• Wed, Dec 12 2012

I’m Pretty Much Waiting For My Daughter To Grow Up And Hate Me

It won’t be enough for me to prepare her for the physical changes that will take place within her body. I will have to remember my own puberty, my own girlhood oversensitivity, my own fears and confusion about all of the feelings that were raging through my head and heart. I will have to separate my own adolescence from hers, to let her voice her frustrations and anger without taking it personally. I will have to let her slam doors and hate me on occasion. Let her feel her own personal feelings with the knowledge at times that all I will be able to do is offer to run her a bath or bring her a heating pad.

I will be able to explain the physical changes and prepare her with a backpack full of sanitary napkins. Speak to her at length about birth control and the various emotions she will feel and how her mood swings are totally normal. It’s the waiting that worries me. The time between her puberty and her growing up, when a few years after she starts bleeding and her hormone levels even out that she will stop taking out any girlhood anger issues with me.

I will remember my own adolescent fury at my mother for just being a mother, for setting boundaries, for trying to keep me warm in winter when I tried to wear a short skirt out of the house as the snow fell, for giving me rules, and guidelines, and her endless suggestions for living. I will listen to the doors slam and collect the pieces of my heart from the floor and wait for her to come back to me. Just like my own mother did.

(photo: YuriyZhuravov /shutterstock)

Share This Post:
  • Diana

    Sad and a little stupid that you are talking about it as though its an inevitable fact. For a start you assume that your daughter is going to be just like you, unlikely. I love my mom ( and dad) , have never stopped not even as a “hormonal monster ” in my teens, we didn’t fight. Then again , she never expected me to turn into a “monster” just because I hit puberty. Treat her like a rational human. Assume the best and you might get it.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I said in the article not every girl hates their mother, but thank you for the comment!

    • alice

      you didn’t fight with your parents when you were a teenager? hmmm

    • A

      Ever since puberty, every time my sister or I are grumpy, my mom dismisses us as having our periods. We’re both north of 25. To her, there’s no “legitimately upset,” there’s only “hysterical female.”
      It’s frustrating- I never got taken seriously when I was upset because of it, and my sister never got called out for being abusive because she was considered not in control of her actions. I now feel no one takes me seriously because I’m female, and my sister still is abusive.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Oh man, see, that sucks. I’m talking about the teenage angst that accompanies some girls during puberty, not the negation of problems separate from. That’s unfair of your mom.

    • Kai

      You’d have thought your mother would have an issue with blaming problems on being female!

      But I’ve come to learn that sometimes it’s an age thing you grow out of, and sometimes mothers really are just poor mothers. Once north of 25 with no change, it’s time to accept that your mother just as issues as a human, they’re not your fault, and you can’t change them, and her opinion of you needs to stop mattering. work on looking for how others actually treat you (whether or not you are being taken seriously or not), and do your best to keep your mother’s thoughts out of it. It’s a process, but you can get out of that place.

  • LindsayCross

    I’ve always had a pretty good relationship with my parents, but this is such a valid and relatable fear. My daughter is four and there are times when she’ll say a smart-alec comment and I think, “Heaven help me in a decade.” They’re our little girls. It’s hard to think about the times when they might not want our love or help. I don’t think that means your damning your relationship from the start. I think it’s human nature.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      awww, thanks Linds

  • KT

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings Eve. I feel this way too sometimes and now I know I am not the only one that does.

  • CMJ

    My mother openly talked about this issue with me in High School and now, as a (mostly) functioning adult I appreciate her openness and candor. She used to say: “If you ever talk to a therapist, just tell them it was all my fault.”

  • chickadee

    I fought with my mother a. lot. As a result, I actually did what most teenage girls swear to do in the future — I very consciously did not do the things that my mother did that were so horrible.

