Does it seem like you’re constantly arguing with your teen daughter?
That something seemingly minor, like being told to clean her room or not being allowed to go out with friends, leads to shouting, crying, slamming doors or even throwing objects?
We all know what that’s like.
And what it feels like when she deliberately pushes your buttons. When she rebels, picks a fight or is downright obnoxious or rude.
I’m pretty sure that when that happens you’re trying to remain calm. To not escalate the situation. Even though she might say some pretty darn hurtful things.
And you know that the perfect mom would show empathy and understanding for her struggles, while also setting clear boundaries and consequences for her behavior.
Right. First of all: F*ck perfect mom. She doesn’t exist anyway.
But what I can do is give you some tips that could help you remain calm?
Remaining calm would win half the battle.
- You would be less likely to respond reactively. You know what I mean…screaming something hurtful back or yelling out a consequence that you know you won’t stick to.
- Because you’re less likely to fall into her trap. When she’s trying to get you to respond with things like “No I won’t”, “I don’t care” or the kicker “You’re such a bitch”.
- You would me modeling how to respond in a mature way.
The question than becomes, how do you remain calm?
Two mindset shifts.
They have helped me to look at her behavior from another perspective.
Reminding myself these two things have helped me to remain calm in the midst of a storm.
Not always. Because I am far from perfect. But is has made a difference.
Let me tell me what these 2 mindset shiftt are.
1. It’s her job to stand up to me
I am the parent and she’s supposed to question my authority.
It’s developmentally appropriate.
Questioning and challenging my authority is a normal part of growing up. It’s a signal of her developing her own sense of identity and autonomy.
It has to do with the fact that our girls, around age 11, begin to develop their abstract reasoning skills. This means they become better at analyzing not just their own but alo other people’s thoughts and motives.
They watch us.
And they realize we are not perfect.
The veil has been pulled back: they can see that we are not the impecable, all-powerful parents. We tumbled off the pedestal.
They see that we lie sometimes. Or tell half truths. Or that we can be hypocritical, inconsistent or self-serving.
I am sure you’ve sensed the shift. Teen girls master the art of describing your flaws painfully accurate.
And they’re calling us out on it.
The eyeroll, the provocative, sassy tone, the stomping away, and the slamming door is them letting us know that they’re questioning our authority.
And that she’s doing exactly what she’s supposed to be doing.
2. Having healthy fights with me will build her emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence basically means both our emotional and logical minds working together.
It’s a learned skill.
For us as adults, it’s common sense. We can reflect on our thoughts.
But for a teen that’s still hard to do. Their rational mind is still maturing, which means that their emotional impulses can easily overshadow their ability to make sound judgments.
Especially true when they’re having a conflict with you.
The upside is that having healthy fights with you brings her brain back into balance and builds her emotional intelligence.
It’s not the arguing itself that builds her emotional intelligence. It’s the process of working towards resolving the conflict.
Especially when this conflict is with someone who she knows loves her unconditionally. Someone who cares about her perspective and wants to find a solution that improves the relationship.
So go ahead: have the fight with your daughter.
When you can keep your cool, you’re teaching her a valuable skill.