Since the beginning of time, the roles of men and women were clearly defined.
Men were anatomically stronger and the main providers. They would search for food and explore new lands. The role of women was focused on pregnancy, feeding and raising kids, and looking after themselves and other family members.
This distribution of roles was established according to human biological capacities. Men were stronger and expendable so they’d be the ones to leave the safety of the home, while women needed to be protected for their crucial role in the continuation of the species.
Why mother-daughter relationships are important
Mothers would raise their babies, toddlers, and young children in a similar way, nurturing and loving them but also preparing them –emotionally and physically – for adulthood as they grew.
As they grew into men, boys would spend more and more time with male adults, so as to learn from them.
Girls’ relationships with their mothers would grow stronger as they learned life skills, from a young age, to prepare them for their future roles. A strong, healthy relationship between a mother and her daughter would also prepare the girl to become emotionally strong and a self-confident woman.
A good relationship between mothers and daughters has always been an important part of positive learning experiences. For a mother, being a good role model and helping her daughters walk their own journey into adulthood, is also a great responsibility.
The weight of running a family has mainly been put on the mother’s shoulders for many generations, until the present time.
All this knowledge and wisdom has evolved to help daughters have more prosperous and successful lives than their own mothers.
Here is a list of inspirational tips mothers can give their daughters:
#1: Love yourself
One of my favorite quotes is from Frida Kahlo, one of the most renowned feminist artists, who wrote: ‘Fall in love with yourself, with life and then with whoever you want’.
A mother should help her daughter understand that she must put herself first when it comes to love, so as to be able to love others.
Of course, this advice needs to come from a mother who loves herself and doesn’t sabotage her own well-being to comply with societal expectations.
Understand that inner beauty is the most important beauty and that your body is the temple of your soul and never its prison. This is the best way to understand that your self-worth is based on who you are and not on how you look.
For individuals to establish good relationships with others, they first must have a healthy and loving relationship with themselves.
#2: Trust your intuition
Intuition is one of our strongest self-protective weapons. It’s an important thing mothers should teach their children – especially their daughters, as female intuition is believed to be stronger than a male’s. This idea is probably linked to the important role of females in reproduction compared with men’s.
Intuition is there to make us wary and to protect us from unknown harm. If other people – even those you consider your friends – lead you on a certain path and your intuition tells you it isn’t the right one, then do not doubt yourself; follow your own feelings.
#3: Set up your boundaries
Self-confidence is achieved by those who can set up healthy boundaries. Knowing your limits and asking others to respect them doesn’t mean you’re a self-absorbed person. It’s an important part of loving yourself.
#4: Be confident to say no
Setting boundaries means you’ll have to say no at times. There is absolutely no problem in doing that. A mother should give appropriate emotional support to her daughter and that includes making her aware of how a patriarchal society often expects girls and adult women to please others.
While it’s okay to please others, this cannot be done at the expense of our own self-respect. Losing our capacity to say no, so as to please others, has a very damaging impact on our feelings and provokes feelings of low self-esteem. We lose an important part of our identity.
As her daughter’s life coach, a mother should offer support and open communication about how to set up healthy boundaries and how to say no assertively with confidence and compassion.
#5: Care for others after you care for yourself
Caring for others around us, whether they are children, elders or friends, is embedded in women’s genes and is one of women’s many important roles in life. Sometimes women are wrongly given the impression that caring for others means putting others before themselves.
Remember the advice you hear on airplanes before taking off? As a safety precaution parents are advised to place their own oxygen masks first before helping their children with theirs.
We cannot care for others well if we don’t care for ourselves first. This isn’t a selfish attitude – not even in motherhood, where women should care for themselves even before their own children.
#6: Value time
Time is one of the most precious and valuable things in the world. A good piece of advice a mother can give her daughter is to realize the importance of the present moment.
Happiness is about finding joy in the small things and appreciating what is happening right now as something that will never come back.
