Fun things to do with Teenage Daughters

Or, tricky ways to get your teenage daughters to hang with you…

A few of my friends with smaller girls (under 10) will admit they really truly fear the “TEENAGE” years ahead – that age where many young, sweet, chatty, sit-on-your-lap little girls suddenly become internalized balls of confusion, near which you are no longer welcome.
I’m lucky MY daughters are still super sweet (when they’re not trying to slip something past me – hear me, girls – if I don’t already know what you’re up to, I find out!), but even so it takes work to keep a relationship between teen girls and a Mom going.
Here are some things we’ve done since the big “alien capture” that seems to occur somewhere in the middle of their Grade 8 year…

1. Dates.
We often make a night of a movie together – whether just two of us or all three.
Sometimes A and Momma Bear go on “reading dates” to Chapters where we buy lattes (or hot chocolate) and sit and read whatever we’ve picked up, sitting together but not having to talk unless we want to.
Sometimes B and Momma Bear go on “shopping dates” where she spends all my money on something I’ll probably never be able to wear! (I like it better when it’s s’thing I can borrow…)

The first day “out” of school, the three of us girls go for “Tea” at the Secret Garden to celebrate, look at their yearbooks, talk about their goodbyes, etc.

2. Encourage them to go out with their friends.
Shocking but true – the more you encourage them to have friends over, invite friends to dinner, but also to go out with their friends without you, the more they may open up about their friends to you. I’ve always preached to the girls to have a balance – family-only time, friend-only time, friends-as-part-of-our-family time, etc.

3. Dye their hair for them.
Remember those games of trust where you have to fall and “trust” the other person catches you? A teenage girl allowing you to (permanently!) touch their hair is like this game for them.
I’m getting quite pro at putting red streaks in A’s hair!

4. Get tattoos together.
OK, so this one may be extreme. But, for B and Momma Bear, this was actually the plan for awhile. It opened up a number of good conversations, too.
In the end, she got a belly piercing and I just watched/took photos/almost fainted. BUT, I’m sure we still bonded in there somewhere…

5. Read their Magazines.
Never thought I could get so into Teen Vogue! We flip through and have to pick one item on each page that we’d actually wear. Often it’s a pretty tough call.

6. Learn to do a French Mani.
We paint our toes together often. Besides Husband complaining of FUMES, it’s good clean fun. We’ve started collecting a pretty nice group of OPI colors in all kinds of crazy and dark and fun colors. A has also learned to do a mean French Mani and treats all kinds of people who come by. (Good to give teens skills they can use for relating to young’er’uns when they come by).

7. Dinner around the WORLD.
The girls grew out of “birthday parties” for family ages ago. Now, for our family birthday celebrations with all the grandparents/aunts/uncles/etc, the bday Kid gets to pick a country and we make the whole meal from their cuisine. The non-bday Kid gets into it too, helping with decorations etc. It’s also a good way to get them interested in all kinds of food – they still enjoy it, and it seems a contest to see will get stuck with our least favorite food in the end, Chinese…

8. GO TO HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL AND SAW (1 through 5, apparently…).
Ya, well, not generally “adult” favorites, but if they’re willing to LET you be seen with them and their friends, GO. (Even if you have to cover your eyes… and plug your ears… )

9. Get a facebook account. And MSN. And…
Not only do I chat with B and A a lot on facebook, but I chat with their friends and see SOME OF what’s happening in their “inner circles”.

10. Read their books.
I’m still waiting to have time to read “Twilight”, but I did manage to read MOST of the Harry Potter books in time to be excited for the movies with them.

11. Learn to do cool hairstyles (and makeup).
STUDY the fashion mags and learn to do some of the hairstyles and makeup. Practice on them
(and their friends!) – you’ll become “the indispensible Mom” by Grad and Prom. (PLUS, you can have a LITTLE bit of control over how “HO” that makeup can get…). I wish I’d done more of this one…

12. BAKE.
Sometimes when we ACTUALLY have a Friday (or Sat) night FREE with NOTHING pre-set to do (shocking but true), we grab a laptop, a stack of DVD’s and head to the kitchen to see how many recipes we can bake in one night. Husband loves these nights…
A and B both also each still have baking parties just before Christmas every year where they invite 2 or 3 friends and they make 4 or 5 recipes and split them up to take home. I used to be “needed” to help out, but now that they’re older I can sit and enjoy and have a latte and read my own ADULT Vogue while they rush about making an incredible mess of my kitchen. We all love it.

13. Watch THEIR Tv shows.
I am totally addicted to all kinds of shows I would never have found on my own, but watch now because A and/or B like watching them and talking about the characters. We don’t actually have cable at our house, but they see the shows elsewhere and I catch up on DVD or You Tube. (Gossip Girl, anyone???).

(wow – we do a lot together!)

14. Create.
Every Christmas I do almost all of the shopping/planning/wrapping/etc for the grandparents, brothers, Husband, cousins, etc. But I insist that the girls and I HANDMAKE the gifts for the aunts and uncles. Last year it was a bit painful – sewing homemade printed patches of photos we’d taken onto Meinhardt’s cloth shopping bags, filling them of calendars that featured the 4 kids’ artwork, baked goods and felt snowflake coasters – but we (mostly) did it together!

15. Teach fancy table decorating.
Not only does it get them involved in helping at special dinner parties, but it’s something they can really take charge of after awhile and it takes one thing off MY plate!

16. Get into their homework.
When they have a question with a subject, I really try to help. I’ll have to re-read texts, google, stretch my memory, etc, and it can take up to an hour to help out with ONE question, but, hey, it’s still time together, no? AND I get to be smart! I’ve even tried helping them with their Mandarin…

17. One word – STARBUCKS.
Once a week I pick up the girls and we head straight out to Starbucks. Husband thinks this is silly because he bought me a barista machine for home, but somehow going out is better, less distracting. We sit and chat – sometimes about big stuff, mostly about nothing in particular.

18. Another word – ROCKBAND! (or Guitar Hero, whatever they prefer)
We could spend hours at video games – Husband isn’t as into it as I am, but it’s still fun, even for us 3 girls. Tt is getting into it now too and, at 4 1/2, is singing and drumming along.


19. Plan a party.
I love planning parties with the girls – and I THINK they love it too! I even enjoy planning parties for them that Husband and I aren’t “invited” to (because apparently at 16 it’s just not cool to have your parents around anymore. REALLY?? well, ya, it’s not personal, riiiiight??).

Ok, my mental list is about exhausted – I’d hoped to get an “even” 20 items that we do around here, but alas. So I’ve asked the girls friends what “fun” things they do with their mothers/parents… I’ll see if I get anything to provide an update, or at least complete that last item I’d wanted to think of!

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