Establishing a healthy mother-daughter relationship 

Having a daughter is such a joy. You have someone to go shopping with, share popcorn with while bonding over your favorite shows, or even play dress up and have tea parties. It’s just great to have that little girl to do the mother-daughter bonding with. Right?

Absolutely! 
So how do we keep the relationship healthy with our daughters?

How do we keep the relationship with our daughters that is full of love and not with conditions to love?

How do we keep the relationship with our daughters that allows us to still have fun but keep you as the parent.

SET BOUNDARIES!!!

1. Be okay with saying no.  Parent guilt is real. However there are just too many Lifetime movies where the mom’s have difficulities with setting boundaries with their daughters and the storyline goes dark. We may even know some moms that have anxiety and have difficulty with setting boundaries including saying no. I will admit as a mom myself it is hard especially when your daughter turns on the guilt trip or when the defiance steps in. However it is very important to set boundaries and be okay with saying no. It is not the end of the world…trust me.

2. Encourage communication without appearing like a friend. Instead appear like the caring mother that you are. Communication is very important when it comes to a relationship between a mother and daughter. The way we communicate with our daughters can establish a healthy foundation for the relationship. We want to focus on the positive. I like the sandwich concept. If there is something that needs to be discussed that is not so good try to cushion it with two positives. I have women come in all the time that says that they never heard anything positive from their mother. This turns into negative self thoughts or self critical thinking if this is not addressed. This opens up your daughter to some challenges as a grown woman. I asked a teenage girl about her communication with her mother and she stated that although she and her mom speaks regularly and have a good relationship the thing she remembers the most that she can be doubtful which leads her to feel doubtful about her own abilities. So the moral of the story is that people will remember the negatives most if that is all they hear is negative, criticizing, and discouraging words verses constructive criticism that also shines on the postive.

3. Don’t get overly involved in your daughter’s social life…you’re not her peer. Having a daughter can be so much fun especially when you are able to go shopping together and hang out. Hang out as mother and daughter and not friends. Yes know who your daughter’s friends are but you do not become one of her friends. In other words you do not need to hang out at the mall with your daughter and her friends and speak like they do and be up on every girl gossip. This creates some muddy waters and the boundaries begin to disappear quickly when you have to step in parent role. If this is about spending time with your daughter than by all means find something you and your daughter like to do that still provides room for you to be a mother and for her to be a daughter…not equals.

4. You don’t have to be your mother! Many of us had mothers that had their own challenges and as their daughter we may have had to experience the effects of their challenges. This can lead you to take on some of the same characteristics (controlling, lack of boundaries, critical, anxious, perfectionism, etc. ). Often times because this has been the norm you may not be aware of how your actions and words can affect the relationship you have with your daughter and yourself. Therefore it is very important to do some self check and some self reflection to evaluate the relationship you had with your own mother and explore where there were challenges. Assess to see if these same challenges occur with you and your daughter and seek out therapy to make some changes. You don’t have to be your mother. You don’t have to repeat the same cycles that lead you to be anxious, critical, controlling, or over compensating. Instead you can create an environment that is loving, nurturing, motivating, encouraging, fun, and leaves room for your daughter to have autonomy and growth.

The best thing about building a healthy mother daughter relationship is that you get to see your daughter blossom into a wonderful young lady who will look back on her relationship with her mother as a guide for how relationships with other women should be.

Resources

http://www.themother-daughterproject.com/welcome.htm

 

If you and your daughter are struggling to have a healthy relationship I can help. Contact me at tahiyyamartin@gmail.com for therapy or relationship coaching.

Tahiyya xo

STOP

This week I believe everyone’s anxiety has been through the roof. I have really put my DBT training to use and I have been teaching the STOP skill. Not only have I used it with clients, I have actually had to use it for myself. Often we become so quick to react to our feelings and thoughts instead of mindfully responding. STOP is a skill that will help you respond and not react.

So let’s look at exactly what STOP is.

Stop

STOP is a distress tolerance skill that is taught by DBT trained therapists. A distress tolerance skill is a skill that helps an individual that is heading into an emotional crisis and they need help to tolerate the emotional pain. The STOP skill allows one to become mindfully aware of what is going on and to take a different course of action if possible. In other words I like to say it stops you in your track so that you can step outside yourself in order to bring awareness to the situation that is causing distress and bring awareness to yourself.

S= Stop. Freeze in your tracks. Don’t react to the situation just because your emotions is driving you to do so. 

T= Take a step back. It is time to step away from the siutation. Take a break by breathing in through your nose; out through your mouth. Deep calming breaths. Don’t react. 

O= Observe. Take notice of what is going on with you inside and out. What are you feeling? What are your thoughts? What exactly is the situation? What are others doing and saying that are around you. 

P= Proceed mindfully. You should act mindfully; with awareness. Consider your thoughts and feelings when making a decision. You should also take note of the feelings and thoughts of others and the situation before responding. Ask yourself “Which actions will make matters better or worse?”

This skill can be applied to any situation that you believe is distressing such as relationship conflict, urges to self harm or use substances, urges to participate in an addictive behavior, fear provoking situations, anger provoking situations; or any feelings or thoughts that makes you uncomfortable.

