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Why is it that teenage daughters never get along with their mothers?


Why is it that teenage daughters never get along with their mothers?óMiss Independent, 16, NE

Shayna Answers:

Miss Independent,

Mothers and daughters can have problems getting along for a number of reasons. Sometimes daughters feel like their mothers don’t understand them or listen to them. Sometimes mothers feel like daughters don’t respect them or value their opinions. Usually the problem boils down to communication issues.

Typically mothers and daughters who can’t get along have similar communication methods. They both may be stubborn, or they may wait for the other person to apologize for an argument. Maybe both of them want to do most of the talking in a conversation. So when mothers and daughters try to communicate the same way, usually neither feels heard or understood. Then issues arise.

There’s good news: there are a few simple things you can do to improve your relationship with your mother. First, make it a priority to spend more time together alone. Other family members can cause distractions and make it tough to talk at home. Worse, sometimes family members exacerbate the situation by taking sides or trying to intervene.

If you can both commit to spending one night a week together alone, eventually you’ll break down some of your communication barriers. It just won’t be quick or easy.

It may be tempting to unload all your frustrations on your mom as soon as the two of you are talking alone, but try listening to her first. As she talks, identify what you like or don’t like about what she’s saying. After she’s made her point, respond to what she just said.

If you don’t understand why she said what she did, say, “Mom, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say. Will you explain it again?” Communicating your feelings without reacting to your emotions will help your mother respond to you better.

Then tell your mom that she needs to ask you questions when she doesn’t understand something—and not jump to conclusions.

Your attitude when you talk to your mother will also make or break your conversations. After all, we say a lot with our tone of voice in addition to our words. Matthew 7:12 reminds us to “do to others what you would have them do to you” (NIV).*

Both you and your mother need to be willing to compromise in your relationship. A good mother-daughter relationship takes effort from both sides. You and your mother won’t agree on everything, but focus on your similarities and build  from there. Your individual style and taste may never match your mother’s, but don’t let this be a hindrance in your relationship.

Your mother is a permanent part of your life. Learning to get along isn’t just important, it’s what God asks you to do in the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12).

*Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

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