Mothers versus daughters
It doesn’t have to be war. But sometimes, it is.

As the emotional caretakers of the family, mothers typically steer the family's course through the maelstrom of the adolescent years. As such,they often feel responsible for ensuring that each member survives and even thrives. Consequently, mothers often feel a dramatically increased burden during their daughters' adolescence.

Her development affects you

It is far from easy to live with someone who is undergoing rapid changes in how she looks, thinks and feels. On the most obvious level, girls' maturing bodies,vitality and burgeoning sexuality tend to make their mothers uncomfortable.Just when girls are blossoming into shapely young women, mothers are often in or approaching midlife. It may be difficult to live with adolescent daughters who remind them of their ever-diminishing youth.

It feels personal

Mothers typically describe feeling scrutinized by their teens. As one mother put it: "Living with my daughter is like having my own personal X-ray machine." This is because your daughter's effort to develop her own individuality motivates her to examine your every action. This is a far cry from her early childhood, when you frequently could do no wrong or were the "best mother in the world."

Dealing with conflict can hurt

Some women have a tough time handling conflict and anger, so their teenage daughters 'challenging behavior or outright hostility as particularly unwelcome. Thinking back to when your daughter was a little girl, you probably expected her to get into squabbles with her peers and siblings. Now that your daughter has reached adolescence, you may believe that your daughter should be beyond all that. She should know how to get along with people – especially with you.

Remember that this phase passes, and mothers and daughters often end up close friends. But for now, you are the adult, so bite the bullet.

Megan de Beyer has a Masters degree in Psychology. She practised in both Cape Town and Durban and has run many successful parenting workshops at high schools.

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