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parenting a teenage girl -- your reflections?


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When you were a teenage girl, what did you wish your mom did differently?

 

Now that you are an adult, what do you wish your mom had done differently when you were a teenage girl?

 

As my daughter starts her journey through adolescence, I am thinking about how to be a good mother to a teenage girl. This is all new territory.

 

As for me, I was the youngest child and my parents had their own struggles (financial, interpersonal). I feel like no one really talked to me about life and the world. I would have liked more guidance, at least that's what I think now. At the time I mostly just wanted independence, but I think that was a reaction to the situation at home.

 

What's been your experience? How has your experience affected your parenting of your teenage girl?

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I wish my mother would have appreciated who I was and not always wanting me to be different. I also wish my mother would have told me the truth instead of what she wished was true.

I wish my step-mother would have given me more direct instruction -- she pretty much liked me the way I was and just let me figure things out on my own. She is a wonderful woman and I would have liked to have learned from her.

No teenage girls yet -- but I have a 9 year old that acts like one. We'll see . . .

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I wish my mom would have listened more...especially when it came to school.

I wish my mom would have stood up for me (vs. brothers -- kinda stinks when "majority rules" for television, and your three brothers always get to watch sports...and you don't get a voice, because "majority rules.").

I wish my mom would have respected my privacy (reading Diary when I wasn't getting into trouble...FTR, my BROTHERS would go find my diary when I was working and "leave it out and open").

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I wish my mother had been more ok with me disagreeing with her. Opposing opinions were treated like personal insults with my mother. I also wish she had taught me more. She gave me my dad's old truck, but never told me to change the oil. It seems totally insane to me now but it ended up burning on the side of the road because I never ever changed the oil. I mean, she had to have noticed that I never went to change it's oil, she always knew where I was. She helped me open a checking account and it ended up getting shut down with $120 in bounced check fees. I simply didn't know what I was doing and she never checked up on my finances. She never talked to me about sex. She let me get married at 19 having never had a single conversation about it.

 

We did spend a lot of time together, and we were good friends. But I felt at the time and still feel that my mother wasn't actually interested in what made me a unique individual until I left the house. I know that everyone at that age feels to a certain extent that no one understands them and that no one cares about them and all sorts of drama, but I was a fairly level headed and mature teen. I wasn't rebellious at all, I was pretty much your dream teenager. You know, overemotional at times, but overall, I was really good. Too good, actually. So much so that I felt I had no independence at all when I left home (to be married). I wish my parents had encouraged me to explore some interests and develop my own opinions.

 

I'll be watching this thread. My own kids are getting to that age, and I'm interesting in everyone's experiences. :)

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I wish that my parents had been more involved. They let me "take over my own life" from about 14 or 15 on, but especially once I was driving. They were very much in the camp that each person needs to make their own mistakes, and we each need to make our own way. I was given independence, and it was lousy. I didn't have a part in helping my family, and I did what I pleased. I spent my time frivolously. I remember back then being unhappy with the way things were, but especially once I became an adult, I saw the problems.

 

Perhaps because of that, I think that family is very important, that we need people to support and guide us no matter our age. My girls and I have been very influenced by reading diaries and biographies from historical figures; they often, even as adults, looked to their parents for advice and guidance.

 

Also probably because of my teen years, I think it's important for teens to be needed by their family, and so we depend on our girls. They have passed up through the ranks of unskilled labor, and they now can be trusted to make very competent decisions and actions for our family.

 

I try to do things that will keep the lines of communication open: I spend a lot of time with them (I think quantity is more important when it comes to spending time with our dc,) I don't yell or act unreasonably, I listen to them, I respect and invest in their interests.

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I wish my mother would have appreciated who I was and not always wanting me to be different.

 

:iagree:

 

She had a vision of who she wanted me to be and kept trying to fit me into that box -- completely unintentionally -- she just didn't see it. She prided herself on being a good mother and I don't think she understands quite how "good" a daughter I was, but in either case we were both trying our best. However, I am rather introverted and my mother is extroverted. She assumed that if I wasn't having tons of friends and dates that I must be unhappy or socially unsuccessful. Even though we've talked about introversion now that I am an adult, she still does not understand me. On top of that, I had no sisters to help me figure out how to dress, wear makeup, etc., tough waters for any teen, and she was always trying to put her style on me, which harked back several decades. To make matters worse, she's super-sensitive and takes any dislike of her stuff/style/gifts extremely personally. She was crushed when I didn't apply to any local colleges, but I couldn't get away fast enough. As an adult, I recognize that no mother is perfect :D but that doesn't undo the affect of her actions back then - I don't get a re-do of my teen years.