    As a result (or because my children are nicer than I was or because in comparison with their stepmother I am awesome or because the planets aligned correctly or because Hera intervened on my behalf) I have a much different relationship with my teenagers than my mother had with us. My eldest (at college) calls to talk and vent and to tell me how much she misses me. I stayed with her for five days before Thanksgiving and there wasn’t one squabble or spat. My youngest can be pricklier, but she acknowledges when she’s wrong and apologizes, as do I (that was a big one with my mother — she never apologized sincerely, so I started doing that from day one with my children. If I was actually wrong or if I overreacted, I mean).

    So be a mother that is the polar opposite of MY mother and you should be just fine. Which you probably will be anyway.

    • zeisel

      Well, said. I had a loving mom that meant the best; however she has ADHD and is very controlling to say the least. For example, she freaked out when I said I didn’t have any interest in going to the prom. If you don’t see it from her point of view, then something is wrong- type of mentality. I am not those two things, so I am hoping that my daughter (10 months) will be able to tolerate me when she is a teenager and beyond. I say beyond because my mom and I still get into it every once in awhile. It’s hard with a personality like hers, because I wouldn’t be friends with that type, even though she has countless friends, whom she does get into squabbles with. So, I know its not just me. I guess I’m trying to reinforce that my daughter and I will be okay, not based on my mom and I’s relationship. yikes.

    • chickadee

      My mother was super-controlling too, and she also had a child’s self-centered approach to social interactions. My sister and I are very considered in our approach to parenting and are always weighing our parenting responses again the imbalance of our mother’s approach. If we sound like Mom, maybe we’d better try again….

    • zeisel

      Good approach! I just read a couple other posts about moms needing to be moms and not friends… I’d like to say that it’s hard when or if your mom isn’t just setting parental boundaries, but would go overboard and try and live vicariously through you. And doing things that wouldn’t be justified, so I’m not saying she needed to be my best friend, instead of a mom. Far from it. Freaking out over not going to prom; however I wasn’t a loner- I was on the soccer team and in the literally club. I thought prom was stupid. She was never really understanding and never really put herself in others shoes. I will support my daughter either way she chooses and will make a fuss about something that is imperative to her future. prom is not.

    • Justme

      Although I have a wonderful and close relationship with my mother today, I NEVER heard an apology from her mouth when I was growing up. This led me to believe that no matter the situation, adults (or people who were older than me) were ALWAYS right and I was ALWAYS wrong. With time, I’ve become better about recognizing my role in situations and placing fault where it belongs – sometimes with me and sometimes with others. But it is one thing that I resolved to do with my students and my own child – APOLOGIZE. We want to model for our children the type of person we hope they become and humble, honest and HUMAN can be shown with one simple acknowledgement of a wrong while simultaneously asking for forgiveness.

      Now that my mother sees me as less of a child and more of an adult, she will apologize more frequently for issues that come up NOW but still refuses to acknowledge any frustration I felt during my teenage years.

    • chickadee

      Yeah, the non-apology stance is really frustrating, and fortunately my father had a stronger sense of justice towards us. It makes it really hard to admit fault as a child, though, when you know that it will be viewed by your mother as justification for her continuing to behave as though she is always right.

      My daughters’ father and stepmother don’t apologize too much either — I think they see it as loss of parental face, or something.

  • Lori B.

    This article left me in tears. I have a daughter and I think about this regularly. I was a pretty good teenager, not expressing the rebellion that you describe, and yet I still butted heads with my mother constantly. Although I never really “hated” her (and I am sure you did not mean that literally), I remember feeling rage towards her at times and even taking a swing at her once. For me, this did not subside until I was out of college. then when I had a daughter of my own, I truly appreciated my mother and felt that childlike need to cuddle with her again. She unfortunately passed away when my daughter was only a year old and I wish I would have apologized for being such a “monster” as an adolescent. Then I look at my sweet 3 and 1/2 year old daughter, and know that there will be plenty of time to butt heads with her. Let’s cuddle as much as possible now.

    • pixiedust8

      I’m sure she knew you were sorry for your behavior as a teen. She probably felt the same way toward her mother!

