As teenagers, girls try to get away from their mothers. It’s normal and even indispensable. How to play the role of mother and maintain the dialogue in this delicate period of crisis and search for identity? Psychologist Kathy answers these questions.
Adolescence, by definition, is a period of rebellion, during which the child seeks to define who she is and who she wants to be, says Dr. Kathy, a clinical psychologist. In this sense, the crisis is unavoidable. The separation from the parents is crucial for the construction of the adolescent’s identity, but there is a risk that it will become a tear, when the child does not know which path to take and does not feel supported. The mother must then play a guiding role that is both strict and permissive. And maintain parent-adolescent communication. These are most important and rising teenage issues today but as a parent, you have to understand your teenager, if you want her to be normal.
Is the Adolescent Crisis Inevitable?
Yes. It is normal for the teen to try to differentiate herself from her parents. It’s even essential. But she also needs to be framed, to have a structure that secures her. And there, I do not speak of constraints. The mother, just like the father, must find a way of being neither too strict nor too permissive. I would say directive. For the mother, it is a question of how to help her child to have a better confidence in her and how to promote the autonomy and the self-esteem.
How to Arrive at this Balance Between Authority and Carelessness?
The important thing is to listen to your teenager, even if you do not agree with her. It teaches her to assert herself, to talk about her emotions, whether positive or negative.
The mother must be present without being invasive. The young person will not want to confide if she feels she will be judged. On the contrary, she also has the right to have her life and not to tell everything. We must keep a generational distance even in its role of confidante.
A teen crisis is a teenage crisis, no matter the culture. But it is true that when the values and traditions of the parents are different from those of the youth’s friends, it can create conflicts.
Sexuality seems to be the Subject Most Likely to Cause Clashes
Discussing sexuality or homophobia is not common in some communities. Mothers are afraid that talking about sex with their daughters will encourage them to act. They then choose not to address the subject or simply say that it is prohibited before marriage. The message they send is “do not tell me”.
In a universe too strict, the teenager will do what she wants, which could lead to having sex even if she is not ready yet. This silence can lead to feelings of guilt among girls, who have sex and ensure that this relationship is not fulfilling. Same thing with regard to homosexuality. The teenager, who is in internal conflict and cannot talk about it will suppress her feeling of guilt, which could lead to feeling rejected and sinking into depression.
Having a good communication with the mother encourages the girl to do less secrecy and to have more confidence. Because her mother trusts her, she does not feel compelled to resort to lies to avoid arguments.
How to Implement this Mother-Daughter Communication?
It is important to find a means of exchange. It can be a family outing, a sports activity or a shopping session that both enjoy. This creates a pleasant and relaxed climate conducive to confidences. The girl will be more easily brought to talk about what she likes, what she does not like, the school, her friends … But for the teenager to talk about her emotions, the mother must also learn how to do it.
A Kind of Weekly Meeting?
In a way. But these moments must not be unpleasant. If the teenager knows she will be criticized or feels constantly compared to others, she will not want to go. A meeting should be very pleasant for your teenager because this meeting can help her to talk about problems she is facing in daily life. She might ask for help from your side, if you are friendly.
And Authority in All This?
A child, who questions orders and prohibitions does not necessarily lack respect for her parents. Dialogue needs to be fostered so that the adolescent can talk about her emotions in relation to a conflict. Rather than imposing prohibitions, it’s better to explain the risks to the young person to get him to determine, by itself, what is good or bad. It must be encouraged to make choices, without trying to impose. This is the best way to foster the development of one’s identity and autonomy.
The adolescent is a stage in which we discover this world, environment and learn new things and this may lead a teen to some problems. So, it is normal. As a parent, you make sure that you are available, whenever your teen needs your help in school, in society, or her daily life. This will help to improve your relationship with the child.