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Mother/Daughter Relationships

Mother’s Day is a perfect time to talk about that special relationship between mothers and daughters. Why do women feel so different about their mothers than they do about other family members?

Besides sharing the same gender, they usually share the same social roles of wife, daughter, sister and mother. This relationship is so important that a 1991 study of 403 women found that the quality of a woman’s relationship with her mother is linked to her overall sense of well-being and her level of psychological distress. Obviously, no matter what our age, our mothers are a tremendous influence in our lives.

How does a good mother-daughter relationship begin?

Most young girls start out idolizing their mothers. She identifies with her mother, sees her as a role model. She may believes that Mom has a solution to everything. On the other hand, mothers should give daughters opportunities to hone their own decision-making skills, to teach them that they have responsibilities and control over their own lives. Mothers should also encourage other female role models, so the daughter does not come to depend on mother for everything

What about that relationship that teenage daughters and their mothers seem to have? Is it inevitable?

It’s probable, if not inevitable. But it’s perfectly normal. This is the age of separation, for both boys and girls, which is necessary to establish her own identity. Teenage girls need psychological distance, and mothers should respect that. If mother & daughter were close before, they will be close again after this stage.

After a woman is grown and has her own family, the mother/daughter relationship changes. How does it stay healthy?

Often, mother & daughter reconnect after the daughter’s first baby is born. Both mother and daughter need to honor the adult relationship: daughter is no longer a child that needs supervising and mother is no longer the source of all the problem-solving. And when mom gets older and needs daughter to care for her, they both need to accept that the roles have reversed, and that’s OK. That’s life!

By: Heartland Family Service -

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