As a mother of a teenage girl, you might be at your wit’s end. If you find that you’re fighting with your daughter more and more, you might wonder if there’s something you are missing or some crucial mistake you are making. The reality is that fighting between mothers and teenage daughters is fairly normal, and to a large degree, it can be remedied. First, you have to know why you are fighting…
It’s no secret that, sometimes, mothers and daughters are quite simply at each other’s throats. Instead of just accepting it as a phase or feeling as if you have failed as a mother, take the time to better understand why these issues cause fights and what you can do to try to soften the blow for both of you.
15 reasons why mothers and teenage daughters fight – and what you can do about it:
1. The relationship has changed – everything is different now.
When your daughter is born, you are blessed with a beautiful little girl who clings to you. She wants to be like you, she looks up to you, and she is happiest when she is with you. For both of you, it feels like bliss to be in each other’s company. But then, one day, your daughter’s teenage hormones kick in, and suddenly she feels quite different.
Don’t blame her; it’s really just her hormones. Her body is basically working against her, telling her it is embarrassing to be attached to her mother and to find where she fits in with her peers. The best thing you can do is actually accept it. Give your daughter the space to experience those hormones. If you pressure her to be her “old self”, it will merely push her away.
2. The rules suddenly seem restrictive (for teens).
As a kid, your daughter probably didn’t question the rules. There were bedtimes, play times, meal times, and general rules for living, but as a teenager, suddenly, there seem to be more. While small kids don’t really have a desire to be out all night with their friends, as a teenager, they do. They want space, freedom to express themselves, and they want to do this without restrictions. What can you do about it when you start fighting about the rules with your teenage daughter?
Make sure that the rules you impose are not decided on in anger. Be reasonable with the rules, but don’t just skip over them because it upsets your daughter. Rules are an important part of life. Ignore the fighting and upset over it. Be firm and pleasant instead of losing your temper.
3. Mom’s coming across as a little controlling.
Teenagers want the freedom to be who they want to be. Mothers don’t want to stifle that, but they do want to ensure that their beloved child is safe at all times. How can you remedy this?
Try to trust your daughter to make a few wise choices. Of course, you don’t want to lose sight of where your daughter is and who she is with, but try to be balanced about it. Find out which friends are the most trustworthy and reliable and give her a bit of extra leeway with these friends. She will greatly appreciate it, and she will never be able to call you controlling.
4. The issue of alcohol and drugs arises.
Any parent to a teen will worry about the introduction of drugs and alcohol. Even if your child makes good decisions and has a good head on her shoulders, there’s always the fear that she will be influenced by her peers or even taken advantage of. This is where the problem arises.
As a result, this causes a mother to be cautious and careful, which can appear overbearing or controlling to a teen. This can cause fights between mother and daughter unnecessarily and for seemingly the wrong reasons. The best you can do here is to have a candid conversation about drugs and alcohol and your fears regarding them. Your daughter may then understand your behavior as protective instead of controlling.
5. Daughters don’t understand the level of sacrifice involved.
This is something that mothers tend to think. They see their daughters living their lives, seemingly unaware of how much they had to give up, to give them the life they have. This can cause arguments as mothers can place undue pressure and resentment on their daughters to realize the sacrifices involved.
You might consider your daughter ungrateful or call her out for behaving selfishly when in reality, it is not fair to place this kind of pressure on your daughter. Try to cut your daughter off some slack. You cannot expect her to understand a life and decisions that she was not around for or too young to comprehend.
6. Mother-daughter jealousy (in both directions).
Being jealous is something that can cause mothers and daughters to fight mercilessly. A mother might look at her daughter and be jealous that she has the opportunities she does or is as successful as she is.
On the flip side, a daughter could believe that her mother had a better childhood than her or believe that she got ahead a lot earlier in life because of ample opportunities. Having these feelings can cause arguments that hurt both parties. To remedy this, try not to compare your lives. See each other as individuals and focus on trying to build each other up.
7. Mother and daughter feel pressure to have a “good” relationship.
Movies, books, and other people may portray perfect mother-daughter relationships that are kind of hard to live up to. Because of this, mother and daughter feel pressured to have the perfect relationship and, by trying too hard from both ends, simply end up bumping heads and becoming distant.
To remedy this problem, put everything you see in media to one side and focus on allowing your relationship to grow authentically. When you let things naturally happen and connect in a way that feels right for you, the relationship can truly prosper and grow.
