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Improving Communications With Your Teenage Daughter

Heart-to-heart communication differs with each child. Even though you feel you are not receiving from one daughter, what you are sending to her may still be effective. If your standoffish daughter still asks your opinion on things important to her, she is communicating and interacting. Even if your conversations are brief, she may be getting what she wants. Some people can say what they mean in a few words while others take paragraphs.
At the same time, she may cut your conversations short as soon as she has the information she needs. Whatever you do, do not take affront or think she doesn’t care. If you start feeling this way, you may unconsciously shut the door to her particular way of interacting with you. Try to look at this objectively and see that her way of communicating may be as good as your other daughter’s — just different. The worst thing you could do is let her feel that you and her sister can tune in to each other, but that you and she can never do this.
Our communication with two of our daughters, also close in age, was similar to what you describe. For example, one would take an hour to describe a movie she had seen, giving gestures and quoting the dialogue. The other would simply tell what the plot or conflict was about in a sentence or two, usually ending with whether or not she liked the movie.
As teenagers, the huggy/touchy daughter responded well to my use of active listening. “It sounds like you are really angry about what so and so did” would unleash reams of conversation. The other one would say, “I know you are using that listening stuff on me, and it won’t work. If I want to tell you how I feel, I will. It’s up to me, not you.”

Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country. You can read more from Evelyn at her web site: www.askevelyn.com

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