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.
1. Empowered Mom is centered.
To do this, mom makes time for herself. She knows that her self-care is important. She knows that if she is exhausted and stressed she cant think clearly.
If her daughter crosses the line, mom doesn’t react in the moment. She knows that she needs to take some time to think about it. Mom knows she may need to get out of the house to calm down. Mom might go to the gym or journal but she takes time to get centered so she can regain perspective.
2. Empowered Mom is clear.
Mom knows that she can only be clear after she has had some space to calm down. She knows that if she spouts out something right away like “you’re grounded forever” she won’t be able to enforce it. She knows it takes time to get clear about an appropriate consequence.
If mom is confused, she gathers information and talks to her partner and trusted friends first. She doesn’t process her feelings with her daughter when she is still upset and confused.
“Don’t you know what this has done to me?” At that point her daughter doesn’t care.
Mom approaches her daughter with clarity about her position, rules, and consequences.
There is a strategy to her communication with her daughter. She waits till both her and her daughter are calm. Mom doesn’t run into her daughter’s room late at night to “get her feelings off her chest.”
3. Empowered Mom protects the relationship.
Mom protects the relationship because she doesn’t let things get out of hand. She doesn’t shame or label her daughter. She doesn’t mock or belittle her.
See you can have a good relationship with your daughter and enforce guidelines and boundaries.
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 it helps a lot if your wicked witch doesn’t show up at the same time.
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.
Empowered Mom has a long-term strategy to build positive connections with her daughter. She doesn’t let the negative parts consume her relationship with her daughter.
Empowered Mom knows she needs support. That’s why I created the Power Your Parenting Program that will be starting later this fall. Empowered Moms need information, guidance, encouragement, and support from other moms.