Parenting; finding the balance

I recently walked into a mother and her 16-year-old daughter in a heated exchange, the young girl was distraught and her eyes swollen from hours of crying. I immediately pulled her to the side to find out what was going on and she said her mother had embarrassed her among her friends. I probed further to know how this had happened. According to the girl, she had visited her friend’s home and stayed beyond the hours permitted by her mum. When she got home, she met an angry mum who immediately called her out saying how it is wrong for a girl her age to visit a friend who has older brothers and stay for long. In the presence of her brother, the mother made a mountain out of a molehill.

As she narrated this, I was taken back to a friend I had during my teenage years and the relationship she had with her mum who was tough and ‘saw things only a mother’s eyes can see.’ It was so bad that if she ever needed anything from her she would have to go through the father. Not much intervention was there to help salvage the situation, as a result, the older we grew the more distant she became with her mum. The mother used to tell her she was only doing what a parent was expected to do, she downplayed what harm this would have on a young person.  Many of what would have been precious years of a mother daughter relationship were wasted. 

Parents are naturally protective of their off springs and at times overdo it.

The 16-year-old crying before me is called Cynthia. She said her anger was worsened when the mum went to her friend’s home the following day and warned her to keep off her daughter, she told the girl’s parents she never trusted their daughter around Cynthia and told the brothers to the girl if they dared mess with her daughter they would regret it. Out of a small overstay at a friend’s house, her mum had caused a storm. She was here quarreling with her mum because that day at school her best friend did not talk to her. 

If there is anything any parent should do, it is to nurture a relationship with their son or daughter. The kind of relationship that makes the child appreciate the parent’s love. With the lack of that, the child could go out looking for a confidant or a friendly ‘parent’ and the world is ruthless. Nobody should allow their child to be raised by the world, there are very few and honest people that will truly love and care like one would as a parent. 

I am sure that the young Cynthia will one day realise her mother did whatever she did out of love, but for today, it is up to the mother to ensure the young girl does not see her as an enemy of progress.