I’m convinced that being a teenage girl is the most difficult job out there – except, perhaps, being her mother. Navigating the world is tough – and as much as I hate to say it (because it makes me sound and feel old), being a teenager these days is very different from the experience most of us had growing up. Sure, there are universal similarities – the drama of girlfriends, the fear of not being asked to the dance, the angst over what to wear (every.single.day) – but we did not grow up in a society obsessed with cataloging our every move on camera and posting it on the Internet. Not only do teenagers have access to more people, ideas, and information, moms also have access to social media and technology giving them greater access to their children and their children’s friends. In some respects, this isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Over the past decade and a half, I’ve watched and witnessed moms make many mistakes where our girls are concerned and these mistakes boil down to one, simple truth: moms (especially of girls) these days are trying to be a friend not a parent.
I wish I could tell you to stop. Stop being their friend. She has friends. You have friends. Your job isn’t to be cool so that she likes you. Your job is to raise her so that she respects you. So that she understands boundaries. And consequences. And is able to get herself out of the trouble she got herself in. Because when you blur the line and become her friend, it’s hard for her to take you seriously when you draw the line to be her parent. It’s perfectly okay for you to be friendly with your daughter, but you want her to know that first and foremost, you are her mom. Your rules are non-negotiable and your wisdom has been earned.