Today is Mother’s Day and as a mother and a psychologist I’d like to flip the script a bit. Today I would like to give thanks to my daughter for what she taught me about parenting when she was a teenager. Yes, I had many years of working with teens who were not my children. And, yes, I adored them and learned lots from them as well.
My daughter Amanda was and continues to be one of my best teachers. In fact, her teen friends were very good teachers as well. They reminded me that it was important to retain my sense of playfulness and that sometimes things didn’t need to be taken so seriously. Sometimes silliness and a sense of fun was and is called for.
Amanda also taught me that sometimes I didn’t need to try so hard. “Mom, she used to say, my friends really like you. You don’t have to try so hard.” She taught me to sit back a bit. And, Amanda reminded me that I was her mother not a friend particularly when I was wearing an outfit that looked more teenage than adult. You see mothers of teens- the teens really want you to be a parent rather than a friend. I have heard that repeatedly from the teens that I work with.
On Mother’s Day and on every other day our teens learn from us and we learn from them about this delicate interactional dance of parenting.
Happy Mother’s Day!