Parenting Teen Girls: Expectation Vs. Reality

The day is fast approaching when I will become a mother to first one teen daughter, and a few years later, a second. Since I basically still feel 17 in a lot of ways, this concept is both intriguing and terrifying to me.

Like all things in parenting, I’m sure that nothing will go as planned, and I will all of a sudden be faced with the shocking realization that I am, in fact, the adult in the room. I hate when that happens.


Here are five times the reality of parenting teen girls does not match up with the fantasy.

Expectation: Your wardrobe is going to double once puberty does its thing and the two of you can swap clothes to your heart’s content. You know how you’ve always put off getting new clothes for yourself because you buy things for the kids instead? Now you can buy that cute new top and tell yourself it’s really for your daughter.
: In the slim chance you’re actually as slim as your teen girl, she’s wearing whatever today’s equivalent of stirrup pants and off-shoulder sweatshirts is. Take pictures so you can show them at her future engagement party. But you’re not going to want to borrow her duds.

Expectation: You’ll have the most engaging conversations about everything from politics and current events to what makes the perfect cup of coffee. You’ll basically be Lorelei and Rory from Gilmore Girls.
: You’re Claire and Hayley from Modern Family. She thinks you’re an idiot, and she thinks not having a date to prom is on par with starving children in Africa. Let her live a little life. She’ll be interesting someday.

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Expectation: You’ll lovingly teach her the ropes of makeup -- how to sweep on blush in just the right spot, apply eyeliner without stabbing your eyeball, and tricks for clump-free mascara.
: She rolls her eyes and teaches you the latest technique for achieving a passable smoky eye. How did you not notice when she started wearing makeup?

Expectation: It will be a cinch to teach your honor roll student to drive. She’ll be cautious without being fearful, follow all the rules of the road right away (she did have to pass her permit test, right?), and you will be satisfied when she aces her driving exam.
: You take her out one time and discover you may need a prescription for Xanax. You transfer driver duty to her dad. You agree to let her take the test because there’s no way in hell she’ll pass. She passes. You pop a Xanax.

Expectation: Your daughter will be delightfully curious to know about your single life before you met your husband. She will appreciate that you learned many painful truths the hard way, and she will sip from your cup of wisdom on how to avoid a broken heart.
Reality: Dating is like, so different now mom. You don’t understand anything!

Oh well. She’ll grow up someday and then you really can be friends.

What challenges have you faced raising teen girls?


Image via Guy Mayer/Flickr

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