As mothers we try so hard to relate to our teenage girls only to find we don't feel heard or appreciated. We read all the parenting blogs and sympathize with each other but how do we really know what our daughters want and need? Let's turn the tables around a bit. We often tell our girls what we expect from them, but what do they expect from us?
Tips on Learning Our Daughters Needs and Expectations from Their Mothers
1. Teenage girls are often quite articulate but they need to feel they want to be heard. Let them know mothers are different, but you want to be the kind of mother they wish for.
2. Ask them to be honest and you will be nonjudgmental about their ideas.
3. Ask them to tell you their vision of an ideal mother. Listen carefully and don't disagree, just ask for more detail.
4. Ask your daughter for a time when she felt you were a good mother. Once again, try to coax her to give you detail telling her the more you know the more you can repeat what works for her.
5. Ask your daughter when a mother is too intrusive. If she can give examples, promise you won't have hurt feelings. Instead you want to learn.
6. Ask your daughter when you don't show enough interest in what she does. You want to know what is important to her for you to be mindful of.
7. Ask your daughter when you don't ask enough or listen long enough to her feelings. You want to be able to connect in a way that helps her feel comfortable with you.
8. Tell your daughter that you want to learn how to disagree with each other without it turning into a high pitched argument. What does she suggest?
9. Continuing that idea, what in fact does she disagree with you about? It may be practical household activities like chores and bedtimes or even politics and social issues.
10. Ask your daughter how involved she wants you to be with her friends. Does she want you to ask about them? Does she want you to visit with them when they come over? What feels most comfortable to her?
I think you will discover that with these ten tips other conversations develop that help you know your daughter better. Once you feel she really believes you are on her side, then slowly share your own ideas and ask her opinions about them. Don't be quick to disagree and definitely don't judge, just ask for more detail and hope she'll expand on her feelings about how the two of you get along.
The bottom line is building a mother-teenage daughter relationship where your daughter confides in you and trusts you will respond carefully and kindly. You can keep your authority as a mother and be a collaborator with your daughter at the same time. It will feel great and very loving.
Laurie Hollman, is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold. Visit Laurie at http://lauriehollmanphd.com