 

Now how about what my mother did right, albeit with caveats:

- I never doubted her love for me (even though I don't think she ever really understood me)

- she didn't tell my father when I stayed out too late

- she did her very best to give her children a very firm foundation in our faith (even if she was a bit smothering about it, chiding us if we didn't sing in church, etc.)

- she told me I could do anything I wanted in life, career-wise, i.e., that I was capable of doing anything and there were no limits, and I believed it (even though she didn't know the first thing about college applications and didn't try to find out)

 

As dd9 gets bigger by the day, I am approaching her teen years with great trepidation. I don't think I'll make the same "mistakes" as my mother but I'm quite certain I'll make some other, equally huge mistakes.

 

:lurk5:

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:iagree:

 

She had a vision of who she wanted me to be and kept trying to fit me into that box -- completely unintentionally -- she just didn't see it. She prided herself on being a good mother and I don't think she understands quite how "good" a daughter I was, but in either case we were both trying our best. However, I am rather introverted and my mother is extroverted. She assumed that if I wasn't having tons of friends and dates that I must be unhappy or socially unsuccessful. Even though we've talked about introversion now that I am an adult, she still does not understand me. On top of that, I had no sisters to help me figure out how to dress, wear makeup, etc., tough waters for any teen, and she was always trying to put her style on me, which harked back several decades. To make matters worse, she's super-sensitive and takes any dislike of her stuff/style/gifts extremely personally. She was crushed when I didn't apply to any local colleges, but I couldn't get away fast enough. As an adult, I recognize that no mother is perfect :D but that doesn't undo the affect of her actions back then - I don't get a re-do of my teen years.

 

Now how about what my mother did right, albeit with caveats:

- I never doubted her love for me (even though I don't think she ever really understood me)

- she didn't tell my father when I stayed out too late

- she did her very best to give her children a very firm foundation in our faith (even if she was a bit smothering about it, chiding us if we didn't sing in church, etc.)

- she told me I could do anything I wanted in life, career-wise, i.e., that I was capable of doing anything and there were no limits, and I believed it (even though she didn't know the first thing about college applications and didn't try to find out)

 

:lurk5:

We could have had the same mother!

 

I will add that I sincerely wish my mother had not assumed that we would have the same relationship that she had with her mother. They were the best of friends. I was so different from my own mother that that would never happen. She made me feel guilty for it her entire life.

 

Just love your dd for who they are, give them good life skills, don't overprotect when it comes to dating but provide a strong faith and strong understanding of emotions and how they impact decisions!

 

This is all from amom with no daughters though!!

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I hated how my mother would invite me to confide in her about my life (boys I liked, etc.) and would later use that information to try to control my behavior. For example, she would get me to tell her that I thought Billy was pretty cute, and then later would tell me that I needed to wear my hair a certain way (the way she thought best) if I wanted Billy to notice me and think I was attractive.

 

I learned not to share anything with her that had strong meaning to me because I didn't want to later be manipulated by it.

 

As an adult, I hate how she "rewrites" much of my childhood experience, telling stories to family and friends about things that IMO, never really happened, or altering them to make a cuter or more interesting story. For example, she will tell a poingnant tale of my lost baby doll - but I hated dolls and don't remember ever having one that I cared much about, so wouldn't have cared if it were lost.

 

Unfortunately, this changing of my childhood makes me doubt myself. Am I going crazy and forgetting everything? Did I really misperceive the situation so drastically when I was young? If so, can I trust any of my childhood memories? The only thing that keeps me sane is talking about it to my brother, who usually reassures me that her stories didn't really happen at all, or at least not in the way she tells them.

 

My dd is only 12yo, but I am trying to be vigilant about not betraying her confidences or using them to manipulate her. I also try to keep a journal, detailing some of the more interesting experiences we share. I realize that even that is skewed by a single perspective, but hopefully it will help to keep both dd and me straight on the details later on.

 

HTH

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I wish my mother had been more willing to let me try different products for personal hygiene. I remember wearing those pads with belts because that is what she preferred and she didn't want to buy 2 different kinds of products in the store.

 

I wish my mom had made our home more welcoming and inviting to my peers. I wouldn't have felt so lonely and I wouldn't have wanted to be so many other places if it had been ok for my friends to be at my house.

