Lasting bonds between mothers and daughters

By Diana Trasatti
September 27, 2007


The bond between mothers and daughters is becoming an increasing hot topic on college campuses.

The relationship between a mother and daughter is unique because of their similarities. Little girls will eventually grow up to be women, so they do not have the need to push their mother away.

This differs for males. Boys have to prove their masculinity and gain a sense of independence. They must separate themselves from both parents to achieve this.

A daughter’s relationship with her mother is different than with her father. The daughter can feel freer to speak on more issues because the mother can possess a better understanding of the situation. This is according to Dr. Edna Barenbaum, professor of psychology,

In some cases girls feel that their fathers are the one they can turn to.

“Even though there are some issues that I would talk to my mom about instead of my dad, I still feel that I am closer to my father,” Dora Peters, a sophomore criminal justice major, said.

The different life stages go in conjunction with the mother-daughter relationship. During the prenatal period infants are attached to their mothers. In early childhood years, they are dependent on their mothers. The adolescent years serve as a time of separation, when young girls go off to try and discover their own identity and are more distant.

Going off to college is a major event not only for adolescents, but also their mothers. This new distance has an effect on the relationship. Adolescent girls can be dependent on their mothers financially and emotionally.

“Once you go to college you feel closer to your mom. You have more issues going on and more to talk about,” Heather Kelleher, a freshman elementary education major, said.

Maternal instincts are in full effect during this time period.

“I feel that since I work and am away at school my mom wants to do more for me when I’m home,” Kristin Willis, a sophomore education major, said.

College is the time when mothers want to increase their care for their children, but it is when their children grow, enter the work force and have children of their own that their relationship with their mother reaches a new understanding. The girls now become women and have more to relate to with their mothers.

Daughters and mothers have more things in common once the daughter reaches adulthood. Daughters seek career advice, marriage issues and child care. It is these factors that can increase the bond in the relationship.

“The more similar your life is, the closer you are to somebody,” Dr. Kathleen McKinley, professor of sociology, said.

Close mother-daughter relationships are healthy. But is there such thing as a relationship being too close?

There is danger if the relationship is too close and it prevents the establishment of other friends, McKinley said.

Mothers may have not experienced all the things the daughter has and may want to. Mothers can act as friends as long as they establish guidance.

“Mothers are supposed to be your supporter and enforcer, not just your friend. They are supposed to establish rules and guide you through life. I respect my mom,” Bridget Cantwell, a sophomore nursing major, said.

Although relationships with mothers and daughters transform with different time periods and stages of life, there is one thing that remains the same.

Barenbaum agrees that a mother is meant to nurture their child.

“During different developmental periods the relationships change. The bonding does not change.The love does not change,” Barenbaum said.

Diana Trasatti

Scroll to Top
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap