How do I connect with my teen while she’s crossing that bridge from moody to marvelous?
Michele Borba is a leading child expert and the author of several (excellent) parent books. She wrote a great article called "Secrets to Thawing a Teen’s Cold Shoulder" in which she writes:
“Research confirms that their brains are actually wired differently so we should expect them to be a bit 'difficult' and a unique species.”
In the article Borba outlines four steps you can take to "thaw things out," such as avoiding “communication blockers” like lecturing or sarcasm and learning “relationship builders” or new ways to respond. The article is definitely helpful and worth reading.
Psychologist Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., wrote a great article called "Surviving Your Child’s Adolescence: The challenge of mothering an adolescent daughter." In it, he describes mother-daughter relationships as “extremely conflicting” and “intense.” He also asserts that conflict is “normal” and to be expected:
“Among other things, conflict can be an act of intimacy when opposing parties communicate significant feelings and thoughts about some difference between them, coming to know each other and be known more deeply than before…they learn more about each other and the different values and perspectives between them. In this way, conflict can also be a process for creating acceptance of significant differences in the relationship.
"When a mother won't let go of her daughter and allow independence or when the woman won't accept her daughter's lifestyle and respect her individuality, alienation can build, estrangement can follow, and bitterness can result. The reverse of this situation can also occur to sorrowful effect where the daughter cannot relinquish her dependent hold on her mother or refuses to accept the different definition of womanhood that her mother embodies.”
In other words, both mother and daughter need to learn how to have an adult relationship, respecting each others' independence and individualism.
Actress Bette Davis once said:
“If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”
I guess that means I’m a parent and somehow I’ll survive, just like my mother did when I was a moody 15-year-old.