A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Mother-daughter relationships can be difficult, here are some tips to strengthen your emotional bond

No doubt about it: mother-daughter relationships are complex. You can be the best of friends, or you can experience conflicts that pull you apart.

When a mother and daughter have a difficult relationship, it can take an emotional toll on both and affect their mental health as well. But the mother-daughter bond can’t be broken easily. When both of you commit to it, it’s never too late to grow closer and have a healthy mother-daughter relationship.

The Early Years

(Photo from St. Elizabeth Healthcare)

Daughters are greatly influenced by their mothers. Often, the mom is the first person a child has a close relationship with. Early experiences do more than help shape a child’s personality, they also influence the type of relationship she will have with her mother as an adult. Researchers found that when mothers are frequently critical instead of supportive during the childhood years, their daughters are more likely to lack social skills when they are older, as well as develop negative feelings about eating.

Research has also shown that mothers who speak up for themselves set a positive example for their daughters, who are likely to grow up to be more confident and have better mental health. Mothers and daughters who are open with each other can also develop closer relationships in the adult years.

How to Grow Closer

Whether a daughter is in elementary school or a working adult, both mothers and daughters can take action to strengthen their bond and overcome any problems in their relationship.

Mothers can:

Be positive. For example, instead of pointing out something negative about her daughter’s wardrobe, the mom can find something to compliment. If a daughter turns to her mother for advice after making a bad decision, the mom can focus on helping her move forward, instead of being judgmental.

Practice active listening. For the mom, this means letting her daughter know she is getting her mother’s full attention. Repeating back what is being said will build the daughter’s confidence that she is being understood.

Be open to learning new things. Although mothers may be used to fulfilling the role of teacher, the mother-daughter relationship benefits when the daughter is given the chance to share her knowledge and teach her mother new things.

Daughters can:

Show gratitude. The relationship grows when a daughter lets her mom know how grateful she is for everything she has done and the things she has taught throughout the daughter’s life.

Share your life. As the daughter becomes an adult, develops her own life and builds her own family, letting her mother be part of it helps the relationship thrive. This is done by including the mom in family activities and letting her know she is important.

Spend quality time together. Spending time with mom and continuing cherished traditions, even small ones, can mean anything from continuing holiday customs to a monthly dinner or movie night.

If you need help resolving issues, speaking to a therapist can help.

If you need help creating a healthier mother-daughter relationship, talk with your primary care provider or call St. Elizabeth Physicians Behavioral Health at 859-301-5901.

St. Elizatbeth Healthcare

Related Posts

Leave a Comment