Guiding Girls Through Emotional Ups and Downs 

by | Sep 27, 2023 | Teenagers | 0 comments

Argumentative, emotional, withdrawn, chaotic, impulsive.  These are just a few words commonly used to describe teenagers.  Teens can be complicated and their emotional ups and downs are often confusing and challenging for parents.  My former parent client, Gina* put it this way:   “I never know which Avery* I’m going to get.  One minute she’s sweet and open, and the next minute she’s screaming that I don’t know anything and hiding out in her room!”   


Teen moodiness is not just challenging for parents, it’s difficult for teens too.  When they get caught in an emotional tidal wave, their focus zeros in on what’s wrong.  Because they are still learning how to manage difficult feelings, they can easily slip into a tunnel of doom and gloom, which impacts everyone around them, especially their parents.  


One way to minimize emotional uproars and help your teenage daughter effectively manage her triggers and reactions is to build her Emotional Intelligence (EQ).


When teens have a strong EQ, they are able to recognize and understand their emotions and use that understanding to inform their thinking and actions. A high EQ is also connected to awareness of self and others, which, in turn,  supports the development of empathy.  Most importantly, teens can use their EQ to gain control of their emotions and manage stressful feelings.   


So how can you boost your teenage daughter’s Emotional Intelligence and guide her through emotional ups and downs?


Be Emotional

An honest expression of emotions is a key component of a strong EQ.  You can model and encourage your teen to talk about her feelings.   Practice what is called a “think aloud” where you share how you are feeling and how you respond to the feeling.  As you model how to process and express difficult feelings, your teen will learn how to do the same.   


Listen and Reflect

When your teen is ready to share, listen without judgment and validate her feelings and experiences, even if you don’t fully understand or agree with them.  You can go a step further by helping her identify her triggers.  Pointing out what sets off a reaction by saying simply, “I notice you get —– when you ——-” or, “It seems like —– is really upsetting you.  Is that right?” 


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Encourage Journaling 

Writing is one of the most effective ways to build personal consciousness and EQ.  Journals provide teens with a safe outlet to reflect on their feelings, experiences, hopes, and dreams.  I know many teens have a hard time getting started with journaling and can often get stuck.  If that’s the case for your daughter, share these prompts: 

Something that went well today…

I am proud of myself for…

Something I accomplished today…

I had a positive experience with…

I felt good about myself when…

I was proud of someone else…

Today was interesting because…


Practice Responding vs. Reacting

In my coaching practice, I often talk with girls about the difference between reacting and responding. Reactions are instant, usually done without much thought or foresight, whereas responses are more thoughtful and productive. Responses require pause.  When caught in the emotional tidal wave, teens are much more likely to react even though a thoughtful response would be more productive.  You can teach your teen how to respond thoughtfully by directly modeling it.  Next time your teen’s moodiness sets you off, practice responding by saying, “I need some time to consider what you’re saying and think about the best response.”    


Get an Expert

If your attempts at modeling and coaching your teen are only leading to more frustration and fighting, it’s time to get outside support.  Through parenting coaching,  you can learn a new way to communicate and connect with your teen, one that promotes a positive relationship.  Through teen coaching, your daughter will find a neutral outlet to process hard feelings and experiences.  She will receive guidance and tools that foster emotional intelligence and the development of other crucial life skills. 



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