Mother - Daughter Bond!
Updated: May 28, 2021
The bond between mother and daughter is vitally important to the psychological wellness of the daughter from childhood into adulthood.
In infancy the importance of skin to skin contact, a mother’s voice, her scent and eye contact provide the love that is required to allow the child to securely attach. This secure attachment allows the child to safely explore their environment and provides the foundation for the development of trust. This secure attachment will further develop and later allow the woman to feel positively about herself and comfortable with intimate relationships, express empathy for others, and feel deserving of love. Infants who securely attach to their mothers become more self-reliant toddlers and have a better self-esteem.
When children are young the mother has a huge responsibility to guide and teach and later as the child becomes an adult an important part of parenting is letting go and allowing the daughter permission to be herself and providing her acceptance as her own woman.
The mother daughter relationship goes through transition phases. When a daughter is a young child mom is the child’s world; when daughters reach adolescence mom can be seen as embarrassing or out of touch or someone to avoid; and when daughters reach 20-30 mothers can become a best friend again.
Girls who feel supported by their mothers are more likely to discuss difficult issues such as eating disorders, depression, sexuality and body image and are better able to cope with challenges they may face. Conversely, if a mother is unable to show love it causes the child to question; is there something wrong with me, why am I unlovable, why do I feel so empty and why do I always doubt myself? As a therapist, many of the issues I address with women such as negative body image, eating disorders, co-dependency, anxiety, depression, poor self-esteem, intimacy issues, entering into abusive relationships, and substance abuse are routed in a feeling of inner emptiness. This void or emptiness is often the result of being invalidated by their primary care-giver. This void can be far reaching and remain with an individual long into their adulthood.
It is important to remember that daughters imitate their mothers. If a daughter hears her mother saying “I’m fat”, then the daughter is prone to view her own body negatively, but if a mother displays confidence and self-assurance the daughter is more likely to take on these characteristics. Daughters identify with their mothers. If a mother is more independent she is more apt to raise an independent daughter. It is important for mothers to remember these points and know how important modeling healthy behavior is for their daughter.
Mothers aren’t expected to be perfect and they don’t have to be. It’s important to be an active listener for your daughter, support her and provide acceptance, keep communication open, and model healthy behavior by being good to yourself.