Mamas: Here are 10 Things Your Teen Daughter (Desperately) Needs From You

There are some things only you, her mama, can give your girl

by Nancy Reynolds

This post: Mamas: Here are 10 Things Your Teen Daughter (Desperately) Needs From You

Your girl might be growing more independent with each passing day. She might be turning to friends for advice instead of you or handling situations on her own or she might be making decisions about her future without turning to you first. And, I know that can be hard…

But as a mom who’s raised two daughters, I can tell you with 100% assurance, your daughter – regardless of her age – will always need her mama. 

She may not tell you what she needs. In fact, she may not even realize what she needs. But just know that you hold so much power, just by being her mom, to help her get through these emotionally fraught years and prepare her for her future.

While your daughter is desperate for a lot of things these days (fewer rules and chores, a later curfew, and more time to scroll social media), she’s also desperate for YOU. So, mamas… here are 10 things your teen daughter (desperately) needs from you.

(This insight is coming from a mom of teen girls, but many of these could certainly apply to boys as well!)

Mamas: Here are 10 Things Your Teen Daughter (Desperately) Needs From You


Validation That She’s Getting More Than a Few Things Right

Oh, she’s trying. More than you know. But even with her efforts to keep up with school, chores, homework, and after-school activities, she’s going to fumble, at times. She’ll get tired. She’ll feel like she’s not doing well enough and that you’re not proud of her. So, tell her…

Tell her she’s doing great. Tell her she’s getting A LOT right. Tell her that you love her despite that Algebra test she bombed or that she didn’t make the team or that she lost her cool the other day and spouted out a few nasty comebacks when you asked her to take the dishes out of the dishwasher. She needs to hear it. She needs to know that you know that she’s trying. And, when life does get her down or she loses confidence in herself or her abilities, be the loud voice in her head that says she CAN. 

Your Approval

What she wears when she walks out the door for school. How she colored her hair pink or put streaky highlights in her hair because it’s trendy and cool. How she’s decided to take a gap year before college so she can take a breather and regroup. Who she chooses as friends…

Every single day, your daughter is seeking your approval. And, even though there may be “some” things you don’t approve of, she needs to know that the decisions she’s making aren’t impacting your love for her. She’s becoming her own person and she wants to know you’re embracing the new and evolving “her.” 

To Dive Into Her Life Right Alongside Her

It’s awfully hard being a teenager. But what’s even harder is knowing you’re going it alone. Stand beside your daughter like the pillar of strength she needs.

Be her soft place to land, her listening ear when she gets in a fight with her friend, her shoulder to cry on when she finds out the guy she’s crushing on asked another girl out, and the cheerleader in the stands when she makes a goal (on the field or in life). Step into her world and be her wingman through it all giving her soft direction and plenty of support along the way.

Patience and a Heaping Dose of Forgiveness

She’s going through so much right now physically, mentally, hormonally, and socially – she has days when she’s impatient, irritable, moody, cold as ice, and snaps at you for no reason at all. Take it stride, mama. Put your foot down if/when necessary (with the big stuff) and let the little stuff go.

No mistake should ever be unforgivable, especially when your daughter is trying her best to navigate her way through her tumultuous teen years. So, take a deep breath and know you might have to ride out a few storms, but in time life really WILL settle down. Until then, offer your girl a heaping dose of patience and forgiveness

Your Physical Warmth

She might be pulling away. She might dodge your efforts when you lean in for a hug or reach out to stroke her hair or touch her arm.

But don’t let the fact that she seems indifferent (or even downright annoyed) by your attempts to stay physically close. There will be days she’ll be accepting… days when she’ll take that hug and sink into your arms and you’ll know at that moment how much she loves and needs you. 

Don’t stop trying. Keep your physical warmth alive and well. Whether it comes in the form of hugs, a gentle touch on the arm, high fives, or a back rub after a long day – your girl will always need to feel the closeness and warmth of your loving mother’s touch. 

Help When She Needs It

Is she overwhelmed with that project at school? Has her laundry piled up because she’s had practice three nights this week? Is her room a mess because she’s been so busy studying for finals that she hasn’t had time to clean it? Step in. 

On those occasions when she’s overwhelmed or stressed to the max, take the pressure off of her. Surprise her by doing her laundry or cleaning her room (the best you can, anyway). Those things may seem little to you, but they’re BIG to your daughter. I promise… she’ll remember those “little” things forever. 

Boundaries, Rules & Consequences to Keep Her on Track

Set those boundaries and rules early so she has clear expectations and then, do your best to stick to your guns when the chips are down. Let your daughter weigh in on what the consequences should be if/when she breaks them – that way, she’ll be far less likely to fight you because she helped establish them

Remember, too, she likely WILL break a few rulesexpect it! Most teenagers push boundaries. 

More Time to Talk and Have Carefree Time Together

Enough talk about grades, college essays, summer internship applications, or how frustrated you are that her bedroom is an utter disaster. Put ALL of it on the back burner for an afternoon and just go have fun with your daughter.

It doesn’t matter what you do, where you go, or how much it costs, just hang out with your daughter doing something (anything) she loves. 

Room to Figure Out Who She Is

She might ask for your opinion about which top to buy OR she might not. She might ask you how you’d handle a situation she’s facing OR she might not. Try not to take it personally if she doesn’t.

She needs to do more things on her own to test out her abilities and she needs to make her own mistakes (only step in when she’s about to make a BIG mistake). She also needs to figure out who she is by trying on different clothes and hairstyles for size, deciding what (and who) makes her happy and what brings her down, and figuring out for herself what she wants her future to look like. Let her. 

Confirmation That Your Love is Unshakable

Nothing will ever matter more to your daughter than knowing she is unconditionally loved and that nothing she does will ever change that. So, wrap your loving arms around her and whisper into her ear that you’ll always be there for her, that she can count on you, and that your love is forever unshakable. Those are the words she needs to hear to stand strong in life and have the confidence to take on this world without you. 


If you enjoyed reading, “Mamas: Here are 10 Things Your Teen Daughter (Desperately) Needs From You,” you might also enjoy reading these posts!

I Miss My Daughter and She Sleeps Right Down the Hall

My Daughter, Someday I Hope You Realize That I’ve Always Been On Your Side

Raising Strong Girls: 10 Things You Need to Teach Your Daughter

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