What Do Teenage Girls Need Out of a Program?

Those feelings of close, true, trusting relationships between parent and daughter can be rare when you are both working on resolving challenging behaviors. You see the pictures online, the posts about mothers and daughter, of fathers and daughters, sharing something sweet, gentle, encouraging.

But your experience isn’t quite like those of the other mothers and fathers online.

Your relationship is more strained. It feels conditional on your daughter’s mood that moment. It can quickly turn from happy to scary.

We understand what that is like. It can be exceptionally challenging to live on a day-to-day basis with uncertainty. Then add in the emotions of feeling disconnected with your daughter. Now you have the makings for a pretty rough day.

Programs that focus on girl-specific issues can make a big difference in a young woman’s life. Not all programs understand the specific needs of teenage girls. They can’t always be addressed when the environment is distracting, when there are boys close by, temptation and confusing role models can do more harm than good.

What makes the biggest difference for a young woman?

Authentic relationships with others that understand what she is experiencing have dramatic impacts on growth and development. When looking for a program for your daughter, be sure to learn about the staff and their approach to working with teens.

Your daughter possesses unique and wonderful qualities. Her experiences, talents and struggles have turned her into the wonderful woman that she already is. Yet those behaviors can get in the way of her seeing that. High-quality staff will work with your daughter to uncover those talents and interests and use them in a strengths-based approach. They want her to excel. They want her to succeed. They will work hard to build a true relationship with her.

If someone is trying to be “fake nice” a teenager is better than most at seeing through the act. But when another person really cares, listens and wants to enhance her experience, a teen can often see that too.

Clinicians should work to get to know your daughter from a number of perspectives. The clinician should review her history of challenges, current and past behaviors that have worked and those that have not worked for her. Great clinicians want to know about the family structure, how the family has been involved and the system that your daughter has experienced. How does your daughter learn best? That is such valuable information for anyone trying to help her. What are her dreams for the future? Where does she love to spend her time? What are her favorite activities, games, shows, friends? All of this information is vital to developing a relationship of trust and compassion.

Without the benefit of a trusting, authentic relationship, even the most research-based practices can be relied on to fail. Growth and connection are absolutely vital to healthy growth. Find a program that will value your daughter and a place where she can develop true, lasting and authentic relationships.

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