As mothers we form strong bonds with our children from the moment they are born. These bonds grow as they do, while we nurture and guide them through life. The mother-daughter bond in particular is often very strong.
Interestingly, this may be due to more than just maternal love – mothers are literally on the same wave-length as their daughters.
Research claims that the parts of the brain are more similar between mothers and daughters than any other family pairing. Neuroimaging has shown that the similarities lie in the corticolimbic circuitry, which is responsible for a wide range of processes such as executive functioning, learning and memory and, most notably, mood regulation.
The fact mothers and daughters relate so well on an emotional level could also contribute to why apparently mothers favour daughters (don’t worry – fathers favour the boys!). This bias is according to a study that found that parents are more likely to invest in children that are the same sex as them. It is hypothesised that a feeling of shared-experience strongly links mothers to daughters and fathers to sons.
As a mother of both boys and a girl, I can attest to the fact there is a different bond between mother and daughter. As much as I love my boys, I feel inexplicably linked to my daughter through the girl I once was and the woman she will one day be.
And now, at 37, I feel closer to my own mum than ever before. I turn to her for advice and support, even as an adult. These days our relationship is more like a friendship (although she doesn’t hesitate to tell me off if I’m out of line!), however I still feel nurtured by her. And when I’m sick I still just want my mum!
It’s important to note that not all mother-daughter relationships are close, despite shared brain chemistry.
A study published in the Journal of Family Issues found that relationship history and generational differences can strongly influence how mothers and daughters each perceive their relationship as the daughter matures.
Another study showed that a daughter’s relationship with her mother relationship can strongly influence her social and psychological wellbeing into adulthood. Most notably, maternal connection had a positive correlation with young women’s self-esteem.
While as mothers we love all our children equally and do our best to shape them into healthy, well balance humans, it is interesting to know the extent of influence we can have on our daughter’s present and future wellbeing.
Are you and your mum close? Do you feel like you have a stronger bond with your daughter than your son?