Dear Barb – Humble Pride

Dear Barb:

I am the mother of a fourteen-year-old daughter.  We have always had a strained relationship and it just seems to be getting worse.  I had a difficult relationship with my mother and I hoped that my relationship with my daughter would be different, but it doesn’t seem to be.  I come from a family of quiet, conservative people, who try hard to be humble for what we have or can do.  My family always cautioned me about trying to be “too big for my britches”.  My daughter is extremely outgoing, always wanting to be the centre of attention and the life of the party.  She seems to be craving my approval but that is not something I’m comfortable giving.  While I enjoy the fact that she is outgoing, I find myself a bit uncomfortable with it and often try to suppress her.  We get into some pretty heated battles which makes me feel awful afterward.  My husband is much more easy-going and gets along quite well with our daughter.  I love my daughter tremendously, but I fear if I don’t try to curtail her personality other people will and that will be very painful for her.  She is constantly accusing me of trying to change her.  I’m really just trying to make her a better person.  Looking for some advice, thanks.  Heather. 

 

Hi Heather:

Thanks for sharing your story.  The best advice I can give you is to love the child you have, not the one you wish you had.  You seem to have expectations for your daughter based on your family history.  She is an individual.  We are not all cut from the same cloth just because we come from the same gene pool.  Step out of your comfort zone and embrace your daughter’s differences.  Throughout her life she will encounter people who do not appreciate her personality and others who think she’s awesome.  It’s not up to you to “curtail” her personality; your job is to accept her as she is.  Fourteen is an age where she is still learning who she really is.  You can help her on this journey, not by trying to change her, but rather through acceptance and love.  As a parent your responsibility is to encourage your child to be who they want to be, not who you think they should be.  Maybe you can take some cues from your husband and just relax and enjoy your daughter for who she is.  Good luck and remember that the teenage years are challenging for all parents.

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Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length and to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.
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