Thursday, October 21, 2010
WEEK 23 QUOTE 23
"A daughter's relationship with her mother lays the foundation for her relationship with herself. From her mother she will either learn how to claim her life and be fully visible in all her relationships or how to silence herself, accept invisibility as a normal way of being, and believe that caring for others and not herself is a women's lot in life."
Rosjke Hasseldine : "The Emotional Crisis Between Mothers and Daughters"
This is PART 2 of WHAT DO DAUGHTERS NEED FROM THEIR MOTHER?
2. BE A POSITIVE EXAMPLE ~
A. Be a Positive Example ~ Girls Thrive When Mums Thrive.
(I) Mind Attitude.
With the glut of varied worldwide opinion on what a "mother" is supposed to be, a high proportion of mums today feel failures, guilty, have no idea of what they are meant to be, and want the experience to be short-lived, so they can move-on to do something tangible with their life.
This effects girls of all ages as they watch their mum and attempt to fathom what's ahead for them. A mum's attitude to herself affects a girl's developing self image and shapes her future attitude to herself and how she places herself in relationship to being a woman and mother of the future.
Rosjke Hasseldine's quote above, describes a style of being a mother that always puts everyone and their needs ahead of mum. I think most mums feel they wear this style of mothering at some point in their life, particularly when the children are all very young - the 'vendor machine' years. But in amongst the busy, non-stop years as a mum, we have a choice or power to "claim" our life or choose to "accept invisibility". One, as a teaching tool to our watching daughter, demonstrates a mother who is thriving. The other sad model, a mum who is not.
A THRIVING MUM WHO IS POSITIVE IN HER ATTITUDE TO BEING A MOTHER, GIVES HER DAUGHTER A GREAT GIFT AND HOPE FOR HER FUTURE.
(II) Body Image.
"Mothers can transfer their negative body image to their daughters - mothers can boost teens self-esteem by having a positive outlook themselves. It's easy to blame the media for glamorous images of thin models whom teenage girls long to emulate. But many psychologists and eating disorders specialists believe that the greatest influence lives at home." (Refer to my previous post on Parents Have the Most Influence on Their Children - WEEK 2 QUOTE 2) "A large amount of girls' body image and self-esteem develop from interactions with their mothers - not necessarily through conversation, but often just observation." A mother's approach to eating, or food in general, the reading of food labels, her approach to wearing clothes..... are all taken in by daughters.
"A Harvard University study found that frequent dieting by mothers was associated with frequent dieting by daughters. The study, published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, also found that girls with mothers who had weight concerns were more likely to develop anxieties about their own bodies."
Carolyn Costin, spokeswoman for The National Eating Disorders Association in America, stated that their study had found that five-year-old girls whose mothers dieted were twice as likely to be aware of weight-loss strategies as girls whose mothers didn't diet. "It's like trying on Mum's high heels. They're trying on their diets, too".
I think the point here, again is that as mothers we have a choice or power over our attitude to our body image - either we can display a positive attitude to ourselves, while we quietly or subtly work away at a diet to reduce weight, if needed, or we can steer family attention to the current diet we are on, through our conversations, along with a negative focus on ourselves.
ONE CHOICE SPEAKS OF A MUM WHO MAY BE WORKING AT HER WEIGHT BUT WHOSE ATTITUDE WILL HELP HER DAUGHTER. THE OTHER CHOICE WILL POSSIBLY TEACH AND CONTRIBUTE TO AN ONGOING SEQUENCE OF UNHAPPY BODY IMAGE FOR HER DAUGHTER.
B. Be a Positive Example ~ Acceptance, Approval, Being Valued ~ Being Loved.
Daughters need to know their mums value and accept them. She needs her mum's approval, to know her mum is proud of her. She needs to know it, see it and hear her mum's proud reactions to her.
The mum who regularly registers disappointment or disapproval in her daughter's actions, sets up relational problems for her future. Disapproval can be a mum's response to a daughter's success or opportunities, possibly because the mum never had these. This is particularly true in cultures where mum has sacrificed and struggled for family futherence, and her daughter has moved with ease into opportunities of privilege. This is a case of where mums need to have a good grip on the difference of circumstances of each generation.
Being accepted, approved of and valued by mum, is in fact a desire and need of all girls to be loved by their mum.
Some mums struggle to give such love, acceptance, approval and value to their daughters, because it wasn't given to them. It is a pattern handed from one generation to the next. Maybe as a mum, if you don't feel acceptance, approval or valued as a person, you need to do some work on yourself. You can only give this type of love to your daughter if you experience it yourself. Some women who have not received it from their own mothers, have 'found it' as other people accept, approve, value and love them. Others have 'found it' in their relationship with Jesus as they consider how he accepts them.
