Psychologists report that the mother-daughter bond is a powerful relationship that often lasts long after the daughter has grown into adulthood. But that doesn't mean the relationship is easy and effortless. Both sides need to invest time and effort, and psychologists note that being able to communicate honestly and openly is a key foundation to improving the mother-daughter bond. If communication is a sticking point for you, ice breakers can get things rolling.
Show Genuine Interest
Ask questions that express an interest in your loved one. Start by sharing simple observations from day-to-day life. For example, complement your family member on her choice of clothes and ask where she got them from, or praise her for a recently prepared meal and ask about the recipe. Complements tied with open-ended questions can help break down defensive barriers and open up communication.
Give Personal Examples
No matter what side of the mother-daughter relationship you're on, break down communication walls and defensive emotions by relating your questions to a personal experience. For example, when discussing a current difficult situation that one of you is facing, relate it to a time you went through something similar. This shows that you are willing to be vulnerable and open, and also that your questions and talks come from a place of true care and understanding.
Step Outside the Situation
Instead of directing a question directly at your mom or your daughter, deflect it toward a hypothetical situation. This can help both of you to see the big picture, and reduces the risk of someone taking the question as a personal attack. The hypothetical situation can refer to a fabricated situation or use alternate people as examples. For example, talk about a friend who is going through a situation that relates to the situation that you and your loved one need to discuss. Say, "My friend so-and-so is going through this, what advice would you give her that would help?"
Be a Supporting Cast Member
In the plays and dramas of family life, be a strong supporting cast member. Let your loved one know that you're always there for her. No matter what questions or topics arise in a conversation, both people can feel comfortable if you both know you're starting from a place of mutual support. For an ice breaker, tag a line that shows support to the beginning or end of your question. For example, you could say: "You know I love you, no matter what. Is there anything that you want to talk about? Anything that will make this time easier for you? Is there anything I can do to help you through this?"
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