Here are some additional tips and sage advice from those who have been there: parents who have seen their adolescent girls grow up happy and healthy.
Keep your sense of humor. If need be, come up with a standing joke you can toss into even the most stressful of times. An example is the mother and daughter who, when one is complaining to the other and things get dicey, quip: “What do you want, a cookie?” Laughter, even in the most tense of situations, can relax you and help you turn things around.
“My best advice is, consider this: This child is not you reborn, but an entirely different person with different tastes, opinions and goals.”
— Joette Cook, mother of Emily
Use chores to calm things down. While your daughter may be enraged that you ask her to rake the leaves when she wants to argue about curfews, the action itself can be meditative, and will give her (and you) some time to think things over.
“When raising girls: Stop, Look, and Listen before you say or do anything that relates to your girl's behavior or appearance. Girls are ‘Mothers in Training’ and they take everything far more seriously than boys. They listen with ears that are attached directly to their hearts. Your most important role is helping them develop to be great women with a high level of self-esteem.”
— Lisa Braun, mother of Kristin
“I wish I had known that as soon as my daughters reached middle school I could have avoided a lot of conflict had I installed locks on the outside of their bedroom doors and put name tags in all their clothes. The concept of ‘sharing’ clothes was never equitable and the term most often used when someone was wearing an item that didn't belong to them was ‘stealing.’”
— Terry Whitehead, mother of two grown daughters
Enjoy those moments of peace. Be ready to grab them. If she seems chatty and kind, drop everything you can, swoop in, and have a nice time with her. It will help both of you the next time you are both out of sorts.
“Keep an eye out for signs that she is in the mood to talk and then make time to listen even if it's not convenient.”
— Maureen Hill Collins, mother of a fourteen-year-old girl
If she is gains a little bit of weight (and she is still in a truly healthy range), and she stresses over no longer being a size two, take her on an insane shopping spree. Show her clothes that fit, feel good, and look good. Then offer to cut the size tags out if she would like. Teach her image cannot be assigned a “proper size.”
“Always, always, tell your daughter, whatever her size, how lucky she is to have a beautiful, healthy body, and that it's important to take care of it with good food, fresh air, and exercise. Prepare food together, take walks together, and be positive. Your unconditional love and acceptance will help her define the feelings she has about her body.”
— Jean Driscoll, mother of two grown daughters, Amy and Alana
“For your own sanity, you need to understand that your daughter is not an anti-social, pathological brat, even though that's how she seems to always be around you. Her friends' parents will tell you they find her to be lovely, friendly, helpful, and cheery — and will be equally stunned when you tell them that's how their daughters act around you.”
— William Ahearn, father of a grown daughter (who is, by the way, lovely, friendly, helpful, and cheery)
And one more to get you through these years:
“Some day down the road, when your daughter thinks she is having a hard time with her daughters, remind her that the apple does not fall far from the tree.”
— Jane Hanna, mother of a grown daughter, grandmother of that daughter's two girls