Though the love between you and your daughter is infinite, your relationship can be complicated. There are those amazing golden days filled with flowery manicures, shopping (for her, not you) and laughter. But, of course, there are moments when you feel like your relationship might just combust, ignited by harsh words and button pushing.
Like all precious things, a mother-daughter relationship needs to be tended to with care.
Here are some tips on how to build and maintain a strong bond with your little girl:
How Can You Build a Great Relationship?
Your daughter’s self-esteem, sense of self-worth and body image is very much affected by how you see her. In fact, your relationship plays a large role in her ability to trust others (but no pressure!).
Here are four ways to build a strong mother-daughter relationship early on:
- Focus on Her Strengths
As soon as she can toddle, your daughter will want to do everything her own way — always. Rather than focusing on what she might be doing wrong, highlight what she’s doing right. Be sure to give loving suggestions, as opposed to making critical accusations. By doing so, you can provide your daughter with a safety net that she can rely on.
- Let Her Be Unique
You can’t live your daughter’s life for her, and if you try to do so, she’ll resent it. You should always be her biggest cheerleader, even if you think that the peanut butter and pickle sandwich that she insisted on making is disgusting. This will help her acquire self-confidence and decision making skills. For more tips on this, check out 7 Ways to Boost Kids’ Confidence.
- Show Respect to Get Respect
Yes, you’re the mom and you deserve a certain degree of power, but your daughter needs you to honor her boundaries, too.
- Have Realistic Expectations
Have you always wanted your daughter to become a doctor or a ballet star? She may have other dreams, and if she does, it’s important that you support them.
How Can You Nurture and Maintain Your Connection Over Time?
As your daughter grows up, it’s important that you keep the lines of communication open. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy, especially when you have a tween or teen on your hands. Suddenly your doting daughter may want to be left alone, and that can be hard to accept.
Here are three steps you can take to maintain your loving, healthy relationship as your daughter gets older:
- Help Her Become Her Own Person
Adolescence is a difficult time, mostly because everyone is trying to figure out who they are. Be sure to provide guidance concerning all the changes your daughter is going through, without being overbearing. You can even throw in some fashion and romantic advice!
- Hear Her Out
Whether your daughter’s concerns seem minuscule or life changing, it’s important that you always listen to what she has to say. If you find that she’s redirecting her anger or stress at you, stay calm and teach her how to safely channel these feelings where they belong.
- Own Your Mistakes
Nothing makes you more vulnerable or human than being a mom. Sometimes you’ll mess up, and when you do, you should own up to it and try to make amends. By taking the high road and apologizing, you can help your daughter feel safe.
Your daughter may be your partner in crime, but it’s important to remember that she’s also her own person. Be sure to provide the support she needs, while still giving her room to grow on her own.
How do you nurture your mother-daughter relationship? Let us know in the comments below!
Curious about strengthening your mother-son bond? Read Mother-Son Relationship: Tips to Build and Maintain a Great One.
Corey Kagan is a freelance writer and single mom (with a daughter) who lives in New York.