  • Daisy

    I wish my mom could have read this when she was raising me. From the time I was about ten, she was convinced that she was raising a rebellious, bratty, spoiled, selfish monster. The truth is that I was a straight-A student, never drank/smoked/did drugs/had sex, went to church every Sunday, volunteered at the public library, and spent all my free time doing homework and playing Barbies. My only real flaw in my preteen years is that sometimes, for absolutely no good reason, I would have tantrums and talk back to my parents. And I knew it was wrong, and I always felt bad afterwards, but I just couldn’t help it. And now I know that’s pretty normal. I wish my mom knew that too. It got to the point where the other kids at school–the ones who normally teased me and picked on me–were offering to trade families for a week so my mom would appreciate what a goody-two-shoes I really was.

    • k

      Aw, we were very similar growing up. though i kinda made of for it in college. and as an adult.

  • alice

    i had a typical tension-filled relationship with my mom throughout my adolescence. and yeah, it was mostly “boundary” related. i saw her as the enemy that was holding me back from doing everything i really desired. i rebelled and mostly still did what i wanted. she held her ground and would punish me for it. rinse. repeat.

    in retrospect, i respect her for holding her ground. i don’t think at that age your mom should be your “best friend” and it bothers me when i see moms trying too hard to fit that role. be a mom. not a bestie! there will be time for besties later!

    i dont have a teen daughter, but my advice during the turbulent teenage years: find one or two activities that transcend the parent/child relationship. something that you can do as equals, without any pretense of “i know more, so listen to me” for me and my mom, it was cooking.

  • Chaunie@TinyBlueLines

    “I think of my own daughter, this fiercely adorable and sweet child who hugs me so hard I feel my ribs cracking, whose face lights up like Christmas morning the moment she hears my voice. How she will hate me. How my heart will shatter into a million tiny pieces when she does.”

    So powerful and heartbreaking. And I have two daughters. :( I hope and pray it won’t end too badly, but I know it’s pretty much inevitable, isn’t it? Sigh.

  • Cliff

    What’s with this trend of assuming that teenagers will behave like sociopaths and that , what’s more, this is normal or expected?

    If you truly hated your mother for no discernible reason then there was a bigger problem than normal puberty. I’m a family therapist. Most families argue and bicker. But if a teen is genuinely behaving hatefully to their parents there is usually a good reason or something wrong with the dynamic.

    A lot of the time parents are actually afraid of their teens, sometimes because they have spent years obsessing about how horrible they’re going to become when they hit puberty. As a result they tolerate behaviour that they otherwise would never allow. In turn the teens feel judged, sometimes they haven’t actually done anything wrong except turn 13.

    My advice? Remember you are the same person no matter what your age. Please don’t reduce your daughter to a “monster” just because she happens to be a teenager. Don’t pre-judge what she will say, do or feel. You are not your Mother and your daugher is not you. Take it as it comes.

    • pixiedust8

      No one is assuming teens will act like sociopaths. Most parents assume that hormones will kick in, and the road will be bumpier for a while. As for the idea that you are the same person, no matter your age–really? I’m partly the same person I was at 13, but I’m very different in many, many ways.

  • Ashley

    I’ve just got to ask… Is there a reason this fear is always exclusive to daughters? It seems like a we’re all being a little too influenced by our sexist society. I got along perfectly well with my parents when I was a teen, but know plenty of teenage boys (including my brother) who are or were just as rude to their parents as we all assume their sisters will be from the day they are born. No one has this fear about their sons. Do they just not voice it? Do they not even consider it because our society doesn’t acknowledge it? Is it because society only sees girls/women as overly emotional and boys/men as just being? I always cringe when people with both sons and daughters only talk about how terrible it’s going to be when their daughters are teens, but never acknowledge that their sons may go through emotional struggles (and hormonal changes) as they mature as well.

    Curious to hear what others think…

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      Oh the boys topic, of which I have three, will come at a later date! so much of it is the same, but I think there is a special sort of dynamic with mothers and daughters. Boys can be just as moody.

