Our Biggest Sale of the Year is Here!🎄 ➔

Last week, I wore my heavy wool socks and snow boots to walk the dog on a cold winter day. In the middle of my two-mile jaunt, I realized my left heel started to hurt. By the time I made it home, I had a blister the size of a quarter on the back of my foot.

A blister happens from friction—constant forceful rubbing.

Last year, my relationship with my young teen daughter was a gigantic blister. We constantly rubbed each other the wrong way.

I was so frustrated with her behavior that I pushed her on everything. Her unkempt room and schoolwork and attitude. Her lack of awareness for others. Her lack of desire to change.

She started circumventing the truth whenever I confronted her and then would shut down completely. She retreated to her room at every opportunity. She pushed back out of frustration.

Our relationship was a blister, and it was hurting us both.

If you’ve ever had one, you know your only course of action is to stop doing what caused the blister in the first place. Give the blister some room to heal. Stop the friction from occurring.

I had to wake up every morning and decide if I was going to pressure my daughter that day. Was I going to nag her about her bedroom? Needle her about the chores she didn’t do? Take away her phone or ground her for not listening?

Or would my love be more of a soothing balm healing us both?

I was tired of the constant friction. It was unhealthy for our entire house.

So, I started helping her a bit more. Instead of yelling at her that she forgot to make her lunch—again—I just made it and left it on the counter for her. Instead of engaging when she made a snarky comment, I simply said, “Well, let’s just end our conversation on that note,” and walked away. Instead of barraging her with questions about school and her friends, I started asking her to hang out with me more for coffee dates or cooking dinner or watching a show, without any ulterior motives.

I didn’t let her get away with big things. We have house rules that are non-negotiable. But I made a mental list of what were big things and what were small things, and I realized my list of little stuff—the things that annoyed me but didn’t matter that much—was so much longer than I ever thought.

I kept at it for several months. Sometimes I helped her and sometimes I let her fall. Sometimes I forced a hug so she could physically feel my presence, and sometimes I let her dictate the terms of our relationship. Sometimes I let a terse word or action roll off my back, and sometimes I simply said, “Please leave the room if you are going to behave like this.”

And one day, as we hung out baking cookies, I realized my relationship with my daughter didn’t hurt any more. It felt warm and fuzzy, like my favorite pair of wool socks.

We healed the blister by taking away the friction.

Some teens are just harder than others. Some act out because they are frustrated or confused or just so desperate for independence that they only know how to painfully kick you away.

You can fight it with all your might, but know that friction often causes blisters, and some can become pretty bad.

Or you can take the friction away.

I took my dog for a walk yesterday in the cold weather. I wore my winter boots, but slipped on a thin pair of socks and wore a few band aids for good measure.

Oh, and my daughter came with me. Just because she wanted to hang out

Originally published on Playdates on Fridays by Whitney Fleming

The teenage years can be a difficult time for parents and kids alike. Once a relationship is strained, it can be a challenge to repair. Here's how one mom helped to fix her relationship with her teenage daughter. #motherhood #parenting #teenagers #relationships #communication

 

You may also like: 

Dear Parents, This is What Your Teenagers Need You to Know About These Tough Years

Dear Teenage Daughter, I Will Be Right Here Waiting For You to Come Back

Deer Teens, I’m Sorry You’re Stuck With “That” Mom

Want more stories of love, family, and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available for pre-order now!

Pre-Order Now

Whitney Fleming

Whitney is a mom of three teen daughters, a freelance writer, and co-partner of the site parentingteensandtweens.com You can find her on Facebook at WhitneyFlemingWrites.

When You Feel Like You’re Failing, Know You’re Not Alone

In: Motherhood
Tired woman sitting in messy child's bedroom

Dear parent, you are going to fail. You are going to fail over and over again while parenting. I don’t care if you have nine children or one. I don’t care if you are a step-parent, an adoptive parent, or anything in between—you are going to fail. Over and over again. But the great thing about kids is God made them so resilient and forgiving, so He could show us grace on earth.  I have forgotten to send the paperwork to the school. I have forgotten about events and practices for the kids.  RELATED: I May Fail, But I’ll Go...

Keep Reading

Our Nanny Is a Special Part of Our Family

In: Motherhood
Family with nanny, color photo

The saying is “it takes a village,” and I didn’t know how true this would ring until I had children of my own. Within ours, I anticipated family, friends, the church, and various members of the community. What I never anticipated was the special role our nanny would fill within our family. As working moms, leaving our kids in someone else’s care is hard, no matter the circumstances. We wonder if they’ll miss us and whether their day will still feel full in spite of our absence.  Ever since we brought our nanny into the family, I’ve never had to...

