Mother Daughter Relationship
The relationship between parents and their children is one of the most basic human interactions. Mothers and daughters provide both physical and emotional care for their young sons and daughters. In the process, parents will instill children with family values and goals, while teaching them the accepted norms and values of society. This is done in hope that parents will one day see their own children become mature adults, with their own goals and purposes in life.
Mother-daughter relationships can be complex, but also filled with compassion and love. Mothers and daughters often seem farther away from each other than they really are. Usually when a girl goes through adolescence, the relationship between her and her mother begin to change in many different ways, but can grow at the same time. Even though the wars between a mother and daughter can ravage a relationship, they can easily be recognized earlier enough to keep a relationship from severing the ties that a mother and daughter have with one another.
Adolescence... a time of seemingly more freedom, junior high to high school, football games, dances, parties, going out for pizza, dating, driving, a later curfew, going to the mall, and talking on the phone almost non stop. Many mothers rarely see their daughters during these times. With all the time she begins to spend with her friends, it seems as if the major issues constantly being discussed are bedtimes, clothing and chores. Girls are growing up and it may seem as if their mothers are being needed less, but they are needed, just in a different way. When I was beginning to enter adolescence, I wasn’t completely separated from my mother, but I could feel it was beginning to happen. My sister Erin, who is now 21 felt the same way. "When I was younger, between 14-18 I separated form my mother and it almost felt like I was completely separated from her." Even though girls may feel like they are farther away from their mothers that they could ever get, it is not the end of the world. Most girls are close to their mothers when they are young, and many return to that closeness as adults. But few girls manage to stay close to their mothers during junior high and high school. I have realized that before I entered into high school, my mother and I had a close relationship. I was the exception of most girls my age and many of them seemed jealous of me and even thought of my mother as the ‘cool’ mom. When I entered into high school, this all changed. I started keeping things from my mom and not talking to her as much. We were growing apart and we both knew it, but I didn’t know what to do. It seemed like I wanted to keep things to myself and I just wanted my own privacy. Girls at their most vulnerable time reject the help of the one person who wants most to understand their needs. Erin also says "I didn’t get along with my mom at all. I would go to school and then when I came home, I’d lock myself in my room. I just didn’t want to see her or deal with her. It wasn’t like I hated her, I was just going through a lot and didn’t know how to express myself, other than to ‘hide’ from everyone." Girls truly desire strong ties with their mothers, but many times it’s hard to figure out how to maintain these ties with their them. Mothers also feel helpless during these times, not knowing what to say or do, afraid that their daughters would just become more and more upset and angry with them. #My mother, Cathy, has said that with both my sister and I, she has #"felt like my kids were beginning to need me less and less and I just feel helpless." Sometimes mothers feel like they can’t help their daughter, they feel like they are the cause of all their problems. Cathy also agrees. "I did feel like I caused many problems in both of my daughters lives and even with the problems I knew I wasn’t the cause of, I just felt that if I tried to help in any way, then I would only be making things worse." Teen girls also face decisions they do not want to make alone. Erin explains, #"As a teenager, there were many decisions I didn’t want to make alone, and I really wanted to be close to my mother, but I didn’t know how to." Even when I was around the ages of fifteen and sixteen I would see other girls with their mothers and they had what looked like "the perfect" relationship and I, too, longed for this closeness, but the feelings and emotions that were inside of me at this time held me back from trying to accomplish this. Although the issues that teens face may be stressful and scary, this does not mean that the period of adolescence itself must be turbulent. #Mothers especially, can provide the foundation of support and encouragement to counteract these stresses for their daughters, rather than cause them.
In recent years, psychologists have revised their idea of healthy mother-daughter relationships. They have found that most teens are capable of having warm, close relationships with their parents. They care about their parent’s opinions and hold their opinions in high regard. Many mothers and daughters who have bad rapport tend to have difficulties in their relationship for years. Even messages in society give many people the idea that adolescent girls have strained relationships with their mothers. This just seems to make it even easier for these relationships to become ravished. #Years ago, psychologists thought that teens must distance themselves from their parents to become healthy adults. Many people saw the distant, rebellious teen as the norm. In many ways, our society still embraces that notion. Maybe this is because the focus is mainly problems and no solution on how to help the teen girls of today. Even Western civilization has a history of unrealistic e!