Most people, especially children, dream about what the future will bring. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying dreams and hopes for the future while at the same time appreciating the present. Finding the balance will help your daughter lead a more fulfilling life.
#7: Find space to be with yourself
Enjoying the time you spend with yourself is a beautiful skill. A mother should teach her daughter how to listen and talk to herself and dive into her emotions. Learning how to forget about others and about fear and negative comments is extremely beneficial for a person’s development.
Allowing yourself the space to explore your inner self and to become your own best friend will help you lead a much more meaningful life.
#8: Be kind to yourself, especially when you make a mistake
Research shows that self-forgiveness is one of the most important qualities a person can possess in order to lead a fulfilling life. People in general and women, in particular, tend to be very hard on themselves when they make a mistake.
We need to understand everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them and not allow them to become a heavier weight on our shoulders than they actually are.
Mistakes help us reflect and look for better and kinder responses when we face similar situations in the future. This is a healthy way of dealing with mistakes. Punishing yourself for how you handled a situation will just add suffering to your existence.
The best approach is to correct the mistake by apologizing, or making those affected by it aware you’ve realized your wrongdoing, and then to find the best possible way to make amends.
Being kind to yourself is a way of caring, showing compassion, and loving yourself.
#9: Be a strong and powerful woman
Strength isn’t just about physical power but about the capacity for resilience and the ability to endure the shadowy events life puts on your path.
It’s usually boys who hear, from a young age, that they are strong and powerful. Girls need to know that women are strong, too; they’re also resilient and courageous. Young girls should hear this about themselves, and especially from their own mothers’ mouths.
How can I empower my daughter?
The best thing to do is to lead by example. We cannot easily empower others but we can empower ourselves. And when a girl sees her empowered mother she will follow her lead. She will understand what it means and she’ll take her mother as her role model.
If the mother isn’t empowered her efforts to empower her daughter will very likely be in vain.
You might find this article helpful: Positive Words To Describe Your Children.
What is an unhealthy mother-daughter relationship?
There are different ways a mother-daughter relationship can be unhealthy without involving abuse. When a mother tries to fulfill her unachieved dreams through her daughter, she’s not being kind to herself, and she’s isn’t forgiving herself for not achieving these dreams.
A mother needs to understand that her daughter is a unique individual, who has her own preferences and dreams. What would have made the mother happy in her younger years might not be at all what her daughter wishes to achieve. A mother should be empathetic towards her child and try to help her fulfill her own dreams.
Some mothers pour their own frustrations on their daughters, most of the time without realizing they’re doing it.
If a woman’s parents were very strict, in raising her daughter she might unknowingly replicate those same behaviors she considered unhealthy in her own upbringing.
Society has imposed guilt on women for hundreds of years. Many mothers, again unknowingly, might make their daughters feel guilty for something they shouldn’t feel bad about – simply because this behavior has been imprinted in their brains since early childhood.
What a daughter needs from her dad
Daughters also need a strong and supportive father figure to develop as self-confident adult women.
It’s true that a healthy father-daughter relationship is very important for both, but more especially for a young girl to be a confident, self-loving, and emotionally stable person.
A father’s approach to his daughter should be aligned with the mother’s. The tips we’ve suggested about the mother-daughter relationship should also be reinforced by the girl’s father and the rest of the adults in her life.
A girl also needs to see a good relationship between her parents.
A father who shows respect, love, admiration, compassion, and emotional support to his partner will not only be a fantastic partner but also a great father. He will be showing his daughter what a healthy relationship between adults looks like.
A girl will see her mother is happy and will learn about the basis of a loving relationship, where both partners respect, uplift, and support each other.
A daughter needs her dad to be the kind of man she’ll search for when she has grown up and the time has come to fly away from the nest and settle with someone who will treat her as every woman deserves to be treated.
Read more in BellyBelly’s article Dad’s Role In The Family – Past And Present.