Photo: Courtesy of Elizabeth Berkley
A lot of moms have told me the hardest thing is to watch their babies in pain (I know from my own mom how true that is). It's understandable that the first thing you want to do is make it all okay and solve the problem, but the girls want you to know that, sometimes, just being heard by their loving mom is the strength your daughter needs to find her way. The pressure you put on yourself can indeed be lifted—you don't always have to have the perfect answer or magical remedy. Just feeling your belief in her lets her know it is all going to be okay; deep down that's what makes her feel safe.
Ultimately, what the girls want is for moms to listen to them. Just listen like no one else on the planet would, without necessarily jumping right in and trying to fix their problems for them. Listen in a way that lets your daughter know there is nowhere you would rather be and no one you would rather be with.
"I remember when my first real boyfriend and I had a huge fight and broke up. I was throwing stuff in my room and going absolutely insane. Most moms would flip out if they saw their daughters act this way, but my mom calmly came into my room and sat on my bed waiting until I was done. Once the screams stopped and the tears came pouring out, she said let's go on a drive. She put me in the car (midnight on a school night), and we went for a quiet drive through a beautiful canyon—it was like the heavens opened. That was the best help she could have given me." — Suzanna, age 18
"Right now I am freaking out about my grades. Even though I'm in ninth grade, the pressure starts so early for college. I honestly get overwhelmed with too much advice from my mom, though. When my mom does this, it makes me feel incompetent—or even spoken down to. I feel so loved and respected when my mom talks to me like I'm just as brilliant as she is." — Laurie, age 14
"Many times I will call my mom and tell her I am feeling insecure, unsure, scared or nervous. She will willingly listen to me until I have exhausted my point. She will provide her perspective, but will not state that it is the best opinion. She might share a personal experience or story that relates, but she will make the conversation about my needs and my feelings." — Cathy, age 16
"When I get totally stressed, it doesn't help me when my mom tells me things I could do to help right away. I've always found that my mom does best when she just listens and works with me to find a solution. She points me in the right direction while watching my back, in case I lose my way again." — Tanisha, age 19
Put this advice to good use!