“But there's a story behind everything; how a picture got on a wall, how a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they’re hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours began.” – Mitch Albom, “For One More Day”
Whether you’re a new mother trying to establish a bond with your toddler or a teenager out to salvage a lost connection, there’s always something you can do to strengthen the mother-child bond in your life. Here are some tips:
It’s easy to find fault and focus on the negative, especially when it comes to people you spend a lot of time with. If you want to better your relationship, count your blessings. Focus on the good, and you will be less bothered by the negatives. The more you’re attuned to these positive thoughts, the better your bond will become.
Every individual has certain traits unique to him or her, and they’re not always positive! Your mother or child may have a knack for letting your anger get the better of you, but there’s a way to deal with it. The conflict may arise from how different you both are; other times, it’s because of how similar you are. Acknowledge these conflicts and differences of opinion. Understand that the other person is of another time, and that the surroundings that influence her thoughts are different from those that shape yours. It may help to see the other person from an outside perspective. Accept that they are different. You may not like it and you may not understand it, but it will help if you accept it.
With the acceptance of your differences should come greater understanding. Instead of dictating terms or rebelling, listen to each other. Talk about your lives more often. After listening and understanding who the other person is, draw some boundaries. Don’t push so hard, and know when to back off. Everyone needs some personal space. Nonetheless, be there for each other. Communicate your feelings, and be more sensitive to theirs.
Trust is the most important aspect of any relationship. Without it, you will never be at peace. Insecurity is never a good thing. Whether you’re worried about safety or lifestyle, trust the other’s judgement. When your child wants to do something you don’t completely understand, have faith in her. If your mother wants you to do something a certain way, trust her; she might know better. Treat each other like adults and friends, and neither will feel challenged or inadequate. Trust is tough, but it’s vital.
To avoid conflict, we often tell white lies or omit information. Be wholly honest about the things that matter, and work through your true feelings. Don’t hold back; let the person know who you really are. If something she’s done or said has bothered you, tell her. Keeping your feelings bottled up helps no one; it will eventually turn into resentment. We tend to think of our mother/child as someone with whom we cannot completely be ourselves, perhaps because she will not understand. Change that. The candidness of conversation is certain to bring you closer to one another.
To strengthen your bond, spending time with each other is important. Make time and plans to do what you both enjoy. Shopping with your mother can be a good way to connect, especially for daughters. At the same time, mothers should remember not to be negative about or try to control her choices. Another great way to bond is while cooking. Help your mother in the kitchen; make a meal together. If cooking isn’t your cup of tea, go out for a bite. Take an hour off work and meet for lunch or coffee. If you have a common interest or hobby, try that. Projects are great because at the end of it, you will feel a joint sense of accomplishment. Movies and spa dates are excellent ways to de-stress and have a fun time. If none of these strike your fancy, and you want to spend even more time together, go on a vacation together!