xpectations about mothers. They are held responsible for their children’s happiness. Many people have troubles growing up enough to see their mothers as people. As Mary Pipher writes in her book, Reviving Ophelia, of studies about adolescent girls, distant mothers are scorned, but mothers who are to close are accused of smothering and overprotecting. Each chapter of Reviving Ophelia opens with a different scenario and in her book, Pipher gives equal voices to both mothers and daughters. Maybe the first step of a daughter towards maintaining a good relationship with her mother, is for her to see her mother as an individual. Growing up requires adolescent girls to reject the person with whom they are most closely identified. Daughters are socialized to have a tremendous fear of becoming like their mothers, but maybe if they tried enough to really look at and understand their mothers, this would no longer be a fear to them. I personally think that many girls do not realize they may have this fear themselves. I know I did not realize I held it within myself, but then I also realized there was a lot more to my mother that I cared to see. Once I saw past my close-mindedness, I understood that there was nothing wrong with growing up and acting a little like my mom. In fact, there were some qualities my mother held that I wanted to imitate when I was a mother myself. #During the time of adolescence, a girl want more freedom in becoming her own person, and mothers often mistake growth toward independence as rebelliousness. After all, a teen may question all that her mother stands for. Sometimes a mother may offer her advice to her child while looking out for her best interest, but a girl mistakes it as her mother trying to run her life and control her. Erin comments, #"Sometimes when I would try to make a decision that was hard for me, and I know I could be capable of making a bad choice or a mistake, I did not want to hear my mom’s advice. It was like I knew she was probably right, but in spite of her, I would rather find out the hard way. I would rather find out on my own." I also look back on decisions I have had to make in my life and the advice that I did not take from my mother and I wish I would have taken it, because then life would have been a little bit easier, but I do know that life is not perfect and that it is okay to find things out the hard way. For many girls though, they should know, learn and understand that if they decide to take their mother’s advice on certain things, it is okay and they are not giving into their mothers. Mothers are just trying to help their daughters and if we choose to take their help or not, they will still be there. Because of issues of Independence increasing conflict often emerges. #Although a mother-daughter relationship is complex, young adults often need to understand their mothers in order to understand themselves. If a mother-daughter relationship has been strained, there are many ways to relate more positively. Girls and their mothers just have to find out how to relate to one another. Everyone is different, whether it is just sitting down and having a nice dinner together, talking about homework or in front of the TV, or going shopping together, the little times are when a mother and her daughter can get to know one another on so many different levels.
Mother-daughter conflict also occurs when the daughter selects her own lifestyle and rejects her mothers’. My brother Jason Tretheway, age 28, has said, #"I think that sometimes with mom, her views have conflicted with not only yours and Erin’s, but all of ours, mine, too, and her expectations for her daughters conflict with how their living their lives." This may be true of not only my family, but many others’. Mothers tend to let their hopes for their daughters get in the way and not give their girls enough room to breath and live comfortably. But besides using arguments as a means to establish independence, mothers and daughters should practice communicating. At times a teen may seem like a better arguer and this is due to changes in thinking skills that occur during puberty. A teen then begins to find faults in their mothers’ reasoning and argue much more. A teen girl may even begin to just practice these new skills by disagreeing on purpose with their parent. This begins to cause even more problems and soon enough it will be too much and too late to solve anything. If mothers and daughters can set time together to talk and discuss things going on in both of their lives, then they will have a much better understanding of one another. Girls often only think of themselves and their problems in adolescence, and they do not realize what their parents go through. It was not until recently that I realized my mother had her share of a "bad" life. In sharing things with one another, my mom and I became close and I not only looked up to her as my mom, but as an actual individual, which is hard for many girls. But if girls see they are not alone in the world and their life is not the only one that is tough, then they can help others and themselves and know they are never alone.
Mother-daughter relationships are among the most complicated relationships ever experienced. They often compromise many conflicting feelings such as love, anger, worry, resentment, envy, and need. When daughters become young adults the focus of the mother-daughter relationship is the daughter’s efforts to become an adult. While this is rewarding for the mother, it is also a significant expenditure of time and energy that focuses on one person-the daughter. #As daughters move into middle age and mothers grow older, their goals are more in sync. Mothers often reflect on their relationships with their own mothers and hope for growing intimacy with their own daughters. Mothers identify and resolve the tensions that can arise when their expectations for their daughters with the reality of how she’s living her life.
When a girl is entering into the time of adolescence in her life, she is not the only one going through it. Although all girls go through this, her mother is right there by her side going through it, too. When a girl is a teenager, the sound of her mother’s voice is enough to drive her crazy. When a mother raises a she-teen, the lines get drawn for battle. #Conflict arises in even the best relationships because both the mother and daughter care for each other so much. The best mother-daughter ties are ones where they care so much, they see the other’s faults but want to protect the other from knowing that they see them. Every daughter and mother love each other but it’s when a daughter can say I really like my mother and when a mother feels the same way, that one knows the relationship has succeeded.
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