The teen years aren't easy, and you and your daughter are likely going to have some expected -- and unexpected -- battles along the way. However, just because your teen daughter is searching for independence doesn't mean you cannot maintain a close relationship with her. By recognizing her increasing independence and maturity, you can allow your relationship to evolve but stay strong at the same time.
Show an interest in her life. Perhaps your daughter plays volleyball, and your anything but athletic. Set aside your interests for a time, and focus on your daughter's. Whether you're watching her in an athletic event or band performance, your presence, smile and cheering can strengthen your relationship.
Avoid unnecessary criticism. Your teen daughter might struggle with self-consciousness just as she starts to explore her personal style. You might not love her new fashion sense, but if it's appropriate, let it go. Your teen will appreciate the taste of freedom and appreciate you for giving it to her, which can strengthen your relationship.
Respect her opinions. You might not think that a co-ed sleepover after the school dance is appropriate, but your teen daughter surely does. Rather than just saying "no" and moving on, take time to listen to your daughter and allow her to voice her opinion. You still might end up saying "no" to her request, but your teen will at least feel like her voice was heard.
Plan a special day. Between school, extracurricular activities and social commitments, you might feel as though you never see your teen daughter. Once a month, set aside an open day for some quality time. Let your teen daughter choose the activity -- she might want to shop for a new outfit, go out to lunch or catch the latest romantic comedy. This one-on-one time will help you learn about your teen daughter's busy life and become closer to her as a result.
Find moments to talk, while keeping in mind she won't want to feel like she's being given the third degree, which doesn't take much for a teen. She might be in front of the laptop or smartphone when she's home from school, but everyday moments give you a chance to bond with your busy teen daughter. If you take or pick her up from school, ask about her day while you're driving. Request no smartphones at the dinner table so you can hear about what's going on in your teen's life.
- Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images