“I have a great family and I’m so glad and thankful for them, but my parents aren’t always that helpful. There are a lot of things about me that they don’t understand. There are times when I feel like they don’t know me at all.”
If “How was your day?” is your “go-to” question to ask your daughter this upcoming school year, don’t be surprised if/when she feels like the young lady quoted above.
Instead, consider asking her questions that will help you get to know who she is inside and out…
…her pet peeves
…and everything in between.
Parents often don’t realize what’s going on in their teens’ lives because they don’t ask.
Then the teens sit back and wonder, “why aren’t they asking me?” And they assume their parents just don’t care.
So, my advice is to ask your daughter probing questions, so neither of you have to make assumptions.
Not sure what to ask?
Stay tuned because over the next three weeks, I will provide you with questions to ask your daughter so you can get to know her better in three critical areas of her life:
- Her mental & emotional well-being
- Her future aspirations
- Her relationship with you
Then the rest is up to you!
Just How Healthy is Your Daughter Really—Mentally & Emotionally?
Start by asking the question: On a scale of 1-10, how are you doing mentally and emotionally?
Be sure to follow up by asking: What would it take to get that number closer to 10?
This allows you to get to the root of potential issues indirectly and forces your daughter to verbalize what help looks like.
It’s easier to complain about what’s wrong than it is to figure out what would make it better.
Which was the case with a friend’s 14-year-old daughter who was giving them a difficult time.
Desperate for a breakthrough, my friend requested I speak to her.
So, I asked her the question above.
And I think she gave me an answer of 5.
When I asked what could bring her number higher, everything she mentioned was impossible based on her family’s current life/job situation.
They had relocated due to a job transfer and their daughter didn’t like the new city.
Her brother had gone away to college and she missed him.
And her father didn’t spend as much time with her as he used to due to the time it was taking him to get established in a new career.
When I spoke with the parents after my time with their daughter, I told them the core issue was their daughter was spoiled.
It appeared they had always done whatever they could to make her happy and give her what she asked for.
For the first time in her life, they couldn’t do what she thought it took to make her happy and she didn’t know how to handle it, so she acted out.
(Note: This story should serve as a cautionary tale for any parent about the danger of never telling your daughter “NO” while she’s still young. As was the case for this young lady’s parents, the time may come when you can’t give your daughter everything she wants. Will she be able to cope with the disappointment of not getting her way? Just something to consider.)
Pinpointing what was really going on with the young lady came out of asking her more than just the typical, “How was your day?”
And the following are additional questions you can ask your daughter to help gauge how she’s really doing mentally and emotionally:
How safe do you feel at school, at home, and in the world?
What’s the most challenging thing you’re dealing with right now?
What helps you feel better when you’re worried or stressed out?
What is the best and worst thing about being a teenager?
What’s your biggest fear?
What’s one thing you really like about yourself?
Of course, you don’t sit down with a list and ask all these questions at once.
Schedule some one-on-one time periodically and maybe ask one every few days or once a week.
Be prepared to answer the same questions you ask. This isn’t just about getting to know your daughter but allowing her to get to know you as well.
And lastly, ask your daughter this: What are three things you’re grateful for right now?
Because it’s always good to end on a positive note.
Due to the pandemic, this new school year is unlike any other your daughter will experience.
And whether she’ll be learning virtually, in-person, a hybrid of both or home-schooling, you can’t afford to assume she’s adjusting well mentally and emotionally.
Instead, find out for sure by asking her more probing questions like the ones in this post.
Then come back next week when I share a whole new series of questions to discover what your daughter’s future aspirations are.
See you then!
P.S. The last thing you want and your daughter needs, is for her to grow up believing you don’t really know her at all. And the way to prevent that is to dig a little deeper by asking her more than just the typical, “How was your day?” Instead, periodically ask her every question and follow up question in this post and be prepared to answer them honestly yourself. I guarantee you’ll both learn something new about each other. And that’s a great thing!
P.P.S. Every parent of a teen girl should be asking their daughter these questions. So please help me get the word out by sharing this post and series on social media. Thank you as always!