SHERON PATTERSON/RELATIONSHIPS EXPERT
As Mother’s Day approaches, some of us are cringing at the thought of spending time with our moms or our daughters because there is drama. Mothers and daughters have intense connections. Often these are combustible relationships. There can be a struggle for love and autonomy – at the same time.
Here are a few tips to make that special day- special.
Let go. One of you may be holding too tight. A natural break should occur between adolescence and adulthood, where the mother allows the daughter to make her own decisions. Mothers and daughters that are too closely interwoven may encounter separation and identity issues.
Set boundaries. Boundaries are needed in all relationships, especially between mothers and daughters. Let her know what you will and will not accept. Enforce these boundaries if they are crossed.
For example, the mother calls the daughter ugly names. The daughter can say, “Mom, I love you and I am glad that you are my mom, but I will not allow you to call me names. It hurts my feelings. If you call me a name, I will end the telephone conversation/leave the house/etc.
Agree to disagree. There are some topics that the two of you will never agree on. Some topics are hot button issues that never are resolved. Rather than going around and around- just agree to disagree. This will defuse long standing impasses, and avoid quarrels.
Decide how and when you want to communicate. One of may enjoy a telephone conversation first thing in the morning, while the other is more of an evening talker. The two of should discuss the best times for both. That way there will be the ability and interest in the conversation when it does happen.
Forgive. Mothers and daughters make mistakes, cause pain, and hurt each other’s feelings. The perfect Mother’s Day gift is forgiveness. Forgiveness means releasing past hurts, and looking ahead with hope. Forgiving our parents has been called, “the core task of adulthood.”
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