At first I thought she said "Believe IN me," which I am used to hearing. But no. They meant when you ask me a question, and I give you an answer, believe me. Don't continue to question me after I have already answered you. Don't second guess me. Trust me. Believe me. I asked for examples, expecting the extra questioning was coming on tough topics like “do any of your friends drink alcohol” or “is there going to be a parent home at the party you want to go to this weekend.”
But those were not the examples at all. The girls said they expected “extra grilling” on serious issues. They were talking about repeated questioning in regular, run of the mill conversations. Instances where there was no reason to keep asking the same questions, but their Mom did it anyway. This made the girls a) feel like they aren’t trusted and b) less likely to share.
The more I listened, and reflected on my own conversations with my teenage daughter, I began to see the disconnect. The “questioning” the girls object to is often the way we attempt to keep a conversation going, or to get more information because we are curious. It isn’t so much that we are doubting them, it is that we want to be truly connected to everything going on with our girls. Everything isn’t a big deal, though, and not every story runs deep, according to them.
When we ask a question, and our daughters answer us, they want us to take them at their word. When we continue to ask the same question in multiple ways, the girls take this as us not believing what they are telling us. It really annoys them.
And, it makes them defensive, in case you didn’t notice.
Part of helping girls develop confidence in their ability to speak out is helping them learn to trust their voices. If they communicate clearly, and we continue to question their message, with "are you sure" and "is that all" and "did it really" we inadvertently tell them that maybe their message wasn’t that effective. See where I am going with this?
There are times to probe the hell out of a story. No doubt about it. And, there are times when we need to learn to take our girls at their word.
To learn more about specific language that will help you daughter open up, what the girls want you to know, and to gain tools for empowering yourself and your daughter, join me on April 19th from 2-4 for a Mom’s only workshop! REGISTER HERE