    • chickadee

      All I can speak to is the mother-daughter relationship, since I am female and all I have is daughters. But I shouldn’t think the emotional strife is much different….

    • Justme

      My brothers fought with my father and I fought with my mother. I always figured the the same sex dynamic that was difficult during the teen years.

    • pixiedust8

      I thought pretty much every girl had bigger issues with her mother. That was the case with me and my friends, anyway. I think it’s just a necessary thing with your same-sex parent as you struggle to “separate.” My five-year-old daughter worships me, which is (unfortunately) not a sustainable thing. I’m enjoying it while it lasts and I hope the future conflict is short-lived. (My niece had some issues with her mom, but it was brief, unlike with my mother–who was extremely strict.)

    • Ashley

      But it’s not necessary. Like I said in my original post, I never had that problem. I got along great with both of my parents all through my teen years. As did many of my friends, male and female. And I hear fathers just as often as mothers worrying about what terrors their daughters will be, and not their sons. I don’t think it has anything to do specifically with the dynamics of mother-daughter relationships (at least, not the issue I’m talking about).

    • pixiedust8

      Well, the author did say that not every girl hates her mother. But the fact is that, during puberty, many mothers and daughters (in particular) have conflicts.

      I don’t hear fathers worrying about that, and I know a lot of fathers, so I’ll have to disagree with you. Apparently, our experiences are just very dissimilar (in regard to almost everything!)

  • Hibbie

    This is a beautifully written essay. I imagine when your daughter has made it through the teenage years and is an adult, this essay will be very touching for her to read.

  • http://twitter.com/MamaHasSnacks Carinn Jade

    Awwww, Eve. This was beautiful. What I read the most is how much you love your daughter. My baby girl isn’t quite two but I feel this way too. Sadly even at that age I’m expecting this day to come too. I hated my mom in my teenage years in the same ways you describe, but it’s the job of a good mom to set those boundaries and make those judgment calls while their own is impaired by youth. Hugs and kisses to you! The first time she says “I hate you” drop me a line – I’ll have a kitten sweater in the mail right away.

  • Wendy

    This was really, really beautiful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/krista.rabe.7 Krista Rabe

    My mom’s most memorable comment of the last few years: While looking at a picture of me at the age of 11, “Yes, you were a skinny thing. The next year you grew boobs and got your period, and the year after that, you turned mean.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592188905 Bran Chesterton

    This was a very touching read, Eve. I’m tearing up thinking of how much I loved my mother when I was young, and did everything with her and like her, and then how she knew NOTHING when I was in high school and was annoying my first few years of college. Oh, Moms! I remember I told my mother I hated her once in my life, and that’s when she was fixing my dress strap for homecoming in front of all my friends and she dropped it and I flashed everyone, and I screamed it without thinking. I apologized to her and told her I didn’t mean it that night, even though I was in that angsty stage where she was “terrible”, because I knew I loved her so much still that I would never really mean that I hated her. Then she magically changed into someone I missed every single day when I left to make my own life. She was my very best friend. Funny how Moms change so much over the course of our life… :)

    Again, the dynamic changed when I fell in love with a woman and my mother couldn’t deal with it. I “hated” her again for knowing nothing about love or life or who I was or who humans were. Almost a year later, we’ve grown closer again and I appreciate who she is as a person even more as I see her grow and change and love me the best she knows how through all of it. I know how much I underestimate her, I know how human she is, and I know she always, always will love me forever.

    It’s kind of morbid, but I used to think about how if my mother died, I wouldn’t be able to live without her. Literally and seriously I could not imagine life without her and worried about it all the time, how would I function, how could I not be broken if she died. Since our most recent period of separation, we both have learned how to love each other without relying exclusively on each other, a lesson I think we both needed. She told me when we reconciled, “Don’t ever live your life to please me. I did that with my mother, and I didn’t know how to deal with it when she died, and I didn’t know who I was. You do what makes you happy and I will love you and be proud.”

