My 16 year old daughter Julia will confide in me from time to time and when I try to help her solve whatever problem she has, she rejects any advice I give her. I want to help but I feel frustrated. How do I handle this?
What you need to be is a good listener. You can try to rephrase what Julia says and repeat it back to her. This is called active listening. Don’t repeat back verbatim or she will be annoyed. Apparently she just needs a sounding board and someone who will listen.
Try not to be judgemental and if she comes up with a good solution be sure and let her know that you approve of her decision. Julia needs your approval but she also needs to practice her own problem solving skills.
The teen years are a time for kids to learn to think for themselves. They are forming their own identities and are working on gaining independence. It’s important to try to let them work out their problems within safe parameters.
If you want Julia to continue confiding in you, then it’s important that you keep her confidences. Once you share her problems with someone else she will no longer feel safe in sharing them with you. If Julia is coming to you to share her problems, this is a sign that you have a good relationship with her. Your job right now is to learn to be a good listener.