How to strengthen your relationship with your mom

May 10, 1997


Staff Writer

"I love Mom to death, but I wish she'd stop interfering in my life."

"My daughter would make such a pretty bride, and maybe if she got a real job she'd meet someone worthy of her affections."

The bond between mother and daughter is an emotional and spiritual one, but that loving embrace can be so tight it leaves you gasping for breath.

Remember that the relationship is a two-way street, says Dr. Denny McGihon of Psychotherapy Services LLC in Frederick, Md.

"We can't change people over to suit ourselves; we need to accept them as they are," McGihon says.

View your mother or daughter for who she is, not for who you want her to be, says Dr. Tamara Baker, director of Hood College Counseling Center in Frederick. That recommendation was among those presented at a recent mother-daughter conference at Hood College.


Here are some hints for strengthening the relationship:

Advice for mothers

- Stop judging your daughter.

Your child doesn't have to be captain of the cheerleading squad or receive straight A's just because you think she should, says Connie Parker, a mother who participated in the conference.

"As parents, we sometimes push our dreams on our kids," Parker says. "Allow them to be who they really are."

- Shift the focus of the relationship to one of equality.

What college kids want most is for their mothers to respect them and their point of view, McGihon says.

Advice for daughters

- Realize that parents really want what's best for you, says Alicha Jones, who is Parker's daughter and a Hood College student.

"As a daughter, you should be honest and try to live in a way that is respectable," she says.

- Let your mother off the hook.

Don't be so tough on her.

"Most daughters have a thing about their mom that they can't stand," Parker says.

Advice for both

- Allow and appreciate personality differences.

Don't expect your mother or daughter to be a replica of yourself.

"Find out who she really is," Baker says.

- Don't expect the mother/daughter relationship to be perfect.

"Baby steps make the journey," Jones says.

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