It seems like it’s pretty common for mothers and daughters to struggle with communication. Living with someone in close quarters can create tension. My mom and I are certainly no exception.
As both incredibly strong-willed women who enjoy argument (you know it’s true, Mom! LOL), we were at odds a good bit of the time, when I was growing up. Neither of us usually ever backed down and we both almost always wanted the last word. Little did I know that my mother actually does know best, and it would have done me some good to listen every now and then.
In high school, my attitude progressed to its worst point. Like most teenagers, I thought I knew everything and I could take care of myself. The obvious truth was, I was naive and a total know-it-all, especially to my mom.
I would “talk-back” to her about the most insignificant things, and of course, my mom would get angry at me and she’d go off- Rightfully so!- And then it would just drag on into an argument. We’d both end up angry with neither of us accomplishing our goals.
Luckily, my mom and I have a close relationship. Because of this, we’re usually able to get past disagreements fairly quickly and talk through our issues. However, it used to take some time before I could set my pride aside to have a mature conversation without raising my voice.
Since I’ve graduated from college and my mom and I have been living apart for several years, I’ve developed a much richer appreciation for my mother. I’ve always known that she is my greatest support, but now I can see that her “nagging” was just her genuine concern for my wellbeing.
Our communication has improved quite a bit throughout the years, and I have noticed that a lot of our progress has to do with me making the effort to listen instead of talking over my mom. Everybody wants to feel heard, including our mothers.
Here are a few things I’ve picked up throughout the last few years that have helped tremendously in reducing the number of arguments between me and my mom (Hint: they’re all things I could have been doing this whole time):
- I was given the gift and the curse of a “sharp tongue” in this life. I’ve discovered that just taking a pause before responding right away can prevent me from saying things I don’t really mean or antagonizing further argument.
- Walking Away (This is really helpful, though some people think it isn’t.)
- Stepping away from the situation can only be helpful if you address the situation once you’ve both cooled down. Pretending an argument never happened will just make the next one even worse.
- Walking away to calm down is helpful for everybody involved. It always helps me collect my thoughts and get my emotions in order so that I can effectively say what is on my mind, rather than shouting or attempting to talk over tears.
- Being Quiet
- It took me about 20 years to learn this for myself, even though my friends have been telling me for years that it would help prevent arguments.
- Many times, a response isn’t necessary, and it can be much more respectful than saying something hurtful. If what I’m planning to say isn’t constructive, I try not to say anything at all until I’m sure of what to say.
My mom and I still have arguments occasionally, but they’re becoming less frequent as I get older. A large contribution to that is probably my growing maturity, but I believe that consciously working toward positive communication has helped tremendously for me and my mother.
Arguing with your mom might feel like second nature, or like it’s part of your relationship, but it’s completely possible to get out of that habit. Pausing before responding, taking a break from the conversation, and just being silent can guide you toward communicating much more clearly and positively.