Q: I’m worried about my teenage daughter, who I feel I am losing touch with. She has withdrawn from me and spends so much time in her bedroom on the internet. This behaviour has gotten worse during this pandemic.
A: It looks like the connection between the two of you has been interrupted. It could be due to the fact that this pandemic has resulted in all the family members staying at home for a major portion of the day, which in turn can cause some of them to rely on social media. Being a parent of a teenager can be quite tricky. It’s important to remember that your daughter is going through a transitional period undergoing a lot of physical and mental changes. That said, there may always be certain triggers that may cause adolescents to become easily angered or irritated.
This is where parents must step in. If children are not taught how to deal and manage these emotional outbursts, they could have a difficult time in the future. In these situations, confrontation maybe unproductive. I recommend you and your spouse come up with a plan that ensures that she can spend adequate amount of time on her social media, as well as engaging with her family. This means setting aside some quality time doing a joint activity that doesn’t involve devices.
Talk to her about this idea when you both are in a good mood. Calmly explain to her your concerns about her behaviour and how you have come up with this solution that will allow her to spend time online, as well as with the family. Be assertive, but calm. It’s important to actively listen to what your daughter has to say.
Ask open-ended questions that require her to give longer answers about her life, her friends and how she feels. Importantly, do not take it personally. Make sure you talk to her in a way that doesn’t feel like you are prodding her for information, remember it’s not an interrogation, it’s a conversation.
Once you have created stronger foundations for your relationship with your daughter, formulate boundaries and set ground rules that gradually reduces the amount of time she spends on devices and encourages her to indulge in some of her favourite offline hobbies.
Russell Hemmings is a Dubai-based life coach and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist (russellhemmings.co.uk). Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.