 

I wish academic decisions were made based on my interests - not on her high school experiences of 20 years before in a different state. For example, I was invited to join the school newspaper but she had hated working on her school newspaper and refused to sign the permission slip for me to participate saying it was just a waste of time.

 

I also wish that she would have recognized that some of my changing interests had the potential to be life long interests and hobbies, not just a passing phase. I wish she had been more wlling to take me to those free art classes and to allow me to take piano.

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I wish my mom had truly listened to me and even moreso, had acknowledged I had my own thoughts and fears. I was patted on the head so much and I absolutely hated it. I didn't like being treated like a person who was dumb, which is how many adults treat children.

 

I've always listened to my children, starting at birth when they communicated through crying. I acknowledge their fears and listen attentively to their thoughts and ideas. Basically, it boils down to being respectful. I model respect for my children by respecting them. Because of this, I have 3 children who come to me with all kinds of questions and include me in their whole lives. Sometimes it's a bit uncomfortable for me but I wouldn't trade this type of relationship for anything in the world.

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My mom was a great mother in terms of being there for me emotionally. I had a hard time in adolescence because I was not a "hair and makeup girl," and I really struggled to find my place in the world.

 

The one main thing I wish my mom would have done differently: not trust me so much. I got good grades in school, held down a job, and helped out around the house, so my mom apparently believed that I had a good head on my shoulders and could be taken at my word. I didn't, and I couldn't. I lied to my mom about where I was going and what I was doing quite a bit, and I am very lucky that I didn't get into serious trouble/injured, etc.

 

When I read here and elsewhere about how people are so sure they can trust their kids, part of me rolls my eyes and thinks, "Yeah, right." I loved my mom and had a good relationship with her. I still lied to her.

 

Tara

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Guest momk2000

I wish my mother talked to me about "girl stuff". We never had "the talk", and I never felt comfortable expressing my feelings. I would keep things bottled up inside and never felt like my mom was approachable. We also never really did fun stuff together, like a mother/daughter shopping trip to the mall, lunch together etc... My best friend had all of this with her mom and I was always quite envious of their relationship. My mom is a great person and we have always been pretty close, but I never felt like I had that same mother/ daughter closeness that I see in others and am so envious of. When I was a teen I never asked any questions about boys, periods, s*x, or even just advice on friendships, etc...

I still at my age now (45) feel very uncomfortable talking to my mom about these topics and really never bring them up. I have never expressed my feelings about this to her (and never will), but I have always felt kind of resentful. I do understand though that these topics may have been very hush, hush when she was growing up and maybe she just felt uncomfortable discussing them with me.

I have always had an underlying lack of self confidence in bringing up girls (and I have 2 of them), I fear that I will fail them in some way and often wonder if it is due to the sort of distant relationship I have had with my own mother.

Thankfully, I feel very comfortable talking to my kids and answering their questions. I am very open with my children, because I always want them to feel comfortable coming to me with anything. I also would prefer they learn about the delicate issues of growing up from me and not from the neighbor kids. I work pretty hard at keeping communication going with my girls, encouraging them to express their feelings and to talk to us about anything no matter how silly or even "bad" they may think it is. On occasion I try to have some one on one time with the girls, like a lunch date or shopping together as does dh. I believe this time is soooo important. My girls are not teens yet, but I think it is so important to develop this relationship with them from a young age.

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I think of almost everything my mother did, and try to do the opposite with my dd. For me, making sure dd knows the "facts of life" and is prepared for bodily changes; not putting all my expectations on her; keeping criticism to an absolute minimum; realizing that academics is not the be-all and end-all; supervising her reading material; giving her age-appropriate responsibilities; and keeping the lines of communication open - especially letting her know that I will be truthful with her and expecting her to be truthful with me (but not invading her privacy either). DD is 11, BTW, so not a teenager yet, but headed that direction quickly ;)

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I wish my mom had respected me as a young adult and given me more guidance about how to be an adult and make decisions.

 

Some of my friends think I give my 16 yo too much freedom. The way I look at it, if I treat her as though I trust her, there's a good chance she will try to live up to my expectations. If she doesn't, well, she knows right and wrong and the potential consequences. If I treat her as though I don't trust her, she will sneak around behind my back. That is a no-win situation. And I let her make decisions for herself because she needs to learn how to do that before she gets out on her own.