A DAUGHTER NEEDS ASSURANCE THAT HER MOTHER LOVES HER FOR WHO SHE IS.
C. Be a Positive Example ~ Model a "BIG" life.
In 2010 most females living in our culture, have full access into any area of life. A huge variety to select from with opportunities WIDE open for our choice.
But a worrying and odd thing is occurring amongst a growing proportion of girls, in that what was hoped for and modelled by the Emmeline Pankhursts and the Kate Shepperds, who blazed the trail for women to be able to enjoy the opportunities we have today, is quickly being forgotton. Don't misunderstand me, please. I'm not thinking of Women's Liberation or Feminism, here. My concern is that an increasing percentage of girls in the western world are choosing 'comfort', 'safety' and a small life through their practice of conformity to their peers around them.
This week a friend told me of her disappointment in the girls at her daughter's school - their lack of gumption, lack of preparedness to ripple the water. Instead they choose conformity or sameness, which results in a shallow existence.
In an earlier post WEEK 9 QUOTE 9, I spoke of Jessica Watson, the Australian girl who was in the midst of sailing solo around the world. Jessica is an example of the opposite end of the spectrum to the girls described above. I have just finished reading Jessica's book, "True Spirit", about her amazing voyage. On one of the final pages, Jessica writes of another girl , Bethany Hamilton, who has been an inspiration to her. . . .
"Bethany was an up-and-coming surfer when she was attacked by a 14 foot tiger shark at her home break in Hawaii. She was fourteen. She had her left arm ripped off just below the shoulder but was back in the water surfing only a month later. She is now twenty years old and is a professional surfer. Bethany is one gutsy woman and she says :
'Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice.' " from "True Spirit": Jessica Watson.
Bethany Hamilton has written her story in a book called "Soul Surfer".
Mums can contribute to their daughter choosing a life of depth, bravery... - a BIG life with gumption! Jessica Watson's mum, Julie was acknowledged several times through Jessica's book as the one who encouraged her to dream big, which set her on her path as a small child. Likewise the incredible adult life of Ariana Styasinopoulos (my post WEEK 8 QUOTE 8), was supported and fuelled by a mother, who like Jessica Watson's mother, modelled and opened the door to a BIG life.
We have dozens of women through history who lived lives of gumption - Florence Nightingale, Anita Roddick, Maggie Thatcher, Maria Curie, Mother Theresa, Catherine the Great, Helen Keller, Corrie ten Boon, Rosa Parks...... Maybe you and your daughter could get to know their stories through books and movies.
MUMS CAN MODEL A LIFE OF 'SUGAR AND SPICE AND ALL THINGS NICE', OR MODEL BIG LIVES, LIVES OF DEPTH AND GUMPTION FOR THEIR DAUGHTERS.
D. Be a Positive Example ~ Be Self Controlled.
Girls need a positive example of living with control in the area of emotions. So much has been written about the changes of a girl's emotions during pre adolescence, adolescence and of women through the process of menoporse. Some writers direct the reader's attention to working with these changes. Part of that work is in the department of self control.
My hero, Charlotte Mason, says self control is a habit, something that with practice will become easier and more a part of our character.
I've heard women say that in living with their emotions, at some point they come to a 'fork in the road', they have a choice to go one way or the other, control themselves or not.
How do you learn to control yourself? Firstly start now, because the longer it is put off and the wrong habit practiced, the harder change becomes.
Charlotte Mason gives a great method. Start by talking with your daughter of her possible future, living without self control, 'painting' specific pictures for her. She needs to see and understand the real affect on herself and others around her, for her to decide she needs to work at change, now.
Next you need to identify where or what situations in her life regularly happen that call for her need of self control. Depending on her age, the strategy you use, may need you her mum to assist or support, especially at first, to get regular success in practicing self control.
Charlotte Mason describes an old wrong habit (lack of self control) as being like a wheel that goes forever up and down in one place, on the same old track, gouging a rut in the road over time. To establish a new, better habit (self control), the wheel must be lifted out of the rut, put on a new piece of ground and with support and help travel on, practicing the new habit of self control.
WHICHEVER WAY WE GO, WHATEVER WE PRACTICE AS MUMS, WE DEMONSTRATE A WAY OF BEHAVING IN LIFE TO A WATCHING DAUGHTER, FOR HER TO TAKE ONBOARD.
THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS bring the examples of positive and great people you know about into your daughter's life, and let your feelings of inspiration translate into lives of gumption for both of you!!