By: Ashley Chen
We can all agree that most mothers love their daughters, and most daughters love their mothers, but why is it that mother-daughter relationships are often synonymous with the words “conflicting” and “critical”?
Mothers and daughters of all ages often struggle to listen to each other and respect each other’s differences. “We’re always fighting and we never really get along,” says freshman Bella Nicolau.
They find it difficult to honor each other’s boundaries, and emotionally support each other. “When I talk to her about certain problems or situations, she always finds a way to make it about herself,” says senior Lauren Smith. All mothers were once teenage girls, so they are able to offer guidance and advice for their daughters, but at some point it can all feel like too much.
Some mothers always seem to have to give their critiques on seemingly minute decisions, such as choice of fashion, or with whom their daughters are hanging out. “Today I wanted to wear a sweatshirt underneath this because I was cold, and she yelled at me saying how it didn’t look good,” says freshman Madison Shem.
At times, don’t resolve themselves until the daughter is in her twenties or thirties. “Once I moved out of the house and had a couple years living on my own, I could be my own person, and our relationship got a lot better,” says Nicole Cerra, d.tech’s Director of Learning.
In many cases, mothers are much more critical of their daughters than their sons, sometimes openly and visibly — and certainly audibly. However, oftentimes mothers feel closer to their daughters than their sons. ”I think mothers understand their daughters more than their sons. I think that there’s a bond that mothers and daughters share. You kind of share something being both female,” says Maria McAlister Young’s mother, Kristie McAlister.
“Mothers and daughters are a lot more compassionate towards each other, maybe because they’re both female. And also they could have gone through similar things in high school or in life in general,” adds freshman Madison Shem.
It is this similarity, this empathy and knowledge of past experience, that drives both the unsolicited yet earnest critiques, as well as the compassion and shared connection. While mother-daughter interactions can be very deep and intense, they can vary significantly from one pair to another. “We’re really close, we would go out to brunch, and do stuff more as friends.” says junior Maria McAlister Young. “Instead of parenting her I am more of a resource for her,” adds Kristie McAlister.
Even though mothers and daughters do have such a difficult dynamic, we all love and appreciate our mom, “Whenever I hang up the phone I always say I love you,” says junior Maeve Kelly.
“My mom and I are really close, and we are really open with each other. I love my mom,” says freshman Ellie Fulkerson. As daughters we know that when she comments on the jacket you are wearing, it comes from a place of love.