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A Difficult Teen Leaves for College, and a Wonderful Relationship Emerges

My oldest daughter was a tough child to parent.  We butted heads on so many issues and at a surprisingly early age. Actually, I think her defiance began as soon as she was able to communicate, well before there were words.

I was begging for parenting advice from everyone. I called my sisters, friends and the pediatrician with some frequency. And because I had learned to keep my negative comments out of her hearing range, I had many conversations with my husband locked in the bathroom with the fan on.

My most difficult obstacle was that she was not punishable.

Everything I tried failed because nothing bothered her.

She figured out how to entertain herself in every situation. One time, when I put her in her room with a gate across the door, she dismantled the gate and actually ate the screw. (Now I see that as a sign of her superior intelligence, but then I just wanted to strangle her.)

When she became a difficult teen, our issues became even bigger. We argued about everything from curfews, her stuff sprawled EVERYWHERE, unfinished schoolwork, excessive time spent with friends, cell phone overuse, poor food choices, bedtimes and sleepovers. Everything was a struggle.

Then, suddenly, the madness was over, and that was both good and bad. When she left for college, an eerie silence permeated the house.

After eighteen years of parenting, she was no longer living at home!

Then the phone rang. It was her! She was calling to talk, catch up, and ask my opinion!

So now we are in a new phase as mother and daughter. I am no longer privy to all the minutiae of her life.

And I realize now that knowing every detail of her life is what made us both crazy.

Sure, I still get annoyed when I see Instagram posts at 3 a.m., but the flip side is that it’s not my problem anymore because I’m not fighting with her in the morning to wake up for class.

She’s at school, making her own choices and updating me on her latest adventures. I no longer know all the details of her life like I used to and, much to my surprise, I’m okay with that.

Eca Taylor is the former circulation specialist for Your Teen Magazine.

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