A Letter To My Anxious Teen Daughter

Is it best to approach your anxious teen with caution and candor?

A Letter To My Anxious Teen Daughter

Dear Daughter,

Something you said last night stuck a chord with me, and I've been thinking about it all day. Yes, it so happens that I think of you and your brother on and off all day, wondering how you are and getting myself ready for whatever needs to be done at night—whether it is a drive to a soccer game or a parent-teacher meeting.

You said you were bothered by the fact that I kept asking you if something was wrong and said you were only cranky because I was not happy with you earlier. I should have said something right then and there, but so often I speak when I am tired or overwhelmed and the words just don't come out the right way. And then you roll your eyes, and I get more frustrated until we’re both angry.

I am putting this down on paper so neither of us have to have a dispute while you're studying for exams and I have a millions things on my mind.

I heard you say that I came home and started growling at you. It's funny because I remember it so much differently. I remember calling to ask if you wanted anything at the store before I got home. I remember thinking that I should probably put the clean dishes away but realized that it's a small chore and one you could do in a few minutes between studying so it should not be a big deal. I remember trying to ask you silly questions about missing the bus, which only made you grumpier, so I decided that I would leave you alone. If my silence was seen as a sulking mother who was angry at you, it was not. I was trying to give you room as I know you are worried about your upcoming exams. I remember thinking, "I'll make her tea—that will help," but I don't think you realized it was my small way of showing you I cared. When your brother was in the bathtub, I thought, "I'll clean her room—that will help show her I care." I picked up dirty clothes amidst the clean clothes, folded and put stuff on hangers. I picked up garbage off the floor and took it away. 

So yes, when you decide to take a shower and leave two wet towels on the floor, I admit it—I lost my temper. I felt that I was trying hard to help you. All I wanted was to not see more mess left behind. I know you don't want to hear it, but I'm tired and overwhelmed, too. I know that I should be able to calm my temper, but you should also be able to pick up two towels off the floor, regardless of an impending History exam. 

Let's start over tonight. I am going to go come home, and if you want anything picked up, text me. When I am home, I would gladly make you some tea or help you with your studying as long as your lunch bag is put away and there are no towels on the floor. Deal?

Always remember that I love you. Maybe I don't say it enough, but you and your brother are the two most important things in my life. I would do anything for you. I hope you never doubt it. You are my special girl, even if we make each crazy something with towels and tea.

I love you,


I am an energetic, bilingual social business professional who builds online presences and communities through a strong work ethic and values based on mutual respect and creativity. I enjoy writing about social businesses and life lessons.