A mother-daughter relationship is one of the most important ties each will have in her lifetime. As little girls, we see our mothers as queens. We often try to imitate them by wearing their clothes, playing with their make-up and imitating their every move. As we reach teen years, we face puberty challenges and often want nothing to do with our mothers, then in our 20's we tend to revert back to admiration, understanding and friendship. The job is tough on the mother's end, trying to see life through the eyes of her daughter in the different stages and trying to remain understanding.
Encouraging a healthy mother daughter relationship isn't an easy task. It takes work on both ends. Here are some thoughts on how to keep that relationship healthy as you go through different life stages.
- Communicate.. No matter how rough the road gets, leave the communication door open. Closing it can be harmful to both of you, leaving feelings under lock and key. You may regret that she doesn't share her deepest thoughts with you. Always allow for love, understanding and compassion.
- Acceptance. Accept each other as unique individuals. Your daughter is not your clone, she is her own person and deserves to be treated as such. She may not agree with choices you make for her and likely won't choose the same exact path you did, so be open to her preferences and love her for who she is!
- Let her grow up. You can't stop it! Therefore give her the tools to do it well. Teach your daughter independence when she is young. Don't keep her too tied down in decision-making processes. This is not to say you shouldn't provide guidance and ultimately have the final say, but let her have an opinion on things that affect her life. Let her learn to balance the pros and cons. It is a lifelong skill that she will thank you for someday!
- Self-awareness. Don't try to relive your life vicariously through your daughter. Have your own goals and ambitions. If there are things you felt you missed out on as a child, don't force them on your daughter. She may not have the same feelings.
- Maintain balance. Be friends with each other, but be a parent above all else. Your daughter needs you to guide her and offer advice, knowledge and life experience on problems or questions she faces.
- Be supportive. Respect each other and your ways of handling situations. Refrain from expressing your distaste in how she runs her family, finances or career. Making her feel inadequate through disapproval and dominance hinders a healthy relationship. Even if you would do it completely differently, is her way so bad? Maintaing love and understanding along the road will ultimately result in a healthy relationship.