I know that not every teen is the same. Not every girl is the same. Not every mom is the same. And not every relationship between mother and daughter is the same. However, as the mother of a teenage daughter, I can tell you my relationship with my oh so sweet first-born has changed. She is not so sweet anymore. Sometimes she is downright mean. Demanding. Self absorbed. Snotty. You get the point. But here is the real clincher. When she is all of those things, I am the worst mother that ever lived. I am mean. Snotty. I cannot control the things that come out of my mouth. A friend and I dubbed it “Teen Tourettes” – when the buttons to your core have been pushed so hard you involuntarily share the very worst side of you with the kid you love so much and are trying to parent by example.
There is hope! I have found that communicating by writing is key in my relationship with my teen. When she slams the door on her way out of the car in the morning, I can take 10 minutes, practice my calming breathing, and send her a text “I love you, and I hope you have a good day.” Nine times out of ten, I get an “I love you” back on my phone screen. She has taken to writing notes of apology. I am sure she has figured out that by leaving those on the table she has avoided a lecture. Sometimes one-sided communication is a beautiful way to bring two people back to the same page.
That is why I love the concept of this journal – Just Between Us A No-Stress, No-Rules Journal for Girls and Their Mothers from Chronicle Books. I love the idea of sharing with your teen when you are inspired to do so and vice versa. In our hectic schedules of carpools, other kids, getting dinner on the table, and work, sometimes communicating anything other than what is next on the calendar doesn’t happen. Likewise, in their world of classes, friends, extracurriculars, volunteer work, homework, etc., family time is not high on their list of priorities. I like the idea that a journal going back and forth can bridge the gap – for the time being. It is designed to get mothers and daughters sharing about experiences, insights, or whatever else comes to mind. It can build a more solid friendship underneath the mother – daughter relationship because ultimately that is where each mother and daughter are headed. Ideally, it would help strengthen the foundation of the relationship so that respect is the norm and those crazy moments of mother – daughter power plays can be played at less heated place.
All for any tools that help keep communication going during the terrible teens!