One variable that often goes unspoken in parenting advice books is personality type. Yet it can make a big impact on how easy—or difficult—it is for you and your daughter to get along. When mom has a Type A temperament and daughter is more laid back, trouble can start brewing pretty easily. Here’s how Cheryl and Claire, 15, are working it out.
Cheryl: I’m a Type A personality. If there’s a task to be done in eight hours, I’ll get it done in the first hour. I’m a get it done right away and never procrastinate type of person.
Claire: Yeah, if a project were due in a week, Mom would do it the first day.
Cheryl: Claire is much more relaxed, and has a different operating style. She would rather have her free time first and do the project at the very end of the allotted time. It has definitely been stressful for me, though it was harder when Claire was in grade school than it is now. I had trouble accepting that hers was a legitimate strategy. So I was always trying to change her.
Claire: And it didn’t work. I would explode and yell, “Leave me alone!”
Cheryl: It wasn’t pretty. But I finally realized if our relationship was going to survive, I had to change. I had to let her make some mistakes and figure it out on her own. Though sometimes it backfires.
Claire: Yeah, like last year in my World Cultures class I waited until the last day to type up a big project. I did it on an old computer and it wouldn’t transfer on disk, so I had to retype the entire thing.
Cheryl: She was up until 1 a.m. I never stayed up that late to study, even in college. But she earned an A plus, and the content was truly outstanding. So in the end it worked out.
Claire: Now that I’m in high school, I’m procrastinating less—there’s just too much homework to push it all to the last day. And Mom isn’t interfering so much. When I was younger, she totally micromanaged me.
Cheryl: Claire has proven that she handles it on her own. I accept that she’s a responsible young woman in charge of her own life.
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