Posts tagged mother-daughter relationships

The 3 Best Things My Mother Ever Taught Me


This article of mine was originally posted on 5/9/11 on

Mothers are known for giving advice—both the asked for and the unsolicited kind. This year, I celebrate all of the wisdom that my own mom passed on to me through her words and more importantly, in her actions over the years:

Don’t Worry About What Others Think
My mother was the dance-in-the-aisles-of-the-supermarket kind of mom. The one who cheered too loudly at my cross-country meets and elbowed her way (more…)

Words of Wisdom from a Teen on How Moms Can Walk the Line Between Parent & Friend


I love the way this teen writer describes her mom and offers her advice on what makes their relationship successful:

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A Role Model of Imperfection


Happy Mother’s Day to all of my Mama friends!  Here’s a re-run of a piece I wrote about my own awesome, inspiring Mom last July, first published on

When I was a child, I adored every bit of my mother, from her kinky blonde hair to her bumpy thighs. Not the most flattering description, right? On the contrary—I truly thought those parts of my mom were lovable, wonderful and perfect! Let me explain.

Now that I am a mom myself, I find myself with choices everyday. Clean the kitchen floor or go to the pool? Work out or play a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos? Spend an hour cooking dinner or swing on a swing alongside my daughter?

The answers are obvious, right? They are to me. I’ve come to the conclusion that cooking and cleaning is a waste of my kids’ childhood. And while before guests arrive, I do often engage in furious rounds of throw-the-toys-in-the-basket and silently curse the results of my “let it go” attitude, I know that I keep a clean-enough house, a healthy, if non-gourmet kitchen, and a whole lot of savored moments with my daughters.

I learned all this from the mom I grew up with. These days, her hair is smooth and well-coifed. I know this is the way she prefers it, but I am grateful that when I was a kid and wanted her to swim with me, she was okay with letting the pool water and humidity cause her some frizz. Likewise, I vividly recall the days she dedicated to taking me and my brother to baseball games and children’s museums, but don’t remember a bit whether our house was clean or messy on any given day. Neither did it ever cross my mind how her thighs compared to those of other moms. I do, however, remember thinking that the bumps in her thighs were so soft and hoping that my legs would be just like hers when I grew up.

These days, cellulite on my thighs is no longer my fondest wish. Yet, knowing that I loved everything about my mom—and that she loved us enough not to let bad hair days and imperfectly-toned legs keep her from sharing in the things we loved—still makes me want to be like her in every important way.

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What Are You Really Mad At? Using Life Space Crisis Intervention Skills to Help Kids Understand & Manage Anger


This morning, my 7-year-old daughter was playing a game on one of her favorite child-friendly websites, when all of a sudden, the computer froze. She tried practicing patience, assuming the squirrels who power our older machine were running slowly. She attempted a re-start — Mama’s trick for fixing any piece of technology. She even walked away for a bit, in an effort to soothe her frustrated nerves. Nonetheless, when I came downstairs, fresh from a shower and ready to start a great family weekend, her answer to my question of, “What would you like for breakfast, sweetpea?” was an angry “Nothing. I’m not eating. I don’t like anything we have here! Why can’t you ever buy waffles?”

Each complaining sentence was louder and more irritable than the one before it. The lingering coolness of my shower quickly heated to a hot, red flush over my cheeks. My automatic reaction was to mirror my daughter’s temperature: “What are you mad at me for?” I wanted to shout. Some of the other involuntary thoughts that rushed to my mind included:

  • Fine! Don’t eat. But don’t bother telling me you’re hungry in an hour.
  • If you don’t like what we serve for breakfast in this house, you can go without eating!
  • Why don’t you just go spend the morning in your room? I don’t deserve to be spoken to in that way.

There were a few other names and phrases that flooded my senses within the first five seconds of her Waffle Rant, but in what I would like to think of as a moment of clarity (though it was probably only a matter of me debating which unhelpful reaction to voice), I just stared at her silently. Fortunately for both of us, that moment of quiet allowed my daughter the necessary pause to regain control of her emotions and to softly say, “I’m sorry, Mama. I was just really frustrated at the computer and I took it out on you.”