Edited by LizzyBee
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I wish that my mother would have been capable of being a mother. Someone who would have snuggled with me when I was sick. Or not yell at me when I complaine dI was sick. I wish she could have told me about boys, growing up, se*, puberty, you name it.

 

I have a 20 yo son, who was very easy going.

 

My daughter, who is now 18, started off kind of rough. But I told myself that I was never going to be a mother who would fly off in a rage everytime she told me something. I respected her privacy, she asked questionss about my teenagehood and I told her the truth. We always had open communication about ANYTHING. Even though I would cringe at what I would here. I never came off as a know it all mother. I never wanted to be like that.

 

She tells me pretty much everything. Because she knows she does not have to hide anything from me. We talk it over, I offer her what I think she did wrong, and why. What I would have done. And left it at that. Nothing makes things worse when you scream and say "WHAT??? That's it, your GROUNDED". What does that accomplish? Better to stay calm and talk it out.

 

To this day, she is not only my daughter, but my best friend. And she is a much more responsible person for it, because she knew I trusted her and her decisions.

 

I have my 12 yo now coming up in the ranks, and I will be the same with her, with a little tweaking...lol.

 

The worse mistake I think we make as mothers, is that we forget we were once that age. And if you didn't like being treated a certain way then, why would you do the same thing to your own child?

 

I happen to love teenagers. I really think it is the best age.:001_smile:

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I wish my mom had respected me as a young adult and given me more guidance about how to be an adult and make decisions.

 

Some of my friends think I give my 16 yo too much freedom. The way I look at it, if I treat her as though I trust her, there's a good chance she will try to live up to my expectations. If she doesn't, well, she knows right and wrong and the potential consequences. If I treat her as though I don't trust her, she will sneak around behind my back. That is a no-win situation.

 

 

:iagree::iagree:

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I have a 12 year old. I'm just hoping we both live, without hating each other, until she's out of the house... or nice ;)

:lol:

I wish my mother had cared enough to protect me. Her marriage was more important than keeping me safe. My older bro and I had been told that from the time they got married. "If its a choice between you guys and our marriage, WE come first."

 

I wish she'd cared enough to pay attention. I had free reign over what movies to rent when a friend came over, no limits on what I could read (Stephen King for a 10 yo. Really?!)...I remember watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre with my parents. :001_huh:

 

I wish I'd been taught that abstinence was an option. My parents were all about "When you have s*x...." and were very graphic in their talks. At no time did they mention that I could say no, and wait for marriage.

 

I wish that she'd loved me unconditionally.

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The number-one thing is this: Guidance. My parents provided almost zero guidance from the time I was perhaps 12 or so. I think my mom was aiming at not being a nag, or not meddling, but she just didn't advise me, and my dad didn't either.

 

Even with rules in the household - no information was passed directly. The way to find out you broke a rule was to inadvertently break one.

 

As I got older, this translated to: Didn't know how to buy a car, didn't know how to put gas in the car once I bought one, didn't know how to use money wisely, didn't know how to cook, shop, bargain, purchase. Didn't know this dress made me look like a slu*t, didn't know that was too much makeup. And many other things beyond those. My parents just didn't talk about much of anything with me, didn't dream with me and make plans.

 

I'm big about doing that differently with my own kids.

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I wish my mother could have been a soft place to fall, a person who listened, and didnt consider my troubles nothing because her upbringing was "worse than mine".

 

I wish my mother had believed me when I started telling her about being abused.

 

I wish my mother didnt take it as insulting or challenging her authority to have a different opinion or to want a real answer to "because I said so."

 

I wish she would have trusted me more and not just assumed that I would make every mistake she did growing up. I always felt that trust should be based on the persons merit, I had always proved myself trustworthy, yet they acted like I would be going to jail tomorrow.

 

I wish that she treated me my age, and not held me to the rules of my siblings who were much much younger than me. I had tons of responsibility and no age appropriate privileges.

 

I wish she would have made me feel loved by spending time with me. She treated every concert I was in as a chore that she had to attend. She never wanted to anything with just me. A mother daughter event was like going to get teeth pulled for her. I needed her to understand that I needed more of her time than ever while things were so emotionally up and down at that stage in my life. I needed her to give me that time willingly with a glad heart, not grudgingly.

 

I wish she would have been more private about my puberty changes. It was embarrassing to have her ask me questions or give me instruction about pads and the like at the table with the whole family. Or I would walk in on her talking about it with a friend over the phone. I wish she wouldnt have told me to "lighten up" when I tried to tell her how embarrassed I was.

