It goes like this: Fear of your reaction equals them shutting down.
I know it's probably so hard to stay calm if your daughter is telling you something that's hard to hear, especially if it's something that's hurtful or harmful to her, but she only feels safe enough to reveal what's on her mind and in her heart if it will be received in a calm way. Yes, in those moments when everything in you wants to flip out but instead you take contrary action, you will deserve an Oscar® for your performance! But we want you to get the relationship you are craving, right?
Here are a few girls' words on why staying calm serves both mother and daughter:
"In middle school, my 'friends' turned against me without warning—one day when my mom asked me how my day was, I exploded and told her everything that had really been going on. She just listened with tears in her eyes, and I spilled my heart out, and she gave me a huge hug and some advice. Because she didn't overreact, I never again hesitated to come to her with things going on in my life."
— Delia, age 16
"The one basic rule that has worked in my relationship with my mom is no flipping out—even if in the moment I am telling my mom something she doesn't particularly agree with or approve of. Mothers: This means no widening eyes, sudden gasps or wrinkling of the brow. Ha! This type of behavior has been proven to prevent future instances of opening up!" — Kimberly, age 18
Next: Don't rush to fix the problem