Seeing a mom and daughter dressed alike on a Sunday morning is adorable. It conjures up thoughts of a happy, well-adjusted home life. However, the reality is those cute little matching outfits are sometimes just camouflage. What’s hiding beneath could be one match strike away from a flaming fire. Mother-daughter relationships can be combustible. How do we, as women’s ministry leaders, help extinguish the flames before they are out of control?
Hosting a cutesy mother/daughter tea on Mother’s Day weekend isn’t always the answer. Instead, we might need to create an environment of honesty where women feel free to share their struggles. Let’s talk about a few ways to do this.
1. Offer a Bible study for moms and daughters (tweens and up) to do together.
Vicki Courtney’s Your Girl is perfect for a mom with younger daughters. Mary Kassian’s Conversation Peace is a great resource for building relationships and starting conversations among moms and young adult or adult daughters. Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend is a relationship essential for all women. During Bible study gatherings, encourage women to pray for one another. Prayer brings understanding.
2. Host a retreat specifically for moms and daughters.
A great retreat idea is to use Kelly Minter’s Ruth study as a foundation. Throughout the retreat, add in conversation time to talk about relationships. We expect women to know how to do relationships, but that’s often not the case. In fact, most do not know what a healthy relationship should look like.
3. Teach basic relationship skills to help moms and daughters find a healthy relationship.
This could take place as part of the retreat, or you could host separate discussions about healthy relationships with the mothers and daughters you lead. Here are some essential relationship skills to teach:
- Think twice, speak once. When two sets of hormones clash, thinking before speaking becomes critical to survival.
- Just because it can be said, doesn’t mean it should be said. Our opinions are not always right. Yes, we can be wrong! Evaluate why the opinion developed and what portion should be shared.
- Honesty is the best answer. This may seem the opposite of that last tip, but there’s a difference between being honest with a pure motive and blurting out an opinion that can wound. Daughters need to hear their mom’s hearts and vice versa. Understanding and unity come from honesty.
- Let the past stay there. Once an argument is over, move on. Dragging it back up repeatedly only keeps the relationship in a rut of drama.
- Stop in the name of love. Don’t listen to the negative grips and complaints of others and apply them to your relationship. Negativity spreads like wildfire. Stomp it out.
- Treat your daughter the way you wanted to be treated. Take a look in the mirror. Repeating the relationships of past generations is asking for trouble. It’s time to stop the cycle. Don’t be the mom who relates to her daughter the way her mom related to her.
Mother/daughter relationships can be wonderful. Let’s help make that happen! Sharing relationship skills, offering mother/daughter Bible studies, and creating an environment that incites communication can transform potential explosions into sweet relationships.
Dr. Deb Douglas is the minister to women at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, La., and a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier, launched her first women’s Bible study at the age of 20. Her passion is encouraging and equipping women to serve. She is also a freelance writer and contributed to Transformed Lives: Taking Women’s Ministry to the Next Level, Revised & Expanded. Deb graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Arts of Christian Education/Women’s Ministry and a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree. She is the wife of Paul, mom of Jared and Katie, mother-in-law to Emily and Jacob, and grandmother to Caroline.