10 Ultimate Truths About Parenting Teen Girls

Truths that make understanding our girls just a little easier...

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: 10 Ultimate Truths About Parenting Teen Girls

When my daughters became teenagers, like a lot of parents, I braced myself for the worst…

But I soon realized that somewhere amidst the eye rolls, heavy sighs, and “OMG, Moooom stop!” comments, my little girls were turning into young women and that was pretty cool. 

Sure, the teen years happen to be the most challenging and tumultuous years for parents of teen girls, but they also happen to be the most rewarding and (dare I say) fun!

Suddenly, we’re thrown into a world of pimples and periods, makeup and meltdowns, and even though life is crazy and unpredictable, the fact that our girls are blossoming into beautiful young women makes every bit of it worthwhile. 

On my journey raising my girls, I picked up a few “teen girl “isms” that seem to hold true with a lot of teen girls (and even teen boys, too). Truths that make understanding and parenting our girls a little easier. Here are 10 ultimate truths about parenting teen girls. 

10 Ultimate Truths About Parenting Teen Girls


#1 She Needs Your Constant Reassurance

The teen years have a way of shaking our girl’s confidence to the core. Monumental changes happening within her brain and body, trying to fit in and navigating complex friend (and romantic) relationships – all while desperately trying to figure out who she is has a way of making even the most confident, steady girl question herself and her abilities. 

In a world that’s constantly whispering in your daughter’s ear that she doesn’t measure up – that she’s not pretty enough, talented enough, capable enough, funny enough, or smart enough, she needs you to be the reassuring, powerful voice in her head that says, “Yes, you can! You are enough. You can do this. You are deserving. You are beautiful (inside and out). You are talented and strong!”

#2 She’ll Push You Away, Pretend She Doesn’t Need You… But She Does

“It’s bad enough to be rebuffed by your daughter—it’s even worse that it happens right when you feel she needs you most,” said Lisa Damour, author of the best-selling book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood.

As much as you’ll fight to be part of your daughter’s world, as much as you’ll yearn for the way she used to be, as much as you’ll hang on to even the smallest moments during the day when she lets you in her world, keep reminding yourself over and over again, “My daughter needs me.” She needs you, but only when she needs you. She’ll want to talk and open up to you, but only when she’s in the mood. She’ll need your tender loving care, but only when it’s on her terms.

Don’t take it personally. Don’t hold a grudge. Just know this is her way of growing up and her way of separating and learning how to stand on her own two feet. Just stand ready with open arms when she comes to you.

#3 Her Bedroom Will Become Her Sanctuary

One day, your chatty, open-hearted little girl who loves spending time with you and the family will retreat to her (messy) bedroom behind a closed door.

You might wonder what’s wrong – with you, with her, with how you’re parenting… but don’t.

She needs this time – time alone, time to think, time to sink into her own world and thoughts, time to figure out a few things on her own, time to decompress after being “on” all day in school, with her friends, and at work. If you can take it all in stride and avoid not taking her need for privacy personally, there’s a good chance she’ll thank you one day for giving her a little space and a little time to grow up. 

#4 She Wants to Be Treated Like an Adult, But the Little Girl in Her Lies Just Below the Surface

Don’t be fooled by her new “adult-like” body and her “I’ve totally got this and I don’t need you” attitude. She does need you. She needs you to spoil her a little and love her a lot, and remember that just below the surface lies your little girl who secretly still loves Disney movies, bubbles, and balloons. 

You might feel as though you’re constantly trying to figure out what your daughter needs at any given moment in time, but so is she. Let her take the lead. Give her what she needs when she needs it. 

#5 You’ll Start to Miss Her Long Before She Moves Out

I’ve heard parents say, “How is it possible to miss someone so much who sleeps right down the hall from me?” But you do…

Teen girls (and boys) start to “move out” (emotionally, that is) long before they pack their bags for college or move on with their lives. As hard as it is on parents, it’s their kids’ way of separating. Take it as a sign that you’re giving your daughter the strength and confidence to venture out into this world on her own. Be the rock she needs and stand ready to help her up when she falls.

