Find the Balance Between Friend and Mother continued...
“Professionally, I know that you must be parent first and friend second. In general, the more you listen and try to understand the underlying reason for your daughter’s frustration or worries or other troubling emotions, the easier it is to get to a solution,” she says. “Getting angry generally doesn’t work well and neither does being a girlfriend at all times.”
Bliss agrees that trying to be too much of a friend can backfire. “Sometimes parents try so hard to make themselves approachable that they insert themselves into the details of their kid’s world. Most kids like to keep their worlds separate. They want to have a parent there for parental things, but they don’t always want their parents involved in their personal world,” she says.
Good parents can be their teen’s occasional confidante, and yet still have appropriate authority and set healthy boundaries, says Kaslow. “I think first and foremost it is important for mothers and their daughters to have a loving and close relationship, so that the daughter feels safe, securely attached, valued, respected, and cared for,” she says.
Set Limits With Your Daughter
It can be a struggle to know how strict or permissive to be when talking to your teenage daughter. You want to encourage responsibility without triggering rebellion. Setting limits can take the confusion out of being a teenager for the both of you, says Bliss.
“I encourage parents to set limits early on and specify what the consequences will be if they’re overstepped. Speak to teenagers in a compassionate way and be open-minded,” she says. “Kids are having sex, using drugs -- especially marijuana -- and drinking. You can tell them, ‘I know what goes on and this is what I expect, this is what I don’t expect.’”
In fact, behavioral parameters provide security that your teenage girl craves. “Part of a loving relationship is the safety that is created when mothers set appropriate boundaries and limits. So, mothers need to consider asserting their parental authority as a reflection of their love and connection with their daughters,” says Kaslow.