- Family and Parenting
5 Things a Parent Should NEVER Say to Their Teenage Daughter
Especially NOT this...
As "the teenage daughter", I have some experience in this field. But don't opt out now because you think that I'm going to tell you that parents are evil, mindless zombies that can't get out of their own bubble and think about their teenage daughter's social life. Don't worry, I won't. Sort of. Whether you are a parent who has a tween and are already seeing some of the the symptoms, a parent who is in the midst of the madness, or the teenage daughter who is here to rant alongside me, I guarantee there is something here for everyone.
Something that you should know, before you read this article (that you might already be aware of) is that girl hormones work a little bit differently then guy hormones. Let's just be honest, we get psycho. So don't worry, you don't have to get your daughter tested for bipolar disorder. If you are familiar with the symptoms of PISH (Parent Induced Stress Hormones), you know that one minute we're going to be sobbing and yelling at you and the next we'll be in your arms in a fetal position and asking you for something. I'm sure you don't ever talk about it with your friends, because the other mothers are embarrassed, and think that a crazy teenage daughter is something to be ashamed of. News flash: it's not. Not every parent who has a teenage daughter goes through the things that I go through with my parents. But there are some universal things that all girls cannot stand when parents do. So without further ado, the 5 Things a Parent Should NEVER Say to Their Teenage Daughter.
1. NEVER SAY NO (Until you've heard the whole story)
I'm just going to tell you something right now-from personal experience, it drives me out of my mind when my parents say no. Granted, I didn't expect much when I asked them to sign a sky diving waiver, but when I held it out to them they said no before I even got the chance to start my speech. As a parent, you have every right to say no to anything that you please. But how would you like it if you put a bowl of soup that you had slaved over the whole day in front of your child, and they pushed it away because it didn't appeal to them, or they didn't really want to try anything new. Now, I hope I'm not overstepping my boundaries as the teen when I say this, but it seems to me as though many parents have a hard time letting go as their child grows up, which is why you say no to anything that we have never done before. So before you say no, parents, listen to what your daughter has to say. She might actually have a point.
2. NEVER YELL AT US
This rule has a bit of flexibility. If we start yelling at you, it's natural to defend yourself, so I'm not asking for you to give that one up. But when you yell, we feel we are being attacked. It makes us more frustrated about whatever the argument is, and when we yell back it has a ripple effect. Many teenagers are incredibly stubborn, and it doesn't help any when the parent is also stubborn. No one wants to give in to the other person during a fight, and so the fight progresses until someone ends up in tears. Usually, when something like this happens, it'll "blow over" and life will be back to normal. But I know a few people who don't speak to their parents for a long time after. Often times, a big fight can get nasty, and in defending yourself, you and your daughter can get overly sarcastic, and you can say things that you think will wound the other person. The truth is, both of you want the fight to be over, and in huge fights, it seems the only way to stop it is to hurt your opponent so badly that they will stop arguing. While doing this will stop the problem, it isn't the most valid choice.
3. NEVER ACT OUR AGE
Ok, I don't mean to be blunt on this one, but you aren't a teenager anymore, and if you are a teen parent, you now have to act like an adult. Trying to be a teenager again doesn't necessarily anger us, but it's really irritating. If your goal is to be "cool" to your daughter's friends, acting like them is probably doing more harm then good. The friends think it's annoying, and we'll be less apt to let you join in on our excursions. I'm not saying that we'll ask you to come be-bop around the mall with us, but as "the teenage friend", it's a lot easier to talk to you when our friends are grabbing something and we're stuck in the car with you. If you do want to be "cool" to your teenage daughter's friends, just be a good parent. Be a good hostess, wait to ask your daughter to do things until after their friends leave, and above all, don't tell us off in front of our friends.
4. NEVER PUT US IN THE MIDDLE
Being put in the middle of things just plain sucks. As a child of relatively recently divorced parents, this is highly applicable to my sister and I. In a divorce, you will not both end up with exactly what you want. It's the way the cards are dealt, so don't make us feel like we have to choose! You can ask us without really asking us - any time you complain about your ex (or anyone we like just as much as you, for that matter), it counts. This rule also applies to happily married couples, single parents, and just about anyone with a child. Having trouble with money? Tell us to be conscious, but never place the blame on us. Work is making you unhappy? Leave all the negativity there. Home should be a place that makes you happy and it certainly won't be if you're snapping at your daughter as soon as you walk in the door and putting other people in the line of fire. We're at the point in our lives where our minds are at their most impressionable, and we're susceptible to you and your actions - don't teach us poor habits.
5. NEVER COMPARE US TO OTHERS
This one isn't just for girls, but we tend to be a little more sensitive to this kind of thing. If you have more than one child, especially if they are older then your teenage daughter, this can be especially problematic. Comparing our achievements (or lack of achievements) to other's. My friend's parents have been repeatedly known to do this, comparing their daughters to everyone from their older sister to their best friend. It's more hurtful than you think. It makes us want to slap you, it doesn't make us want to do better to live up to the standards. We are different people, and we need to set our own standards, not live up to the ones you, your spouse, your other child, or your teenage daughter's best friend sets.
Remember, these are all things to keep in mind. You are the parent, and it is always your decision how to raise your daughter. I just thought you might like our side of the story-not in yelling form. Enjoy the next few years-they'll fly by, so make sure that you don't spend them telling us off.
Edit: This hub was originally posted in December of 2011. For those of you asking, I was a teenager when I wrote it (and I still am!) After forgetting about the hub for several years, I recently looked at it and found one of the rules to be outdated (for anyone who remembers the original, Rule #4 was "NEVER BOTHER US" ). I kept a majority of the hub in tact, because I think that there's value in seeing the thoughts of a teenage girl with hormones raging and angst coursing through her veins. I still have a lot to learn about my parents and our relationship as I'm going off to college next year, but in retrospect what I wrote were things that almost every parent and daughter must work through. My parents are wonderful people (usually) and everything they did for me was, in their minds, in my best interest. I made the hub to show parents what I was feeling at the time (13 years old and a Freshman in High School), and I want the same aesthetic to be present in the updated version.