How to enjoy your teenager you’ve never known

Chebby asks: my daughter is 13 years old, and she stayed with my parents till last year when I started staying with her. I don’t have that love or closeness to her. My fear is she has noticed I’m always annoyed with her. How can I handle this and stay with her?

Hi Chebby –

I really have to commend you for your honesty.  Very few parents would be willing to admit not feeling the feelings most parents have for their kids.

Having said that, though, I’ll also say that (and I’ll bet all the teens reading this will agree), teenagers aren’t as easy for parents to fall in love with as babies, toddlers, and infants.  Where most parents are totally smitten with their kids before they start their rebellious teen years, you’re just now beginning to really know her, and that can be pretty demanding.

In fact, you’re probably right that she notices your annoyance with her.  Would it be better if you two had had years of bonding and hugging and games and nurturing?  Absolutely.  But since that didn’t happen, and especially because you two are now living together for the first time, you have a big job:

Create A Future!

What relationship would you like to have with your daughter now?  Would you like to become friends, in the way you might if you got to know her now without being her parent?  Would you like to try to make up for lost time and be the mom/dad she never had?  Would you like to just be civil to each other?

There’s no preset plan for this relationship, Chebby.  There’s no rulebook.  But there’s a really good chance that she wants desperately to have a great relationship with you, and would love to know what you want.  So you need to figure out just what that is, so you can tell her.

And then… anything can happen.  Hey, I annoy the daylights out of Handsome all the time, but I know he loves me more than anything in the world, so our relationship is fantastic.  (And by the way, it’s two-way: he annoys me too, and he knows how much I love him too!)

But again, Chebby, nothing can happen till you figure out what you’d like from her.  Then she can agree or not.

And, being a teenager, she’ll probably do both, all the time!

Good Luck!



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