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Moms Worry About

I am the mother of eighteen year old twin sons and a thirteen year old daughter. It has been extremely exciting and challenging having teens in the home and I am realizing now that things will be different with my teenage daughter.

Some of the things that worry me about my teenage daughter is being an effective parent and yet maintaining an open door policy on all topics. I believe in an ongoing relationship with all teens, and have had that relationship with my sons.

My daughter is very interesting and easy to get along with for the most part, and she has an overall great personality. But boy does she have moods, which I know is expected. I am learning though to still be the parent even if it means my daughter is upset with me for part of the day. I realize that if what I am talking about makes sense, once she calms down, she will apologize and I will apologize if I went overboard, and life goes on.

It is very important to me that we maintain a great relationship, built on mutual respect and understanding and that being an effective mother now, will actually improve our future adult relationship.

One of the biggest concerns I have is my daughter always having a great self esteem, and believing in herself, and overcoming any adversity she meets along the way. I have realized that teenage girls can be cruel, without necessarily meaning any harm, and they make unkind comments about other people’s weight, the way they dress etc. Some comments can be very hurtful, and I am sometimes worried about this but I always tell her that she has a choice. I emphasize to her that she can’t control what other people say or do, and that all she can control, is how she responds to what is being said. I always tell her that she can choose to let others hurt her or not and hopefully, this will eventually become part of her life as she meets adversity in life. I am teaching her to learn whatever she can from every encounter, good or bad, and to let go what she has no control over.

I think every parent worries about their daughters getting into the right relationship, and not being abused. We want our daughters to get married and have a great marriage. With a family with older brothers, and a father who are all very protective, this is an ongoing topic of conversation. My daughter is always being told how well she should be treated by her eventual partners. We always discuss the topic of sex, yes even at this age, and how she should not allow herself to be abused by any man.

My one concern, which I am always talking to her about, is that she will always feel comfortable with me, and discuss any concerns or questions, in her future relationships. We currently have a great relationship, which I hope will come in very handy when she starts getting involved in the relationships that will invariably come.

Another interesting concern is about personal appearance. That is where we have the greatest disagreements. I love dressing up and I always wanted a daughter to be able to dress her up. My teenager has a very strong personality, and her own ideas, and dressing up is not one of her top priorities. After fighting and trying to impose my will, I have finally backed off. I realize that so long as she is appropriately clad, and not exposing her body I need to be thankful and it is not worth destroying my relationship with her over this. I am learning to pick my battles.

We talk a lot about appropriate nutrition and not overeating. Initially there was a lot of resistance, and pouting and this was one of the cases where I was in a dilemma about whether I insist and risk my daughter being upset, or do I let it go. I thought it was important to work with her on this one, and now we are getting into healthier living and even exercise. Great!

Overall, it is a great and rewarding experience to raise a daughter, though sometimes challenging. The key with my boys was always communication, and I know that this will work with a teenage daughter too. I am learning though that the way to communicate with her is very different though. It really is true. “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus.”

Contributed by Marian in Dallas.

Have You Had the Beauty Talk

If you don’t talk to your daughter about the manipulation of models in the beauty industry, you may be leaving her believing that the pictures she sees in magazines, on billboards etc. are real. Most of us know that the models are manipulated by computer imaging to create gorgeous faces and bodies.  You should have a talk about the beauty industry when you daughter is young, and keep reinforcing the message through her teen years.

The beauty industry wants girls to believe that they need to buy products in order to achieve the unachievable! In doing so, the beauty industry hurts our girls self-respect and self-confidence.

If you haven’t discussed the beauty industry with your daughter, please start soon. Let her know that she does not have to look like the girls the media portrays as beautiful.

In my book, “The Secrets Guys Wish You Knew About Love,” guys tell girls that what is most important to them is NOT how a girl looks, but rather how she acts. 98% of the guys said they would rather be with a good listener than a hottie.  But beauty companies can’t sell girls what they already have inside of themselves, the ability to care and connect.

Help your daughter feel good about her true beauty, her true self. Talk to her about the media brainwashing. Ask her how she feels about it.

Dont Get a Divorce

Raising teens can put a strain on a relationship in ways we don’t think about. Mom’s are often going through their own hormonal shifts as their daughters ride the estrogen roller coaster. Mom’s are beginning to see gray hairs, wrinkles and feel a glimmer of “OMG! I’m turning into my….MOTHER!” while their perky daughter attract guys like bees to the blossoms. It’s a part of parenting we rarely talk about, but hey, IT’S THERE! Dad’s have their own emotional  hoops to jump through as young men begin courting their daughters. Dad’s realize they aren’t the strapping young bucks they used to be. Add these emotional blips to differences in parenting styles, years of being together and perhaps a stale relationship and you’ve got breeding grounds for one of you saying, “I want out!” I beg you to reconsider.

Your daughter needs you now. The teen years are really tough. If you divorce she has that trauma to deal with. I urge you to seek counseling to see if you can save your marriage. If you understand some of the dynamics going on, you might have a chance to breathe life back into your relationship. Remember you once loved your spouse enough to marry them. What needs to change in order for you to find that spark again?

The grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. Sure, there are a million people on Match. com but blending a family at mid-life isn’t easy. It may be harder than flaming the flames back into your marriage.

Of course, if your marriage is abusive, you may need to exit. I’m just saying, don’t let the mid years of your life, juxtaposed next to the youth of your daughter’s life, get in the way of working on salvaging your marriage.

I have taken enormous pride in my work and sacrifice as a mother to my four children.  I have made many mistakes, as we all have. I regret deeply not being able to salvage my own marriage so many years ago. This is one time when I ask you to do as I say, not do as I did!

Need to talk about your relationship? I’m a great listener.

Hang in there. Get counseling. Get more if the it doesn’t work right away. Keep talking, listening and loving each other as best as you can.