Mother-Daughter Relationships

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Four Key Ingredients

There are four key ingredients to a good mother-daughter mix at any age, so let's begin with those:

1. Understand and respect your daughter's temperament and personality. A lot of mother-daughter problems emerge as differences between you and end up as conflicts. For example, if you're a high-energy, bold extrovert and your daughter's a shy, creative introvert, you're headed for trouble if you can't accept that you and your daughter have different ways of being in the world. Remember, if you can't accept the daughter you have, you'll never have the daughter you want!

2. Talk to your daughter every day. In today's times, working moms (whether in the house or out of the house) are both hurried and harried. But no matter how busy you are, be sure to take time each and every day to listen to your daughter's thoughts and feelings. (Bedtime is a good time for this exploration). Ongoing conversation is one of the best ways to create and maintain your mother-daughter bond.

3. Don't over-praise or over-criticize your daughter. Many moms think that self-esteem is built through constant praise, but too much extravagant praise that focuses on the product instead of the process, -- "That's the most gorgeous drawing I've ever seen; I'm so proud of you," (instead of "I can see how hard you worked on the colors in that sunset; you must feel good about yourself.") will give your child an unrealistic sense of her skills, and make her anxious about her next achievement. On the other hand, too much harsh criticism, "How could you leave your new bike in the park. Are you stupid?" (instead of "You must feel so sad and disappointed; I know you really loved your bike.") will undermine your daughter's confidence in her own abilities, and create anger and bitterness between you. To raise a confident and competent daughter, who's at ease with herself and her world try to strike a realistic balance.

4. Express your love for your daughter as often as you can. A daughter who is hugged, held, cuddled and kissed develops good feelings about herself as well as her mom. True self-esteem is built through parental affection and support that's appropriate to her development. Never take for granted that your daughter knows you love her -- show it!

Continued on page 3:  Resources


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