Are You a Pleaser Mom, Warrior Mom, or Empowered Mom?
I learn a lot from my clients. Cheryl is a mother of 2 teenage girls and is a stay-at-home mom. She recently found marijuana in Riley’s (her youngest daughters) room. Cheryl was extremely upset and had a hard time focusing and getting anything done which is understandable. She called me to get some help. She told me that she had confronted Riley and she denied it. Riley said it must have been from one of her friends. Riley was really angry at her mom for not trusting her and telling her dad. She punished mom by not speaking to her for the next several days.
This is a familiar situation that moms of teenage daughters face. Your daughter will break your trust and then when you confront her about it she gets angry with you.
Here’s my question for you. How do you handle these situations emotionally? It’s easy to think about what you DO in those situations but many times you are not aware of your response. I had another mother say to me, “One of these day’s we’ll get along, but I hate that I am going to miss all these years. How many years do I have to wait to get along?”
I find in these situations you can default into Pleaser Mom or Warrior Mom and neither of these are good options.
Pleaser mom works hard at making everyone happy. If everyone is in a good mood she feels good, but if someone is upset her mood crashes. There are lots of admirable qualities in Pleaser Mom. She is loving, giving, and generous to others. She knows the value of a good relationship but the problem is that it is out of balance. Pleaser Mom can feel like she is tap dancing for her daughter and loses her power. The biggest problem with Pleaser Mom is that you compromise protecting your daughter because you don’t want her to get mad at you.
The problem is your daughter needs you to protect her and hold her accountable. Your job is to teach her to be responsible. And when you do your job of protecting her, she will most likely respond in a bad mood and that’s necessary. Pleaser Mom panics that the bad mood means she is losing her daughter forever, but that is not true.
Warrior Mom is the opposite extreme of Pleaser Mom. Warrior Mom is up for the fight. Your daughter’s rude comments lights a fire in Warrior Mom and you are going to show her who’s boss. There are lots of admirable qualities here. Warrior Mom is not going to be duped. She checks facebook and the phone. She goes through her daughter’s room. She checks her homework and grades. In fact she is always checking and ready to catch her daughter in a little white lie or a 7 story lie.
The problem with Warrior Mom is that you see your daughter as the enemy and you can miss her good qualities. You can start expecting the bad behavior. The consequence of this is that the relationship between the two of you starts to deteriorate. You throw the relationship under the bus. You don’t care anymore because you are sick of her behavior.
There is another way.
The Empowered Mom
The Empowered Mom finds a balance between Pleaser Mom and Warrior Mom.
The Empowered Mom does not react to her daughter. She stays centered in her own wisdom and clarity. She enjoys the relationship and protects the good moments with her daughter. She is clear with her daughter about the guidelines and consequences and enforces them without adding her own drama to the mix.
See you can have a good relationship with your daughter and enforce guidelines and boundaries.
You don’t have to wait for “one of these days we’ll get along” you can have good moments with your daughter every day and I think it’s the most important thing you can do. A lot of times these moments come late at night when it is inconvenient to you. But these moments keep your connection to your daughter positive and secure.
But you will never have 24/7 good moments with your daughter. It is impossible. She is hard wired for drama and your job is to protect her. So there are times you have to face the wicked witch of the west but the good news is she usually will fly away on her broomstick when she calms down.
Know when you experience the difficult moments; you are doing your job. The key here is that you deal with her strategically and not use emotional warfare. Remember “losing it” with your daughter is not a consequence. It doesn’t teach her anything except how to lose it. Your daughter can write you off when you lose self control. But Empowered Mom waits and does not react. She is clear and has a plan. She weathers the storm of her daughter’s anger knowing it will pass. Empowered Mom may get rattled in the moment but at the end of the day still enjoys her daughter.
Despite what your daughter throws at you, at the end of the day she wants to know you still like her.