Mother-daughter relationship problems and activities: a case study
Girls' interests change as they grow older
Barbara wanted to learn piano and her parents paid for lessons when she turned 11. For two years she was enthusiastic and practised regularly. But then, her mother Mary says, “She lost interest and said none of her friends played instruments.”
Her parents were frustrated, but Barbara explains, “I just didn’t like playing any longer and I was expected to do it at times when my friends were meeting up or hanging out on Saturday mornings. I thought I could take piano up again later if I wanted.”
An older sibling’s perspective can help
It can be valuable to ask a sibling or relative to look at a conflict and help everyone listen to the different viewpoints.
It was her older brother, in his 20s and at university, who helped Barbara see that she could tell their parents she wanted to practise at a time that suited her, rather than giving up completely. When she explained how important it was for her to spend time with her friends, they understood why she had felt she wanted to give up and agreed to the compromise.
“We also realised,” Mary says, “that it was making Barbara unhappy feeling she was disappointing us, but she was also worried about becoming an outsider with her friends if she couldn’t be with them at what seemed important times.”
Are you having similar mother-daughter relationship problems? Do you find that your efforts to encourage your daughter seem to have the opposite effect? Start a conversation and find out what’s happening from her point of view.
To protect privacy we’ve changed the names of people whose stories we tell on these pages, but the stories are genuine.