You aren't imagining it. Battle days are increased during adolescence. And most experts will tell you that Mom is the favorite target of her daughter's anger and frustration. Why? You will forgive and forget. But there is a silver lining to these battles. Young girls actually seek arguments. They can be productive in defining and developing individuality. Of course, that doesn't make them any easier to tolerate.
Watch Out: It's Battle Time!
Researchers actually found a rhythm for the fights between moms and adolescent daughters. Battles normally occur when a mom and daughter come home at the end of the day. Mom tries to assert her control and daughter tries to maintain her free, out-of-sight independence. Mom asks questions, perhaps too many questions. Daughter reacts in that singular-minded way adolescent girls do. She feels like she is suspected of doing something wrong and doesn't stop to think logically that her mom may simply be interested in her life. Tensions arise on both sides and an erupting battlefield is inevitable.
Some of the most common battles at this stage are over…
- A lack of neatness, particularly in her room.
- Clashes over what she should wear.
- Boys and dating.
- Selection of friends.
- A variety of liberties.
Loading the Cannons: A Daughter's Arsenal
Other sources of contention between moms and daughters at this stage that erupt into battles have to do with…
- Turning down Mom's advice.
- A daughter's attitude that she knows it all and Mom knows nothing.
- Frustration when Mom doesn't validate her daughter's budding new identity.
- A mom who forgives and forgets-her favorite target.
- Disappointment or frustration when a daughter feels as if she hasn't won Mom's approval.
- Blaming Mom for her unhappiness.
- What she is or isn't allowed to do.
- A daughter's desire to prove she can do something Mom doesn't think she can.
- A daughter's expression of a strong view of her own.
- A daughter's attempt to lessen Mom's authority.
- Her determination in trying to change Mom's response to her.
Cannon Fodder: A Mother's Constraint
Moms, you inadvertently give your daughter more fire power if you…
- Fail to restrain your own temper within reason.
- Have to be right.
- Want to make your daughter feel guilty.
- Don't let her vent when necessary.
- Choose your battles unwisely.
- Fail to be silent and listen when it's best.
- Fail to sympathize with her feelings.
- Can't see the positives in a fair fight.
- Don't recognize your daughter's rights.
- Fail to trust her judgment.
- Can't seem to hold your frustration in check.
These lists ought to give both moms and daughters something to talk and think about. It takes two to fight!
Reaping the Spoils: The Positives of a Fair Battle
It may be hard for you or your daughter to believe it in the heat of battle, but fighting is and can be productive. Fair fighting can…
- Release tension and clear the air.
- Keep important issues from festering, growing, and erupting into major warfare later.
- Resolve issues and promote worthwhile change.
- Serve as a vehicle to express emotions and problems that need attention and keep mother and daughter close.
- Help your daughter build problem-solving skills.