D o you suddenly hate your daughter so much you wish she wasn't born to you at all? And then, immediately dissolve in a pool of tears and guilt? You're not a Devil-Mom. At least a hundred moms reading this piece must be feeling the same way. The tears, fights and backtalk — it's very upsetting to a well-balanced, loving mother to have her angel metamorphose into an obnoxious creature with the advent of adolescence and acne.

When your daughter's acid comments are slung at you, the force of the blow could bring out the axe-murderer in you. But, I recommend that you work diligently to keep yourself on an even keel. When evidence of the untenable rears its ugly head and comes spewing forth from your daughter's mouth, don't let the same venom come from yours.

First, you need to remember — at all times — that your girl is simply following Nature's assignment, and working toward establishing greater independence from you. So, acting unbearable actually fits this goal perfectly. After all, the less time you spend with her, the more independent she'll become. Her mission is to become a distinctly separate being, and before she can comfortably be around you, she has to feel secure in who she is. Even at the expense of your sanity.

Next, put your daughter's comments in perspective, and fall back on your sense of humour, to get through. Honestly, since when can someone be an expert on anything if they've only been functionally literate for five years? When you hear something ridiculous, run into another room, and write it down in a journal marked ‘My Girl's Gems'. That will get it out of your system, and give you proof (when you need it) that her conduct was disgusting — plus think of all the laughs it will give you in the future when the two of you look back on her ‘wonderful' teen years.

If her braggadocio becomes wounding, tell her! Say: “Hey, knock it off. You're being a real jerk.” It is within the mother's bill of rights to say this. Lastly, always work from a place of compassion.

(A fortnightly column on relationships)