As her daughter is growing up and becoming a teenager, Tina from Pembrokeshire is sad that she’s losing her close relationship with her daughter. Do you have any advice for this week’s A Problem Shared…?
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My daughter is 12 and started secondary school last September. She’s a totally different girl to the one I knew a year ago. I don’t feel like I know her at all anymore. I know that puberty changes you but it’s breaking my heart that my daughter is becoming a stranger to me when we used to be so close.
She’s glued to her phone. We are constantly arguing about it. I’m trying to get her to use it less but she thinks I’m trying to control her life and cut her off from her friends.
I’ve always been able to deal with the changes that came with every stage of her childhood but this one is proving to be the most difficult. I know I can’t really change her because it’s something she has to go through, but how do I cope with it?
Our FamilyPoint advice to Tina
Thanks for getting in touch with us here at FamilyPoint about your issues with your daughter.
It is understandable that you feel distressed about this situation however please don’t feel that you are alone in this as many parents out there experience similar issues when their children are going through Puberty. It is likely that your daughter is also feeling distressed by this breakdown in communication and may well be struggling to deal with mood swings and experiencing emotions that she has never felt before. It’s likely not to be personal.
You are right to have some concerns about excessive use of the internet/mobile devices and it is important for a child to engage in a variety of activities, including exercise to remain healthy and happy. Maybe you and your daughter could find some common ground and engage in an activity together once a week. Is there an activity that your daughter would like to try and maybe you could support her in this? Pembrokeshire Council website provides a list of play sports and recreation in your local area.
In the modern world social media and technology take centre stage in our children’s lifestyle and can be a safe and productive past time if your children are given the correct education to stay safe online and encouraged to have balance within their lifestyle. Maybe it would be worth improving your education of the Apps or social media sites that your daughter is using, which will not only ease your anxieties but also give you a better understanding of what she is doing with her time online. NSPCC NetAware offers parents and carers a useful insight into some of these sites, giving reviews from other users of their experiences online.
If you continue to have concerns about what your daughter is looking at online you could investigate putting some Internet safety restrictions in place that you can set up via your Internet provider. There is some guidance available for parents and carers about this on the UK Safer Internet Centre website.
It would be worth talking to your daughter about why she is using the phone or computer and perhaps agreeing some ground rules or an agreement in place, for example restricting her use of the mobile phone at the dinner table or limiting her use of the mobile phone at bedtime. A useful approach would be to allow your daughter to set the rules. Not only is this empowering for your daughter but she will also be more likely to engage with these if she considers them reasonable herself. Ideally you will be able to work together but if push comes to shove there is only one parent in the relationship and this can mean you may need to enforce something that your daughter won’t be happy with initially.
You could print a ready made family phone rules agreement like this one, this could be edited and adapted to suit you and your daughter.
I hope that this will help you see an improvement in your relationship with your daughter.
If you would like further information on national or local support services, then you can contact us at FamilyPoint Cymru via phone 0300 222 57 57, text 07860 052 905, or IM/Chat. We are open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
The FamilyPoint Cymru Team
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