"Why Won't She Talk to Me?"

Many moms feel as though their teen daughters are shutting them out, and they don't understand why. The little girl who used to tell her everything is now quiet and distant. The relationship that used to be close is now strained. What happened?

Sometimes it's just a normal stage teen girls go through—separating themselves from their mothers to find their own identities. That's completely normal. They want a measure of privacy and sometimes just need to sort things out for themselves.

Other times, though, the lines of communication have been broken and the teen daughter simply gives up and stops talking to her mom about personal things.

Some tension between a daughter and her mother as she transitions from girlhood to womanhood is inevitable. Hormones rage and emotions run high. What's the difference between normal mom-daughter relational stress and a complete breakdown in communication? What makes a teen girl suddenly stop talking to her mom?

We'll let some of them tell you....

  • Okay, here's the deal: My mom and I never see eye-to-eye on anything. I'd love to talk with her about things—you know, questions I have, stuff I'm struggling with, relationships. I really want her to understand where I'm coming from. And I want to understand her point of view; I really do! I just long for a real mom-daughter relationship like some of my friends have. I can't imagine how cool it would be to feel close to my mom. Can you tell me how to get that?
  • I'm the oldest in my family, and I'm twelve. My mom and I used to spend all kinds of time together—before my third sister was born. We read together, and we'd just sit on the couch and snuggle and talk. But we don't do that anymore. I felt so special when she spent alone time with me. Now I don't feel loved at all. I want us to get back to where we used to be. Is it possible?
  • I wasn't going to tell my mom what was bothering me, because I knew how hurt she'd be. But she knew something was up. For an entire month, she kept putting pressure on me to open up with her. I admitted I was afraid she'd no longer love me when she found out what I'm dealing with. She laughed and said that wasn't possible. So I told her. I'm a lesbian and I have a girlfriend. Just as I thought, she started crying. Now I wish I'd never told her the truth. She's very distant with me. We used to be so tight. I miss the mom I used to have. I want our closeness back, but I don't know what to do.
  • Ugh! I'm so angry at my mom and dad. They've planned out my entire life—even which college I'll attend. This is my life, and they're not even asking what I think!
  • Whenever I start to open up with my mom, I get so nervous and chicken out. I've lied, and I want to come clean with her about it. I also need to tell her about my boyfriend. But we just can't communicate. How can I change things between us?
  • I'm TIRED. I'm tired of my sister, my mom, and life in general. Sigh. Mom doesn't listen to me when I try to talk with her. I'll start, but she changes the subject to herself. Because of that, I've just stopped talking with her. Yeah, this is selfish, but I need my mom to listen to ME and hear MY problems!
  •  I love my boyfriend; I really do. And whenever my mom gets mad at me, she threatens to break us up. So that tells me I shouldn't talk with her. Why does she use him against me to get me to do what she wants? I feel manipulated. I also think I'm depressed. I'm borderline anorexic. I eat in front of my folks, but I never eat very much. They read my diary, so they found out I'm struggling with anorexia ... and again, they threatened to break up my boyfriend and me if I don't start eating more. I wish so badly I had someone to talk to! After my last fight with Mom, I started cutting myself. I feel so alone.

These precious girls have two things in common: they feel empty and lonely in their relationships with their moms, and they want better relationships but feel helpless and don't know how to fix it.