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Hey Mom, Pop Culture Connects You​

Photograph by Getty Images

Adolescent girls are known for their media savvy, and so much of what they read and watch can seem way out of your realm. But, research shows that talking to your daughter about popular culture can give you opportunities to:

  • Understand where young people stand on important issues.
  • Talk about challenging topics in non-threatening contexts.
  • Convey your values regarding specific behavior. When parents voice their values to their teens, even if it doesn't seem like they are listening, it can affect teens' behaviors in positive ways.

How to do it:

  • Read what she's reading. Watch what she's watching. If you see your daughter watching a show on TV, sit down with her. Pretty Little Liars and The Voice may not be your favorite shows, but if they're hers, consider yourself a fan.
  • Pull in news stories. Happenings like Kim Kardashian's nude photos flooding everyone's social media feeds can lead to insightful talks.
  • Talk to her like an adult. Show her that the things that matter to her, matter to you. You don't need to talk to her like you are her friend, but avoid a condescending tone.
  • Ask questions. Don't be too pointed at first. Ask about relationship dynamics, or cultural themes you see. "Do your friends talk to one another like that?" "Do you think media shows healthy relationships well?"
  • State your beliefs. Tell her what you are thinking on the subject. See what she says. Knowing where you stand can influence her behavior later on. Importantly, getting ideas to "stick" takes repeated conversations over time.

This article was originally published in the Planet Daughter newsletter, a roundup of research, news, and expert perspectives just for fathers of preteen and teenage daughters. Sign up or tell your partner to sign up here!

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