My 13-year-old daughter literally cringes when I touch her. Any attempt at showing affection to my once cuddly and affectionate daughter is now met with resistance. You know, the I’m-a-teen-and-I’m-way-too-old-for-this attitude that consumes our children sometime between the ages of 11 and 16.
When I fall victim to this melancholy temperament, I’m quickly driven into a mental frenzy, trying to determine what I did wrong to deserve this. Is she still upset that I said Piper couldn’t sleep over this weekend? Is it punishment for the divorce that was finalized six years ago? Did I forget to say I love you this morning or did I say it too loudly as she left for school?
As a self-admitted control freak, I take the obvious next step to getting my desired outcome of capturing a small hint of the younger, softer version of my daughter: I try too hard. I ask too many questions and the tension grows.
I often view the symptoms of adolescence as evidence that I’m doing something wrong. I think I can control my daughter’s actions and reactions. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that the more I try to control her, the farther away I push her. Teens are unpredictable. One minute, they are chatty and happy and full of laughter and the next they’re sulky, withdrawn, and lethargic. Overnight, our precious and dependent children transform into mini-adults, struggling to become independent thinkers who desperately want to rely less and less on Mom and Dad.
My daughter is coming of age. This is a crucial time in her life and, though I may not recognize the 13-year-old whose shorts are getting shorter and legs are getting longer, I realize that I must let go and embrace these transformative years. They are, after all, practice for adulthood.
– Suzanne Hayes
Read More: Teen Moods: They Are Not About You
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