As a therapist I help clients put this skill to practice by practicing in session how to use the skill to respond to situations and not react. Reaction is on impulse and usually driven by our thoughts and feelings. Response is with awareness and driven by being mindful and being informed.

If you find yourself struck with an event that is distressing and need to get yourself in check, try the STOP skill. If you find yourself needing some help, hey I am available by phone or teleconference. I provide skills training, coaching, and DBT therapy.  I’m just an email away so schedule today!

 

Tahiyya xo

Resources

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets by M. Linehan.

http://www.tahiyyamartin.com

 

If you like what you are reading and want more; hey follow the blog. I love helping others by teaching new skills, educating and bringing awareness, and just being me…Tahiyya:)

Summer makes me lose my shit!

Summer time is quickly approaching. The trees are full and green. The grass grows quickly every week. School lets out for summer vacation. Pools are opening up for kids and adults to splish splash all day. Camps are enrolling children for daily get aways. AND for my house…this means it is time for the kids to be home and utility and grocery bills to go up!!!

I have never been a fan of summer. Although I love sunshine and thunderstorms I hate the heat and humidity in North Carolina. I hate the critters that the summertime brings (aka snakes). There’s nothing like coming home and finding a black snake wrapped around a tree in the driveway and your husband is on the road!!! Oh My God Why!!!!!!

So during the summer my anxiety is on ten  from mommy guilt, wife guilt, work guilt and of course from my phobia of snakes. My cat ran away six months ago so there goes my pet therapy!

Oh sh$@ It’s Summer!!!!


Summer makes me lose my shit!

There’s no relaxing during the summer. The kids take a break not only from school but also from doing chores as well; at least that’s the way I see it. The hubby is gone all week so I’m left to entertain kids who have expensive taste and believe money grow on trees…literally. I am playing the role of working mom trying to build an empire to leave to these kiddos. There’s more cleaning and less me time (gonna miss just sitting alone enjoying the morning after the kids run off to school). And every stick in the yard is a snake waiting to strike (this phobia is serious). 

Mommy guilt. Wife Guilt. Work Guilt. 

Am I good enough?

Are the kids enjoying their summer?

The house isn’t clean enough! Nothing is getting done!

The light bill is going to be high?

Will there be enough food to last for the week? Ugh I have to go back to store!

Am I being a good mom because I’m working during the summer?

I need a break already; we all have cabin fever. Is this bad?

Should I give my son/daugther his medication during the summer?

Should I take my medication during the summer?

I bet my husband is enjoying not being here!

Is that a snake over there! Get the moth balls!!!

and so on and so forth!!!!

Summer makes me lose my shit!

This summer I am choosing not to lose my shit! As a woman, mom, and therapist I completely understand how being a mom during the summer can be stressful. Here’s a few tips to help:

  • Don’t bother with schedules. What does keeping a schedule do for your? Why is the schedule important during the summer? It is okay to not be in control. Relinquish your control over daily operations.
  • Utilize park time. There’s nothing like taking the kids to the park to get out the house for a breather. While the children are playing use this time to do some brisk walking or light exercise to get your body moving and mind clearer or get an escape in a fantasy book. Join a mommy group to meet in the park for play dates. Join a walk and talk therapy in the park to help work on some “mommy issues” while the kids enjoy their play time (mental health is important).
  • Meditation. Since the kids will be home it may be a little difficult to get that morning meditation in that I’m used to getting. Well I plan on making it a family meditation with my youngest son and six month old. Meditation is good for calming any anxiety or thoughts that tend to flow through your mind when you take a quilt trip OR quiet the thoughts of your snake phobia!.
  • Get creative. While the kids are home get creative about the time you are spending together. Understand that not all fun times have to cost you an arm or leg. Mommy groups on Facebook are great resources to find some local happenings in your town to help keep the kiddies entertain.
  • Affirmation. We all tend to question how we are as parents. I do it all the time. As a matter of fact I just did it last week. It is very importnat to do some daily affirmation around being a mom. So what if the house isn’t clean today. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. So what if the kids had to eat a sandwich and some potatoe chips for dinner. It does not make you a bad mom. Ease up on yourself.
  • Self Care. The summer is overwhelming when you have all the kids in the home at one time and you are trying to do your best in keeping everyone sane. However it is most important to take care of yourself. Write down a summer self care routine that will rejuvenate you each week. Post it up on your refrigerator. Do the routine each week.
  • Relax. Don’t be so hard on yourself! You are a good mom. You are a good partner. You are a good You! And all these negative thoughts (like snakes) are in your mind!.

 

Have a funtastic summer!

Tahiyya xo

 

If the summer causes you to lose your shit and you are facing some mommy guilt, wife guilt, work guilt and intersted in working through guilt with some Walk and Talk Therapy in the Park contact me today!  You can reach me by phone at 910-434-5325 or email at counseling.simplelife@gmail.com to schedule a free 15 minute consultation.

***local residents of Matthews and Mint Hill, NC and surrounding areas only***