Do you have a daughter or two or more, between the ages of 13 and 19? Raising teenage girls might be one of the most delightful, rewarding, blessed experiences of your life. It might also make you want to pull your own hair out. High-level contention can make you want to run to the top of the nearest mountain to scream. Like all good mothers, you love your daughter. Like most mothers, however, you’ve likely had your share of relationship troubles.
Prevent explosive situations
Think of your ultimate goals regarding what you hope to achieve in raising a daughter. You might have such things in mind as teaching her to think independently and to embrace her own uniqueness. Why does it surprise you, then (and the rest of us, when we encounter similar situations) that your daughter practices her skills at home? It’s natural that she wants to test the waters of her independence before actually heading out into the world. By keeping in mind that she is merely trying to learn to do what you hope she’ll do as an adult, you can avoid confrontation.
Be the one to reach out
Perhaps, while raising teenage girls, you’ve run into a stalemate with one of your daughters on occasion. Maybe you argued and haven’t really spoken to each other for a couple of days. It never hurts to let tempers cool down. If no one makes a move to restore the relationship though, you can wind up stuck in a rut. As mothers, it’s up to us to always be willing to reach out to our daughters, even when we didn’t cause the problem. In turn, our daughters will hopefully appreciate and remember this, especially if they have children of their own someday.
When raising teenage girls, model what you expect
Most young adults are quite astute at spotting hypocrisy a mile away. If your standards for your daughter are so high but your own behavior doesn’t match up, it can negatively affect your relationship. By exemplifying the behavior you want your daughter to exhibit, you provide an example she can hold fast to throughout her life. Like the old saying goes, you have to “walk the walk,” not just “talk the talk.”
Try not to assume you know how your daughter feels
You may have had similar experiences to your daughter when you were her age. That doesn’t necessarily mean she feels exactly the same as you did. Hormonal changes can spark highly emotionally charged situations for teenage girls. If your daughter tells you something and you wind up telling her how she feels, it can backfire. She might not share her thoughts so freely with you the next time. Mothers raising teenage daughters must master their listening skills. She wants you to listen and to be there to support her, not tell her how she feels or how she should react to a particular situation.
Forgiveness is crucial when raising teenage girls
From time to time, we all say things we later regret. Angry or hurtful words from a daughter can cause deep, long-lasting heartache. Sometimes, a lashing out from your daughter might feel so intensely personal that it’s difficult to believe she didn’t mean what she was saying. Regardless of the hurt, the only means for restoring your relationship is immediate forgiveness. Just as our heavenly Father immediately forgives and forgets our transgressions when we seek Him with remorse, so too must we forgive our daughters’ hurtful words and actions.
She might be your mini-me, but not really
When raising teenage girls, moms might see a lot of similarities between themselves and their daughters. One of the most important things you can do to forge a close bond with your daughter is to remember that she is not you. As she grows toward womanhood, you must acknowledge and embrace her individuality. She is trying to build her own identity and your job is to help her do it.
If you see her going astray
The Bible tells us to train up a child in the way she should go, and she will not depart from it. This particular verse has always perplexed me because I know of many situations where children have veered far off the righteous paths of their parents’ upbringing. It is our solemn duty as parents to admonish or counsel our children as needed. If their behavior or choices are placing their souls at risk, we must have the courage to intervene. I think, however, that the Scripture verse reminds us that the foundation we lay in our daughters’ hearts will be there for life. Your child may not show it at all times but it is there. Raising teenage girls is a privilege. A bad day doesn’t make you a bad mother or her a bad daughter. Love conquers all.