Elizabeth Berkley and teenage girls
Photo: Josh Lehrer
Being a teen is tougher than ever! Times have changed, and your daughter's going through troubles, doubts and concerns that you couldn't have imagined when you were her age. So how can you help? Every month, actress and philanthropist Elizabeth Berkley will answer your questions and offer advice to guide you along the way.
I wonder if my daughter is really happy? How do I discuss the recent mood change in my once-lively girl? How can I ask my daughter how she is handling pressures in school? How do I show interest in my daughter's problems without being perceived as intrusive? How can I really get my daughter to open up about her relationship with her boyfriend? How can I know if he is respecting her?

These are just some of the questions so many of you have wondered or worried about. After receiving thousands like these, I thought I would start this journey we are on together in this column with the real question underneath: "How do I get my daughter to talk to me about what's going on in her life?"

So many moms have told me it would bring them peace if they could have a closer relationship with their daughters, with lots of open communication and sharing. Well, I've been hearing you on that and guess what! Your daughters are telling me they want that, too. But as we remember from being teen daughters ourselves, it isn't always easy, right? So whether you already have a good relationship but just want a few more tips, or you feel like the door between you and your daughter is firmly nailed shut (I promise, it's not...it's never too late to regain your daughter's trust!), let's help you figure out how to make that communication flow happen.

As I shared with you before, I've put together an advisory board of amazing Ask-Elizabeth girls—ages 14-19, from all across the country—who offer their stories, insights and from-the-trenches advice. Together, the girls and I are opening up the treasure trove of teenage girl experience and giving you a peek inside, revealing what has worked best to make them feel safe enough to open up to their mothers. They'll also talk about what your daughter will actually be more receptive to when it comes to the great guidance you have to offer her.

Here's their collection of ideas about what works, what doesn't and why—and of course some thoughts from yours truly!

First: How to open the door gently

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