Mother-daughter relationships are hard to master. Girls (and women) are complex, and as daughters can prove to be much more difficult to get along with than with boys, especially during their teenage years. Many people try to offer explanations as to why the relationship between mothers and their daughters are not only difficult but sometimes also destructive. But instead of looking for the blame it might prove more productive to seek out solutions.
- Be a role model and only set standards that you can reach yourself. As a mother, you have a double responsibility – for yourself and for your daughter. Regardless of age, children look up to their parents for guidance. If you do not check your behavior and way of life your daughter will do one of two things – either she will learn the wrong things or she will look for guidance elsewhere. This may sound obvious and logical, but role-modeling is in fact one of the things that is most difficult to put into practice as a parent. The standards mothers expect their daughters to live up to are usually what they consider to be the best way to achieve happiness or success in life. But keep in mind that more often than not, the model behaviors expected of daughters are much easier said than done. If you cannot meet your own standards, do not set them for your daughter.
- Talk, listen, and agree to disagree. Try to put yourselves in each other’s shoes and you will soon realize that things look different from the other side. As long as you truly listen to each other and try to understand where the other is coming from then it’s ok if you disagree. You might even learn something from each other. Be open minded and willing to accept that while your way is right for you it’s not necessarily right for her.
- Do not criticize her. You may have a different taste in clothes, music, hairdos, or even more substantial issues. But try to remember that she is entitled to her freedom of expression as much as you are, and, importantly, that enabling her to explore life the way she chooses will empower her to get to know herself. And she will appreciate you much more if you allow her to go through that process without limiting her to your own definitions of what is right. This, of course does not mean that you should give up on setting boundaries. You are still the parent and your daughter is a child that needs to learn the ways of adult life and the disciplines it involves.
- Do not be afraid to show affection. This may sound easy but it is one of the most painful issues between daughters and mothers. Before you reach the stage where your hugs are awkward – do not let your disagreements and difficulties get in the way of your love. As long as you have a strong basis for love, mutual respect and understanding, your relationship will never be lost.