May is one of my
favorite months. It's the month we celebrate Mother's Day! It's also the month
my second child--and first daughter, Meghan was born. That was almost 25 years
ago, yet I remember the details like it was just yesterday.
Three years after Meghan was born, I was blessed with a
second daughter, Katie, who is now 22.
First, let me set your mind at ease! If your little angel
has turned into a female werewolf, it's probably not your fault. During the
teen years, it is common for girls to go through an emotional weaning from
their mothers. If you have been close, this is very difficult! I am not saying
that you will never be close again, only that your relationship will change. It
needs to be nurtured in different ways.
In order for us to maintain an effective balance and develop
a relationship that will grow and last, we must try to understand what our
daughters are experiencing. After all, they have spent the first decade of
their lives in the bodies of little girls. Now, in what seems to be an
overnight transformation, they are women. There are physical signs that are
accompanied by an immature emotional state. One minute they are overjoyed
because the ďhotĒ guy in English class calls, the next they are devastated
because they found a pimple and tomorrow is picture day. The next few years
will be spent totally self-absorbed as they try to find their identity and
purpose. Itís an emotional roller coaster for all of us, even dad.
The key to success is to manage the changes you and your
daughterís relationship is experiencing in a positive, healthy manner. As they
mature into adult women, successful changes should build an even stronger
relationship. Itís almost like acting in a play. In the first scene you play
the part of the mom, the next, a friend. This is where balance comes in. So, in
adolescence, how do we protect our daughters, give them the freedom they need
to explore the world, feel like we are still a part of their lives and end up
with a healthy relationship? Thatís a very tough question!
First, as in any other relationship, the mother and daughter
will need to identify each otherís strengths and weaknesses. This exercise will
put you on the same level. It should also help your daughterís emotions mature
into those of a young adult. At this point, both mother and daughter need to
realize that they are two different people. Each should have the opportunity to
state their opinions, and more importantly, each opinion should be respected.
After all, we are all entitled to our own opinion.
We have all heard the saying: Do what you say and say what
you do. Telling your daughter(s) what you are doing and why you are doing it is
a valuable communication tool. It sets clear boundaries about your beliefs. You
must take a position on what really matters to you, even though it may be
difficult and painful at the time.
On the flip side, negative, unhealthy choices can lead to
emotionally dysfunctional relationships. These choices may include acting like
a know-it-all, fighting, blaming, and worst of all, withdrawing affection (my
motherís choice in dealing with my adolescence). Always step out of the box,
analyze the situation, and then speak. Some words cut like a knife, leaving
wounds that will never heal.
I am not a psychologist, just the mother of three wonderful
people: two grown daughters and a grown son. I really miss my little girls. The
little girls I could dress in ruffles and bows, but in their place are
beautiful, independent, successful women with minds of their own, opinions and
their own lives. I will continue to nurture them, just in a different way.
In 2009 I was blessed with a beautiful granddaughter,
Taylor, who almost 3. We are helping raise Taylor with the same principals. Hopefully,
the results will be strong relationships that will make a difference in the
Dodd family for generations to come.
Happy Motherís Day, and Happy Parenting!
(Debbie Dodd is the
Senior Sales & Marketing Director for the Kosmin Media Group. She is also a
freelance writer. She is the mother of three, and a grandmother. She resides in
Kingwood with her husband, Ronnie. She can be reached at Debbie@kingwood.com.)