When a daughter goes through puberty, it is only natural for a mother to feel concern for what’s to come. Often teen girls align with their opposite sex parent during their teen years, a change from their childhood when they identify strongly with their same sex parent. That transition can be difficult for the mother, and there can be some conflicts that may stem from insecurity that the mother is losing some part of the special relationship she shared with her in years past.

Mothers may use consumerism as a way to secure quality time with their daughters if they can afford to do so. Seeing a daughter go “solo” might be an early sign of what is to come with college, relationships, and independence from the family unit. Mothers that live vicariously through their daughters will have a hard time separating from their daughters, especially if they feel that they are reliving their own glory years through their daughter.

Mothers should celebrate their daughter’s developmental milestones internally, and support their child with unconditional love. If jealousy and control are interfering with the relationship, taking form in passive aggression, the child will pick up on that and use it against a parent when power struggles occur. A mother that is able to balance their concern and pride for their daughter while coming to terms with their own maturation will be a wonderful role model for their daughters.

A daughter viewing their mother as a role model is not well served by having an insecure parent holding on to the last bits of their physical youth to match their teen daughter.         

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Written for The Washington Post

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Author of I’m Sorry, You are Not a Pick-Up Artist and I’m Sorry, You are Not a Disney Princess