Podcast: Hello Mother, Hello Daughter
Hosts: Drs. Allison Alford and Michelle Miller-Day
Title: “Cherry Lane”: A conversation about maintaining connection in the mother-daughter relationship
Hosts, Drs. Michelle-Miller Day and Allison Alford discuss the adult mother-daughter relationship and the ways healthy relationships maintain emotional connection despite leading individual lives. Should we fully connect? Fully disconnect? What’s the best way to build connection between mothers and daughters?
- Staying connected, but retaining uniqueness. Women must avoid enmeshment or over-connection. Perhaps there’s a Venn diagram of separation and connection with some overlap. Mothers and daughters have to balance identities of “she” and “me.” Think about Nesting Dolls (“matryoshkas”) and the ways the daughter’s image is nested within her mother’s. Picture a pair of cherries on a stem who are connected but distinctly different. Being a separate person, yet staying connected is a challenge! Shows like “Gilmore-Girls” have done women a disservice. Let’s eliminate “friendship” in the mother-daughter relationship.
- Consider how connection and control are related. Control and connection can often be expressed similarly. But we have to be careful when we speak to each other, because bids for connection can come across as bids for control.
- All relationships have tensions. Mothers and daughters must manage many relational dialectics, or what we might think of as tensions or pendulum swings for the dynamics in the relationship. Openness and closedness, connectedness and disconnectedness, or closeness and distance are some examples. These are all occurring at the same time. Consider these when evaluating your relationships.
- Boundaries help us maintain healthy connections. Create permeable and adjustable fences around the information in your life. Sometimes you need a fence, but that fence needs to also let people in.
- Devices impact connection. Cell phones can sometimes be an electronic umbilical cord, especially for college-aged daughters and their mothers, according to Aimee Miller-Ott and colleagues (2014). When moms weighed in too much on daily decisions, they were perceived as helicopter parents. Moms and daughters must balance their need for autonomy with that equal need for connection.
In this portion of the podcast, we hear a question from a listener and provide some tips for connection. Hello Mother, Hello Daughters!
Tips for daughters:
- Decide when to stay in your lane. Determine if the topic you have been pondering really needs to be discussed with your mom.
- Prime the pump. Prepare to have a big conversation by asking her to meet with you and discuss a topic you have on your mind. Schedule a discussion.
- Stay in your lane! After you’ve shared your opinion, leave the topic alone and allow your mother space to behave in the way she best sees fit.
Tips for mothers:
- Perceive the goal. Consider why daughters are coming to you for conversation.
- See them as they are now. Think of who you are interacting with today and not from yesterday’s child-like point-of-view.
- Withhold your opinion if you disagree. Stop and provide support, but hold your opinion unless safety is an issue.
Thanks for joining us on today’s podcast. If you got something out of it, share it with a friend and leave us a review!
Alford, A. M., & Miller-Day, M. (Eds.) (2
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