This post: Help… My Daughter is Lonely and I Don’t Know How to Help Her
There was a time when I could fix my kids’ problems with a hug, a Band-Aid, or an ice cream cone. Now that they’re growing up, I can’t always fix their problems and it’s so hard… like when my daughter came to me, with tears streaming down her cheeks, and told me she was lonely.
Oh… my Mom heart! Nothing really prepares you for those parenting moments when you feel completely helpless.
At the time, I fumbled my way through it, trying my best to comfort her. I know I shouldn’t always stand ready to fix every problem my kids face – I need to let them handle some of life’s struggles on their own. But I realized at that moment that she needed more from me than just comfort. She was counting on me to offer her solid advice…
Help… My Daughter is Lonely and I Don’t Know How to Help Her
I sat down, pushed my heartache for my daughter aside (for a while, anyway), and started brainstorming actionable ideas that could help my daughter feel more joy, happiness, and connection in her life. Yes, my daughter was lonely, but she held the power to change that…
Pass along these 14 things your teen can do when they’re feeling lonely:
1. Admit it to Yourself… “I’m Lonely”
Don’t get in the habit of denying or brushing aside your feelings. And, don’t label yourself as weak simply because you’re feeling lonely or isolated. Instead, get in touch with your feelings! The more you bring to the surface what your mind, heart, and body are telling you, the more you’ll be able to avoid getting “stuck” and be able to move forward by making productive and positive changes in your life.
2. Recognize That it’s Not Just You
Loneliness can be a tough burden to bear, but the truth is, everyone feels lonely, at times. It’s normal. Try not to convince yourself that “it’s just you” and that everyone else around you is happy with perfect lives. (You know those kids in your class who always post happy pics of themselves as if life is perfect? Well… heads up, they’re not posting their failures, disappointments, and fragile moments – remember that.)
3. Be Realistic
Loneliness can be a fluid emotion. Throughout your life, you’re bound to feel lonely at times. There will be times when you won’t feel connected or included and other times when you feel completely fulfilled. If you can accept that joy doesn’t have consistent staying power, it’s easier to accept those times in life when you feel a bit lonely.
Remember, too, that being alone and feeling lonely are two different things. Just because you enjoy being alone, hanging out in your room, and listening to music doesn’t mean you’re lonely. It means you enjoy solitude which can really be helpful in getting to know yourself and getting in touch with your feelings.
4. Be Honest with Yourself… Why are You Lonely?
Sit down and think about it… what’s driving your loneliness? Are you so busy with school and keeping up with life that you don’t have time for friends and fun? Are you hanging with a crowd that leaves you feeling empty? Is your social life stalled and you need more fun and excitement in your life? Being honest with yourself is the first step toward positive change.
5. Be Brave Enough to Make Changes in Your Life
Once you identify why you’re lonely, it’s time to put your grown-up pants on and be brave enough to make changes in your life.
No one is going to do it for you. New friends aren’t going to show up at your door. Fun things aren’t going to be miraculously added to your calendar. I know it’s not easy, but you have to take control of your life… one day at a time.
6. Find Your “Why”
I’ve often told my own kids your “why” is what gives you the boost of energy to get up in the morning and start your day. Your “why” is what makes you feel enthusiastic about life and your direction. It’s what keeps you going even when you have those days or weeks of loneliness.
What are you dying to try? What’s your dream hobby, sport, or activity? What are you passionate about? What really excites you? Go after it! Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks, this is your life to live! Just get up and do it!
7. Take a Hard Look at Your Friendships
Have you ever been in a crowded room with friends and felt lonely? The fact is, you can have lots of friends and be socially connected and still feel lonely – especially if you don’t feel understood or truly cared for by people in your life. Sometimes, you have to a
“Am I hanging with kids who really appreciate me and accept me?” “Do I enjoy hanging out with them or do I feel deflated after spending time with them?” “Do they include me and make me feel special or am I hanging with them to feel part of a crowd that doesn’t value me?” Don’t stick it out in a situation that leaves you feeling empty. You deserve better!
8. Try Out for a New Sport, Join a Club, Volunteer, or Take Up a Hobby
Sometimes, a mundane, predictable schedule can trigger apathy, emptiness, and loneliness. Give life a shot of newness by doing something different and fun! It’s better than sitting in your room feeling sorry for yourself, right!?
9. Plan Things to Look Forward To
Get a few fun things on the calendar you can look forward to. Go to an amusement park with your friends. Have a slumber party. Plan a party for no reason at all. Remember, you’re not the only one who feels lonely at times. You might be surprised how many people jump at your invitation!
9. Get Moving
Don’t spend all your time holed up in your room wallowing in your loneliness. Get up, get out, and get moving.
Take a walk, hop on your bike, head to the gym, or round up a few friends or family and hit the hiking trail. You have no idea what a few hours in the fresh air can do for your state of mind.
10. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Nothing can make you feel lonelier than seeing everyone else having fun. Stop following accounts (or people) that make you feel left out, unpopular, or disconnected. Instead, use social media to your advantage. Follow accounts that make you feel happy, and inspired, and that make you laugh. You are in full control of what you watch.
11. Be Gentle with Yourself
Stop being so hard on yourself. Talk to yourself like you’d talk to your bestie. “It’s going to be okay… this feeling is temporary.” “Everyone feels lonely sometimes. This is normal.” “You hold the power to change this feeling… step up to the plate, girl!”
12. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Take a few minutes each day to write down all the things that you’re grateful for – that one friend who always has your back, your mom and dad who love you with everything they’ve got (even though they bug you sometimes), your dog who always cuddles with you when you need it most.
Keeping a gratitude journal will force you to pay attention to the good things in your life that you might be taking for granted. Just being more attuned to the good stuff can shift your life in a profound way.
13. Remember How Freaking Awesome You Are
Just because you’re lonely, just because you’re feeling down, just because life is a little crummy right now, just keep reminding yourself how much you have to offer this world and what a great friend, daughter, son, co-worker, etc. you are. Remember, too, how MUCH your family loves you! You really ARE freaking awesome – don’t forget that!
14. Talk to a Professional, If Needed
Being lonely on occasion is normal. But when it lingers and you can’t pull yourself out of it no matter how hard you’ve tried, it might be time to talk to someone who can help. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to say, “Hey, I think I might need some help with this.” That’s a true sign of strength NOT weakness.
Above all, teens, if you’re feeling lonely, just remember that you hold the power to change and mold your life any way you want. It might not be easy. It might take guts. But you CAN do it! So, remind yourself how freaking amazing you are, and start making a few positive changes in your life!