Keep Reading

Maybe Motherhood Is a Chance to Begin Again

In: Motherhood

It’s a funny thing when you have your own children, only then do you start to see yourself in such a way that you’ve never seen before. Terrifying yet beautiful. Before you become a parent, you have this vision of how you swear you will parent. It may be an exact replica of how you were parented or may be completely different. The only guarantee is that you don’t actually know until you become a parent. Some days you hear yourself and you sound just like your mother, your father, your grandmother, your aunt, or anyone who was around long...

Keep Reading

Healing and a Horse Named Chadwick

In: Motherhood
Woman with horse, black-and-white photo

I am by no means a horsewoman. I am a regular person lucky enough to have had an extraordinary experience with a horse. My daughter asked to ride horses from the time she could talk. Having no horse experience myself, in the fall of 2019, I found a barn willing to give pony lessons to a small child. There was something waiting for me at the barn too . . . I just didn’t know it yet. I can’t remember when Chadwick started watching us from the fence. One day he was just there . . . and every day...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Growth Is Tangible, and When It Is You Hold On Tight

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom putting bike helmet on child

I never expected my sign to come in the form of a plastic bag. As a parent, you’re told over and over how fast it all goes, to cherish these times because they’re gone in a blink. You see the gradual changes in your kids as they move through milestones. One day, they can hold their own spoon. They begin stringing words into sentences. Their ages are counted in years and no longer months. You watch these things happen every day, but I didn’t realize some transitions would come in tangible ways, like a grocery bag filled with wet swim...

Keep Reading

Some Nights They Need You a Little More

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sleeping, color photo

Some nights they need you a little more, mama. Because of the bad dreams or the bogeyman they are adamant is under the bed. Because firefighter daddy’s schedule leaves him missing goodnight tuck-ins and bedtime stories several times a week, sometimes leaving them a little needier and more emotional. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. RELATED: I’ll Lay With You As Long As You Need, My Child Because they are sick. Because they feel safe in your presence. Some nights they need you a little more, mama. It’s not always easy. It’s not always (okay, hardly ever)...

Keep Reading

Will My Child Be Like I Was As a Teen?

In: Motherhood, Teen
Woman holding baby, color photo

The day my son turned 15, I was overcome by fear and anxiety. An impending doom like a little, black, raincloud hung over my head as I wondered . . . will he be like me as a teenager? The year that led up to his 15th birthday, I rewatched Dawson’s Creek. Perhaps that’s where I went wrong. I binge-watched the ’90s teen drama of these TV characters who grew up alongside me, but this time through the eyes of an adult—a mom—and not the eyes of a teenager. Episode after episode features teens talking about sex, having sex, drinking,...

Keep Reading

I’m Giving My Daughter Space To Define Her Adoption

In: Motherhood
Young girl and her mom at pumpkin patch, color photo

I cracked a joke, and as I walked from the table, I heard her mutter to her friends, “Good thing I’m adopted!” I forced myself to continue moving and tried to hide my rapidly blushing cheeks. I volunteer at my daughter’s school when I can. Today I had library duty, and it’s an assignment I love. I am an avid reader, and I like being surrounded by so many words. I also get to see the kids interact with each other and the librarian. Lastly, it’s an hour commitment so I can be a mom but also still be me....

Keep Reading

Where Have All the Puppet Shows Gone?

In: Grown Children, Motherhood
Two children behind blanket with puppets, color photo

I remember the puppet shows so vividly.  The stage curtain was always the same old, red-checked, woolen blanket strung roughly between two chairs and tied off with rope.  As their mama, I was of course their captive audience of one. Cheering and clapping enthusiastically after each performance. The plays always felt like they were a little too long, perhaps deliberately dragged out toward the final act, just to keep my attention.  At the time, I mistakenly thought those cute, slightly annoying puppet shows would last forever.  Fast forward 25 years and those puppet shows have well and truly gone. There are...

Keep Reading

Sweet Babies, I’ll Be There

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two children lying in bed, color photo

When your world is calm and peaceful, I’ll be there. When your world is chaotic like an ice cream shop on the hottest day of summer, I’ll be there. When you need a Band-Aid applied and a boo-boo kissed, I’ll be there. When you want to perform in your Frozen microphone like you’re performing for a crowd of 20,000 people, I’ll be there. When you feel lost and alone, I’ll be there. When you feel you have nowhere to go, I’ll be there. RELATED: I Will Always Be There When You Need Me, My Son When you need a pep...

Keep Reading