We each have a slightly different mother-daughter relationship. Yours might be very close, where you talk to your Mom or visit with her every day. Another person might have a good relationship with Mom but not talk quite so often. And, many people have a strained mother-daughter relationship for one reason or another.
Relationship Challenges with Aging
But, no matter what the starting point is, we may face strain to the relationship as Mom gets older. The dynamics change as we move into a caregiving role or need to address concerns with Mom. While it is not a role reversal as you’ll sometimes hear, it is definitely a role change. She is still your Mom, with all the history of the mother-daughter relationship. However, you may now be in the position where she needs your help and you see vulnerabilities you may not have before. This can be challenging, to say the least.
Additionally, when we move into this caregiving role, sometimes our normal family roles are shoved to the side. While it may be a necessity to manage everything we need to, it is a shame that we sometimes lose the positive sides of the mother-daughter relationship. Most importantly, this means we sometimes lose valuable moments together. You may find it hard to be present and enjoy the time together when you’re thinking about all these other things.
Along with all of this, our elderly parent is facing a lot of loss and navigating big changes. This might result in feeling that “all Mom ever does is complain.” If you find that to be true, check out our articles Seven Ways to Get Your Elderly Parent to Stop Complaining and How to Deal with Negative Parents.
Our On-Demand Care Coaching program may be the perfect solution for you if you’re facing struggles with your relationship or caregiving in general. Your dedicated care coach will be there to listen, to provide resources, and to help you navigate any challenges you encounter. Contact us (or call 727-447-5845) to discuss your situation and how we can help.
A Way to Strengthen Our Mother-Daughter Relationship
One of the best things we can do to keep building a strong relationship in the face of these challenges is to have conversations. And, we should start conversations that don’t just revolve around us assessing how Mom is doing or dealing with a task.
The conversation starters below provide ideas to put focus to your time together. Having a good conversation can relieve tension. They help us draw out stories from Mom and gain wisdom from her experiences. Additionally, many of these questions remind Mom (and us) about what she has to offer. At a time when she may have moments of feeling helpless or not in control, these conversations show respect for Mom as a person with valuable contributions.
You can use these when visiting or just having a phone/video call. They can be ideal while waiting at appointments or even sitting in a hospital room together. Long-distance family members (or any of us separated by the pandemic now) may find extra value in the time we have to chat about such things to build a stronger relationship. Even though we’ve known this person our whole lives, we may find we learn a lot about her!
10 Conversation Starters to Strengthen Your Mother-Daughter Relationship
- What has been the most significant historical experience in your life? As a country, what year or experience do you think was the most significant and why? Or, ask her about a specific event you’ve always wanted to know more about or hear her personal experiences. Mom may have a lot of interesting perspectives you can learn from and wisdom you can apply today. You can even ask her what experiences she has lived through that she thinks apply to things today.
- What do you miss most about being young? What do you love most about being older?
- What recommendations do you have for me and my life? Or, you can ask Mom about a specific area of your life.
- What is the best and worst advice you ever received?
- What was your favorite year of life and why?
- What’s your favorite childhood memory?
- What’s your favorite memory of our family during my childhood?
- Tell me about your favorite book (or movie, or both).
- What do you consider your biggest accomplishment and why?
- What do you think is most important for me to remember as a parent? *Or, in work or some specific area if you are not a parent.