What her behaviours that trigger you, actually mean
Hands up if it drives you crazy when your daughter refuses to try. Whether that’s new things, old things, things you’ve suggested 19 times…. today.
We can sometimes make assumptions along the lines of; “surely it’s not that hard” and “if she just put herself out there..”, or “she would enjoy it if she just tried”.
For some of us this behaviour can be triggering – meaning we’re quick to suggest, instruct or just show our exasperation. And three guesses as to how well any of that is going to be received by your daughter…?!
What I want to talk to you about today is reframing how you see those triggering-behaviours and truly understand what could be holding her back from being more confident.
In the following video I mention the identity phase from our popular Confidence Breakthrough Series. This series includes a LIVE workshop where you have the opportunity to work with myself and Dr Diane Harner. Unfortunately this has now ended, but be sure to join our mailing list to be notified when this opens again.
FREE: 3-Part Confidence Breakthrough Series
So hands up, if your daughter has any behaviours that frustrate you, triggers you, drives you crazy. Chances are some of those behaviours might be things like, refusing to do stuff that you ask or that you think that would be really great for her to do. You know, maybe she goes quiet, goes into the little silent world and you can’t get anything out of her and she won’t speak to anyone. Screen time is a really biggie, behaviourally really just disappearing into a screen, flip-flopping, changing her mind one minute she wants to do it the next minute she hates it, or one minute she wants to do something the next minute she can’t. And then one of the hardest ones to navigate can be that fighting back and that snappy kind of dismissive language or any sort of attitude that she gives you. So what I want to talk to you about today is about reframing your understanding of those behaviours a little bit and where they’re coming from now, as you know, we work a lot in confidence and confidence development.
And what I actually see is this correlation between behaviours that are really frustrating parents driving them crazy, especially when it comes to things where you are and, you know, hoping your daughter might do something, try something new, you know, why can’t you do this thing? It’s not that hard. Our assumptions there and our triggers can sometimes overshadow what’s actually going on for your daughter. So what we really see a lot of the time is that these behaviours can actually be an indication of low confidence or something that’s going on with her. So, you know, I’ve had many conversations with parents about their daughters coming home and how was your day, silence, bag on the floor storming up to their room into their screens, you don’t see them until dinner. And you know, that is always written off as sort of usual teenage behavior, but it’s important to pay attention because sometimes there can be underlying confidence issues that are contributing to that kind of behavior.
I mean, there are a litany of contributing factors when we are talking about the tween and teen years from the brain development, we’ve spoken about frequently to hormones, to egocentrism and just basically being very focused on themselves and, and concerned about other people’s judgment. Look at refusing to do something. So if you make a suggestion to her and she outright refuses, there are a few things that could be going on there. She could literally just not want to do the thing that you’ve asked her to, and that that’s actually a real thing that sometimes they don’t want to do. We think it is a great idea, but also she’s going through this identity phase we speak about frequently and she’s trying to figure out who she is and what she wants and what she doesn’t, part of that behavior is around sort of trying to hold her own authority as it were.
And feel as though she’s in control of some situations. So in light of that next time she’s pushing back on you and saying refusing to do things it’s worth digging a little deeper and not seeing her, you know, honey, I just, I need to understand why is it because you don’t like it? Is there something you’re worried about might happen? Should we try it together, maybe see whether you can massage that a little bit and figure out what’s actually going on as to why she’s giving you that no. When it comes to the silent treatment, that feels really frustrating and uncomfortable because you know, the best way that we can work together as a team or what you can build relationships is through communication. So when she goes silent, that’s really challenging for a lot of us and that triggering that it has on us can sometimes frustrate us so much that we don’t actually take the time to understand why she’s going silent.
What’s happening. What I see a lot is that silence can be around processing. So she spends a lot of time in her mind and she’s busy processing what’s happened that day, what’s going to happen tomorrow, how she thinks and feels about things and that is better done in silence sometimes. If you bring other thoughts or requirements or expectations into those moments, her brain has to stop the processing it’s doing, pay attention to what you’re saying, and then try to come back to the processing. So there’s a bit going on a day when she actually is sitting there silent. So we talked a little bit about meeting her, where she’s at and coming in and communicating on her timeframe. So if she is in one of those silent moods, it’s good to sort of approach it a bit gently and say, “hey, when you have a second, I’d love to chat to you about such and such” and read your moments a little bit. With regards to screen time.
Oh, wow were you going to probably do a whole series about a hundred videos talking about the challenges of screen time, but again, it’s really important to remember how you use screen time. Do you, can you screen time for a few different things? You might be finding out information, you might be using it to look at your calendar and your schedule, but chances are you also use it for escapism and motivation and inspiration, and those are often ways that our girls are actually using screen time. Plus on top of that to connect, remembering that this is how this generation communicates, so they’re using screen time to connect with others, to feel a sense of belonging and to have that escapism from their life sometimes. So if you are worried, and this is a complex issue that I’m not going to solve in 30 seconds, we’ve got a lot of other things that we can help you with this.
