Title: Mother Daughter Duet
Subtitle: Getting to the Relationship You Want with Your Adult Daughter
Authors: Cheri Fuller & Ali Plum
Publisher’s Synopsis: A harmonious relationship is possible
When your daughter was born, you had a thousand hopes and dreams for her. . .including that one day you’d be best friends.
But as life unfolds, even the best intentions go awry. There are so many challenges on the journey to adult friendship that the reality is fraught with friction and frustration. Thankfully, a harmonious relationship with your daughter is possible.
Written by a mother and daughter who have successfully navigated the minefield from distance and tension to acceptance and friendship, Mother-Daughter Duet helps moms open wide the door of communication so that daughters want to walk through it. Filled with personal anecdotes and based on proven principles, each chapter offers timeless wisdom as well as a daughter’s perspective. Often these principles apply to daughters-in-law as well.
The relationship between mothers and daughters is intense, personal, complex, and unique. But you can have the loving, authentic bond you always dreamed of—when you learn the mother-daughter duet.
As the mother of seven daughters, four of whom I’d consider adults, this book was, of course, of great interest to me. Almost immediately, it seemed to me that the book was headed in the direction of, “When your daughter is an adult, quit treating her like a child. ” No, it didn’t say that in so many words, but after the introductory chapter about the premise of the book, the first chapter is entitled, Letting Go. I thought this was an excellent point that I see, repeatedly, in many people’s lives. No, just because your daughter or son turns eighteen, doesn’t mean they’re instantly ripped from your family and forced to live an independent life with no input from you. However, long before they turn eighteen, and in the eyes of the law are legal adults responsible for their own decisions and actions, the way we, as parents, relate to them directly impacts our future relationships.
I found some of the examples of expressions of individuality to be a little high on the “if you feel like it, do it” scale and a little low on the “what does the Bible say about it” scale. In fact, the entire book was high on the latest opinion of those in the psychology world and low on Biblical support. Don’t get me wrong, the book was full of helpful information, a reminder not to treat things that aren’t sin as if they are, and that people are more important than opinions. Your daughter is more important than your preference for her wardrobe. If what she chooses isn’t sin, then why are you alienating her over something that isn’t sin? I’m one hundred percent behind the authors on that.
One of the things I really cheered this book with was the “LISTEN” chapter. (I think they call it Communication, but I wanted to shout, “YES! LISTEN!” Like all moms, I have opinions. Furthermore, I’ve lived a whole lot longer than my kids, I’ve see life and the basics of it don’t change as often as media players and computer technology. I think anyone who discards the experience of parents in their quest to prove independence is proving their immaturity by the sheer act of trying to appear mature. However, most of the time, I think it’s smart to keep my opinions to myself until I’m asked. You know what? I’m asked a lot. Furthermore, I think my kids listen when I do speak because I didn’t foist it on them immediately. I listen. A lot. Sometimes I don’t want to listen anymore. I’m tired, I’m sick of hearing the same things over and over when they know what I think. However, I know that if I don’t listen today, they won’t want to talk tomorrow. So, I suck it up and do the mom thing. I listen. I LOVED how this book encouraged moms to listen. I have so many young women who talk to me about a lot of things simply because I listen and don’t make sweeping judgments or pounce on them with opinions. Usually, if I wait long enough, the girl will say, exactly what I as a parent would want to hear, if I let her talk long enough. I wish those mothers would learn that. If mothers got nothing else from this book, it’d be worth it.
I thought the chapter on Weddings was brilliant. You know, I’ve done the wedding thing. Was it what I would have done if it was my choice? No. However, it wasn’t my wedding. Having lived through someone (not my mother) taking over and pushing her idea of what I needed for a wedding onto mine, I was determined not to do that. I threw out ideas and truly released each one as it went. There was little I cared about aside from making sure our guests were safe, comfortable, fed, and we had good pictures of the event. Most of that didn’t cause any conflict. Mothers, the wedding is for your daughter, not for you to relive and remake yours. Daughters, your parents are host/hostess. They have guests to consider. If you want something that will reflect poorly on anyone, it’s not going to be you– it’ll be your parents. Show them the courtesy of ensuring that your choices do not leave them in the position of bad host/hostess. Mom, back off and let them have the wedding THEY choose. If you can’t pay for everything, then that’s fine, but don’t use your wallet as a measuring stick of your approval of her choices. Just sayin’.
Finally, the forgiveness chapter is a great one for any person to read. If you have a relationship in your life, reading that chapter might just help you prevent the need to experience the need to request forgiveness in the first place. Praise the Lord, it can be done.
So, over all, the book had a lot of good information. Most of their supporting information was experiential and psychological rather than Biblically supported, but much of it is still very valid. It will help you with more than just mother/daughter relationships. However, I’d take it with a sprinkling of what God has to say on some of the topics.
I want to thank Multnomah for the copy provided for review and giveaway.
I’m giving away TWO copies. Just post a comment and tell me what the one thing, as a daughter, you wish your mother had said or done to help your relationship with her. Maybe we’ll help each other prevent problems!