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The Reign of Terror| Life with Teenage Girls

I have two beautiful teenagers, my son 17 and my daughter 14, and I have to admit I have never struggled more with my daughter than in this last year of motherhood. Between the mood swings, eye rolls, bad attitude, and her very strong opinion on literally everything most days have no idea what we are going to get from her.

I often think back on the days when she would snuggle up to me and call me her best friend. She’d let me brush her hair and she wanted to do everything with me. Now my skinny jeans are offensive, my side part is dated, every compliment is backhanded and family time is more than a chore. Truth... my self-esteem at times has never been lower.

“She’s mean, and um we are scared to death of her, we walk on eggshells around her. “ -Leanne Morgan

The truth is, teenagers no matter their gender are egomaniacs who can only seem to focus on one thing and one thing only, themselves. For every parent out there this is such a hard phase to walk through. however, I have to be honest compared to my son, my daughter has definitely been a bigger challenge in many ways.

She’s so focused on herself that I honestly believe she truly doesn't see how her behaviour is affecting others around her. The good news is Google tells me that this phase of disrespectful behaviour and bad attitude will pass, also it's developmentally normal. What I can’t seem to find is statistics on survival rates for suffering parents. Because no matter how many times I remind myself that I am her safe space, at times the emotional warfare can feel like too much.

Most days I find that our existence alone is enough to send her into a fit of eye rolls and disgruntled huffs. That's just us existing, when I speak to her she literally starts breathing fire before storming off.

Each day I try to remember that my teens don’t have the same amount of life experience as we do, and they often feel like we just don't get it. They are in a stage of life where they are trying to figure out how to be independent and to discover who they are. Most days their fears and frustrations are taken out on us in the form of mood swings, second-rate judgement calls, anger and shitty attitudes. At times it can feel like the way they treat us is borderline abusive. I find it best on the bad days to stay as calm as possible (which is easier said than done) and remind them that I understand they've got a lot going on and I’m always here to listen, but I will not accept their shitty attitude toward myself or anyone else.

She is trying out new ideas, and she has a strong need for independence. Despite the fact that it feels like she's pushing you away she still very much wants to stay connected. She is going to become very opinionated on everything you say or do.

Don't you dare cook dinner without consulting her, beef is out, the carbon footprint is too great and if you serve it you clearly hate the planet.

Don't ask her how her day was, it's an invasion of her privacy.

Dad don't you dare try to diffuse any situation with humour, your jokes are not funny.

Don't ask her to join in any family activity, it's lame. However, how dare you not ask her if she wanted to come, you never ask her to do anything fun.

The whiplash at times is brutal but try not to stress parents, we all survived adolescence, your daughter (and son) will too.

Over the years I've received lots of sage advice from some very wise women that I've used for comfort and guidance during this stage of parenting.

Stay clam.

Say I love you often (especially when they are at their worst.)

Praise them when they act or respond respectfully.

Lean on other parents when things get hard.

Just hug them.

Get to know their friends.

Set clear boundaries in your family about what is and isn't respectful in your home.

Admit when your wrong or made a mistake. Lead by example.

You've got this friend!

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