These three simple phrases can help parents ‘empower’ and ‘give agency’ to their teenage daughters

 Mother and teenage daughter.
Mother and teenage daughter.

Chelsey Goodan, author of the new book Underestimated: The Wisdom and Power of Teenage Girls, has revealed how parents can better 'empower' their teenage daughters using three poignant phrases. 

Parenting teenagers can be a difficult task, fraught with worries both about them and the world they live in. While we're concerned with how much sleep teens should be getting and stressing about their ‘annoying’ habits (that are actually a sign of good parenting), their minds aren't at rest either.

Recent research has shown that teens are riddled with anxiety about their futures. Nearly half of teenagers are concerned about having children and, in even sadder news, teenagers in the UK believe their lives will be worse than those of their parents, as they worry about climate change and the increased cost of living.

All these worries on both sides cause stress and can have a huge impact on the relationship between parent and teen. But tutor and mentor Chelsey Goodan, who has penned a new book titled Underestimated: The Wisdom and Power of Teenage Girls including a whole host of parenting tips, has revealed what she believes is the one thing that can help parents of teenage girls to not only strengthen their relationship, but also 'empower' their child.

Speaking to TODAY, Goodan explained: "Oftentimes, they have these big feelings that everyone's scared of," Goodan says of teenage girls. "And the girls are also really tired of everyone characterising those as so negative."

She believes parents can better understand, communicate, and bond with their teenage daughters if they simply try to better react to their emotions and give them the space to solve their own problems.

"These feelings of, difficult ones, like disappointment, frustration - those are normal human emotions," Goodan says. "If we, instead of making them feel bad about it, actually just held space and were like, 'Yeah, that sucks. I'm so sorry you're feeling that way,' instead of being like 'Oh, I'm going to come in and fix it! I'm going to tell you my solution! I'm going to slap positivity on it!'"

Instead, Goodan says to ' empower the girl' and ask her what she thinks the solution is. She suggests using one of three poignant phrases to give them agency; "What do you think the solution is? How would you like to handle this? What do you need right now?"

But even with helpful phrases, it can be hard to begin these conversations, especially when a child's emotions are running high. But Goodan has some tricks.

Her first tip is to listen and not judge. "Approach with genuine curiosity in your heart [and] no secret agenda," she adds. She's not the first to suggest this advice, as teenagers aren't known for taking unsolicited advice and parents are often left feeling like their teenager is tuning you out.

Her second piece of advice is to 'phrase everything as a question to create that curiosity.' She explains, "That gives her a sense of agency and choice in the matter. She feels respected, like her voice is part of the conversation."

The third and final piece of advice she has is to 'affirm with specifics.' But what does that mean? "Say, 'Hey, that was a smart idea! I really like that you said that. I hadn't thought of it that way.' And let her absorb that she has good ideas because that creates self-trust."

Parenting a teen? Keep up to date with family news like this is the real reason why your teenager is sleeping in late, and it’s not because they’re lazy - here's what the experts told us, and what to expect when your teenager starts dating - plus, how to make sure they're safe and feel comfortable opening up to you about it, as well as your favourite TV show could influence your teen's future career: The Great British Bake Off and Grey's Anatomy are among the series inspiring 60% of teenagers.