The Mother-Daughter Relationship
The relationship between a mother and daughter is vital from birth to adulthood. They share a bond, which is unlike any other because of the symbiotic connection and the natural female liaison associated with this union.
There is an affinity which they both share in terms of the similarity of their response to hurts, disappointments, failures and various kinds of life-changing circumstances. This is due to the types of environment in which the daughter learns to deal with problems. If the mother teaches her daughter values which will create strength and fortitude, the child will eventually grow up to emulate her mother. In fact, that child will often do things “the way mom did” in the home.
The early years are vital to the relationship of mother and daughter and when there is a breach in this connection, it leaves a chasm which might remain throughout life.
A mother is the most important individual in the life of her daughter and this relationship must begin in the formative years. When the relationship is non-existent, the gap remains and many girls end up seeking for love in all the wrong places.
Here are some questions for mothers:
1. What kind of mother am I?
2. What examples of learning have I set before my daughter?
3. Who are the people in my life?
4. What causes me to neglect my duties to my daughter?
5. Am I giving my daughter the attention she needs?
6. Do I listen to my daughter?
7. Do I share my concerns and fears for her in a loving way?
8. What excuses do I give to my daughter when she seeks my help?
9. Do I know my daughter?
10. Do I care for my daughter?
11. What kind of mother am I?
Points to Ponder
The mother-daughter relationship cannot be formed out of chaos
Every mother must be a positive example to her daughter in terms of the following:
Loving, forgiving, self-controlled
Modest dressing, dignified
Use of kind words
Use of wholesome language
Peaceable, gentle, understanding, patient
Respectful, consistent, fair
An agent of change
Sensitive – responsive to hurts
Strong, not easily provoked
The Role of a Mother
Mothers are natural givers because of the mother-child connection in the womb. Mothers should promote, support, and encourage good behaviours in the development of their children. While natural food is vital, there are other aspects of life requiring a mother to nurture her child in order to raise him/her in the fear and admonition of God in order to foster a strong, stable and well-rounded individual.
Teach and Train, with positive Examples
Effective teaching and training cannot take place without positive examples. Teach from the formative years with positive examples when the child is at an age to listen attentively with the hope for permanent retention. Evidently, if the mother sets the wrong examples before her child early in life, and there is repetition of negative behaviours, that child will certainly adopt them in his/her repertoire of behavioural learning. Mothers must teach and train with discipline, and clearly understandable instructions at the age for the child to grasp and assimilate to ask questions and for interpretations.
1. If a mother spanks a child she should explain the purpose and complete the discipline with love.
2. If the mother forbids a request, she should explain the reasons why so the child understands that it is not good for him or her.
3. Do not leave the child hanging in ignorance because curiosity will make him or her want to find out, why.
Unfortunately, many mothers do not express love towards their children. Some girls go outside of the home to find someone to love who is usually the wrong person. Where maternal love is non-existent in the formative years for a girl, she ends up in the wrong places with the wrong persons.
The lack of love in the early years to a daughter is as important as milk is to a newborn. There are adult women with war stories of mothers who neglected them by leaving them to the wolves in this jungle of a world to fight off fiends who only want to abuse and mistreat them.
Mothers who abdicate their duties to their children [daughter] will certainly reap a harvest. Although some of those daughters are grown and have become adults with families of their own, they have attested to the fact that a mother’s neglect in the early years was the most disastrous experience they have had in their lives. Some of those women are still suffering the disappointment as I write.
Each mother has an obligation to show and express love to her child. Whether the father lives in the home or not, makes no difference. If anyone ought to love a child, a mother has this duty to her child.
Every mother ought to show compassion to the child of her womb. The compassionate mother is forgiving without duress or coercion. Only a careless, heartless, and insensitive mother who will neglect her daughter; because she does not know how to show sincere love to her own child would hold on to grudges. There are times when a girl, due to neglect or curiosity goes out and do the wrong thing. This error in judgment does not give a mother the right to abandon her daughter. If there is ever a time that girl needs compassion, it is at the time when she realizes her mistake and comes home [to mother] for help.