From eagerness to start the day, to a flash of anger, to pride in my child’s emotional maturity (and relief that I had muted my own automatic thoughts), my emotions in that single minute of time took an intense roller coaster ride. I call it the Nothing Comes from Nothing journey.

Have you ever been in a situation with your child where “out-of-the-blue,” they seem to want to fight? You witness (and are often the recipient of) a spike of sudden and unexplained anger. Because the emotion seems unfounded (and since it is usually dumped out on you), your emotions are instantly triggered and you, too, are inspired to quick anger. A heated conflict ensues, a dent is created in your relationship, and both of you feel bewildered about the whole situation.

One of the most common self-defeating patterns of behavior among young people is this phenomena of displacement. Displacement occurs when a child takes out his anger on an unsuspecting, often undeserving target. Because the target is taken by surprise, he often reacts in a conflict-fueling way and the rest…is history. Opportunities for healthy self-expression are lost. Relationships are damaged. Both parties lose.

How can parents handle this destructive dynamic?  Is there a “cure” for displacement? As with most effective parenting strategies, the answer is that management begins at a personal level.

When Your Child Explodes Into a Fit of Anger:

Pause for a Moment

Hold your reaction. The most human thing you can do is mirror his behavior and respond with equal anger, but this will only serve to escalate the conflict and miss an opportunity to teach your child something about effective anger expression.

Recognize that Nothing Comes from Nothing

Most people don’t spontaneously combust. If your child is having a big reaction, be willing to look beyond his or her surface behavior and figure out what is motivating it.

Drain Off the Emotion

The first stage of Life Space Crisis Intervention, a therapeutic strategy for turning crisis situations into learning opportunities for kids with chronic patterns of self-defeating behaviors, teaches parents and professionals that before they can rationally engage a child in a discussion about his feelings, they must first reduce the emotional intensity of the situation. “Drain Off” is accomplished through such de-escalation skills such as active listening, supportive non-verbal communication, and a whole lot of patience.

Understand the Timeline

When kids are flooded by emotions, often they lose track of what made them so angry in the first place. Once your child has calmed down to the point where he or she can talk about what is going on, ask open-ended questions (e.g. How were you feeling when you woke up this morning? What was going on before I came downstairs from my shower?) to encourage your child to recount the timeline of what led up to their outburst. This process of making a child feel heard and understood is relationship building — the precise opposite of what happens when parents allow themselves to be drawn into the conflict and to engage in relationship damaging wars of words.

Explain the Dynamic of Displacement

As you hear your child tell his story, you may begin to recognize a pattern of displacement. Continuing on with your use of questions, ask the child:

  • Who were you really mad at?
  • Who did you take your anger out on?
  • Did that person deserve your anger?
  • What can you do to mend the situation?
  • What could you do to prevent the situation from occurring next time?

The use of questions empowers your child to develop insight into his or her self-defeating behavior and to feel competent in developing solutions for the situation. Role-playing skills for more effective emotional expression in the future is a helpful way to round out the process.

Management begins with us. As parents, we have the power to make a situation worse or better — a relationship damaged or improved. Understanding the dynamics of displacement and recognizing that nothing comes from nothing enables us to disengage from destructive conflict cycles and respond instead in ways that build insight in children and foster positive relationships with the ones we love.

This article was first posted in March 2011 on Mom It Forward:Life Space Crisis Intervention Skills: Looking Beyond a Child’s Surface Behavior.

>Parents, Don’t Dress Your Girls Like Tramps by LZ Granderson


>”Friends bow to peer pressure. Parents say, ‘No, and that’s the end of it.'”

Just came across this article on by LZ Granderson.  It is so brilliantly written and so completely true regarding the clothing options available for young girls…and a parent’s role in making decisions for their kids–cool points notwithstanding!

A designer clothes boutique is working with me to bring parenting articles  to their community.  If you are in the market for trendy baby clothing, including unique headbands, baby hats, and fun Spring pettiskirts and tutus for little ones, please check them out.

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