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Mothers and Daughters: The Teen Years

Perhaps the worst thing about being the mother of a teenage daughter is remembering how badly we treated our own mothers and understanding now where they were coming from.  The good news is that we can work with our daughters to form a relationship that will last not only through the teen's years but for the rest of our lives.

The first step toward having a good relationship with your daughter is to take time to really listen to what she is saying.  Make a commitment to be available anytime she wants to talk about anything.  Put down what you are doing and really focus.  Sure, she might just be asking to go to the mall, but what she really might want to know is if it's OK to go there to meet a new guy in her class who she kind of likes but is also a little creepy.  By paying attention to the subtleties of her communication you are positioning yourself to be able to clearly understand and comment on what she is doing.       

The next key is to make sure she feels special.  Even if she has both younger and older sisters, your daughter wants to know that you see her as an individual.  Recognize her special talents and encourage them.  Look for opportunities to showcase her unique skills.  For instance, if she paints, have some of her work matted and framed.  Then hang it in your living room for the entire world to see.  Just make sure that she knows that you know she's special.

Finally, keep reminding her that you love her.  More than anything else in the world, teen girls need to feel loved.  Many psychologists attribute the rise in teenage pregnancy to a feeling on the part of many girls that sex is the price they have to pay someone to love them.  Teens that have parents that love them are less likely to seek it somewhere else.

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