Moms & Teen Girls

Moms & teenage daughters – a recipe for conflict…

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You Don’t Really Know Me

You Don’t Really Know Me
By Terri Apter

Few other family pairings are quite as combustible as a teenage daughter and her mother. In fact, they argue, on average, every two-and-a-half days.  These quarrels are actually attempts to negotiate changes in a relationship that is valued by both mothers and daughters, as psychologist, Terri Apter, discusses in her book, You Don’t Really Know Me: Why Mothers and Daughters Fight, and How Both Can Win.

In fact, even fights that seem to be about nothing are a teenager’s attempt to navigate perilous emotional terrain.  Handled well, these battles can help both mother and daughter emerge with a renewed closeness, says Apter.  It’s not the frequency or intensity of the battles, but, instead, what happens during them that can strengthen or damage the relationship.

“Fighting well with a mother is an important skill,” Apter states.  Mothers who ridicule, shame, silence or issue an ultimatum may undermine their ties to daughters who are seeking to recast their relationship, not destroy it.

A teenage girl, she writes, wants her mother to see her as she is, or as she aspires to be, and not as the little girl she once was — or whom her mother hoped she would become.

A daughter often feels her mother doesn’t know or understand her, and by fighting hopes to force her mother into a new awareness of who she really is, how she has changed, and what she is now capable of doing and understanding.  But mothers often misinterpret their daughter’s outburstscontinue reading

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