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花旗国的半边天

An Exploration of Women's Issues

 
 
 

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母女关系 (Mothers and Daughters)  

2011-05-13 06:34:40|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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母女关系 (Mothers and Daughters) - 美国马尾妹 - 花旗国的半边天

对 女儿来说,与母亲的关系是她生命中重要的一环。只因母女性别相同,在某些方面比起父女之间更能相互理解。我个人和母亲的关系特别亲密,在学校时天天与她通 电话。不管遇到欣喜还是忧愁的事,我总是想第一个告诉她。我的很多朋友也是如此,但我也认识一些女孩,与母亲关系紧张,甚至和她们针锋相对。她们大多觉得 自己的妈妈过分专制霸道,不理解她们,也不尊重她们的个性。母亲节前后,我一直在思索,到底人际关系中的哪一点引发了这种冲突,破坏了母女关系。我根据个 人经验和阅读推测,这种冲突很大程度上源于女儿获得母亲认可的需要得不到满足,而这种需要又影响着母女之间的交流。


A woman's relationship with her mother is often one of the most important ones in her life. Because they are the same gender, a mother and a daughter can often understand each other in ways in which a father and a daughter cannot. I personally have a very special bond with my mother; I call her everyday while away at college and I always want to tell her before anyone else if I am excited or worried about something. Many of my friends are the same way, but I also know girls who have extremely tense and confrontational relationships with their mothers. Most of these girls think that their mothers are overbearing and controlling and that they don't understand them or respect their individuality. Because of Mother's Day, I've been thinking a lot about what elements of the relationship create such a potential for conflict and spoil the bond between mother and daughter. From my own experience and reading, it seems that a large component of this potential is the need for maternal approval and the manner in which this need affects communication between a mother and daughter.


Thinking about what makes the relationship between mothers and daughters special yet potentially volatile made me remember a book I flipped through a couple of years ago. In the book, You're Wearing That? Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation, Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University, examines the manner in which mothers and daughters communicate with each other. Tannen argues that the quality of communication between mothers and daughters is inextricably linked to the issue of to what extent a mother should give advice or interfere in her daughter's life. While mothers may think that they are being helpful and showing that they care when they offer their daughters advice, daughters have a tendency to interpret their mothers' suggestions as cloaked criticism and disapproval. The example that Tannen highlights in the title of her book perfectly demonstrates this basic disparity in a mother and a daughter's interpretation of a simple verbal exchange. While a mother may think that she is being helpful and gently suggesting a more appropriate outfit by asking, “You're wearing that?”, her daughter is likely to think her mother is criticizing her and suggesting that she does not know how to dress herself. This miscommunication of intentions lies at the heart of many mother-daughter interactions and is one of the main things that can sour the relationship.


I think the reason that this misinterpretation occurs so frequently is because women are so eager for their mothers' approval that they are perhaps over-sensitive and defensive if they suspect that their mothers are criticizing them. A woman's mother is usually her earliest and most influential role model, so it is particularly painful to think that she doesn't have her mother's approval. In order to lessen this pain and deflect criticism, women often become defensive or hostile if they think their mothers are attempting to interfere or offer unsolicited advice. Although my relationship with my mother is a good one, I have also noticed this tendency in our relationship. My mother's opinion is very important to me, yet I seem to only want to know her opinion if it is positive. My mother and I have definitely had fights in the past because I thought she was being critical of me and overreacted by responding defensively.


Tannen suggests that this tension created by a woman's fear of her mother's criticism and her mother's desire to give advice is fundamental to any mother-daughter relationship. However, despite this tension and the inhibition of communication that it engenders, the bond between a woman and her mother has the potential to be one of the closest and most meaningful in her life. Tannen suggests that the key to overcoming the inherent tension to achieve this special bond is simple: mothers and daughters simply need to “cut each other a little more slack.” However, that may be easier said than done.



讨论:除了交流这点以外,还有什么别的因素影响母女关系? (Discussion Question: Besides communication, what other factors can affect a woman's relationship with her mother?)


Source: 
Tannen, Deborah.
You're Wearing That? New York: Ballatine Books, 2006. Print.
Image:
Four Generations of Women on a Direct Maternal Line (By Infrogmation, via Wikimedia Commons)

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