Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Enemy

..that is me.

At one time, I was the most important person in her world and she could not stand to be away from me.  She slept in my bed for 12 years.  In kindergarten, she cried for hours when I left her at school.  For  months.  When she went to Europe with my dad at age 11, she sobbed for hours on the plane.  We both struggled with separation, but it was healthy for both of us.

I am writing about my teenager daughter who is about to turn 16.  She rarely seems to need me anymore and is openly disrespectful much of the time.  I am glad she is growing up and developing her independence.  But does she have to be so hostile

Of course she does need me, but I'm not sure how to parent her.  She and I were alone for many years and she is a bit "spoiled."  It is so hard for me to "put my foot down."  I just expect that she will make the right decisions.  However, she has made some BIG mistakes in the last year and I worry about her impulsive behavior and eagerness to please anyone except me.  But I am also so proud of her.  I'm proud of who she is and what she has accomplished.

Yet, I also worried that she is SO self-centered.  She never buys me a gift or acknowledges me at Christmas, my birthday or Mother's Day.  But she wants me to help her be generous with her friends.  This really does feel like a thankless job.  But more than that, I want her to be a generous human being who recognizes the needs and pain of others.  I'm not sure if she does. 

How much of this is normal teenage angst and drama and how much is a sign that things are not going well, I do not know.  She is a confused girl.  the world sees her as this very together girl who is good at many things.  I see deeper and it worries me.

I am tired of being the enemy.  I love her so much and want her to know that I am on her side.  But realistically, this isn't going to happen soon.

If any moms of teenage girls have any insight, it would be greatly appreciated.  My other daughter turned 13 last week!  I have only been her mom for 2 1/2 years, so this will be a different experience.  BUT...2 teenage daughters?  I'm not sure if I'm ready.


Dia por Dia said...

Happy, happy birthday... I don't currently parent a teen girl but have in the past and have been a counselor to way too many to count. This is such a challenging age for some kids and parents too. As a mom we see who they are, were, and might be becoming. As a teen, they are working so hard to figure it all out and have so many conflicting messages to sort through. My mom gave me one piece of advice a long time ago that really helped. She told me when I was a teenager that she trusted I was always doing the best that I could to be who I wanted to be and she wanted to support me even if she didn't agree with me. In my work with teens I always LISTENED, never gave advice that wasn't asked for (even have the scars on my tongue and cheeks to prove it,) encouraged them to KEEP TALKING AND TALKING. This often opened up a communication that helped keep me in the loop no matter what. I did this when parenting teen girls and I became known as the mom who listened. When my girls saw others coming to me for advice my girls started to see me as a help not a hinderance. It is so hard but she needs you more now that ever--no matter what she says!

mindfulness said...

Thank you for your comments. I know I need to focus on the listening part. It's SO hard as a mom of a teen that you see is making mistakes. But in the long run, that is what they need.

Yet, I think I'm already such a pushover. I have a hard time denying her anything or giving her any consequences. I don't want her to feel worse than she already does. So, she gets away with doing almost no chores or interacting with any of us and most of the time I hardly feel like she thinks she's a member of the family.

How do I balance this?