Maya Angelou speaks of nine words that her mother said to her that changed her life. With the eloquence of a poet, Maya Angelou reflects on her mother as a woman of great character. An entrepreneur, a strong willed woman, someone people admired her; she refers to her mother as a hurricane in its perfect power. At the age of twenty-two Maya’s mother said nine words to her that changed her perception of herself; she told her “I think you’re the greatest woman I have ever met, “like Mary McLeod Bethune, Eleanor Roosevelt and my mother.” Those words impacted Maya. Maya stated that after her mother said those words she immediately thought: “suppose she is right, suppose I am really going to be something… maybe I should stop smoking, maybe I should stop drinking and stop cursing.” Her mother planted a seed in Maya, the seed of greatness.
Your words and perception of your daughter can impact her life.
Can you imagine the paradigm shift that took place in Maya Angelo’s life? Those words her mother said changed Mayas thought of herself and in turn gave the world an amazing poet, writer and female leader.
How are you impacting your daughter’s life?
In a study conducted by Onayli and Erdur-Baker in 2013, the researchers interviewed 426 female university students with the mean age of 21.6 years old. The study focuses on mothers and daughters and the impact mothers have on their young adult daughters self esteem. This study noted a few very interesting facts: daughters who have insecure bonds with their mothers during infancy are more likely to have psychological problems. It also notes that the quality of the mother daughter relationship plays an important role in the development of her self-esteem.
In this study connectedness was defined as the ability to share feelings and ideas and represents an affective attachment to the relationship. Connectedness between a mother and daughter was noted as important as it pertains to a mother’s impact on the daughters self esteem.
So what does this research mean and how does this impact my daughter?
Having a positive connection with your daughter can increase her self-esteem and in turn provide her with the foundation to increase her confidence and self-perception.
Here are four ways to increase the connection between you and your daughter:
1.Use your words wisely.
It is easy to say hurtful words during a disagreement with your daughter. Try to use your words wisely, words have a long lasting affect. If you do say something that was wrong admit it, and let her know that you didn’t mean it. Use words that encourage and propel her forward, believe in her and be her biggest cheerleader
2.Try not to label your daughter.
I have seen mothers label their daughter as the “smart one” ‘the creative one” “the clumsy one”. Whether the label is positive or negative remember your daughter is growing and changing…don’t hold her back and/or don’t hold her to standards that she has grown out of. Allow her to grow and guide her through this growth.
3. Help your daughter visualize her future.
There is a concept called limited time perspective, which is typical for a girl until approximately 23 years old. This prevents some girls from thinking and planning for long term goals. Help your daughter see the larger picture. Do that by asking her to imagine her future and/or have her create a vision board of her life in the next five years.
4.Listen, Listen, Listen
Give less of your advice and hear more of her thoughts. Listening can give you a blueprint of your daughters mind whether it is right or wrong. With this blueprint and less emotion, you can more effectively communicate with your daughter.
Onayli,S., & Erdur-Baker, O., Mother-daughter relationship and daughter’s self esteem. Procedia Social and Behavioral Science 84 (2013) 327-331.