She doesn’t need you to solve her problems.
It’s difficult for parents to handle when their tween is hurting. Oftentimes parents want to fix the problem as quickly as possible in order to take away any hurt their child is experiencing and to calm their own worry. But think about the last time you told someone about something you were struggling with and they immediately tried to fix it for you. Often when this happens it can feel invalidating and frustrating and even like the person isn’t really listening. It is unlikely that you will continue to open up to this person if they continue to respond in this way. Just like it is for you, it can be frustrating for your tween when you try to solve her problems for her.
She is learning to make her own decisions.
Unlike past years when your child would look to you to resolve issues for her, she is now entering a time of immerging autonomy and independence and needs the chance to work things out herself. Your tween will be much more likely to continue to open up to you if you approach her problems first with active listening and validation.
What to say instead.
Not sure what to say? Try, “that must be really hard” or “what was that like for you?” Not sure if she needs a listening ear or advise? Try, “I can tell this is really important to you. Do you need me to listen or to help you figure it out?”
Next post in series: She needs to know you’re in charge.