What Makes for a Healthy Mother-Daughter Relationship
As someone who had a tumultuous relationship with her parents, more so with her mother, I’ve concluded that having a healthy mother-daughter relationship isn’t just about spending enough time with each other and supporting one another.
It’s about engaging in a way so that the other person feels comfortable, accepted, and not continually judged. It’s about building each other up and not allowing the other person to engage in negative conflict.
The Traits of a Healthy Mother-Daughter Relationship
In my memoir, Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories, I gave a clear insight into my relationship with my mother, the complexity of our feelings for each other, and her anger and inconsistent behavior, which often made for unhappiness.
On the one hand, my mother would whisper gentle words into my ear when my father scolded me. However, afterward, she would call me stupid and ugly, making harsher statements that hit me worse than anything else.
I’m old enough now to understand that this was not what a good mother did. Does that make my mother a bad person? No. But it makes me realize that she wasn’t aware of her impact on my mental health.
And that’s what it means to have a healthy mother-daughter relationship;
You have to be human enough to realize that your child will not be the perfect angel you want. They are not your toy, and they’re not your servant. They are your child, and they require your love and support.
But, as a daughter, I also understand one other factor:
Your parent, your mother, is not a superhuman. They will make mistakes, horrible ones. But, then again, we must only learn from their mistakes about the right way to behave and not judge them for making them, and most importantly, not repeat them.
A healthy mother-daughter relationship is built on the trust that you have seen each other at your best and worst. And you accept each other as such. There must not be any moment where you rehash old mistakes and past hurts, only to use them as a way of forcing the other to do something.
Guilt has no space in this relationship.
Engaging In a Positive Relationship
Children learn from their parents. As a mother, women must teach their daughters the right way of handling conflict and relationships.
There is nothing worse than sweeping the situation under the rug, only for it to become a hurdle later. Avoidance creates emotional build-up. One that floods both parties with old conflicts that weren’t resolved. A healthy relationship prevents such a thing from happening. And this translates into managing positive relationships with other people in your life as well.
Fostering a Healthy Mother-Daughter Relationship
But even with everything I’ve said, the above still isn’t enough to explain all that makes a mother-daughter relationship healthy. Just the basics, such as being fair, setting boundaries, fostering trust, showing respect—all these are essential for any relationship.
But for a mother-daughter relationship, it is these traits that help us develop ourselves more as we grow older.
That’s what I’ve learned in my life. In my memoir, it’s a lesson I seek to impart to others as well. We must strengthen these basics with not just our parents but everyone in our lives. It’s the only way we can truly build a positive, happy relationship with the people we love.
Interested in Reading My Memoir?
Mirror Mirror: A Collection of Memoirs and Stories by Stephanie Hart is a profound collection of memories and stories that takes you on a journey of Jewish family life and the coming of age of a young woman determined not to break down.