3 Tips for Moms to Enjoy Healthy Mother-Daughter Bonds
Life has a funny way of being complex. As a mom, it seems like everything is about always needing to figure something out. Issues ranging from dealing with diaper choices to helping a child avoid the playground bully keeps life as a mom rather exciting.
My life as mother of four girls has mostly been a smooth sail; however, when troubling matters swirl, it’s enough to rip the family boat from its moorings. Over the years, I have found that 3 truths have helped me deal effectively with maintaining better relationships with my girls.
Truth #1: Keeping your own emotions in check protects the bond
As with anything that requires attention, I had to first look in the mirror to be certain that I was personally delivering the best me. Our daughters will tend to mimic our behaviors; therefore, be certain you are giving them the best you – as much as is reasonable. Know yourself well enough to understand when you are least likely to be in an agreeable mood or mindset. These are times when you should let your family (and daughters) know to give you space to either collect or rest yourself. For me, I am most likely to fuss at someone or deliver harsher communications when I am drained – that’s anywhere past 8:30 p.m., on most nights. This love-laced yet deliberate warning keeps our daughters, especially, at bay from callously receiving our negativism. Therefore, be ready to maturely exhibit as much control of yourself, your mouth, and your mood as you can. The last thing we want to do is to leave an emotionally injured daughter in our wake. They, like us, are wired for relationship and can be hurt deeply in a moment of careless interaction. They, prone to be somewhat like us, will likely pick up our hard habits and one day fire them right back at us.
Truth #2: Over-communicating damages the bond
Realize that women like to talk. That’s the way many of us process our world. That said, mothers and daughters can sometimes resort more to the talking aspect of a relationship than on the doing. The problem then becomes talking so much until they over communicate. Saying too much can often mean saying the wrong things. A good remedy can be to deliberately find ways to spend “doing” versus “talking” activities to define the mother-daughter relationship in other arenas – like many fathers and sons know to do. Conflict can be potentially lessened or minimized. Even after the daughter is grown, planned times together to actively/physically engage in something fun will keep a secure bond from fraying.
Truth #3: Loosening the Mama Bear reigns tightens the bond
The hardest job on earth must be that of a mother. You go through a long pregnancy with physical connection to your baby 24/7 – for what often feels like 365 days. You birth her as one who depends wholly upon you for survival. You spend most every waking hour worrying over your child, and then one "unmagical" day you are supposed to just let her go. No way, right? Wrong.
Psychologists reveal that the mother-daughter bond is complex, indeed. Mothers and their girls tend to process relationship similarly, being of the same gender. The problem begins where a mother has difficulty regarding her daughter’s adulthood. The process of growing up cannot be complete unless appropriate changes and shifts also take place in mama’s heart. To not “let go” and to continue treating a daughter as a child can cause a mother to drive an unintentional rift between the two. It strains the daughter’s ability to function beyond the parent-child relationship, challenging her own relational development in her adult world. A mother’s inability to accept her daughter as a grown woman reflects an inability to see her as having legitimate, separate identity – one not controllable by mom. Mothers must be willing to learn and bond with the adult version of their daughter. Such transition is not a termination of relationship. Rather, it is the birthing of a beautiful and mature relationship as well as a blessing of empowerment that is best passed from mother to daughter.