 

I would have appreciated more positive talk about my body (and really hers as well) as apposed to being put on a diet at a young age and being told that if I have acne or was fat nobody will want to be my friend. I wish I wouldnt have heard daily how much she hated how she looked. I wish she wouldnt have told me that I looked like my father all the time...she despises my father (divorced)...and he was abusing me.

 

I would have appreciated space when my emotions/hormones were getting the better of me and I knew I would explode if I was not allowed to go to my room and gain composure. The result would always be me blowing up and then getting grounded for it. If I tried to leave the room, I would be grounded for walking away without being excused.

 

I wish she would have listened about my teachers at school when my grades dropped instead of having the belief that I of course must be slacking off! It really was not my fault.

 

I wish she would have been a better example about money so that I wouldn't have found myself in credit card debt right out of college. She never let me do my own taxes or balance my checkbook when the statement came, she looked into my checking account, and she read my mail. All growing up I always heard..."just put it on the credit card". With just about every shopping trip, restaurant, etc. I didnt know how to manage my money at all when I moved out.

 

I wish I had been allowed to have more fun. She always said life is not about fun, it is about responsibility. Now I am left feeling like I missed everything, all my life has been is responsibility.

 

I wish she wouldnt have cared so much about not puffing up our egos that all she ever did was tear us down.

 

I wish that the few times I was allowed to go out and doing something fun that I didnt have to pay for it by doing extra chores when my chores were already hefty!

 

A lot of the stuff in my list came to a head in my teen years, though much of it is about difficulties all the way through childhood between mom and I. Now I wish it wasnt so hard to see how much she has changed with my younger sisters (they get along great) and know I can never go back and have that! We are patching things up, but it would have been easier to just listen to me as a teen when I tried to tell her. Sorry if my list is kinda negative...I dont have many fond memories of my teen years:glare:.

 

Hope my list isnt too redundant. I had to leave for a bit before actually posting, and I didnt get to read everybody else's.

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Wow! This is a trigger topic huh.

 

I wish my mom would have loved me more. That feels awful to say. I know she gave me as much as she had but it always felt conditional and when those conditions weren't met you were "out." I see the pattern again with the way she treats my father and brother.

 

I think that the thing I am trying to do for my daughter is to let her know that there is nothing she can do to escape my love for her. I will be disappointed, I'll be hurt by some of her actions but I will not emotionally abandon her no matter what. I hope this foundation gives us something to fall back on in her teen years.

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I wish my mother had put my brother and I before her new boyfriend.

I wish she had been more present and aware to realise we needed more boundaries and a bit less freedom, before it was too late.

I wish she had been able to handle her marriage breakup to my father, much better than she did. I wish she had sent me to counselling after that breakup (age 13).

 

With my daughter, it is soo different. Her nature is easy going and not as trippy and sensitive as I was. She is very different to me, yet we get on very well. I parent quite differently to my parents, however in some ways it is similar in that I value being friends with my kids, and I value the trust we have together. I value our intimacy and I am not an authoritarian type- neither of my parents were, either. However dh is.

 

With my daughter, we just keep talking, and keep hugging. I am so grateful for homeschooling, and even these boards, for reminding me that building relationship is more important than being right or wrong. My dd has an incredible propensity to forgive and let go, and she actually rarely even gets very upset- it takes a lot to get her angry. She is a true gift for us. She is our compensation for having a challenging other child, who we fortunately love just as much :)

 

I really think the best thing you can do is keep building the relationship, staying connected. No single issue is more important than your connection. Stay open to listening, to her perspective, and also share yourself, so that she knows what its like to be an adult woman, too. My dd is very social and has many friends, so sometimes we dont even see each othe rmuch for days- but then we will just open up and share with each other.

 

People often tell me my dd and I look like sisters. Last night we went out to dinner and got all dressed up and dd16 told me how beautiful I am and how she loves that I look like her sister. She hugged me a lot- and hse is a sophisticated young woman- my mother never hugged me. I am so lucky. Yes, sometimes we have to say no, sometimes we have to deny her what she wants (like going to New Years Even parties across town with people we dont know- yikes!), but so far the bumps are few and far between.

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I wish that my parents had liked and approved of me. I was a pretty good academic star, and very responsible and trustworthy. Their dislike came through with ridiculous negativity and suspician. I had the kind of horrendously negative, violent, and restrictive upbringing that often leads to people going off the deep end once they get free of it. I am grateful to God that the faith He gave me kept me on a good path even then.

