Do As I Say, Not As I Do


Mom, as a child did you sneak into your mother’s room to explore the wonders it held? Did you try on her jewelry? Play with her mascara? Totter around on her heels?


If you did, you know from personal experience teenage girls are eager to emulate their mothers, the most important female figure in their lives

Your precious girl wants to experience life as you do, and her teenage brain makes her want it NOW. She wants your high heels, your m

ake-up, your perfume, your confidence, your maturity. She wants it all. If you do it, your daughter copies it. If you live it, it must be desirable, so she wants it for herself.

She wants to be you. Pay attention to what you do, because she watches everything.

If you are the living, breathing example your daughter follows, have you examined the lessons you inadvertently teach her? Let’s take an objective judgment-free look at yourself. What does she see?

How do you cope with stress? If you raise your voice in frustration, what will she learn as a coping mechanism? To reason things out? No. She, too, will raise her voice in frustration, and not know how to cope.

Consider the example your lifestyle sets. Is you routine designed to make a better life for her than you had, but doesn’t include her in it because she stays with a sitter? Do you work late nights? Are you spread too thin with all your obligations on the weekend?

What if your darling girl were to suddenly fall ill? Work would automatically get pushed to the background and she would become the main attraction. What if she never falls ill? Does that mean she will never become the main attraction in your life? Do you think she recognizes that? You better believe she does


What hidden instructions are you providing in terms of your indulgences?

  • Do you smoke cigarettes? At what age do you want her to begin smoking?
  • Is the alcohol you consume the amount you want your teenager to consume? Drinking with your friends looks adult and sophisticated to teens. Of course they want to try it.
  • How about drugs? Do you pop prescribed pills? Or diet pills? Which of these do you want her to use this week? Or next month? Before she graduates? When she lives away from you in college or in the armed forces?
  • Do you consume diet foods to compensate for poor nutrition? Do you live on fast food like you did when you were single? Are you physically active during your day? Are you moving and eating the way you think she should be?

The “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” philosophy does not work. It only serves to teach her that you don’t actually believe in the “Do As I Say” part. What you Say and Do ALWAYS matters. If she sees you living a lie, her trust in you suffers.

That, my friends, can be the core of teenage angst.

If the way you Do is not the way you want your daughter to Do, stop doing it. Change your lifestyle. Set some goals. If you don’t have a manual on how to create the life you want, it’s time for outside help.

  • Check books out of the library that address your particular goals.
  • Get a workout buddy and get your positive self-image back.
  • Find a therapist and bring those inner demons and insecurities to the surface where you can deal with them.

Get your power back.

Tell your daughter what you are doing, and why. She’s a teenager. She can handle it. If she sees you reclaiming your power, she will find her power, too.

If you could go back in time and talk to your 15-year-old self, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give? 

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