If your daughter vanishes into her room from the moment she returns home from school until dinner time and beyond, only occasionally acknowledging your presence to ask for money, or to reserve your chauffeuring services, welcome to adolescence. Adolescence is a period of rapid growth and change, both physical and emotional. It also represents a critical moment where your daughter begins to judge you as a Mother and how you handle certain situations. The maturation process may be characterized by mood swings, indifference, and changes in regular behavior patterns that have you asking yourself, “Where did my adorable baby girl go?” And eventually screaming, “Give her back!!”
The following are 3 coping mechanisms to assist you in maintaining a precious equilibrium amidst teen angst and endless drama:
- Acknowledge her personal choices. Once upon a time you dressed her in pink frilly stuff, and braided her hair. Say goodbye to those moments where you had control of her wardrobe. Now, the best thing you could possibly do for your teenage daughter anxious to create her own sense of identity is to acknowledge her style, and support her choices as long as they are within the guidelines that you establish to maintain personal rules of respect and dignity.
- Be the parent and not the friend. Your job as Mom is to set boundaries. When you try too hard to make your daughter “like you” and forget that the most important characteristic in the relationship is that she “respects you,” you risk transforming a black and white boundary into a gray area. If that well-defined boundary goes gray, your daughter will take advantage of your leniency to enter territories that should not be crossed. An adolescent does not need a parent-friend, but a parent who offers herself as a guide, who knows how to give limits, who knows how to provide safety and security.
- Be the adult. When your teenage daughter talks back or reacts with anger and frustration, it is important that you maintain your equilibrium and remain calm. While a tremendous shouting match in response to her provocations may seem tempting, any emotional reaction on your behalf will make the situation worse. Ever since she was little, when given an inch she took a couple of miles, during adolescence the same principle is in play, only the arguing mechanisms are more mature and the battle is more heated. It is normal for children to challenge adults and always push their limits a little further. Begin utilizing the strategy of transforming confrontation into dialogue as long as she maintains a respectful tone of voice and does not act in a dangerous manner.
By modeling appropriate behavior, your daughter will learn how to handle conflict by staying calm and maintaining self-control even in the most difficult of circumstances.
Mother – Daughter relationships are never very easy. Make sure you spend quality time with your daughter, ask her questions, have important conversations, and take mental health lunch dates together. The more time you spend together talking about her life, the more she will trust you in difficult moments. Choose your battles wisely, as everything seems like a tragedy to a teen. If she forgets to make her bed one day, overlook it. If her room just keeps getting dirtier and dirtier, hand her a vacuum cleaner when she seems less stressed. Avoid being obsessive compulsive and try to be more flexible especially if you see your daughter working hard.
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