 

ETA: I also wish that I had gotten some help with direction. I didn't tour any colleges, or even consider applying to a private college, because I assumed that they were snobby and/or out of reach financially. I was a National Merit finalist with a solid background, and everything kind of fell into place, thankfully, but mostly because there was an excellent public university available to me nearby. Again, I am grateful to God that despite my feeling like I was lurching around like Mr. Magoo, I ended up well.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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I had/have a pretty great mom! Honestly there was little I can hold against her in any way...she had it rough when I was a teen. I had an older brother always in trouble with the law and nearly died, parents divorced during my crucial teen years, etc but:

 

She was a great listener when I was ready to talk.

 

She showed interest in my interests and was always at my events. My dad...not so much. But I could always count on my mom.

 

She gave us freedom to make choices but we always knew we had a safe place at home.

 

She taught me how to be independent and how to "leave and cleave" to my husband.

 

 

THe thing I wish had been different is that my mom never talked to me about my period or body changes...she was never comfortable with it because she was sexually abused when she was younger. So I had to navigate that world all alone. It was hard esp developing in 5th grade.

 

Also I wish she would have been more honest about her past mistakes in life instead of waiting until I did something "morally bad" and allowing me to feel like a complete failure before she would grudgingly say she'd done something like that too when she was my age. Would have been nice to know she understood and didn't judge.

 

Otherwise I love my mom to pieces and am very thankful for her.

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My mom did pretty good!

 

She would have been better off if she had read about the MBTI and understood her personality vs. the rest of us (my dad, brother and I have similar types quite opposite to hers), she never understood us and she likes to understand people. I made her read some MBTI stuff when I was in my 20's and she said that she wished she would have read it earlier, especially the first few years of her marriage! (She still found it valuable at that late time, though.)

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I wish my mom had not been quite so liberal and open about some things-like talking about sex in a very graphic and positive manner. I entered my teen years thinking sex was great, just not babies!;)

 

She was seldom straight-faced in her manner, so you weren't sure how serious to take her or if she was terribly upset/really disapproved of something. She would use sarcasm and jokes when you mentioned something that was serious to you. Maybe she just didn't know how to repsond. But it irked me.

 

She didn't push us enough to take risks and step outside our comfort zone. Like no teen jobs or cars or much extra-currics. And she would not go far out of her way to help us pursue interests. This was mostly due to finances, but she never even tried to think of alternatives or seek out a way. (She hated charity-even though we had no choice at times-or because we had no choice too often). It was always just "We don't have the money for that, you know that." She was a cup half-empty type and still is. A bit of a wet blanket to every amazing idea I had.

 

She did not supervise us nearly enough. She had to work and we were latchkey kids. But she, again, did not actively pursue options for our supervision. She was reactive, not proactive.

 

But she was a good listener, when she would quit being sarcastic and funny. She wouldn't scream if you were having sex because she expected it and needed to know when to take you to get birth control-there again she was the mom who glorifies sex and assumes it's not if but when you'll do it. So both of my sisters had abortions by the time they were 18. I did not, but only by sheer luck. She made one of them do it against her will. Sorta. She convinced her by talking daily of how horrible pregancy/childbirth/childrearing was when my sis said she wanted to keep it, and my sis was quite sick. So after several days of puking and listening to mom's carp, she gave in.

 

My mom is a no apologies type. She's even more pagan and liberal than back when. There are only a few things I have spoken to her about that she would say she would have done differently if she could. But it definitely has affected how I parent. I do notice my dd14 is more keeping to herself than I am comfortable with, but that is my only concern so far.

 

We do mother/daughter stuff, have talked about sex in a balanced manner, etc. She knows when I am serious about issues and I support her ideas and interests to my fullest capacity. She is allowed to correct me and I apologize when she is right. The other day she said "Sometimes I think I am raising you" half-teasing. I said,"No, we are raising each other, as it should be."

 

Lakota

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When you were a teenage girl, what did you wish your mom did differently?

I wish my mom (A single mom) would have taught me more about men--what to look out for, who to trust, and who to stay away from. I did not like the revolving door of boy friends, but Mom divorced for a good reason.

 

Now that you are an adult, what do you wish your mom had done differently when you were a teenage girl?

Help me cultivate an interest in something. I had way too much freedom and no direction.

 

As my daughter starts her journey through adolescence, I am thinking about how to be a good mother to a teenage girl. This is all new territory.

