I’m talking about teenagers here, the slamming doors, answering back, sulking, grunting, yelling and causing in general a breakdown in communication. Anyone with a teenage daughter might resonate with some of these things, which are all typical of the mother-daughter relationship. Is this perhaps you right now?
This mother-daughter bond is the most crucial and intense of all relationships and can be fraught with issues. Having helped many women through this difficult time and brought up two daughters myself I know how it feels and I also know how to communicate and to keep that love and emotion flowing.
So why do we fight? One of the reasons is because we see our daughters as an extension of ourselves; our daughters however are forming their own identity and so conflict arises. We try to protect our daughters from the mistakes we made and give them the opportunities we never had. Our daughters rebel on one hand then try to meet our needs in the next breath, for fear of themselves feeling like they are a disappointment to us.
We want our daughters to LIKE and to BE LIKE US!
What happens next is we start to avoid the conflict, and our daughters speak up less so they avoid “being a disappointment” ― fewer words are spoken but the feelings remain, often through to adulthood where they become compounded.
Looking back at my childhood I was a classic rebellious teenager fighting with my overpowering, controlling mum – these behaviors stayed and cemented themselves even further into adulthood and have reframed my life for the past 35 years.
What can you do to STOP this destructive cycle? After all, this is all because you love your daughter;
1. Be self-aware and don’t push YOUR behaviors onto your daughter.
2. Be responsible for your reactions – your daughter WILL push your buttons and it is up to you as the adult to react in a way that has your daughter’s best interest at heart – you are the adult.
3. Ask your daughter how she FEELS – stop telling her what to do.
4. Compliment when success is deserved – (five compliments counteract one criticism).
5. Be clear on boundaries – your daughter doesn’t have to ‘like’ them as long as she understands why they are in place.
6. Communicate both of your expectations and compromise.
7. Let her go... let her try things, let her fail, let her learn... she will grow. Far better to learn what failure feels like at 13 years old then when she’s 25 years old.
8. Give your daughter the opportunity to work out her pain; you don’t have to fix it.
The mother-daughter relationship is symbolic in my butterfly logo – hold your child on the palm of your hand – let her go, spread her wings, she will come back to you if you keep that pathway of communication open. Clasp her tightly and she’ll fight to “get out.”
I’d so love to hear from you – please COMMENT your struggles here – I have suffered intensely, both with my own mother and with my eldest daughter so I understand what you might be going through right now.