But in all honesty, you know, there are ways to mitigate some of that screen time, share the screen time, do some things together where you’re looking at, you know, Instagram or whatever it is together and share some of that screen time and make suggestions for activities where screens aren’t useful or needed and, and do spend that time with her. But don’t forget that that screen time is not meant to be a personal attack on you. She’s not doing it because she doesn’t like you or she doesn’t care about you or love you. She’s doing it because the screen is there and it’s giving her some sort of meeting this need that she’s not being met in that moment. With regards to the flip-flopping I mentioned before once again, so, so normal as far as teenage behaviour goes, and that’s really part of a brain and your emotions, both processing how she feels about something.
So she might say, yes, she’s going to go and try a trial at this new sport that she was going to do. And, great. You’ve gone. You’ve organised at all, changed the diary and everything. And then the next second nope she’s not going anymore, she’s changed her mind. Very frustrating, very inconvenient, but it’s worth once again, when you feel triggered and your responses to get frustrated at this moment, is to try to dig a little deeper and find out what is this flip-flopping about? Because chances are, she spent some time in the pro space where she is going to say yes and, and go and do this thing with you. And then while the brain is there, it started mapping out all the things that could go wrong and all the things she scared of. And it’s now built up an argument not to do that.
So she’s flipped here, the sign and gone, nope, not doing it anymore. And the brain is going to sit there and goes, well, hang on a second you’re going to miss out on some cool stuff and that other girl said it was really amazing, and maybe you should. So we’re back again. So for you, it’s just about trying to find that patience in amongst that sort of triggering behaviour to sit with her and let her communicate with her, why have we changed our mind? Can you just take me through the reasons… I’m not going to talk you out of it? I just want to understand what’s going on here and then let us sit with her decision for a couple of days. Don’t try to change it in the moment, let her sit with it. It’s part of her growth and her ability to mature.
And then if you really think she needs to go through with it, you can bring back in your boundaries around the fact that she made a commitment. She needs to go through with it, and you’re going to support her along the way. But ultimately remember that flip flopping as part of her brain, trying to learn who she is, what she likes, what’s important to her as well. And then we have the fighting, the snapping I hear a lot about disrespect when we’re speaking with parents. So this disrespectful kind of snapping rude behaviour fighting back. And again, this is coming from a place that is, it’s very hard not to take personally. And we do. We, we take it as a personal attack on ourselves whenever they speak to us like that. But at the end of the day, we again, and we have to put all the pieces together and we have to understand there are always things going on under the surface that we don’t know about throughout the tween and teen years, thanks to all of the brain development and the emotions.
What we’re seeing a lot of sensitivities and emotions are carried a lot higher and they’re easier to tap into. So when she is challenged by something that she either doesn’t feel comfortable with, or she disagrees with, or it’s interrupted the thought patterns I was talking about earlier, those emotions are very high and easy to grab. So chances are that you might get some of that sort of response, snapping response and things like that. So therefore my first tip is try not to take it personally. It’s really important to be able to just take a breath and walk away and then come back when she’s in a better place to speak. But at the same time, you know, you’re a parent and you are well within your rights to have boundaries and values that are set within your family and the framework. So as long as it’s been made clear that we don’t speak to each other like that, if you’re frustrated right now, or you’re annoyed, that’s fine.
You are absolutely allowed to. But “we’re both going to take a second here when you’re ready to chat to me without being rude about it, then we can try to pick this back up again”. I know that’s really hard to do in the moment. And sometimes it’s just not even possible you end up just yelling at each other and that’s how the breakdown is, but I can promise you that there’s, there’s something else going on underneath there, not, discounting also this identity phase behaviour that she goes through, which is just one hell of a ride for you. But essentially she’s always trying to be stamping her authority as well. She’s trying to become the person that she’s going to be. So sometimes that snapping behaviour is her way of, holding her own boundary or holding her own autonomy in how she believes to be.
It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t always make it acceptable, but hopefully it goes some way to explain a little bit of what’s going on. So for you, it is the utmost requirement of patience and maturity to be able to let her be rude and snappy and have that language walk away and come back and say, you know, I get that you’re upset or you’re frustrated. And maybe what I’m doing or saying is frustrating you, but we’re not going to get anywhere if we’re just rude to each other and sapping. So when you’re ready to have a chat I don’t mind, if you want to go grab a smoothie or take a walk or just sit on the couch here together, but just, we’re not going to get anywhere if it’s going to be like this. Okay. So hopefully that gives you a little bit of language to use with her as well, but just please remember, I think the whole point of this is that you might be seeing behaviours that seem to you defiance rude.
She doesn’t like you it’s really frustrating you, but what’s so important and very hard to do, but it’s really, really, really, really powerful is if you can stop yourself when you get triggered and recognise that there’s other stuff going on with her and chances are there is other stuff going on with you too. So if you can both just try not to react to those triggers as best as possible and unfortunately, you being the grownup that sits with you first, try not to get triggered or move with your triggers and don’t let that overshadow. What is actually going on with your daughter.