9 Simple Ways Of Strengthening The Mother-Daughter Bond

Family & Kids

The mother-daughter relationship is special and multi-faceted both during childhood and adulthood. A mother has the potential of being her daughter's best friend, confidante, teacher, role model, and superhero. Raising daughters is challenging, as is building a trusting relationship. Helping your child without coming off as overprotective, nagging, overly critical, and demanding is also no easy task. However, bonding with your daughter and spending quality time together is important at all stages of a girl's life. Here are 9 tips to ensure that the bond will only grow stronger as the years go by.

1. Lead by example

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Setting a good example for your daughter is essential, as kids learn by picking up on what their mothers do and say — but mostly by watching and modeling parents' behaviors. This imitation is often not conscious, but it is much more than simply learning good behaviors through copying good examples. Mothers play a huge role in setting a good example for their growing girls because who they are affects their daughters' sense of self for life.

Girls identify with their mothers in deep, emotional and powerful ways. That's why a mother's attitude to her own body and sensuality, whether she talks about it or not, is automatically passed on to her daughter. Even the mother’s tone and body language programs her daughter's attitudes to many things in her life. So of you want to help your daughter grow into a healthy young woman with great self-esteem, you need to monitor your own behavior or even consider starting to model the type of behaviors you'd like your daughter to copy.

2. Listen actively

Women are communicators by nature, so you need to listen to your daughter when she comes to you for advice or just to talk. Don't just half-listen while thinking of something else or focusing on doing something else. Listening actively or mindfully is different from just passively ‘hearing’. Have you ever been engaged in a conversation wondering if your message was getting across, and if it was even worthwhile continuing to speak? Do you remember how that felt?

You certainly do not want your daughter to feel this way. Instead, you are hoping to stay her friend and the one she can always ask for help and advice knowing that you have her best interest at heart. Active listening is about patience and fully concentrating on what is being said, rather than assuming you already know or jumping in with questions and comments or taking sides early in the conversation. Without active listening, thorough understanding and an empathetic conversation isn't possible. Your daughter needs to know that she’s being heard and that you understand.

3. Find out what she enjoys and take delight in it as well

One of the most effective ways to be friends with your daughter is finding a common interest or hobby. However, many parents simply hope their kids will share what they love instead of taking interest in what their kids enjoy. Does your daughter love music or dancing? Art or yoga? Whatever it is, give it a try. Spending time and going places together (even if it's only shopping and eating out) is a wonderful thing for the two of you to do.

4. Praise your daughter not just for her beauty

Let her know that she is smart, creative, kind, and that looks aren’t everything, while feeling good about oneself is more important than just looking good. This is essential as we live in a world where women are constantly bombarded with images and messages telling them to focus on their looks or compare themselves to others.

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5. Stay calm about what she wants to discuss

Try to remain neutral and non-judgmental, while letting your daughter know that you can relate to her feelings and pressures because you were her age once. Criticizing, overly dramatizing, and being overprotective can lead to hurt feelings. Don't forget to include positive comments about your daughter's talents, abilities, achievements and future potential.

6. Teach her to do something you are good at

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Whatever we moms do, we should share our successes, interests and passions with our daughters. It doesn't matter whether you work full-time or stay at home, and it isn't about doing the dishes or folding the laundry (though these are worth teaching, too, and may even be fun). It is about self-confidence, following your dreams, and navigating choices, as well as telling your daughter what you love doing and why. 

7. Encourage a positive father-daughter relationship

Positive male role models are important not only for your son, but for your daughter too. A father's influence affects a daughter's confidence, her opinions of men, and future choices of whom she will date and have long-term relationships with.

8. Teach her to be a good friend

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Girls can be mean, jealous, and extremely competitive, so it's important to show your daughter that you treat your friends with respect. Avoid gossiping or shaming others. Teach her to resolve conflicts and express disappointment, frustration, or embarrassment constructively. Teach your daughter that it is normal to share some of your negative feelings and you don't have to be happy and pleasing all the time.  Conflicts are going to happen, but dealing with your emotions is more important than trying to avoid conflict altogether. 

9. Teach your daughter to apply makeup

With internet videos and tutorials, she may have a variety of experts to listen to when it comes to skincare and makeup, but you can teach your daughter the basics and further experiment together. This can be lots of fun and provide some quality time together!

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