You will laugh together more than you fight and she will seek your support when she is upset and your counsel when she does not know how to handle a conflict with a friend.
But what if your teenage daughter starts disagreeing with you or disobeying your rules? Then, on top of it all, she no longer wants to spend time with you?
This kind of rejection from your daughter can be really tough.
You may naturally mourn the loss of the closer relationship you once had with her and long for the days when she was excited to go to the movies or shopping with you. It can be tempting to try to maintain that former closeness by creating a best friend-type rapport with your teen daughter.
But daughters who perceive their moms as friends rather than as parents often demonstrate less respect for them, especially when it’s time for setting limits. Additionally, daughters may miss the comfort of feeling that someone is looking out for them.
While she may not ever thank you for being her parent while she is in her teen years, she nonetheless relies on you to be her mom, not her friend. You can regain that closeness but doing it by letting go of your role as her mother can create a slippery slope. For positive ways to stay close to her read Quality Time, Quality Talk or Creating Emotionally Responsible Exchanges with your teen.
Here are some of the ways in which you may have inadvertently stepped out of your mom role and into an overly-friendly rapport with her:
1. You don’t express concerns or set limits for her safety because she might say you are being silly.
2. You have started dressing like a teenager in order to gain her approval or to end her criticism of your wardrobe. Instead of approving, she might instead perceive this approach as competition. In fact, she may just want you to dress like a mom even though she herself would never choose to wear your clothes.
3. You use slang that is specific to your daughter’s teen culture in hopes that she will think of you as cool.
4. You drop onto the couch in the middle of all her friends, saying, “Let me in on all the dirt.”
5. You allow your daughter to drink alcohol with her friends at your house because you either don’t want her to be mad at you or you have convinced yourself that abiding the law and setting limits in the interest of her safety are irrelevant if she is going to drink outside of the home anyway.
6. You let her cut school to go to an event with a friend because she proclaims that you couldn’t possibly understand how important the event is to her. Meanwhile, you want her to know that you really do understand and care.
Remember, your daughter already has many friends who are more interested in being cool than they are in her present and future well being.
It’s you she counts on to keep an eye on her, to teach her the ways of the adult world, and to provide love even when she is not being cool.
You are the only mother she has, which ultimately makes you far more special than all her friends.