#MomLife: Who’s the parent now?

Illustration by Emma Crevier

When did it become OK for my kids to tell me what to do instead of the other way around? 

My 13-year-old daughter has started a new thing lately. It sounds a little something like this, “Mom, I’m going to my friend’s house this weekend” instead of “Mom, can I go to my friend’s house this weekend?”. I am not OK with that. When did it become acceptable for parents to take orders from their children? In all honesty if she would just ask me, I would say yes but the fact that she is telling me rather than asking is what bothers me. 

I’ve written before about being a helicopter mom and not knowing when to let go. I have been doing a lot better lately. I’ve let her go to her friend’s house, and take walks and meet up with other friends. I let her go bowling and walk from my house to my mom’s house, which is about a mile away. But what I’m not comfortable with is her thinking that she is running the show. I am still the mom after all, and she is still the child and I would like to think that she respects me enough to ask instead of just assuming I’m going to say yes. But lately that hasn’t been the case. 

Is this a normal thing for a teenager to do? Am I just out of touch with the reality of parenting a teenager? Is there a switch that flips on when it is time for the roles to be reversed? Am I asking for too much? I don’t think so. Parents with older children help a girl out because I’m struggling!

Part of me wonders if it bothers me so much because we are the same person. We think and act the same. We butt heads about everything lately. Or is she just taking advantage of the fact that I am starting to loosen up when it comes to her independence? Did she get a taste of what it’s like to be able to do more things and run with it instead of easing into it and consulting with me? 

I’ve always imagined we would have a relationship like Lorelai and Rory from Gilmore Girls but the image in my head and the reality of life is looking a bit different. I don’t want to be the mean mom. But I know I need to be the mom that parents with love and discipline, rather than the best friend. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you aren’t an effective mom if you’re close to your child, I’m just saying you can’t expect the respect that you deserve if you let them walk all over you. 

I’ve been trying to open up and not be so strict but she is making it hard. It feels like every time I open the door, she is slamming it in my face. I seem to have more questions than answers. I mean, does anyone really have all of the answers? 

That’s the funny thing about raising children. There are no two children alike so what works for one may not work for the other. But I’m open to your thoughts and advice. Why haven’t they come out with a manual for raising a teenager yet? Maybe that’s something I should look into for my next column. Until then wish me luck because I’m gonna need it. 

Steph Hightree is a hot mess mom who is fueled by stress and too much caffeine. She is a Three Rivers native who talks about the good, the bad, and well, everything else about parenthood. 

Any views or opinions expressed in “#MomLife” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.