Every child will not obey instructions until when it is too late. Nevertheless, mothers should still stand by to help and assist when there is a need for [ER] life-learning emergency assistance to a daughter. The mother who turns away with, “I told you so; you spread your bed now lay on it,” is being harsh and inflexible. Show me a mother who has never made a mistake in life! Furthermore, many mothers began their child-bearing years while still in school, or as a single adult.
Compassion is an expression of concern and sympathy to another person who is hurting, even if it is the result of bad judgment. Compassion is warmth and sensitivity blended with kindness and sincere consideration for the other person who is emotionally or physically hurting. It is not a time to “…rejoice in iniquity…” [I Corinthians 13:6], rather it is a time to show love.
Any mother who puts a man/lover before her daughter is indeed callous, selfish, unfeeling, cold-blooded, and cruel.
Any mother who allows her significant other to violate her daughter’s innocence is a fool.
While a daughter is in the development stage she watches her mother intently to be like mom. That girl will emulate her mother’s actions, and even sometimes wants to be just like mom. For these and other reasons, mothers must be supportive emotionally for their daughters. That young woman needs to learn how to gain self-respect, self-worth, confidence, and to build self-esteem. However, if mom has a significant other who physically abuses her and she accepts this behaviour, she is sending out the wrong signals to her daughter about what to expect from a man.
Mothers ought to teach their daughters how to respond to life-changing events without losing heart. There are some stressful situations which will affect the entire family structure, and the presence of a strong mother will play a vital role in the life of the daughter who looks up to her.
Godliness and Moral Support
Every mother has the opportunity to help shape her daughter’s life with godliness and morality. With the right examples, a mother can influence the kind of friends the daughter keeps, and the way she conducts herself in every way because she has the moral support of a godly mother. The Christian mother must not only take her child to church, but must exercise godliness before her family.
Every mother should demonstrate morality before her daughter. Ethical values expressed in decent conversation, proper judgement, decent dressing and the use of proper language will certainly make an impression on the life of a daughter who has learned to respect the most important woman in her life.
Godliness and morality are character building components during the formative years; but unless these examples are present in the life of the mother, it will be very difficult to get the child to adhere when inconsistencies are present. Mothers must be very congruent concerning the kinds of behaviours they demonstrate in the home before their daughters. So often we hear the old adage “[As is] the mother, [so is] her daughter” [Ezekiel 16:44]. It takes a very strong young woman who will turn away from an immoral life her mother lives in order to choose the right path for herself.
In order to maintain strong family values and to fulfil the role of a good mother, each one must seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and wisdom [James 3:17]. With the impact and influence of societal norms and governmental policies, there may well be some limitations for mothers who want to maintain discipline to train their daughters as respectable persons.
Family breakdown begins with the parents, and rebellious children are the result of parents who themselves were or are still rebellious. The crises in families are the result of the seeds of immorality and ungodliness sown by parents and even ancestors. Rebellious children are only the recipients of those seeds. If the godly principles and commandments pertaining to the fear of God [Exodus 20:1-11], and those pertaining to family and social life [Exodus 20:12-17] are ignored, then we can only expect to reap a harvest of reproach [Proverbs 14:34 “Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people”].
Mothers are change agents either for the good or the evil. If they are spiritual and moral they will set godly examples for their daughters and this will improve their relationship resulting in a godly moral society and nation. However, if mothers support ungodly societal standards and models for child rearing and morality, then we will see more girls being involved with male wolves and those who have no respect for integrity and human dignity.
There are many things concerning the mother-daughter relationship and every story is different, because every person is different and every family is different. Everything cannot be put on paper. Each mother must know what she can expect from her daughter depending on the types of values and principles she used to raise her child.
Copyright © Barbara Y. Stuart, 2009
Faith Restoration Ministries International–
Dr Barbara Stuart is an ordained minister of the gospel, pastoral counselor, radio host, author, and inspirational speaker. She is a past nurse and high school teacher. She is a available for speaking anywhere in the nation or world. There are two books published at Amazon.com. Key in Barbara Y. Stuart to obtain your copy of each. The books are ideal for pre-marital and marriage counseling in group settings, retreats, singles or Sunday School discussions.. For a full biography go to www.frministry.org