Another batch of teenage girls with out of control behavior appear on the Maury Povich Show, disrespecting there mothers and themselves. It makes me cringe when I see and hear this disrespect. I think to myself "Oh, my mama would not have that." I guess my misconception was that every Black woman asserted themselves as the adult and would not be disrespected, but as I watch these situations play out on TV and in real life, I wonder about the state of African-American mother-daughter relationship and where they stand today.During adolescence, a time in which the mother-daughter bond can be broken, my mother and I were like two peas in a pod. While in high school as some young ladies came to school in tears due the strain of being a teen having so many new feelings and the idea that parents don’t understand them, I was happy to tell my mother everything. I would come home from school and go over everything that happened, even when I got in trouble. My mom was a band booster, so I figured anything I did would eventually get back to her. Many of my friends from band knew that we were close and were amazed that I actually talked to my mom. I often could not relate to my closest high school friend who was constantly butting heads with their mothers. I thought that she should listen to her mother since her mother was the adult and had more sense. Of course everything was not always smooth as ice, we had our disagreements, but because of the respect I had for my mother and adults, my mother usually had the last word and was right. Sometimes I think that the closeness I shared with my mother as a teenager came because of the separation between my parents. I had always been "Daddy’s little girl," but when he left it was only natural that I would grow close to my mother. My mother says with or without the separation we were bound to bond. I think that just the fact that I agree with my dad is evidence that we would not have bonded, at least not as much as my mother and I did. It wasn’t until college that our relationship began to rip at the seams. Since everyone I knew had trouble with their mothers as teens, it baffled me that our arguments grew while I in college. I always felt like I was going in reverse like as a 20-year-old going through teenager problems. Each year in college the worst it seemed to become, to the point where I vowed to stay in D.C. after I graduated. She never really heard me, what I was saying and she always made everything out to be bigger then what it was. I’d hear things like "I shouldn’t have to watch what I say to you, and may be I was wrong to think of us as friends," which always hurt me because although that was not the label I put on our relationship I did like our closeness to seem like friends. Dr. Deborah Tannen, a professor at Georgetown University wrote a book called: ”You’re Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation,” found that the biggest complaint she heard from daughters is: ”My mother’s always criticizing me.” The mothers said, ”I can’t open my mouth; my daughter takes everything as criticism.” "But sometimes caring and criticism are found in the same words. When mothers talk about their daughters’ appearance, they are often doing it because they feel obligated to tell their daughter something that no one else will. The mother feels she’s caring. The daughter feels criticized. They are both right,” said Dr. Tannen to the New York Times. Tannen’s research holds true. If my mother were to ask me: "Did you want your hair like that, or is that the latest style" in a condescending tone, I would feel criticized beyond belief and reply with an attitude. It would rupture into an argument leaving my mother saying "I can’t say anything to you." In high school I probably would have changed my clothes or hair style if my mother questioned the look. Now I keep it the way it is and understanding Dr. Tannen’s research I try not to get mad. College involved an experience separate from studying a certain discipline; it taught me who I am. I lost the ability to just agree because my mother was the adult. I also was an adult. This may be a factor to why we are growing apart and why I hear her differently from what she actually meant. I am pretty sure that my mother and I will disagree on many topics thoughtout time, but at least I can try to understand that she means well. As I prepare to enter the working world of 9 to 5, marriage, motherhood, I already have a clue of arguments to come. At the same time, I will always respect her as the adult. So, I can only hope that if I have a daughter, she’ll be disturbed when she hears other daughters disrespect their mothers and say “my mama would not have that."
The Mother Daughter Bond