When I was pregnant with my first child, I admit that I hoped it was a girl. There were certain things that I wanted to share with my child as a mother and daughter duo. I thought we would understand each other better if we were of the same gender. I wanted someone that I would understand and could help as she grew because I’d already been through it. Making her life easier because I already knew things was attractive to me as a new mom. Of course, later on, I realized that I still had a lot to learn.
Real Facts About the Mother/Daughter Relationship
The relationship between mothers and daughters can often be complicated, but they are also unique and special. It turns out that there are a few reasons that this relationship is so special. It comes down to our empathy, experiences, and even brain chemistry.
1. Shared experiences
Identifying with and fully understanding your child goes a long way in strengthening your bond. As mothers, we are usually better able to connect with our daughters just because we have some of the same experiences. We can tell them what we experienced and feel better equipped to help them as they go through the same things in life. It also helps us feel close to our daughters because we both understand what it’s like to be a girl.
2. Similar Brain Chemistry
According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, mother-daughter relationships are the strongest parent-child bond because of how we process emotion.1 While fathers love their children and mothers adore their sons, the bonds aren’t always as strong in empathy. We may understand our daughters the best because we can imagine ourselves in their shoes. Since we are both girls, we are familiar with the problems that girls face. Therefore, we can better understand where the other is coming from.
Another study by the Journal of Family Issues also found that this relationship is the one that maintains its strength over time.2 Even as we age, this bond can still be strong. It is the one that is most likely to stay that way.
3. We Influence Each Other
Another way this relationship is different from the others is that we influence each other. This influence could be either for the better or worse. According to this 2013 study, we can improve or hurt each other’s self-esteem.3 That is a lot of power to have over someone, so I will choose to use it as wisely as possible.
How to Build a Strong Relationship with Our Daughters
Just because we are wired to have relatively good relationships with our daughters doesn’t mean there aren’t things that we can do to help build this relationship.
What to do when she’s little.
When babies are little, there are many ways to bond with them. These ideas really do apply to both girls and boys. Breastfeeding is an excellent way to bond with a baby because not only do you have physical contact, but it also releases oxytocin for the mother. Cuddling and holding your baby helps you feel close, so bottle-feeding is good too. You should make sure to spend time together daily. A routine is important, especially if you have more than one child. Make sure to give time to each of them when you can.
Another thing you can do to bond with your child is to give affection openly. Plenty of hugs, cuddles, and kisses go a long way with both genders. Being close to you is important to them. Don’t forget to give plenty of affection even when she starts to grow up or if you have a new baby. Make sure that you still let her know how special she is.
Sharing your experiences with your kids can also bring you closer. By sharing more of yourself, you will help them feel special. Including them in household chores is also important because it will foster a sense of pride and responsibility.
What to do when she’s a teen/adult.
Being a teenager is so hard. The best thing you can do is be there for your kids when they need to talk and try to give them a bit of space when they don’t. Respect what they need and understand that their lives are changing.
Offering advice is great, but try not to demand that they follow everything you say. It could lead to them wanting to rebel. Be sure to respect boundaries and give them some form of privacy.
The mother-daughter relationship is so special for so many reasons. We are wired to be close from our shared experiences to our brain chemistry. By working to maintain this strong relationship, everyone can benefit from it, and you can enjoy a close relationship even as she grows older.