- Family and Parenting»
- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice
Mother Daughter relationship - Why and how does it go wrong ?
Mom and Daughter
The relationship between a mother and daughter is quite fragile. It keeps changing at different points in our life. It can swing from love to hate and again to love. As kids, we all love our mothers more than anybody else in this world. Yet, as we grow, we do face certain situations where we never seem to agree with each other. The mother daughter bond can grow strong day by day, or go the other way round without either of them realizing what went wrong. Although this is something that can happen in any relationship and with any of our family or friends, it is much difficult to cope up with when it is with your own parents.
I talk about this from the relationship that me and my mom share. From my early childhood memories, I remember being totally attached to my mother. I used to sleep next to her while she narrated stories. She would drop me at the school and pick me up in the afternoon while I told her everything that happened in my class. She would allow me to play and have fun. Although she was quite strict and a disciplinarian, the bond that we shared was wonderful.
As I grew up, i could see some changes in her nature. She was so concerned about my academics that all other activities took
a back seat. I remember being whacked without any explanation, and she firmly believed that I would do far better in studies when i was spanked. As a teenager,I had constant clashes with her on topics ranging from my wardrobe and appearance to combined study at friend's house to why i was not as social as she wanted me to be . I was constantly compared to other siblings/cousins who did better at academics. I felt totally unloved and uncared for during that time.
Once i passed out of high school, I was allowed to follow my dreams. She became less concerned about academics and trusted me to do well. However, she was still worried that I may not get a good job and always advised me against taking risks. There was lot of improvement in our relationship as she used to tell me about her own childhood and the troubles she had gone through. She treated me like an adult and I started confiding in her. At this point, she was more of a friend that a mom, and we were close.
Now that I am grown up with a daughter of my own, we again have constant quarrels about parenting styles. She doesn't approve of the way I am bringing up my child and feels that my kid would do far better under her care and supervision. I, on the other hand, want to be as different from my mother as possible particularly in my relationship with my daughter.
In contrast, my relationship with my dad has always been the same. We love and understand each other quite well. With him around, I can be just me, and, although we don't know as much about each other as my mom does, we still share a nice, comfortable bond. I am also quite amazed how well he puts up with mom's emotional ups and downs.
What is it that mothers understand their daughters so well when they are young but never seem to understand them as they grow up ? Has it anything to do with the expectations moms have from children? A mother wants her daughter to think like she does, and fulfill any of her unrealized dreams. She also wants her daughter to be more successful and independent than she herself is. However, she is scared to let go of her daughter and is constantly worried about her safety. Her son, on the other hand is expected to be quite different from her, and little arrogance or defiance on his side is tolerated.
On the other hand, as moms daughters grow up, in her quest for freedom and liberty, she ends up having minor conflicts with her mother and it affects their bond. This becomes unacceptable for the mother. She would feel that her little one is turning into an arrogant teenager and feels quite helpless in controlling her daughter. Gaining the trust of parents means a lot to the child and if she feels that her mother doesn't trust what she's saying, it can weaken the bond. I had a friend who was a victim of child abuse by a close relative and her mom refused to believe her. No wonder my friend had no respect or love for her mother. Children look up to their moms in situations like this and brushing off a serious issue like sexual abuse as a figment of child's imagination is the worst thing a parent can do.
Once the daughter has her own family, she may again start looking up to her mom for advices and that can bring them closer. Once a mother becomes a grandma, she may choose to change her parenting style. She may give more freedom to their grandchild than she did to her child. She would not mind giving in to certain demands of her grandchildren to prove her love for them. This may again give way to conflicts between the new mother and the grandmother. The cycle goes on ...
Things would be far better if both of them accept the fact that togetherness and separation is a part of life and that each of them is a different individual, capable of making their own decisions. While the ego clashes of teenage years is seemingly inevitable, the clashes between an adult daughter and mother can be resolved. Once the mother and daughter acknowledge and respect the others viewpoint, things would improve.
A mother should accept that her daughter is grown up and trust her to make mature decisions. She should look back at her life and try to remember her relationship with her own mother and respect her daughter's need for privacy. The daughter, on the other hand should remember that her mom is a normal person who is capable of making mistakes, and although she doesn't always agree with her mom's view point, she can at-least lend a patient ear to what her mother is saying. They can both support and help each other while not enforcing their decisions on each other.