Let’s face it, even the closest mother-daughter relationships can run into snags. But with a little bit of effort and smarts, you can prevent the relationship from becoming down-right antagonistic. Here are 12 tips for managing the relationship with your daughter positively.
- Communicate. It’s important for your daughter to know that she can always talk to you if she needs anything. When talking to her, make sure that you both look at each other. Tell her, “I need you to listen” in a calm, friendly way. Try to keep your message short and sweet, or your daughter will think that she is in trouble or being lectured. Also, not every conversation needs to be serious. Vary serious conversations and casual conversations.
- Be an active listener. Active listening is reflecting back what your daughter is saying, instead of assuming you already know what she means. This is especially important if there are potential hidden meanings in a statement.
- Repair damage quickly. Conflict is inevitable and should be dealt with head on rather than letting it stew for a few days.
- Pick your battles. If it’s not that important, just ignore it and move on.
- Put yourself in her shoes. Address your daughter’s feelings with empathy and offer a compromise. Sometimes just saying, “Oh, that must be so hard for you” is all that’s needed.
- Agree to disagree. It’s OK if there are topics you just will not ever agree on. Acknowledge that you can still be really close but that, because you are different people, you will have different perspectives on things.
- Stick to the present. Avoid bringing up old gripes from the past.
- Use “I” statements. Follow “I” statements with a feeling.
- Help with her schoolwork. It’s important to support your daughter in her education. Always try to help her with homework if she asks for it. Don’t give her the answer, but help her figure it out.
- Set aside time to spend with your daughter. Figure out what kinds of activities she enjoys and do things relating to those activities. The possibilities are endless from shopping to attending sporting events to reading or cooking together. It’s OK to branch out, too, to give your daughter new experiences such as going to the museum or taking an art class together.
- Show her you love her. It’s the little things that count. Go for a walk together, talk, and enjoy the weather. Cheer her up on a bad day with a hug or a small gift. Give encouraging messages often, like “You can do it” or “I believe in you.” Be sure to praise her efforts, even if she is unsuccessful. Laugh and smile often.
- Be kind. Remain calm and nice when explaining that she has done something you don’t like or don’t want her to do again. Try saying, “I want you to do this” or “please do this” instead of “do this”. She’s more likely to do what you say if you address her kindly. Moreover, give real reasons–she will be more responsive if she realizes there are bad outcomes as a result of certain choices. Also, hug and kiss her before she goes to bed, or in the morning before she leaves for school–always end everything on a good note.
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