How to Build an Unbreakable Mother-Daughter Bond

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How to Build an Unbreakable Mother-Daughter Bond

“One of the most important relationships we have is the relationship we have with our mothers.” ~ Iyanla Vanzant


The Difference Between a Relationship vs. Relational Bond

Relationships are formed the day that we are born. There is never a time when we are not in a relationship. Whether that relationship is with your mother, father, siblings, co-workers, children, or partner, regardless of it being good, bad, or indifferent, you have been in some sort of relationship. So, the biggest question is, why are relationships so damn complicated?

The definition of a relationship is a connection between two people. The way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected, or the state of being connected or a connection, association, or involvement.

The definition of a relational bond is a deeper and more meaningful connection that involves trust, understanding, balance, and common values. Bonds develop through open and honest communication, spending quality time together, empathy, understanding and validation. Bonds lead to happiness, better mental health, improved problem-solving, and stronger unity and connection. A bond is a unique relationship that is specific and endures over time.

Based on the definitions alone is one of the reasons why you want to build a bond with your teen daughter and not just have a relationship with her. Secondly, some believe that the teen years is categorized as being heavily influenced by their peers. However, it does not have to be peer dominate, if mothers become intentional in building a bond with their teen daughter. There is growing evidence that shows that parental involvement makes a difference during the adolescent years when there is a bond between the two. In addition, research on parental involvement has found that adolescents with strong bonds with their parents tend to show better personal outcomes such as academic performance, emotional development, and fewer behavior problems.


What Are a Mother’s Biggest Fears and Why?

Mom’s usually ask themselves at least one of these three questions—am I failing as a mother or am I good enough or am I a good mom.
In an interview, this is what Michelle Obama had to say about parenting her two daughter’s Malia and Sasha. Mrs. Obama said that any disobedience or misbehavior would set a ripple of unsettling worry in her due to her fear that life in the White House was messing her girls up. She continued to say that one little or tiny thing would go wrong, and her mother-guilt would kick in. She reported that she second guessed every choice that she and Barack made as it related to their girls. As a parent, you are always fighting your own desperation not to fail at the job you have been given. This thought pattern can make motherhood feel exhausting. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for moms to feel this way. Raising children is no small feat, but despite that fear vacationing in your head, you continue to be a mother day in and day out.


What Are Parenting Styles?

The parenting styles concept was first introduced in the 1960’s by Diana Baumrind to explain the difference in the ways parents try to control and socialize with their children.

There are four parenting styles: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved/Neglectful.

The authoritarian parents expect blind obedience and compliance without question. They believe in stern discipline, control via punishment, instilling fear and making threats. They withhold parental affection and are hard to communicate with.

The children reared under this parenting style may be well behaved at home, but rebel in class, with friends or etc. They struggle with social skills, indecisiveness and have trouble thinking on their own. They have a poor judgement of character, poor anger management skills and are resentful.

The authoritative parents are warm and sensitive, they set limits, avoids using punishments and threats, encourage their children to be responsible, consider reasons for rules, view mistakes as learning opportunities and uses positive reinforcement and reasoning to guide their children.

The children reared by this parenting style may be confident, happy, successful, have high self-esteem, are able to manage aggression, tend to be responsible, have a close nurturing relationship with their parents, can be trusted to make the right decisions, often set high expectations for themselves, and often perform well academically.

The permissive parents are responsible and warm, reluctant to enforce rules and consequences, do not encourage responsibilities or proper behavior standards, do not present as an authority figure or role model, and allow their children to regulate themselves.

The children reared by permissive parents are used to getting whatever they want—act entitled, do not take responsibility, have an inability to make decisions, tend to be impulsive, and aggressive, lack independence, tend to be selfish, egocentric and does not put forth the effort.

The uninvolved or neglectful parents do not enforce any structure, rules, or proper standard of conduct, are detached and emotionally unavailable, ignore their children, do not offer any guidance and in severe cases, CPS may get involved.

The children reared by uninvolved or neglectful parents act out due to the lack of guidance, structure, or parental involvement, tend to be rebellious, have delinquent behavior, lower cognitive and emotional empathy, may get in trouble with the law or expelled from school, hesitate to form a bond with others, possible substance use, and may suffer from depression.


The Dangers of Not Strengthen Your Bond

Research by Deakin University and the Murdock Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) shows that adolescent girl's relationships with their parents can later affect their bonding experience with their own children.

Another study published in the journal Archives of Women’s Mental Health, found that for mothers of babies in the first year of life, the strength and quality of emotional bonds they felt with their infant was predicted by the level of parental care and control they received as teenagers.

Dr. Macdonald also found that parents who develop trust in their teenage daughter’s decision and who showed affection and warmth are laying the foundations for those girls to later build strong emotional connections with their infants, if they become mothers.

Study after study has shown that it is vital for teens to have a bond with their mothers because it is not only essential to the teen, but to their future children.

The dangers of not strengthening your bond with your teen daughter could lead to low grades, poor relationship skills, poor social skills, and unhealthy eating habits (especially when mom is overly critical), lack self-value, poor self-image, low self-esteem, depression, attachment issues, hostility, risky behaviors, and substance use.

Lastly, having a bond with your teen daughter is her first experience of an intimate relationship, and it is through this relationship where she learns about trust, separation, connection, putting another’s needs ahead of her own in a healthy way, and who she is as an individual. The teenage years is the last developmental stage prior to adulthood, so it is crucial to maintain your bond or strengthen it.


What Are the Benefits of Mother’s Building a Bond with Their Teen Daughter?

John’s Hopkins University conducted research on the BOND program in Baltimore, MD. The BOND program was designed to strengthen mothers’ and their adolescent daughter(s) relationships by way of improving mental health and physical health of the mother and her adolescent daughter and reduce risky behavior and involvement with the juvenile justice system among daughters.

The research found that both mothers and daughters felt their well-being and relationship had improved following participating in the BOND program. Also, participants described how BOND strengthened their social support systems, a crucial component of mental health.

A recent study from the University of Georgia found that the mother-daughter relationship determines a girls future relationship skills and self esteem, even more than any other family dynamic. However, when mothers are overly critical, their daughters are more likely to have poor social skills and unhealthy attitudes toward eating, compared to girls with more supportive moms.

According to Analisa Arroyo, PhD, “we’ve long known that children’s sense of self-value and self-image are strongly influenced by messages sent by their parents.” Arroyo further noted “but I think this study raises awareness to the mother’s role in daughters’ self-views, social competence, and mental health.”

Arroyo said that communication is one way to build that mother-daughter bond. For example, mothers should focus on the positive by pointing out something you do like about your daughter's outfit, instead of you just telling her that you do not like it. Be less critical and judgmental and more positive. I think mothers do and say things unknowingly not realizing the impact that it is having on their daughter and the relationship, which is why mothers must be more intentional and less unintentional.

Here are some self-reflection questions that can help you get started with building a bond with your daughter.

Based on the parenting styles description, what is your parenting style?

Who are you now as a mom and who do you want to become as a mom?

How were you parented (this is the most crucial questions of all)?

How is the way you were parented playing a significant role in how you parent?

Please come back and let us know how this self-reflection activity has helped you gain any insight into the way you parent.

Also, as a part of a 7-day challenge, give your teen daughter a hug and a kiss every day for the next seven days.

Join our private Facebook group: Mother’s Raising Black Teen Girls

Look out for our upcoming webinar: How to Build an Unbreakable Mother-Daughter Bond