 

As for me, I was the youngest child and my parents had their own struggles (financial, interpersonal). I feel like no one really talked to me about life and the world. I would have liked more guidance, at least that's what I think now. At the time I mostly just wanted independence, but I think that was a reaction to the situation at home.

 

What's been your experience? How has your experience affected your parenting of your teenage girl?

Not just for my teen girl but all of my kids--DH and I invest our lives, our time, and every penny we have into our kids. We want them to have the opportunities we never had be it the pursuit of a sport or the arts or animals. Our parents had expectations but not a lot of follow through. They had the connections but never opened the doors.

 

 

 

I think parents of my father's and mother's generation gave up too easily. When kids are 14, give or take a few years on either side, they push parents away. They shun guidance even if it is given. Kids that age know all the answers, and you parent are just old and in the way, that is until the kids turn 20 or 21. Suddenly, they realize they don't know everything.

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Sometimes I wonder if it's the mother or the perspective. Do you ever wonder that?

 

You can see children come from the same set of parents and one thinks they had great parents... The other sees all their failings.

 

I wish my mother had apologized when she was wrong.

I wish she had been less critical.

I wish a "Wow, good work." "Wow, that took a lot of effort" had been forthcoming... Ever.

 

Any disappointment was hammered to death.

 

Do a dumb childish thing? Forced to quit sports. Get a C? Quit sophmore sport. Moving violation? No play.

Fail second semester Algebra II? Won't come to your high school graduation... And they didn't.

 

Seriously? A little perspective would have helped them. I was an honors student until I figured out they'd never be content no matter HOW hard I worked. I'm not bitter. They changed a LOT with my brother and sister and I learned a LOT with them being so hard on me. In the end I actually think *I* had the better parents because they expected more out of me and pushed me harder. Did they push too hard? Yes. But at least they pushed. With my brother and sister they did a 180 turn and backed completely off... And they (my brother and sister) are suffering for it. :(

 

We have a good relationship now. But, if they had not been who they were, I wouldn't have learned so much.

 

1. Treat your kids as individuals. They aren't who YOU form them to be. They are God inspired created individuals with gifts and personalities all their own.

 

2. They are blessings, not something you "did" and now they're in the way of your life.

 

3. Apologize when you're wrong.

 

4. Grown-ups screw up. Admit when you do it.

 

5. Praise when it's deserved. Not all the time, they know when you're faking it, but truly don't hold back if you know they put serious time, effort, and energy into something.

 

Maybe, just maybe, my kids will have a different list of all the ways I screwed up from my list. :D

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My 18 yr old dd says the thing about me that is most upsetting to her is that I can lose patience with her when she is stressed or unhappy. I always think I am not getting upset, but she says that when she cries, she worries that I will react too strongly. I am trying to work on that. I vacillate between thinking I have plenty of patience, to thinking "I can't believe she is so upset about that." In my head, I think what I am doing is letting her know it will be ok, that it's ok to be upset, but that you'll be ok. However, she sometimes thinks I am not concerned enough. I would not appreciate it someone didn't take my concerns seriously. What seems minor to one, is significant to another. I need to validate her feelings, try not to talk so much, and listen more.

Edited by LibraryLover
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My mom was wonderful--she was like a buddy to me when I was a teenager, yet I respected her very much. She had me when she was very young--not quite 17--so we are kind of like sisters in a way. We still talk on the phone every day, and we love to shop together and get coffee together, etc. She will text me out of the blue just to say she's thinking of me, and I do the same for her.

 

The age gap between my dd and me is almost exactly TWICE the gap between my mom and me; EK was born when I wasn't quite 34. But still, I try to be a friend to her. We love to go shopping together and we talk a LOT. We have a great relationship. My best pieces of advice to moms of teen girls are:

 

 

  • Listen a lot more than you talk, and when you give advice, be sure it's wanted. Sometimes teen girls just want to vent, and they don't necessarily want you to have an answer (or worse, be judgmental). When you listen, really LISTEN. Don't be making up your shopping list in your head while your dd is talking. Interact with her (make eye contact, ask questions that show you're interested, but don't pry or be critical of her) while she's telling you things that are going on with her.
     
  • Encourage your dd continually. Be affectionate, if she's the type who likes affection. Hug her often. Tell her how pretty she is, or how good those jeans look on her, or how lovely her eyes are. Believe me, she's probably getting a lot of put-downs elsewhere, so let being with you be an encouragement to her.
     
