Elizabeth Berkley with girls
Photo: Gail Albert Halaban
PAGE 2
More than anything, girls say they want to know that you care. I know you're starting to feel like eye rolls are becoming second nature for your daughter. But believe it or not, she needs to know that how she feels and what she's challenged by matter to you—far more than you might think! So yes, reach out to her and ask questions. The trick seems to be starting small and easy, and letting her know you're there for her without pushing.

Here are some specific pointers from the girls:

"Every day when my mom comes home from work, she asks me about my day. If I don't seem talkative, she tells me that she's there to talk to me whenever I'm ready or want to. This gives me space to come to her." — Sophie, age 15

"I had been holding onto a lot of anger toward my mom after my parents' divorce. To start building trust with me, she just started to casually say, 'Hey, I want you to know you can always come to me with anything and I will keep it between us.' Gradually, I started letting the wall down. Trust me, we hear what you're saying whether we choose to acknowledge it in that moment or not." — Maya, age 16

"I think it's important we don't feel the expectation to tell our moms everything at first. My mom makes me feel very comfortable. She asks me easy questions to start off with, like about school or a light topic without controversy, and then slowly asks me more personal questions. By that point I don't even realize how personal the questions get." — Ariel, age 14

"I think that casual mother/daughter activities are a great way to get the communication going in a non-pressured way. Like on a weekend, my mom and I will go for a run and get lunch or mani/pedis—things like that, that are just for us. That lets me perceive her not only as a parental figure, but also as a friend who can enjoy the same things I do." — Michaela, age 17

"I think the best thing my mom has done that lets me open up to her is she's not overbearing. Just a 'Is anything bothering you, because I'm here to help?' doesn't get on my back too much. Don't hesitate to ask—girls don't always like to be the ones to bring up stuff first. I know some of my friends' mothers harass them and make it a big deal that they refuse to talk. But when they do that, girls tend to think that whatever they tell them will become a big deal, as well." — Emma, age 18

Next: Create a no-judgment zone


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