“My daughter never tells me anything anymore now that she’s in high school! How can I let her know I’m still here for her?”

Happy Halloween! Welcome to Tips on Teens. Today's question is not Halloween -related, but
it is a question that scares a lot of parents, brings a lot of discomfort, and I think a lot of parents
will relate to this. I should introduce myself. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage
and family therapist, and my specialty is helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives.
I founded two organizations. One, Teen Therapy Center, and also the nonprofit Child and Teen
Counseling here in Woodland Hills, California. Anyways, let's jump into today's question.
Ever since my daughter started high school, she's been more and more distant. She used to tell
me everything, but now when I ask her how school is or how she's doing, all I get is, fine or okay.
She stays in her room all the time and never wants to talk to me. I feel like I don't know what's
happening in her life anymore. How can I get her to open up to me again? So, again, I think a lot
of parents can relate to this. There's

a lot of different reasons why this could happen. There's a lot of unknowns about this question
that I don't know yet. For example, is it just the one parent and this daughter? Is it a full family
of six? Is she relating this way to everyone in the family or just to this parent? You know, we're
not really sure. But I'd want to answer those questions. I also want to answer the questions
of, is she isolating from friends also? Is she, you know, is she being involved in things? And
maybe the parent doesn't know because this kid isn't telling her. So these are questions we
want to try to suss out and figure out if there's a pattern going on or if it's just with this parent.
And let's assume, for example, right now that it is just with this parent. Why is that? You know,
has there been a change in the relationship? Has there been higher expectations? because she
is now in high school and it has relationship been more around mom or dad depending on what parent
this is you know pressuring or managing

this kid instead of connecting and maybe this parent is trying to connect this kid is pulling
away maybe it's because of pressures maybe it's because things are happening outside of the
family that we don't know and we're not sure I think we need to start figuring out what it is behind
this another possibility and this happens to a lot of families is she's developing slowly into
an adult. She's not an adult yet, but she is on that in that transition. Let's say she's 14 years
old, freshman in high school I'm assuming, and she's developing more into a woman. She's having
deeper thoughts and feelings and urges than she's ever had before and more intense and that
can be alarming and awkward and strange and And being around your parents when you're having
these thoughts and feelings can be really awkward because it feels like your parents see right
through you and see all these new thoughts and feelings that may be sexual, you know, in nature
that your kid is still trying to figure out. That's

really awkward because then unconsciously this kid may also may be feeling, well, if I'm having
these feelings, that means my mom and dad have these feelings and that is way too icky. I don't
want to think about and deal with that. Let me just pull away and not be with them. That is another
possibility. another possibility that she's on her phone too much and she's lost in Snapchat
or Instagram or YouTube or Reddit or any other of the many online time sucks that there are because
there's always that feeling of missing out like am I going to you know imagine like you watching
right now with your phone how much do you check your phone just because you're bored and you want
to find something new how often have you gotten lost on your phone for an hour or two hours at a
time looking at nonsense, just hoping for something new. And you have a fully developed adult
brain, where your 14 -year -old does not have a developed adult brain, still has an adolescent
brain, which is very sensitive to wanting

new things and wanting that newness and avoiding boredom. And so it could be that she's getting
lost in her phone as well. So that may need to be moderated. If you're feeling that you and your
daughter aren't able to find a bridge to meet in the it may be helpful to find a therapist, a family
therapist who works with kids and teens to help strengthen this while it hasn't gotten too bad.
You know, while she's still 14, she's still open to it. If you wait too long, the divide gets bigger
and bigger and bigger and bigger and it's harder to close that gap. It's not impossible. It just
takes more time, effort, energy. There's more mistrust and you want to try to minimize that
as best you can. So that is another possibility. and I encourage you to to look into that if it's
possible. Again, a lot of factors could be happening that we don't know all the details, so I
can only answer this in a general sense, but hopefully this gets you kind of on the road to figuring
out how to better support your

kid. Also, one other thing I would say is keep reaching out to your kid without an expectation
of them responding, and it hurts. You'll reach out to your kid and they'll go, you know, hey let's
go see a movie, let's go get dinner together, and like, whatever, fine, and they're just mopey
and very Eeyore -like and you're you feel like you're grasping at straws trying to connect with
this kid. You have to realize that it may not be about you. It may be about her and where she's at
and just accepting her and keep extending the olive branch. She will eventually recognize
that you're not judging her and you're accepting and she may eventually come around. If you
don't think that's enough, you need additional help, give us a call. Give your local therapist
a call. You know, let's figure out a way to address this sooner rather than later. Again, if you
have your questions you'd like us to answer, you can email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter
.com, or you can also join our Facebook group

called Tips on Teens. And if you join the Facebook group, you're sure to get this video in your
feed. If you don't always get this video in your feed, but you want to get it more often, join that
Facebook group and you'll get it all the time. We love your questions. Keep them coming. We look
forward to answering your question next Wednesday at noon here on Facebook Live. Again, my
name is Kent Toussaint, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist from Teen Therapy Center and
Child and Teen Counseling here at Woodland Hills, and I'll see you next week. Bye -bye.

As our kids get older and seek more independence, it can be tough for parents to adjust to this new, slightly distant version of their child. It feels like only yesterday they were chatty and eager to share with you…but now you’re lucky if you can get more than one syllable from them! This week’s Tips on Teens question comes from a parent who misses connecting with her daughter:

“Ever since my daughter started high school she’s been more and more distant. She used to tell me everything, but now when I ask how school is or how she’s doing all I get is “Fine” or “Okay.” She stays in her room all the time and never wants to talk to me. I feel like I don’t know what’s happening in her life anymore! How can I get her to open up to me again?” 

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.