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You Don't Really Know Me: Why Mothers and Daughters Fight and How Both Can Win (Revised)

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Home » Books » Health & Wellbeing » Family & Relationships » Conflict Resolution

You Don't Really Know Me

Why Mothers and Daughters Fight and How Both Can Win (Revised)

By Terri Apter

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Format: Paperback, 256 pages, Revised Edition
Published In: United States, 01 August 2005
Mothers and teenage daughters argue more than any other child-parent pair-on average every two-and-a-half days. These quarrels, Terri Apter shows, are attempts to negotiate changes in a relationship that is valued by both mothers and daughters. A daughter often feels her mother doesn't know or understand her, and by fighting hopes to force her mother into a new awareness of who she really is, how she has changed, and what she is now capable of doing and understanding. But mothers often misinterpret their daughter's outbursts as signs of rejection, and they may pull back feeling hurt and confused. Through case studies and conversations between mothers and daughters, Apter shows mothers how to interpret the meanings behind a daughter's angry words and how to emerge from arguments with a new closeness.

About the Author

Terri Apter is a writer, psychologist, and Fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge University. Her books include The Sister Knot and What Do You Want from Me? She lives in Cambridge, England.


"Nothing shakes a woman's confidence in her mothering skills as does the onset ofher daughter's adolescence," says social psychologist Apter in her introduction to this study. Why do mothers and daughters argue? What is usually at the core? Can the battling ever really stop? The author unswervingly answers such questions, drawing on 20 years of research. Two tips: follow the changes in your daughter's needs and responses, and don't judge. While there are many such studies on the market, this one rises above the crop, owing to Apter's thoughtfulness and her firsthand experience as a mother. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"A solid addition to the teen parenting genre."

Apter, a psychologist and professor at the University of Cambridge, believes the often turbulent relationship between mothers and their teen daughters is not inevitable and can be improved. Drawing upon numerous interviews with adolescent girls and their mothers, Apter concludes that younger girls often try to emulate their mothers while older ones want to distance themselves from their mothers and not be "like them." Yet, the author stresses, ongoing interaction between mother and daughter is key. The challenge for moms is to avoid the endless cycle of arguments and frustrating conversations and try to be seen by their daughters as more responsive. Apter offers a number of strategies to address common adolescent issues, such as complaints of a lack of freedom, concerns over physical appearance and irritability. Her advice is sound, if not revolutionary: mothers should make an effort to listen to their daughters without passing judgment, either verbally or with physical expressions; and they shouldn't shout or argue but instead wait for their daughters to calm down before having a conversation. Real-life conversations run alongside Apter's commentary, which should help readers identify with many of the situations. This is a solid addition to the teen parenting genre, although the book's heavy reliance on narrative prose, and not bulleted points, will target readers with more time on their hands. Agent, Meg Ruley. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

EAN: 9780393327106
ISBN: 0393327108
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Dimensions: 20.93 x 14.07 x 1.85 centimetres (0.25 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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