Mother Daughter Bond
Mother Daughter Bond
Helping it Growing Stronger
So many of us in our culture anticipate that parenting through the teen years is hard work and challenging. We get told it will be difficult, we expect that our daughters will reject us, meaning that many of us enter this phase with trepidation and anxiety. But what if navigating the terrain of the pre-teen and teen years with our daughters was actually fun and rewarding? This is definitely a mindset we should explore.
While it will probably be challenging on some level – if we have awareness and conscious intention we can deepen our bond with our daughter during these formative years, rather than weaken it.
In reality, we do not have the most level of playing fields. Never before have we had to compete with so many outside influences of popular culture. Our girls are bombarded with images and ideas from the internet and also face the challenges of social media. This can happen both directly and also indirectly through peer influence.
With this in mind, many of us mothers are faced with the question of what is the best approach to take to keep our girls safe and supported. Do we strengthen the boundaries or do we give more freedom? The answer is, well, we should do both.
Although it seems paradoxical, we need to learn and practice the art of staying strong but flexible. While we definitely need to widen our wings of support that surround our girls to give them more freedom to find their own wings, we need to ensure we still have our adult wings firmly around them. Even though they may push the boundaries, complain and challenge us repeatedly, it doesn’t mean we should let go, soften or give in. Girls need the security of knowing their parents are consistent and strong especially as they are going through a growth curve which often brings with it insecurity. While they may not consciously know or acknowledge it, at some deeper level they want to stay close to us. As they tentatively step forward on their journey towards young womanhood, they want and need to know we are there for them offering a pillar of strength, love and support.
Of course, there are no hard and fast rules about what the details of ‘strength and flexibility’ might look like. Each girl is unique and each family have their own values and expectations. If, as mothers, we practice self-reflection, listen to our instincts and keep the lines of communication open then we are doing well. We don’t have to be perfect and never make a mistake in our mothering role. Practicing self-compassion and being aware that we will probably get things wrong some of the time is an essential survival tactic. Remember that we are our daughter’s first and most important role model, so if we handle our mistakes and mishaps with maturity and sensitivity (and a generous dash of humour!) then we are giving them the opportunity to do the same.
Embrace the individuation of your daughter, watch her unfold and shine. Make sure you give her space to stretch her wings as you watch from the sidelines. Who knows, you might even see her steal a glance to check you are still there rooting her on!