Hi, I am having a lot of issues with my mom. We have always had a rocky relationship, if we are ever nice to each other it is fake. She makes the fighting seem like it is all my fault, and that I do not respect her. She thinks I am just a “teenager” and does not listen to a word i say. She is the most overprotective person I have ever met in my life and I just cant do it anymore. She clearly does not trust me when I have never done anything for her not to, and she knows that. i have never been caught doing anything, nor do I do anything remotely bad in any sense. She thinks I am basically the devil, and has never ever been real with me. She has these fantasies about who I am, and I honestly think she has something wrong with her. She has this obsession with taking my phone 24/7 no matter what. Every night at 8:00 she takes my phone, and never misses that time by a minute. Lately, she even tried to say I get my phone for an hour after school, and then it gets taken until the next day. I am a teenager??? I honestly think she has a mental disorder because every night, she will just go crazy. I cannot describe it but its like she becomes a different person. take this Friday for instance, she calls me while I am out with my friends to call my friends mom and make sure that she is still bringing me home. Its like when she gets bored she just tries to instagate me. Most people would say this is just her making sure I am safe, but once I gave her the moms number– she thought i was giving her the wrong number and threatened to call the grocery store where the mom worked, just to tell the mom that my friend was rude in the car? Please help! How do i make her understand I’m just a teenager? (From the USA)

A:  I appreciate you writing in about this as I believe the struggle for independence is a common source of friction — particularly between mothers and daughters. Just like you have trouble understanding your mom’s behavior, she has trouble understanding yours. When things are going okay would be the time to ask her to sit down and talk. It sounds like there is a bit of a pattern where something happens — a fight, and then a lull, then another fight. I think that needs to change.

When things are okay — and no fights or conflicts are present — ask your mom to talk. Plan out what you would like to say ahead of time, and see if she is open to it. Three things seem important. The first is to find times when the relationship has been good and recall those times with your mom. Find a few memories to remind both of you that not everything is a fight. Secondly, you want to know what the two of you could do to improve the relationship. That you notice how much you fight and ask if there can be an opportunity for change. Finally, let your mom know that you would even be willing to go to a counselor (if you are) to work with her on making things better.

You want her to respect you more, and I think the way to do this is through a conversation you have when you are not fighting. If you need some help with this you may want to talk to your high school counselor as he or she might be able to give you some pointers about approaching your mom.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral