Most of us need a little push or help to do hard things. When it comes to motivating yourself to make change, it can be a struggle. Change is hard work. We often have good intentions to change but get busy and distracted. Or we don’t want to face the reality that change is needed. […]
Much of my therapy practice was spent helping women deal with mother-daughter issues. Whether the relationship was great, terrible, or somewhere in between, mother-daughter relationships are powerful and partially define who we are. It is such an important relationship so don’t ignore it. The more you work through issues with your mom, the better all your other relationships will be. That’s right-family work makes you a better person in all relationships.
Simple Effective Tips to Improve Mother-Daughter Relations
Change for yourself, not because someone else thinks you should or is pressuring you to change. When you do make changes, it is disruptive to the old family patterns. Know that change is difficult, won’t be easy, but worth the effort when the relationship improves. So be patient. Work on your responses to your mom. This is the part you control.
Stay in touch. No matter if your mom is good or poor at communication, decide to check in regularly and value the relationship.
Don’t lose your sense of self. Having a great relationship with mom doesn’t mean you lose who you are in the process. It is just the opposite. The more you define who you are, the better you can be with her without becoming defensive or constantly needing her approval.
Once you have a better sense of yourself, you can learn to be more empathetic, listen better, consider your mother’s worth as a person, be concrete in communicating, and allow yourself to see a bigger picture of who your mother is and was.
Having a Child of Your Own
A big equalizing factor for many adult daughters is when they have a child of their own, particularly if that child is a girl. Having a child usually creates more empathy for job of motherhood. It isn’t as easy as it looked. When an adult daughter begins to grasp what her mother went through and how really tough parenting can be, she can then begin to have more grace, forgiveness and acceptance.
Build your mother-daughter relationship on principles in God’s Word. Although the oneness we had with our moms before birth is the closest to oneness with God, human relationships will always have flaws. A daughter’s yearning for intimacy and closeness is ultimately one that only God can truly satisfy. But our goal is to build intimate connections with family members. Look for the expressions of God’s love outlined in 1 Corinthians 13 as we mother and are mothered. Love opens up possibilities. Because of love, we can and should find a way to honor and connect with our moms.
Dr. Linda Mintle is the author of I Love My Mother But…(Harvest House, 2011).