Communication with Your Daughter
||Our Mission Statement emphasizes that the primary goal of this web site and Double Sunrise,
Inc. is "to enhance the health of young women and their families." Current research of
women guides our motto "Keeping Connected…in order to grow."
Parents want to communicate
with daughters. And although young women may appear to have other priorities on their
minds, studies show that adolescent women see parents as extremely important an communicators
about factors that affect their health. Parents sharing health information
(with values and love) are in the best position to impact their daughter's health and
safe passage into adulthood.
While many topics are difficult to talk about during adolescence, health care is one
that is acceptable because it falls within the girl's definition of a parent's
responsibility to discuss i.e., menstruation and the hazards of alcohol and drugs.
DoubleSunrise offers tools to parents in the form of workbooks, tip cards, kits and
articles with the purpose of helping to initiate the first step of parent-daughter
discussion. Laying a simple but important foundation, our tools also are to support
open lines of communication for parents and daughters.
Some things to keep in mind that promote good communication:
- Create a special time for you and your daughter to be together. It becomes obvious, with
time, that it's a time for you to connect and talk. It could be a car ride, or asking her
to help you fold clothes. It could be going for an ice cream or to a movie.
Apart from all the pressures of each of your lives and the everyday issues, a special
time encourages the expression of feelings and ideas. It can be a time to respect each
others views, tolerate differences, and offer praise for good points. It is a time to
avoid judging, criticizing, "third degree" questioning. It is a time to be courteous,
calm, and open-minded.
Let this be a time to set a good example. It can be a time to give your undivided
attention and to listen. Listening is an art, and achieving listening skills inspires
openness and trust. Some general rules for effective listening are:
- Listen with the intent to understand, putting aside your own issues. Don't just wait for
the moment in the conversation to interject yourself.
- Don't pretend to listen by just responding with phrases such as, "Yes, right" or
"I see (understand)". Work on listening to the whole message, not just selective pieces.
- Develop skills for empathetic listening. Research demonstrates that this is key for
communicating with those you care about. Understand the others frame of reference and
actively listen for the feeling she is conveying so you can respond to the true meaning
of the words.
Listening is very difficult to do. Really work to overcome some of these pitfalls and see
how trust evolves and the quality of the interaction improves.
- Choose only the important issues when taking a stand. Choose times when you allow your
daughter to learn by doing, even when choices and methods may differ from your view. Allow
increasing independence within limitations of their safety and well being, pick your spots
when it's safe to go along with a decision that may not be in your opinion, the best. We
all learn a great deal through our mistakes.
- Respect the adolescent's privacy. Give space to her when she is in a bad mood and sends
out vibes that she needs it. Try to share her feelings of sorrow or joy when she's ready
to talk. Respond to her feelings as well as her words. Provide undemanding love.
Good luck in this very important area. Be patient. It takes time, but it's worth the
consistent effort. Let us know what works for you. We can learn a
great deal from your experience.