By: Melanie Dugan.
Conflicts between young girls and parents are not uncommon. As your daughter grows, there are countless factors that will tend to separate them from you. These could be their peers, interests, and even their boyfriends. One day you will realize that you are already talking to a lady who seems more of a stranger. There will come a time when they will confide with you less, and there will come a time when they will become the opposite of the person that you want them to be. And take note, this is just one of the many difficulties that you will encounter as a parent!
It is important to note that this is a natural process for young girls, especially when they get to their teenage years. Keep in mind that during this process, they are searching for many things such as the sense of belonging and their identity. It is natural for a parent to worry during this stage but it does not mean that you have to panic. There are many ways to keep a healthy relationship with your daughter and that best way to do it is by giving them
Loving your child unconditionally will set you free from expectations. In a more practical sense, you will love her just the ways she is. It is closely similar to loving our spouses despite their shortcomings.
To give you a bit of background. I have three girls (aged 8, 12, & 16). Until a couple years ago my defiant eldest and I seemed to have no problems. Then she hit about 14 and a half and the rebellion, fury and rage was unleashed! It has been a tumultuous couple of years and I have been at breaking point at numerous times however the advice given to me by my mother (as she unapologetically laughed at the similarities she’d experienced with me) was that I needed to try and love her unconditionally.
I did love her there was no doubt about that, perhaps the unconditional part had gone awry. I found it difficult to love her when she was behaving in a way that I could not understand and worse yet thought was despicable. The first place I looked was blogs like this! The advice was varying but the unconditional love advice from my mother still the advice that I seemed to relate most to. It was the advice that just felt most ‘right’ intuitively. My erratic little girl was not remotely interested in therapy and I got a double barreled blast of expletives for suggesting it! I eventually spent a few hours discussing with her how distressed I was feeling. I told her honestly how I felt angry back at her for how it was making me feel. It was difficult to be honest with myself, let alone her but once this was cleared a little we could reflect on our relationship and my parenting.
I saw how the unconditional aspect was warped, I was angry and shocked at her behavior because I couldn’t truly allow her to be her own person. Everything she did I saw as a terrible reflection on me and thus I tried desperately to quickly “correct it” or control it and whip her back into what I ‘needed’ her to be.
With that more honest look at myself and what I was projecting onto her I stopped my totally ineffective attempts at control and tried to admire her ferocity, wild defiance and creative fury. I found that I could actually really do this. I could let go of my very controlled straight life which had never been very adventurous and feel proud and even in awe at her guts and determination. The more I worked through my own problems and anxieties the more I was able to separate myself from her and love her unconditionally. This over time I think has helped give her space and she no longer has so many restrictions to resist and fight against. We are starting to come out the other side and I am looking forward to a new phase of our relationship… I’m about to start it all again with daughter number 2 but I feel much better equipped to begin the journey together.
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