Who Has The PIN Number To Your Daughter's Emotional Bank Account?
Sep 27, 2017
The teenage years are an emotionally turbulent time for many young women. We have mentioned in a previous post how the teenage brain literally rewires at this stage and feelings can be incredibly intense. Sadly, this daily emotional rollercoaster can leave the young women in your life miserable and exhausted.
We want to do all we can to help our daughters, nieces, students… but how can we fix the things going on internally?
It’s true, we can’t completely stop the highs and lows, but we can help her to manage her emotions with tools to bolster her emotional bank account to cover the hard times.
We can help her to add greater levels of security to this emotional bank account, to prevent people from draining her.
We can also support her so that she invests her time, effort and emotions in ways that will pay dividends - improving the way that she feels each day.
Who Is Draining Her Emotional Bank Account?
One of the quickest ways to help your daughter to feel better is to plug the holes in her emotional bank account. By this, we mean helping her to identify the issues that drain her of energy and positivity.
Frenemies can be a big problem. These are those friends or family, usually girls, who seem fine at first glance, but tend to be especially needy. There is not a healthy reciprocal relationship, where both friends lean on each other when they need support.
You will quickly notice if your daughter has a friend like this in their circle. And while you won’t be thanked for telling her who she can and can’t hang out with, you can express your concerns in a non-judgemental way.
You can start by asking how she feels when she is around certain people. Loss of energy, headaches, sadness and confusion are tell-tale signs that a ‘friend’ is actually an energy bank account.
What Are Energy Vampires?
According to Psychology Today, energy vampires are typically personality disordered people, who tend to be:
- Intrusive, showing poor boundaries.
- Overly dramatic, making mountains out of molehills.
- Overly critical, finding fault with just about everyone and everything in their lives.
- Chronic complainers, rarely finding anything to their liking or meeting their satisfaction.
- Argumentative, having trouble agreeing with others, even on things that seem insignificant or inconsequential.
- Relentlessly demanding and persistent, being unable to take no for an answer.
- Constantly negative, always seeing the glass half empty.
- Unable to accept responsibility, blaming everyone but themselves for their actions and problems.
If your daughter can identify someone like this within her friendship group, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the impact that they have on her emotionally.
How To Limit Emotionally Draining Friends
Let’s be realistic. It is very hard for young women to cut friends out of their lives. Dynamics within friendship groups are highly complicated, and not talking to one person, can cause issues with a whole web of others.
Plus, how can you stop interacting with someone that shares the same classes, dinner halls and social events? It is not easy, particularly when social media enables connections to remain active 24 hours a day.
Even with these challenges, it is possible for your daughter to set boundaries. Discuss what a good friendship should look like and encourage her to respect herself enough to invest her time in those kinds of connections only.
Simply directing her energy elsewhere, in friends that are good for her mental health can be enough to improve her emotional distress. While there is likely to be some backlash from the frenemy, encourage her to keep interactions polite as much as possible.
Standing by our boundaries can be tough, but it is a life lesson that will pay dividends.
Where To Invest Energy
Now that we know where your daughter should limit the time and energy that she spends, we can help her to focus on where to invest it instead.
Good friends are extremely valuable and can last for life. If your daughter has made a great, healthy connection with a peer, show her how to invest in that relationship by being a great friend.
Family time is also important, as it is here that your daughter should feel safe and unjudged. Regardless of the fact that she is trying out her wings and wanting to be independant, knowing that her family is there for her through the challenges is priceless. Consider it a different form of learning to walk. She has to let go but wants to know you are right behind her. This will be a huge help towards her self-confidence.
Aside from friendships and relationships with others, it is also essential that your daughter learns how to feel happy in her own company. Time alone is valuable, as this is when she gets to explore our own likes and dislikes. To discover her own preferences.
Being alone can feel weird at first, so make it a normal part of your household routine. Taking time for yourself as a parent is a great way to model this.
Activities that can get her used to being alone include reading, walking, listening to music and journalling.
The teenage years are full of opportunity and possibilities for the future. The sad paradox is that they are also some of the most turbulent with regards to emotions. While this is unavoidable to some extent, there are things that we can do to help the young women in our lives to cope with the highs and lows she will experience daily.
By considering her emotions as a bank account, we can identify those that are stealing from it. Once identified, these frenemies, or emotional vampires can be kept within boundaries that allow our daughters to keep themselves as safe as possible from being emotionally drained.
In addition, we can encourage her to find ways to keep her emotional bank account topped up, so that when the hard times come, she is in a more resilient place.
We can’t remove all of the challenges that she will face, but we can help her to overcome them in a healthier state of mind.