The Secret to Unlocking Your Child's Potential

Mothers and Daughters: “I love her, but …”

The world celebrated Mother’s Day with lots of flowers, cakes and wishes – never mind if a great many were sent via social media. And I recall a comment made by a mother. “I don’t know if it’s me,” she began hesitantly. “I have a teenage daughter. And we don’t exactly get along.” The lady went on to say that she had mentioned it to some of her friends. Seems like it’s a rather common thing.

Every mother-daughter relationship is unique, just as a mother and her son. Many factors influence how the mother-daughter dynamics turn out over time. For instance, the mother might have certain expectations for her daughter, which were not fulfilled. Or she might have had not-so-positive experiences with her own mother, which she unconsciously tries to re-enact, like a script. Then there’s the mother who feels it’s her job to make sure her daughter is as close as possible to perfection in the multiple roles she plays at school and at home – this can backfire too.

The mother-daughter relationship will always be one of the great mysteries in life. A concoction of feelings so deep, complex, I don’t think you could truly explain its intricacies. But it doesn’t mean you can’t make it better.

Growing up, you might have not-so-nice memories of your own mother. You love your mother to bits, you respect her, yet there might be times when her words hurt you so much, you wish you were born in a different home.

You don’t wish the same for your daughter.

If you do have a teenage daughter who seems to annoy, agitate, get on your nerves once too often, it’s good to know that the adolescent brain goes through major changes, which might cause her to be not quite herself, tearful, upset for no apparent reason. Studies have shown that teens tend to misread facial cues, causing them to misinterpret some facial expressions as “anger”. So, if you asked her why she missed her extra class out of concern, she might think you’re saying it out of anger. One thing leads to another. Before you know it, a mother-daughter misunderstanding is in the works.

A teenager’s body system is growing, under construction, almost done, but not quite there yet. The good news is, it will settle down eventually. So just hang on. Till when? Well, it differs from person to person. For some, in the late teens. For others, mid-twenties. With marriage, especially, personalities tend to mellow. You and I of course experienced the same thing, but it was so long ago, unlikely for us to remember.

If you have a daughter who makes you wonder why you opt for motherhood instead of pursuing something else in life, don’t assume it will always be this way. Listen to your heart, you know what is right. Imagine if it’s someone else’s daughter, what would you tell her? Be kind, stay firm when you need to. Give your daughter some space she needs, but more importantly, give the relationship a fresh new chance. Every day. Don’t let it become toxic or stay that way. Both you and your daughter deserve better things.

A myriad things sit on the quality of the mother-daughter relationship, nurturing it is worth your effort.

To the mother who raised the question above, I suggested she open the album where she keeps her daughter’s growing up photos – from the moment she was born, to the more recent ones. Relive how she felt then, the excitement, the bundle of joy she brought home. A wounded heart has myriad ways to mend.

Thought of The Moment

“If we would consider less about what we differ, and see where we agree, there would be far more happiness and less anger in the world.” – Anonymous

Read the Malay article here: Kasih Ibu dan Anak Perempuan

About Jamilah Samian

Jamilah has written 540 articles.

Jamilah Samian is an author and speaker.

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