­er­al Juve­nile Jus­tice and Delin­quen­cy Pre­ven­tion Act dis­cour­ages states from plac­ing youth, with juve­nile sta­tus offens­es, in secured juvenile deten­tion centers or other locked con­fine­ment. States that do this risk los­ing a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of their juve­nile jus­tice block grant awards. This part of the fed­er­al act, known as the dein­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of sta­tus offend­ers core require­ment, is meant to encour­age states to divert youth with sta­tus offens­es away from the juve­nile jus­tice sys­tem toward more com­mu­ni­ty-based programs.

Despite these cau­tions, more than 2,200 young peo­ple with sta­tus offens­es were ordered to out-of-home place­ment, such as youth pris­ons, secured res­i­den­tial treat­ment cen­ters, or group homes (placement). Youth of col­or were dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly con­fined for sta­tus offens­es dur­ing. They rep­re­sent­ed 46% of the total youth pop­u­la­tion in 2016, yet account­ed for 53% of the young peo­ple con­fined by courts for sta­tus offenses.

The best thing we can do for teenagers doing things like stay­ing out late and drink­ing beer is let them, or help them, mature with­out being pulled into the juvenile jus­tice sys­tem”. ​

Young peo­ple who get locked up for nor­mal teenage behav­ior often end up worse off than if the sys­tem hadn’t got­ten involved in the first place. That’s because con­fine­ment dis­rupts pos­i­tive con­nec­tions to fam­i­lies and schools and the usu­al guid­ance, edu­ca­tion and sup­port net­works that could keep them on the right track.” -Steven Bish­op

If you have an emergency situation, please call 911. If there is any information that is not listed or you need help with resources, please call or email us as gethelp@allgirlz.org or (725) 696-7230. We will put you in touch with the right people to help you and your daughter.

…because every girl should believe she matters.

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