Have you ever tried to talk to your daughter mid-sob? In between gasps for breath, she is less likely to want to have a conversation. In fact, talking about why she’s upset in the moment might lead to more tears and lashing out. It’s difficult to allow her time to decompress when you want to connect with your teen in crisis, but giving her space to feel how she feels allows you to revisit the issue later when you are both able to have a more productive conversation.
“I feel so disconnected from her when she’s struggling”
When your daughter is struggling with depression, relationship problems, or trauma, you want her to feel comfortable talking to you about it. She may prefer to deal with things on her own or turn to her friends, but it can feel like she is hiding things from you or that she doesn’t trust you. Even if she doesn’t vocalize what she is going through, it can have an impact on the entire family.
You may not understand what she’s going through if you haven’t experienced similar things. You may be just as comfortable tiptoeing around the white elephant in the room. The disconnect may come from wanting to say the right thing or do the right thing and worrying that she won’t be receptive to how you try to connect with her.
Although it can feel personal, it is not your fault, but it isn’t hers either.
Ways to Support Your Struggling Teen in Crisis:
- Be patient. If your teen is in the middle of a personal crisis, it will take time for them to find their footing again. You may be confident that you have solutions that might work for them, but they may not be in a solution-oriented mindset yet. While you may want your daughter to feel better, offering solutions can be internalized as “not being allowed to feel the way I do.” Listen to them express their emotions and let them have that space. When they are ready to ask for suggestions, they will ask.
- Be present. Whether or not they want to talk about how they feel, let them know that you are there for them. Acknowledge that what they are going through is difficult. You may not be able to offer new solutions, but it can be comforting to know that they are not alone as they go through this. Continue to check in.
- Be specific. Asking open-ended questions like, “is there anything I can do” implies infinite possibilities but may also suggest that you aren’t confident about what might help. Often, your teen might not know either. Coming up with a few concrete suggestions can encourage them to think about and choose what might be beneficial. Be willing to be flexible if they turn down your first suggestions.
- Try to distract them from overwhelming feelings. Even if they reach out to you, chances are focusing on how they feel by processing it can sometimes reinforce how often they’re stuck in those thoughts. Suggest doing something fun together to get their mind off the situation.
- Take care of yourself. It can be difficult to separate your daughter’s feelings from your own as you try to step in to help. It’s important to remember that her emotions can influence your own. Role model self-care by putting yourself first so that you are better prepared to be there for them.
Solstice Can Help
Solstice Residential Treatment Center is a program for young girls ages 14-18 who struggle with issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and relationship struggles. This program provides three types of therapy: individual, group, and family therapy along with an accredited academic program that emphasizes creative expression and experiential learning. Solstice Residential Treatment Center is dedicated to teaching young women how to incorporate healthy habits into their lives. Students will leave with the skills they need to transition into the world feeling confident, happy, and able to manage their emotions.
Contact us at 866-278-3345. We can help your family today!