Mothers are from Jupiter and Teenage Daughters from SaturnPosted by junie on Oct 5, 2011 in Relationships | 15 comments
They say men are from Mars and women from Venus. How about mothers are from Jupiter and teenage daughters from Saturn? I have three daughters. The youngest one is a teenager. Although I’ve gone through the teenage ‘madness’ before with her older sisters, sometimes I feel like I’m banging my head against a brick wall!
Raising a teenage daughter when you’re a couple has challenges. Nevertheless, when you’re faced with all the responsibility as a single mother, it’s even tougher! I am a mother and a father wrapped into one. Sometimes I don’t know which hat I’m supposed to wear.
Questions and more questions
Questions fly through my mind like speeding arrows. Am I being too protective? Am I too overbearing? Am I too strict? Am I too controlling? Am I as good mother? Apart from the endless ‘AM I‘ questions, there are also the ‘WHY‘ questions? Why did I acquire this single-mother status? Why is it so difficult being a mother? Why is my teenage daughter so rude, moody, bad-tempered, lazy, snappy and rebellious?
I could go on forever asking questions, but that wouldn’t solve any of the problems I’m facing as a single mother. I have to come up with solutions otherwise our home would be like a Battlefront.
Mothers versus teenage daughters
Let’s look at a scenario that happened recently, which prompted me to write this article. I went into my daughter’s room to have a quick chat with her. Before I opened my mouth, my eyes travelled down to her legs. She was wearing a black dress which was about 12 inches above her knees, and it just about covered her bottom. All I saw was legs on show.
I told her that I didn’t think it was right for her to go out dressed like that. She’s a beautiful girl and attracts attention from men, especially mature men. Maybe it’s because she looks older than her 17 years. I reminded her that she should think about the type of image she is portraying in that dress. Before I could finish my sentence, she responded angrily, “I don’t care what people think about my image. I dress to please myself!” She added that it didn’t matter what she wore because men have always looked at her, even when she dressed in school uniform.
Her voice gradually increased from a low whisper, which is how she normally speaks, into a high-pitched irate tone. She refused to see my point of view and glared at me, ready for the mother-daughter battle. She claimed that she had nothing to wear (her wardrobe is full of clothes), and if I didn’t like what she had on, I should choose an outfit for her. At that point, I turned around and left her bedroom.
If I had stayed and argued, we probably would have had a screaming match. I felt my body heat rising, and I had to cool down. I walked downstairs, sat on my chair in front of the computer and started to write. I needed to let off steam.
I wasn’t a perfect teenager, far from it. Yet, one thing I would not have dared to do, and that was to argue with my mother. My generation was raised to show respect to our elders, whether they were family members or not. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I believe that value is declining.
Am I a control freak?
My daughter seems to think that I was born an adult. She’s always telling me that I don’t understand how she feels, what she’s going through, what she wants and what teenagers are like. Another favourite line of hers is that I’m the only mother who worries about what her teenage daughter wears. She constantly moans that I’m too protective, and I should allow her to make her own mistakes. Am I not supposed to guide her, so she doesn’t make the same mistakes that I did? Isn’t that what mothers do?
I usually text her when she’s out to make sure she’s OK, because I worry if I don’t hear from her, or if she’s running late. She complains that it’s embarrassing because none of her friend’s mums text them, and they’re allowed to stay out as late as they like. I try to reassure her that I’m concerned about her well-being because I care: she thinks I’m being overbearing and controlling.
Is this the answer?
It doesn’t matter what I do, I can’t win. I’ve spoken to other mothers, and they tell me that they have the same arguments with their teenage daughters. They also get accused of texting their daughters; but a mother instinctively worries about their child’s safety. Knowing that I’m not the only texting mother made me feel better, but it doesn’t solve the disagreements with my daughter. We seem to argue about everything and anything.
It’s time for a new approach just to get some peace in the house. I’m going to try some other strategies with her. I’ve come up with a list of things to do:
- I will try very hard to stay calm when she flies off the handle. Instead of taking on board every negative reaction she make towards me, I’ll try to remember that fluctuating hormones do play a big role in her life now.
- I won’t criticise what she’s wearing because I’m sure it’s only a phase she’s going through. She reminded me today, that I used to wear mini skirts as well!
- I’ll calmly walk away when we start our regular argument sessions because one of us has to stay level-headed.
- I’ll do my best to show some love, even when I get hot under the collar.
- I’ll ask her nicely why she didn’t wash up, hoover, or put some clothes in the washing machine when she’s been home all day, instead of shouting at her, as soon as I step in through the door. However, I must remember to say ‘hello’ first.
- I’ll try very hard to limit the number of text messages I send when she’s out with friends and give her some more freedom. I may allow her to stay out untill 10p.m. instead of 9p.m.
I’ve used ‘I’ a lot, but this should be a two-way mutual decision or agreement. The best option is to settle this mother-daughter war out of our house, and in a different environment. So, the first thing I’ll do is to take her to the ice cream parlour, buy her a milkshake (her favourite drink), sit with her and have a peaceful, sensible mother and daughter chat. I will tell her what I propose to do and urge her to come up with some workable strategies of her own, to cope with her moods and attitude towards me.
We both need to compromise, support each other, accept our differences, work as a mother and daughter team and be friends as well.
One day when she’s older and has her own children, she will understand where I’m coming from. Until then I will pray for for patience and tolerance and try to be the best mum and dad I can be.
Can any of you mothers relate to the challenges that I face? Do you have any advice or tips about how you cope with your teenage daughters? I would love to hear your comments.
Photo credit: Africa
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