My 14 year old daughter is totally mad at me, tells her friends she doesn't like me, that I hover and that I won't stay out of her business. The latter is true, I don't stay out of her business and I agree I have gotten in the middle of her relationship with her boyfriend. I told her he was probably cheating on her among other things. She has asked me to stop talking to her about it several times but I can't keep my mouth shut. She told her boyfriend what I had been saying and he confronted me. I told him I did say those things now he is mad at me too. How can I fix this?
Welcome to the world of teenage drama! thankfully there's always an opportunity for a parenting "take two" as long as you are truly committed to making it happen.
Your daughter is angry with you because you are pointing out her flaws: she is in a relationship that isn't working with a guy that isn't treating her well. I suspect that you are pointing out other things about you (and him) that you don't like about her as well. At 14, she doesn't have enough ego strength, or a strong enough self esteem to handle your criticism (let's face it, sometimes even as adults we don't handle criticism about ourselves very well!), so I can understand why she's shutting you out and turning to the cheating boyfriend for support.
So, now what can you do to fix the situation? Here are a set of steps that will help you repair your relationship with her:
1.Apologize! Tell her you are sorry for being so critical of her and him. DO NOT qualify the apology by saying you only did it because you're worried about her or because he cheated on her etc. Simply say you are very sorry that you have been so critical and so in her business.
2. Turn it around! It is very, very difficult to be a young teen--I think perhaps the toughest time in life. She needs you to stop focusing on the negatives, her mistakes and the bad parts of what she's doing and pay attention to the positives, the parts of her that you are proud of and that make you feel good. When you start to do this, she will start to feel better about herself too. She may seem like she's independent of you, but the truth is that she still needs you and needs your approval. However, she's very conflicted because if most of what she gets from you is negative, she will reject you for the boy and for her friends. If you start to offer her a positive relationship and ignore the negatives, she will eventually come back to you and trust you again.
3.Keep things in perspective! She needs to learn from this relationship and every other experience in her young life. She will do so far better with your gentle support, than with criticism, hovering and negativity. Sooo....bite your tongue and be the mom that I can hear you really want to be to your daughter. In the end, remember, that your goal is for you and her to reach her adult years as friends. This boy will be long gone by then.
Good Wishes and Great Parenting,
Dr Susan Bartell
JustAsk Expert www.drsusanbartell.com
NEW book “The Top 50 Questions Kids Ask”