By Evelyn Resh, Oprah.com
Evelyn Resh wants you to know that loving her and liking her don’t always have to go together.
I have yet to meet a woman parenting a teen girl who hasn’t looked at me at some point and uttered the following sentence: “I just can’t stand her right now!” The intensity of this feeling is not something you can prepare for, and it is completely disheartening to realize that you find your daughter’s company and behavior unbearable.
Mothers can’t help but question whether or not this feeling is normal. It’s very upsetting to well-balanced, loving mothers to feel disappointed when their daughters arrive home early from a social event or have no plans in the first place, which means they’ll be home all night. No mother would imagine that having her girl at home would leave her wishing she had errands to run. Just because she’s your daughter doesn’t guarantee you’ll like her—especially as a teenager. Will she be lovable? Yes. But likable? Absolutely not!As the mother of a teen daughter and a midwife for teen girls—both of whom I have found quite unlikable from time to time—I assure you that disliking your teen daughter on a fairly regular basis is to be expected and is perfectly normal. If you’ve been questioning this, hang around other mothers of teens, or teens themselves. All your fears about whether your dread falls on the spectrum of normal will be allayed. Other mothers will be saying what you’re saying. And the girls? Well, they’ll do plenty to leave you in a state of pure scorn with actions that no reasonable person could find charming.
Girls can bring their mothers to tears and feelings of hatred for many reasons. For example, many a teen girl has shown off her self-appointed expertise in a field where she has little to no experience. And this can be frustrating. You may want to ask such obvious questions as, “Exactly how can you be a great driver before you have a permit?” or “When did you become a world-class chef? From what I can tell, you’re still perfecting the art of toast.” When your daughter’s self-aggrandizing behaviors and comments are slung at you like boulders from a catapult, you can’t help but feel the force of the blow. But I recommend that you work diligently to keep yourself on an even keel. When evidence of the obnoxious and untenable rears its ugly head and comes spewing forth from your daughter’s mouth, don’t let the same venom come from yours.