If you are a teenage girl who has a mom, you’ll know that this–the act of having a mother–can be hard. This feels weird to say, since having a mom is, in many ways, a privilege, given that she’s someone who birthed you, raised you, and still spends much of her time caring for you, no matter your age. It’s just that it doesn’t always feel like a privilege. Moms are embarrassing, first of all. They tend to have an uncanny ability to know exactly what you don’t want them to do in any given situation, so they just go ahead and do it anyway. Plus, it seems like there’s something that usually happens between the ages of say, twelve or thirteen to eighteen (and onwards) that makes the mother-daughter relationship… complex. It could be puberty, it could be cabin fever, it could be the mounting pressures of school and college applications, but, whatever it is, getting along with your mom can be hard.
It’s especially hard when it seems like everyone else in the world gets along just great with their mom. You know, those people you know whose mom is their “best friend,” and they tell them everything, and they always seem to have an Insta-worthy photo ready to go at a moment’s notice. But here’s a secret: everyone struggles with their moms, even the people who seem to have those Instagram-perfect relationships. In fact, it’s so common that there are a ton of articles out there on how to “improve relationships with your teen” and a WikiHow article on “getting along better with your daughter” (it advises shopping and baking together as its two main means of improving relationships with daughters, which, sure), but not a ton geared towards teenagers who want to improve their relationship with their mom. So, check out these easy ways to be better at dealing with your mom:
Don't Focus On Old FightsLook, I get it. Holding a grudge is satisfying, and it's easy, and it's especially easy to hold onto a grudge with moms, since they've likely done a bunch of things that, in your mind, are totally worthy of holding grudges over. But it's probably the least effective means of improving a relationship with someone, since it means that you're always hyper-focused on something that happened a while ago. Obviously, if there are serious issues that need to be addressed, don't suppress them. It's just that you shouldn't constantly bring up this one terrible, horrible thing your mom did once, since that doesn't do much to improve whatever the situation you have now. And if your mom is holding onto some grudge she has against you, say that you're making an effort to change whatever happened before and would like to move on so you two can improve your relationship. Image source: iStock
Work On Your CommunicationEven if you feel like you're great at communication in all regards, you might be lacking it with your mom. It's easy to ignore a text here or "forget to call back" there, but all of those accumulate over time to create a more strained relationship between you and your mom. Instead, try to initiate more conversations with your mom, both IRL and over text. Try to talk with her a little bit when you come home from school, send a quick text if you're going somewhere else after school. It's simple, but initiating communication can make things a lot easier between you two, since it makes her feel like you don't have anything to hide. Image source: iStock
Identify What's Causing Most Of Your FightsFights between you and your mom might seem arbitrary and random, but if you look at them closely, chances are good that there's one root cause for them. It could be school, it could be friends, it could be girlfriend or boyfriend stuff--to figure it out, try and write down the cause of every fight you have and see what the most common one is. This isn't to say that every fight you have with your mom is automatically your fault--it's obviously much more nuanced than that--but it is a good way to make things better on your end. Image source: iStock
Make Sure Your Mom Knows That You're Making An EffortOnce you've figured out what you think is the root of you and your mom's fights, let your mom know that you think you've found what you think is actually the tension between you two. Tell her that you're working on changing things on your end, and that you'd like some help with her too--like, if the main issue between you two is your chemistry grade, tell her that you're getting tutoring after school. Just knowing that you're making an effort will make your mom happier and less inclined to start fights with you. (Then, you know, you actually do have to work on it. No empty words!) Image source: iStock
Don't Do Things That You Know Cause TensionWhat I am saying here is to remove yourself, Taylor Swift-style, from any narrative that you feel might cause undue stress or strain between you and your mom. I'm not saying that this gives you an excuse to bow out of family dinner every night because you get in little spats with your mom sometimes. But if you know that, like, shopping with your mom always ends in some dramatic blowout over shorts or something, suggest looking at clothes online together, then going with your grandma to go shopping. Image source: iStock
Don't AntagonizeBasically, don't pick fights for no reason. Again, not every fight you have with your mom is your fault alone--it's likely that your mom is picking fights with you too. But, speaking from personal experience, I know that it can be easy to identify your mom's pressure points and just, like, go at them if you're bored or feeling angsty. This, obviously, is not a good rule of thumb, since it creates a ton of unnecessary tension. If you feel like you want to start a fight for no reason, tell yourself to go to your room and wait ten minutes or so. You'll probably feel calmer once you're done. Image source: iStock
Do Things Together That You Both EnjoyI'm not saying to do some, like, forced mother-daughter bonding activity. Those usually go poorly for everyone incolved. But if you and your mom both like a certain type of movie, or sports, suggest going to it together, since it gives you a common interest to talk about. Plus, you'll get extra points for initiating the bonding, since it's another means of showing that you care about your relationship with her. Image source: iStock
Do you ever have issues with your mom? Do you have any good tips for dealing with your mom? Let us know in the comments!