Many mothers can agree that watching your child grow up really tugs at your heart’s strings. Especially if it’s your daughter who can feel like a mini-version of yourself. But, no one prepares you for their teenage years. According to Standford Medicine, “The teenage years bring many changes. These are not only physical, but also mental and social changes.” Their minds, bodies and interests are different. And this undoubtedly takes a toll, whether positive or negative, on mothers and teenagers themselves. While adults can oftentimes seamlessly express themselves to children, it’s not always that easy for children to speak candidly with adults. But they have feelings, too. 21Ninety spoke with three teens about what they want their moms to know. Here are the perspectives from Brielle M. (14), Mersailles S. (15) and J’Adyn M. (15), who spoke about her mother and stepmom.

Through the Eyes of a Teen

21Ninety: How would you describe your relationship with your mother?

Brielle M: My mom and I aren’t very close but we still love and care for each other.

Mersailles S: I don’t really know at the moment. I mean we have our good and bad moments. I feel like our relationship is very bi-piloar? But it’s mainly because of me.

J’Adyn M: My relationship with my mom, I think we’re close but I feel like we can be closer. With my stepmom, it’s like a regular relationship where you have ups and downs. We do have more of a friend relationship than mother and daughter because she can’t punish me as much as my mom could.

21N: Can you talk to your mom about anything? Why or why not?

BM: It depends on what it is. There are some things that I don’t feel comfortable telling her because I don’t know how she would react.

MS: No, because sometimes I don’t know how she’s going to react and sometimes I feel like there’s no point in telling her.

JM: I can talk to my mom about certain things as far as boys, relationships, school, anything. (On her stepmother) If I was to tell her something it would be like I don’t want to tell her and she goes back and tells my dad…but I tell her certain things and what’s going on.

What could repair or improve your relationship with your mother?

BM: If we could have conversations like a friend to friend.

MS: If we both went and got therapy or if we sat down and talked about our relationship and how to move forward.

JM: (On her mom) If she was more forgiving with me about certain things I do and if I was more open and didn’t shut down. (On her stepmother) Our relationship is good right now.

Do you think your mother understands what it’s like being a teenager today?

BM: Yes.

MS: No, not really. I feel like it’s way more complicated than just a yes or no answer.

JM: I feel like they would but it’s certain things they don’t understand, like trends.

What is something positive that you love about your mother?

BM: She always takes the time out of her day to help me.

MS: She teaches us and wants us to learn from her mistakes.

JM: They are themselves unapologetically. My mom has the ability to motivate others. My stepmom has ways of communicating with people no matter what.

How do you feel when you and your mother butt heads?

BM: We don’t butt heads because if she gets mad and yells at me I don’t say anything.

MS: I don’t really feel a type of way about it, to be honest. She has her opinions and I have mine.

JM: I’m not the type of person to express my feelings right away. I might want to cry about it first before I say this is how I feel about it.

What are your favorite moments with your mother?

BM: My favorite moments are when we go out together. Like last week we went to the mall together.

MS: My favorite moments with her are from when I was little. I always remember my birthdays because she makes them special for me.

JM: One moment with my mom, we went to my aunt’s wedding and my mom and I were dancing on the dance floor. And when she runs errands, I like those moments when we just go places. For my stepmom, we cook together. I like those bonding moments when we talk.

Anything else you want your mom to know?

BM: There’s nothing else I would want my mom to know.

MS: I pray for her.

JM: My mom, I feel like she should just forgive me for certain things.

This article has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.