Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s piece.
When you think about your relationship with your mother, does it make you smile and feel good inside or do you get a knot in your stomach and start to clench your fists? To the moms, when you think of your daughter, do you feel proud and grateful or do you get angry and think about how your daughter never listens to your advice and generally makes the wrong decisions?
Relationships with our mothers can be quite tricky and complex, and we all handle them in different ways. Some daughters have amazing relationships with their moms while others deal with unhealthy relationships that cause emotional turmoil throughout their lives. In this piece, we’ll be going over a few factors that both mothers and daughters should consider in order to have healthy relationships.
If you feel that your relationship with your mother, daughter or other family member is in turmoil and want to work it out with a professional, then our psychologists in Tampa are ready to hear your story.
From Incompatible to Inseparable
A friend of mine shared this story about her relationship with her daughter:
“When my daughter was young, we constantly butted heads. If I said it was white, she would argue it was black. She caused me to experience so much emotional stress while she was growing up. Then when her father and I divorced, I thought she would never speak to me again. She was so angry with me, but then things changed when she was expecting her first child.
Since she’s become a mother, we’ve been intertwined and our relationship is almost effortless. She texts almost every day! When she has questions about raising her two daughters, I’m the first that she calls. She even reaches out to say she needs “mom time” when her world feels a little off kilter. She relies on me to help her make life feel a little more balanced.”
It’s quite interesting how life can impact relationships. The dynamics of a mother/daughter relationship changes as we age. Just like my friend’s story, we may go through stages of not getting along to not being able to get along without each other. Much like a marriage, it takes a lot of work, communication and even compromise at times to maintain a healthy adult bond with our mothers or daughters. Below, I’ll be sharing a few tips that I’d like to offer as a professional and even a few of my own that I’ve learned along the way from my relationship with my mother.
The dynamics of a mother/daughter relationship changes as we age. Click To Tweet
This tip is more for the moms. As a mother, you’ll want to always give advice to your daughter so she won’t go through any unnecessary stress or pain. Remember to only give advice or opinions when asked. If you are continuously giving advice and opinions when she doesn’t want or need them, you may run the risk of her never coming to you, even when she might need you the most. What you may not realize is that by constantly giving unsolicited advice, you may unknowingly be sending your daughter a message that you don’t believe she is capable of figuring out life on her own.
Respect that your daughter is an adult and can make decisions on her own without your input. Click To Tweet
Creating boundaries is important in any relationship, especially those where the parties tend to become enmeshed, roles are not clearly defined or emotions run high. Knowing that certain times or topics are off limits for one or both of you can be helpful. Make a concerted effort to consider how your personal identity is different than your mother’s or daughter’s and how you can occupy that role without stepping on each other’s toes.
Making Realistic Expectations
You’re both adults and have lives of your own. Don’t create unrealistic expectations that either of you will always be available. Life oftentimes gets in the way of relationships and spending time together. Take this into consideration.
Daughters, your mom has raised her kids and is enjoying a new chapter of life. Support her decisions to be active or do things that don’t always include you. And mothers, do you remember what it was like to be young and married with kids while trying to work or build a career? Their lives are busy and your daughter may not always have time to spend with you when asked. Instead, create realistic expectations around what you need and expect from each other and agree to communicate when those expectations start to get a little gray.
Learn to Communicate
Mothers and daughters should learn the best ways to communicate with each other. One concern I hear many times from mothers is that, “My daughter never calls me.” Find the best way to communicate with each other. If you prefer to communicate in person or on the phone while your daughter prefers to text, learn to compromise so that both of you feel comfortable in the way you keep in touch.
Mothers and daughters should learn the best ways to communicate with each other. Click To Tweet
Let your daughter know that you need to hear her voice occasionally, but you’re fine to text when she wants to say hello or ask a question. Or let Mom know that you’re busy and texting helps you manage your time better. This compromise can help both of you feel comfortable in your communication methods.
Create Special Moments
Spending time with Mom or your daughter is precious and can be an unmatched experience. The saying, “It’s not the quantity as much as it is the quality” applies to this. Life is busy, so recognize it for what it is and make it a priority to create special moments to be with each other. Maybe you don’t live close to each other or maybe life gets in the way a lot. Make time to schedule lunch, dinner, coffee, a vacation or even a phone call to just be with each other. If being in each other’s presence is impossible, simply hearing her voice can be good enough.
Spending time with Mom or your daughter is precious and can be an unmatched experience. Click To Tweet
Get Closer to Mom or Your Daughter
There are times when generation gaps can cause havoc on relationships between a parent and a child. Keeping an open mind and fostering a non-judgmental atmosphere on both sides will go a long way in building a healthy relationship between mother and daughter. Respect, learning to say that you’re sorry and a lot of love is what builds and maintains that bond!
This is something we strongly believe in and feel could work in strengthening your bond with your mother or daughter. If you’re ready to sit down with that special woman in your life to talk about your problems, then reach out to us to get the process started.