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Mother-Daughter Bonding: Time Well Spent

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Mother-Daughter Bonding: Time Well Spent

As girls advance through the teen years their relationships with friends typically eclipse relationships with parents. Although many mothers realize separation is part of a normal developmental stage that they went through themselves, it’s not always easy for moms to readjust to “the new normal.”

In an article in Psychology Today, The Challenge of Mothering an Adolescent Daughter, Dr. Carl Pickhardt explains the reasons for the change:

Over the course of adolescence, issues of ‘attachment versus separation' and issues of ‘similarity versus differentiation' are contested by the young person to establish independence and individuality. So for independence, the adolescent wants more freedom from family restraint, wants time with friends over time with family, and wants more privacy and less communication with parents.

Moms: don’t despair

There are still ways to spend quality time with your daughters as well as with your daughter’s friends and their moms. Yes, it can be done. Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Mother-daughter book groups

Assemble a group of your daughter’s friends and their moms for regular book group events. Rotate homes, enjoy a simple dinner or brunch at the host’s home, socialize, and then come together for discussion led by the host’s daughter. As the girls get older and homework demands leave little room for reading books, assign an article or two instead.

2. Community service

Spend time with your daughter focused on others. Pick options that fit her interests – stock shelves or collect provisions for your local food pantry, prepare and serve a meal at a homeless shelter, or participate in a construction crew through Habitat for Humanity. Join an Appalachian Mountain Club volunteer trail crew for one-to-three-day programs or for one-to-three week vacations. If you’re interested in an ongoing commitment together with other mothers and daughters in grades 7 - 12, investigate National Charity League. There are more than 50,000 members in over 185 chapters across the United States.

3. Physical activity

Why not train together for a charity walk, race, or bike ride that raises funds for causes as diverse as animal welfare, arthritis, mental illness, education, and drunk driving? Or simply get outdoors and hike, bike, ski, kayak, or swim for fun and exercise.

4. Cook

Enjoy time together in the kitchen preparing favorite family recipes, a themed menu, or baking an array of sweet treats. You could invite friends and moms over to enjoy your homemade cuisine or for a potluck feast at your home.

What does your teen daughter like to do with you? Share ideas with other moms right here.

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Written by Elizabeth Suneby

Liz Suneby is the author of books for children and teens, including “The Mitzvah Project Book: Making Mitzvah Part of Your Bar/Bat Mitzvah” and “Your Life”, published by Jewish Lights, and the Children’s Choice award-winning “See What You Can Be: Explore Careers That Could Be For You.”

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