  • Do things with her; take her for coffee or ice cream now and then, or take her out to lunch (nothing fancy). Ask for her help in the kitchen; when you are cooking together or doing the dishes is a GREAT time for talking. EK and I probably do more talking in the kitchen (and in the car on the way to and from activities) than any other time. But again, listen more than you talk....

 

Edited by ereks mom
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I wish my mother had been there for me emotionally. She wasn't. She wasn't comfortable with "negative" emotions and always withdrew. It made me feel so alone and unloved. I wish she had engaged with me more when I was sad and hurting or angry or frustrated. I wish she had talked to me openly about s*x and told me I was worth waiting for. I wish she had trained me better to be a keeper of the home. I wish she had tried to take an interest in what interested me instead of always criticizing my choices in clothing, music, etc. I'm suffering now as a result of a lot that my mother did wrong and it's hard to think about what she did right although I know there was a lot she did. I'm sorry if this sounds negative. I love my mother. I have a 14yo now and I am probably doing a lot wrong, too.

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Sometimes I wonder if it's the mother or the perspective. Do you ever wonder that?

 

Yes, I think in some cases it is a matter of perspective/perception. Children learn their explanatory style -- the thoughts or interpretions individuals have about about causes (the things that happen to us) -- from the caregivers in their lives. For most, that would be their parents. Our explanatory style tends to stay the same throughout life unless we willingly work at changing it. It's also passed down to our own children as well if we are around them enough. This is the gist of Martin Seligman's book The Optimistic Child, in case anyone wants to read more about it.

 

Also, I think negative experiences have a longer lasting impression.

 

That said, my mom was a pretty good parent. She made her mistakes, but it was nothing too bad. Either that, or I'm just forgetting things!

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Sometimes I wonder if it's the mother or the perspective. Do you ever wonder that?

 

You can see children come from the same set of parents and one thinks they had great parents... The other sees all their failings.

 

 

 

 

There is something to this.

 

Also, once you have children your perspective can change. You can sometimes more easily see how you want your own children to be treated than you could see how you perhaps should have been treated.

 

Also, I have observed as an adult that a surprising number of parents show really strong favoritism. That would completely change the experience of different children in the family.

Edited by Carol in Cal.
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I wish my mom didn't care what other people said/thought about us. In one critical situation in my life, I believe she put others ahead of me. I struggle with that to this day, feeling like she should have been MY cheerleader to help me do the right thing, not to cave to the masses because "what will they think?"

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My mom was wonderful--she was like a buddy to me when I was a teenager, yet I respected her very much. She had me when she was very young--not quite 17--so we are kind of like sisters in a way. We still talk on the phone every day, and we love to shop together and get coffee together, etc. She will text me out of the blue just to say she's thinking of me, and I do the same for her.

 

The age gap between my dd and me is almost exactly TWICE the gap between my mom and me; EK was born when I wasn't quite 34. But still, I try to be a friend to her. We love to go shopping together and we talk a LOT. We have a great relationship. My best pieces of advice to moms of teen girls are:

 

 

  • Listen a lot more than you talk, and when you give advice, be sure it's wanted. Sometimes teen girls just want to vent, and they don't necessarily want you to have an answer (or worse, be judgmental). When you listen, really LISTEN. Don't be making up your shopping list in your head while your dd is talking. Interact with her (make eye contact, ask questions that show you're interested, but don't pry or be critical of her) while she's telling you things that are going on with her.

  • Encourage your dd continually. Be affectionate, if she's the type who likes affection. Hug her often. Tell her how pretty she is, or how good those jeans look on her, or how lovely her eyes are. Believe me, she's probably getting a lot of put-downs elsewhere, so let being with you be an encouragement to her.

  • Do things with her; take her for coffee or ice cream now and then, or take her out to lunch (nothing fancy). Ask for her help in the kitchen; when you are cooking together or doing the dishes is a GREAT time for talking. EK and I probably do more talking in the kitchen (and in the car on the way to and from activities) than any other time. But again, listen more than you talk....

 

 

 

This is some GREAT advice!

 

My mom did all of this (well not the kitchen so much, she doesn't do the kitchen at all:D but for various reasons we spent a lot of time in the car when I was a teenager and that is where we really talked).

 

Yes my mom (and dad) made mistakes, but they are humans, I'll make different ones and probably some of the same ones. All in all they did good:D And they did all the thinks that ereks mom suggested.

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