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Nothing can compare to the unique and special bond between a mother and a child, specifically the daughter. The mother-daughter relationship is more emotionally intense compared to any other familial relationship.
The shared experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and the first human contact create a deep level of intimacy which can be challenging to find elsewhere. However, time does pass, and people do change.
Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the mother to guide her daughter and ensure that she is equipped with the necessary skills and traits to tackle maturity while maintaining a close and healthy relationship with each other.
Social Worker Anisa Moosa said children learn essential lessons through observing the actions and speech of the mother. Through this encounter, they understand the values and principles of what it means to be a woman. A mother influences the daughter’s outlook on life and her understanding of healthy relationships and womanhood.
How to Build a Healthy Relationship
There is no denying that children can be difficult through their developmental stages. This can lead to hostility, resentment and conflict between the child and the parent.
However, there are steps foregrounded by Moosa which promote a healthy relationship. Moosa said open and sincere communication lies at the very top of the pyramid. Communicating with one’s daughter allows both parties to express themselves in a dignified way.
Additionally, mothers should set boundaries and find a balance between control and freedom. They must manage their expectations of the daughter and not compare her to someone else. Instead, they should celebrate and support their uniqueness and individuality.
“One of the important things about all relationships is knowing the other person. That’s the best way to build a relationship. You build a relationship when you understand and know the other person. When you open yourself to getting to know your child and who they are … When we talk about parenting, not all your children are the same. You can have two or three daughters, and they might be different, and it’s important not to compare them but to get to know each one of them and who they are. To respect their individuality, their uniqueness and what they bring to your life.”
The Potential for Conflict
Failure to understand each other can break the relationship and cause conflict between the mother and daughter.
Moosa said a dysfunctional relationship could be emotionally painful and hurt both parties in many ways. The mother may feel like she has failed her role as a parent. Similarly, the daughter may feel she has disappointed and let her down in some way.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of both parties to ensure that the relationship never reaches those extremes. Always be willing to work on it and forgive where necessary.
Moosa said it is crucial for mothers never to forget their primary role, and that is that they are the parent, the guide and the role model. However, when there is conflict, it is the mutual responsibility to ensure they always take the first step.
“When we talk about being a role model, remember those are the actions you become a reflection of. But with that also, it’s okay to make the first move … If something is important to you, if your relationship with your daughter is important, you teach her that it’s important and that you are important. [In saying so] I will take the initiative, and I will try and see if we can work together.”
The mother-daughter relationship is a very delicate and special bond which needs to be nurtured by respect, guidance, love and support. In doing so, the mother assists in fostering her daughter’s growth and independence, making her a confident and successful individual.