#6 She’ll Become Self-Absorbed in Her Own Life

Her life, her friends, her clothes, her plans. Her, her… her. Her seemingly selfish behavior might drive you nuts. But it’s all so normal. Research has shown that teen girls, (all teens, actually) go through a phase when everything happening in their world takes center stage. In fact, it’s less about being selfish and more about their need to “cacoon.”

Still, even though there’s a reason your daughter is self-absorbed, it’s certainly not an excuse. Be patient. When you catch her in one of her “self-absorbed moments,” point it out, help redirect her priorities and mindset and remind her that there’s a big world out there and that everything shouldn’t always be about her.

#7 You’ll Worry About Her ALL the Time

When she leaves the house, when she goes out on a date, when she learns to drive, leaves for college or makes big decisions that impact her future… you’ll worry. You’ll worry and you’ll pray far more than you ever thought you would. 

But take comfort in knowing you’ve taught your girl well. Have faith in your abilities as a parent and hers. Give her the comfort of knowing that when she makes a mistake or messes up royally, (which she will), you’ll always be right behind her ready to catch her when she falls and ready to encourage her to try again. 

#8 She Needs You to Be Her Parent AND Her Friend

Being her mom was always easy. It’s the role you’ve played since the day she was born – guiding her, loving her, and tossing out plenty of mom lectures when she struggled to find her way or veered off path.

But now that she’s a teenager, she knows your stance on nearly every important issue.

She needs less coaching and more compassion. less nagging and more nurturing, less lecturing, and more listening. She needs a friend.

Not the, “let’s party down or play hooky kind of friend,” but the kind of friend who knows her – I mean really knows her – and loves and supports her like no one else does. The kind of friend who avoids telling her what to do, but rather helps her find a solution that’s best for her. The kind of friend who sits with her when she needs it most and offers her a shoulder to lean on. The kind of friend she can count on no matter what.

#9 She Secretly Wants to Open Up to You, But Fears You’ll Criticize and Lecture Her

So much is going on in her world that she longs to share with you. She might want to tell you that some kids were drinking at the party she went to last week or that she vaped last night. She might want to tell you that her best friend had sex with a guy she barely knows. She might want to tell you she cheated on that test last week because she was too exhausted to study or that her friends are pressuring her to do something or that she’s debating whether college is even for her…

But she doesn’t want the lectures or the nagging or the yelling or the “What were you thinking?” or  the”I thought I taught you better than that.” When she comes to you, your first words should be, “I’m glad you told me.” Use these times as launchpads to connect and guide her when she needs it most. Be the calm in her chaos, listen to her, be her moral compass, love her unconditionally. 

#10 Her Moods Will Keep You Guessing

Oh… the sass! Her moods will change like the wind. Her attitude toward you will likely do the same. She’ll be moody one minute and sweet the next, need you one minute and ignore you the next.

Her swinging moods will catch her as much off guard as they do you. She’ll need you to remind her that it’s okay, that what she’s feeling is normal, that what she’s going through is normal, and that no matter what, she can rely on you for love, a boatload of patience, a listening ear and a pint of her favorite ice cream when she’s had a crummy day. 

No matter how far away you think she strayed, with enough love, she’ll always come back.

In The End, Your Relationship Will Boil Down to Your Connection

Of all the “truths” about parenting teen girls, the one thing I’ve realized more than anything raising my girls is that you have to put your relationship with your daughter as a top priority. That might mean holding our tongue when we really want to dive in and lecture her, respecting her privacy and her need for space even when we miss her terribly, or loosening our grip in certain areas to give her the much-needed freedom and independence she craves. 

The connection we have with our girls means everything. Without it, we lose our influence. Without it, we can’t earn her respect or trust. Without it, we’ll be shut out of her world. She needs to know we have her back and that we’re her safety net. Mostly, she needs to know we’re on her side. 

If you enjoyed, “10 Ultimate Truths About Parenting Teen Girls,” you might also enjoy reading:

10 Things You’ll Never Hear Me Say to My Teenage Daughter

10 Things Mentally Strong Mothers Teach Their Daughters

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