First, you need to remember—at all times—that your girl is simply following nature's assignment and working toward establishing greater independence from you. So acting unbearable actually fits this goal perfectly. After all, the less time you spend with her, the more independent she'll become and the more successful and happy she'll be. Her mission is to become a distinctly separate being, and before she can comfortably be around you, she has to feel secure in who she is. She must find herself—even at the expense of your sanity.

Next, put your daughter's comments in perspective and fall back on your sense of humor to get through. Honestly, since when can someone be an expert on anything if they've only been functionally literate for five years? While your daughter's comments are trying your patience, you have to admit they're funny—because they're so preposterous! When you hear something ridiculous, run into another room and write it down in a journal marked "Absurd Comments." Doing so will get it out of your system and give you proof when you need it that her conduct was horrific—plus think of all the laughs it will give you in the future when the two of you look back on her "wonderful" teen years.

Next, if her braggadocio becomes wounding, tell her! Say something like: "Hey, knock it off. You're being a real jerk." It is within the mother's bill of rights to say this. And don't be afraid to mention that she's acting offensive enough for you to refuse to drive her where she's asked to go. This will help turn her back into a civilized creature.

Lastly, always work from a place of compassion—for yourself and for your daughter. Adolescence is a workout, and the process is facilitated by kindness and common sense. When your daughter's behavior has led you to the breaking point, remember her mission, your objective to encourage it...:and that you're a human being, too. What separates you from your daughter is your fully developed frontal lobe. I suggest you use it to its fullest capacity...for both of your sakes.

Evelyn Resh is director of sexuality and relationships programming for Miraval Resorts in Tucson. She is a certified sexuality counselor and nurse-midwife and continues her practice in both fields in Tucson and Western Massachusetts. She has taken care of teens and women of all ages in OB-GYN and primary care settings for more than 20 years and specializes in working with women 25 and under. She is also the mother of a 19-year-old daughter. Resh speaks all over the nation on topics related to women's health and sexual satisfaction and is the author of the new book The Secret Lives of Teen Girls: What Your Mother Wouldn't Talk about but Your Daughter Needs to Know published by Hay House Publishers.

More from Evelyn Resh:
Remembering Phoebe Prince and the high cost of bullying
Is your daughter cool or one of the Mean Girls?
How to talk to your daughter about weight
The opinions expressed by contributors are strictly their own.


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