    It’s a long post, but I am full of love for my mom after reading this, and I wanted to reassure you that your daughter will love you unconditionally as you love her, and that those breaks you know may come are indeed healthy and useful!

  • K.

    You don’t really ‘have’ children. You rent them.

  • Scarlette

    Good article. You should tutor Eckler.

  • Deb

    My very sweet and adoring 13 year old daughter talked and snuggled with me every day just 6 months ago. Now I have to ask her if she’ll “throw me a love bone’ every now and again, so i can stay in this with her through all of the silences and walls she’s built to keep me out. It breaks my heart, but I have the sense its even harder for her.

    • mb

      I have 2 daughters the oldest we butted heads when she was hormonal, when she was a teenager, but nothing extreme. She’s 24 and we get a long great. Now my 16 year old absolutely hates me, went as far as moving with her dad 2 years ago. I can’t say anything right, do anything right the kid absolutely dispises me and only comes around when she think she getting something. It absolutely breaks heart. She has built this wall that her dad is always right and I am just an awful bitch. She has been dabbling in drugs alcohol and recently tried to do her self in after she was caught for skipping school and breaking into my house and stealing. I do not understand I don’t get it. I just want that wonderful little girl back. So good luck to all of you andreremember life is short just love them no matter what.

  • Hopefull

    My mother left when I was 12 because she was “tired of being a wife and mother”. We didnt talk again till my mid 20s. After her husband died she became someone that you could actually have a conversation with. Now im in my 30s and we are friends. Im glad I was able to forgive her and get to know who she is, I cant say that any of my my siblings have done the same. we may never have a close bond because of all the lost years, but it sure is neat knowing someone who you have so much in common with, like favorite foods and decorating ideas and can tell you about family history. Had she died I would have never had that oppertunity to know anything about her. I can tell you when I was a teen I did not like her at al and I never even thought I would talk, now we text every few days! the thing that worries me now is how to raise a daughter since I have no example to go off of, I have tons of books, but really being able to say “y I wont do this because my mom did, ” well that is something to be cherished.

  • TJulofVulcan

    I was never rude to my mother who was and still is a psychopath. Therefore I will tolerate no crap from my grown daughters as i have been a supportive and kind mother, doing waaay more for them than my parents put together did for me and i have been a mother for 32 loooooong years. If they push me I shall totally cut them out of my life. I dont need the aggravation. That goes for everyone I know. I find people simply get on my nerves now that I am in my 50s.

  • A dad

    I know this is a little late but…just googled ‘why does my daughter hate me’ and this was a top hit. I think you’ve written a very powerful piece which struck a deep chord with me and had me tearing up too.

    My story? I was the house husband for her 14 years and had a fantastic time with her and her 15 year old brother. Then bam! What the hell happened? I’ve been a good dad, I’m still a good dad but no matter what I do she seems absolutely set on finding something, anything to hate me over. It’s so odd and was so violent and sudden that I had to stand back and realise something was going on that almost had nothing to do with what I did or said – it seems like some evolutionary, chemically driven rite of passage in which I must play my role regardless of my wishes or efforts.

    My hearts in a million pieces at the moment while she vents her rage and fury about her stupid f***ing dad on twitter, facebook, snapchat, kik etc, etc etc…can’t remember the last time we hugged.
    It hurts bad.

  • Martianna

    Im scared to turn 13 I think my periods will be worse and painful I just hate it

  • Starshine

    I feel that when a teenage girl starts to resent her mother is is because she is coming into her own maternal instincts and she is challenging your place as matriarch of the household. She isn’t doing it consciously, she is just coming into her own.

  • Wendy

    I just read this and I am so glad I did, my two daughters, my only children….girls 10 and 14 are going through this at the very same time and it is killing me…..I remember going through this, but I had so much responsibility as a teen that I really didn’t get the luxury of these emotions…..I had real life reasons to resent my Mother. Thank you for writing this article and reminding me that I will get them back.