The storms of adolescence can easily drive a wedge between you and your daughter. But you can be her greatest ally during times of emotional turmoil and not her archenemy! Learn how to fortify your relationship in four major areas.
"I dont know why my daughter is so angry. She yells at me all the time!"
"Our daughter comes home, goes straight to her room, turns on her CD player and wont talk to anyone especially me."
"The emotional ups and downs of our daughters life make us all feel like were on a roller coaster."
Navigating an adolescent daughters emotional life is one of a moms toughest challenges. A teenage girls volatile emotions can seemingly toss herand youlike a hurricane. When a scary external world and a turbulent internal world collide, the result is sometimes overwhelming and confusing. What can you do to protect your relationship with your daughter, guide her through this chaotic time, and assure her you are truly on her side?
Your Adolescent Daughter s Struggles Can Help Herand Youto Grow and Thrive.
The good news is you are equipped with the most powerful resource available for maintaining and developing connection with your daughter: a mothers heart. Learn how you can use hand-in-hand mothering skills to become the ally your daughter needsparenting out of love, not fearand find out how you both can experience dramatic, life-changing growth in the process.
Sharon Hersh is a licensed professional counselor and the mother of two teenagers. She is the author of “Mom, I Feel Fat!” Becoming Your Daughter’s Ally in Developing a Healthy Body Image and Bravehearts: Unlocking the Courage to Love with Abandon. A sought-after speaker for retreats and conferences, Sharon lives with her family in Colorado.
MOTHER TO MOTHER
A Reading Guide to
“Mom, I Hate My Life!”
“In the shelter of each other we were meant to live.”
This guide is intended to give you an opportunity to develop allies in mothering. As you read the material in the book, mark the ideas that resonate with you, that seem unreasonable to you, or that you’d like to think about further, and then discuss them with another mother or a small group of mothers.
The questions that follow are designed to help you evaluate what is going on with you and your daughter, and to help you gain support and ideas from other moms. Don’t feel compelled to answer every question; focus on the ones that best address what your needs are in mothering your daughter at this particular time in her life, and yours.
At different points in our mothering, we all engage in what author and speaker Barbara Johnson calls “tunnelwalking”–when it feels like we are in the dark and all that we can do is put one foot in front of the other. We’re not sure where we are or where we are going.
When your children are babies and your goal is to sleep for six hours straight, and then your next goal is to sleep six hours straight for two nights in a row, you are in the midst of tunnelwalking.
When your children are preschoolers you wonder how the hours can be filled with so much to do…and yet the days go by so slowly. These are tunnelwalking days when you feel like you are about as productive as a grand organizer of grasshoppers.
Then there are the days when at 7:30 p.m. you are informed that a bug collection, a typed report on Massachusetts, and a book report on Huck Finn are due tomorrow. It’s a tunnelwalking night.
Maybe your child has a learning disability or just doesn’t fit in at school–it leads to days of tunnelwalking, doesn’t it?
When our daughters switch from one mood to the next in a matter of minutes and cap off their day by exclaiming, “Mom, I hate my life!,” we start down another tunnel. Only this time we’re not walking; we’re riding a roller coaster–at times holding on for dear life, wondering if we’ll ever get off. Some of our tunnels are pretty dark.
What I am learning is that wherever we are in life, as we keep on walking (or riding)–often by faith alone–the light at the end of this tunnel eventually appears. Then we are able to turn around, hold out a hand to others further back in the tunnel, and say: “Keep going, there’s light ahead.”
We were not meant to do this mothering thing alone. So seek out fellow tunnelwalkers and turn back to lend a hand to those behind. To paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s words in his masterful work, Life Together, God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of another, in the mouth of other mothers. Therefore, a mother needs another mother who speaks God’s word to her. She needs her again and again when she becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by herself she cannot help herself . . . . Her own heart is uncertain. And that also clarifies the goal of all Christian community: we meet one another as bringers of the message of salvation. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, San Francisco, HarperCollins, 1954, pp. 22-23.
“Peppered with examples from her counseling practice and her own experiences as a mother to a teenage girl, Hersh’s book urges sensible compassion as mothers and daughters become companions on a mutual journey. She gives concrete and specific examples of how mothers can appropriately respond to their daughters’ pain and help them understand their feelings. Throughout, Hersh also offers a central Christian message that God’s love should be the foundation of girls’ and mothers’ identities.”
“No one is more precious and disturbing to us than our children. There is no subject we are more desperate and fearful to enter than parenting. And there is no better book than ‘Mom, I Hate My Life!’ to honestly and hopefully guide you to hope. We all know our children face realities we could never have imagined and we rightfully need a wise, kind, and generous guide. Sharon Hersh lives and writes with brilliance, wisdom, and winsome wit. This book will allow you to encounter the rapids of your daughter’s adolescence with greater confidence and joy.”
–Dan Allender, author of How Children Raise Parents
“The two greatest complaints I hear from teens about their parents are these: ‘They don’t listen and they don’t understand.’ Sadly, those complaints are usually warranted. Sharon Hersh has once again done moms and daughters a great favor by providing a depth of understanding that can close the cultural/generational gap. No doubt, our girls are in crisis.
‘Mom, I Hate My Life!’ is a compelling cry that can help undo the crisis by challenging and equipping moms to meet their daughters’ deepest needs in the best way possible. But this isn’t just a book for moms. Dads, youth workers, and anyone else working with young girls will have their eyes opened to the painful realities of growing up female in today’s world.”
–Walt Mueller, founder and president of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding and author of Understanding Today’s Youth Culture
“In an age where teens themselves struggle to put words to their own kaleidoscope of confusing emotions, this is a wonderful book for teen girls, parents, and counselors alike. I highly recommend it–it can save lives.”
–Christian Hill, parent and counselor, Alpine Connection Counseling
“Want to rebuild, restore, and refresh your relationship with your daughter? Countless moms and daughters will be blessed by this carefully crafted book. Sharon Hersh speaks hope into the mom-daughter relationship. You can have a trusting, rich relationship with your daughter–this book will show you how!”
–Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D., author of Moving Beyond Depression and Hope, Help, and Healing for Eating Disorders