A Foolproof Way to Communicate with Daughters

April 28, 2019 By
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Mothers and adult daughters have a complex relationship.

I can attest to that because, as most of you know, I am the mother of daughters! I often ask myself, why can’t my relationship with my daughters be constantly positive? Why are my words, at times, taken out of context? Why are they over sensitive to my words? Why are they little tick-tock detectives weighing into things such as the inflection in my voice?

I wrote the above two paragraphs in complete honesty. My words have nothing to do with the love of my daughters and I feel for one other. My daughters have an encompassing and innate love for me as I do for them. It is inescapable! I know because I am a daughter. Mothers and daughters, with all the friction, have an umbilical cord bond, thank God.

The Phone Call

I said to one of my daughters when my iPhone rang, “I am so happy to hear your voice. I haven’t seen you in a while. I miss you.”
My daughter’s cool response, “Well, I don’t know why you are complaining, Mom. You travel and spend the winter in California.”

See what I mean darlings?

I ask myself as I listen to her words. I wanted to reply, “Complaining? Where did that come from?” Though I wanted to immediately retort and defend myself, I paused and bit my tongue, because I know the intensity of the mother-daughter relationship.

We hang up with a cool good-bye.

I then wonder to myself, “What was the cause of her words?”

Then I realize, she misses me when I am away and is giving me a left-handed compliment! I know my daughters, darlings!

My First Rule of Thumb

A negative answer by a mother will put her into a verbal war zone with her daughter… bite your tongue!

The next day, I grabbed a taxi to go to the Chicago Arts Club for a lecture.  My iPhone rings. I see my daughter’s name. My heart begins to race! I don’t know what to expect!

“Mom, I am so sorry about yesterday. I had a lot on my mind,” she said.

I sighed with relief! I smiled!

I answer, “Of course I understand. I am so happy you called. I love you so much.”

My daughter replied, “Thank you for understanding, Mom. I love you so much too. Bye.”

You see darlings, I never allowed myself to enter into a communication war zone with my daughter on either of the phone calls. I didn’t defend myself on the first call and I immediately forgave her, without saying a word on the second call. My second rule of thumb:

Teach yourself to use good communication skills. Smooth the waters at all costs. Please make love, not war, darlings.

Refuse to get into a ‘you said, I said’ situation with your daughter! That is not to say you don’t want to! That is not to say you are a weak mother. You are behaving like a very strong mother!  Your actions are teaching your daughters skills they will be able to use to communicate properly with their daughters.

SAY THIS TO YOURSELF: “I AM MY DAUGHTER’S ROLE MODEL. I AM THE GLUE THAT HOLDS THE MOTHER- DAUGHTER RELATIONSHIP TOGETHER.”

If I had not heard from her, I would try and restart dialogue. Not with a phone call. I know better. I would send a loving text to keep the door open. My choice of action is to ‘always smooth the waters; to make love, not war.

How? I text them and end with emojis of two hearts intertwined, red lips for a kiss, a red XO and end with a rainbow symbolizing let’s have peace! I want you to know, darlings, that I have my secrets for success.

Honey Good Signature

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4 Comments

  • Sable says:

    Honey,
    I have been so hurt in the past and present by my daughter, but I don’t share that with her. My words are always loving, supportive, enthusiastic and kind. I want to always know that I was and am there for her now and forever, even though she does not reach out to me. It’s very hurtful. But if I show anger or argue with her, that’s not going to make things work. The best I can do is to show her by my actions that if she ever wants to reach out to me I will be there for her.

  • Gail Simon says:

    So on target. Thank you.

  • Gail A. says:

    Hello Honey,

    Your post on managing mother-daughter relationships really hit home, and your suggestions are worth me thinking about and acting on. Your very personal and wise first-hand experiences and suggestions are the core of why I read your blog. I’d love to hear more about complex mother-daughter relationships and how to offer advice without them feeling that we’re being critical.

    As you said, it is a complex relationship for many of us. Here’s an example: I know she doesn’t have time to read or watch the news, so when I see an article about baby product recalls, money-saving suggestions or something I think she’d like to read or buy, I forward it to her with a nice little note. Sometimes she’ll respond favorably, but more often it is taken as an insinuation that she is not raising her children right or that she is making poor decisions. I am not being judgmental; I’m trying have a conversation, share information or find common ground or something new to talk about. Somehow she doesn’t see it that way no matter how carefully I choose my words. It is so frustrating!

    I hope you will continue to explore ideas and give us more suggestions on how to try to navigate this relationship successfully. Thank you!!

    • Susan "Honey" Good says:

      I understand. This is about her, not you. I love that you are thoughtful and loving and do that for her. I think I would be very blunt: “I look up to you as a mother and wife. I know you are busy. My articles come from caring and loving you and your family. Please let me know if you would prefer I stop sending. I respect your feelings, I love you and will honor your decision. Love, Mom.” Warmly, Honey

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