Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mother and Daughter Conflict

How to keep the peace.
Here are some ideas for how mothers and daughters can improve their relationship.
Daughters, when you speak to your mother, speak as an adult. Remind yourself that you are not 10 years old and always in trouble, and remind your mother, too. ('It's interesting you always think I am late. I haven't been late since 1974.') Hear what your mother is saying at face value, not through the filter of the past.
Tell your mom how you do things. Explain that you will ask for her advice if you need it.
Don't lie to your mom. It puts distance between you. And she always finds out: She has eyes in the back of her head— remember?
Mothers, ask your daughter, 'What do you need help with?' Don't assume you know. 'Asking is the most important thing that the mom can do, because it gives credibility to the daughter as an adult,' says Mikki Meyer, a marriage and family therapist.
• Tell your daughter what your mother was like. Share how she treated you and how it made you feel. 'This is very interesting for the daughter to hear,' Dr. Meyer says.
• Ask, 'What are we are really fighting about?' Does your daughter feel disrespected? Is Mom mad that you never call? Discuss what is really wrong.
Examine your contribution to the problem. Are you passive-aggressive? Overreacting? Passing blame? Accept responsibility.
Explain your anger; don't show it. Better yet, leave it at the door. 'You can pick it up on the way out,' says Lisa Brateman, a licensed clinical social worker and family therapist.
Be willing to be vulnerable. Say, 'The tension is upsetting me. I miss you.'
Find something fun and mutually satisfying to do together instead of the negative pattern. Art? Hiking? Antiquing? Couples who try new activities together are happier. It can be true of moms and daughters, too.
Imagine a satisfying relationship. 'You can only have it if you can picture it in some way,' Ms. Brateman says. (Read entire article.)

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