8. Increased screen time makes tensions rise.
Parents expect to spend quality time with their children. Living in the tech age, it’s hard to separate a teenager from her device. Because of this, a mother can view her daughter as rude or dismissive when, in fact, she is just being a typical teenager.
The more time a teen spends on her phone, the more prone a mother may be to fighting with her. How can you remedy this problem? Have specific times when screen time is simply not allowed. For instance, dinner time or when having a family barbecue should be a time where no devices are allowed. The rest of the time, keep in mind that your teenager is quite simply just being a teenager.
9. Daughters aren’t too keen on unwanted advice.
As a mother, you probably feel it is your job to advise your daughter on everything from what to wear to how to spend her free time. While you probably do this out of a sense of love and care for her, she may view this as interfering and providing unwanted advice.
While you shouldn’t withhold your advice, allow your daughter the time to make her own decisions. If she asks your advice, provide it, but don’t have a major negative reaction if she doesn’t follow it. Allow your child to be herself and learn from her own mistakes.
10. Bad diets seem to arrive promptly with adolescence.
Something that mothers and daughters love to fight about is diet. Some teens tend to adopt a really unhealthy habit of eating pizza and chips, while other teens may adopt a habit of barely eating in order to maintain a certain figure or size. Either way, there is danger in these poor diets, and so the fighting begins.
If you want to remedy the problem, have an open conversation with your daughter about the dangers of dieting or eating poorly. Explain what your fears are, what the dangers are, and what you would consider a healthy diet. Implement a daily eating plan that the entire family follows and allow junk food days over the weekend or specific weeknights.
11. Curfews are an issue of great contention.
As kids grow older, they want to spend more time with their peers outside of the home. Most parents allow some freedom to do so, but have a curfew in place that teens should stick to. If your teenage daughter doesn’t like her curfew or wants to go to a party that will make curfew difficult, she is bound to pick a fight with you.
How can you remedy this type of fight? Implement a reasonable curfew but ensure that your daughter follows a set of rules. Always know where she is, make sure that she has a tracker on her mobile phone, have a contact tree of her friends and their parents, and ensure that she checks in with you every 2 hours or so. While she may not like it, she will prefer following these rules to not being allowed out at all. The arguments should also simmer down if you are both getting what you want.
12. School doesn’t seem important, but mothers know it is.
Yup, this is a fight that mothers and daughters have often. If you want to avoid having it, chat to your daughter about the disadvantages of not studying or taking school seriously. Talk about career prospects, earning potential, and the difficulties of getting ahead. You may still argue about schooling, but at least you will have got her thinking about the downsides of not taking education seriously. It will eventually hit home.
13. Boys enter the picture.
Mothers and daughters fight about boys…often! Boys are a scary prospect for mothers. Will they lead your daughter astray? Will they take advantage of your daughter? Will they break her heart? What can you do about it? Well, there’s nothing much you can do about a life that is developing naturally. You shouldn’t insist that your daughter has no boyfriends, but encourage her to choose them wisely and to be loyal when she does. Get to know the boy in the picture… it’s the best way to earn respect and to start feeling comfortable with the situation.
14. Clothing interests start to change dramatically.
How your teenage daughter dresses might get your hackles up. If you are fighting with your daughter because you feel she dresses inappropriately, you might need to choose a new approach. Telling your daughter that she “cannot” dress in a certain way will only make her keen to do just that.
To stop the fighting and see a more appropriate dress style from your daughter, you could promise her a small shopping spree but only buy items of clothing that you both agree on. Also, try to understand that it is a phase and will hopefully pass as the days wear on.
15. Teenagers suddenly become night owls.
Something that worries mothers is that teenagers become night owls. They want to stay up late, see friends, watch media, type away on their devices, and then sleep quite late into the next day…This can make parents naturally uneasy. How can you avoid this fight?
Perhaps implement a “bedtime” and a “wake up” time. This may seem controlling, but it could help your child develop a healthy pattern of living. Staying up until 3am and then sleeping until midday is not particularly healthy. Alternatively, you could let it slide and chalk it up to typical teen behavior.
Do these issues sound familiar? They probably strike a nerve with both of you. Being a teenager is just as tough as it is being a mother to one – trust that!
If you are fighting with your teenage daughter over these very issues, perhaps it is time to take a closer look at the reasons behind it and what you can do to remedy the fighting. By trying to understand your teenage daughter, you will be able to quell the fighting that keeps damaging your relationship.