One of the common ways that mothers fail their daughters is to load them down with criticism.Â Here are a few samples:
“You really should lose some weight and you would look a whole lot better.
“Why can’t you keep your room clean like your sister? You are a slob.”
“Your brother got the brains in this family.”
“Your legs are too fat at the ankles to wear a skirt like that.”
“That color brings out your bad complexion. You should go change.”
I know these sound like awful examples, but believe it or not, mothers say rude things to their daughters. And these impolite, ungracious remarks do not bounce off. They are like the arrows that wound, and the cut goes deep. Mothers may feel like “she never listens to a thing I say,” but the truth is that daughters not only listen, but they also repeat it back to themselves over and over again until they become resentful and bitter toward their mothers. And then the mothers wonder why their daughters act alienated, hurt, and unhappy. “She doesn’t talk to me any more, and I don’t know why.”
Sometimes daughters slip into eating disorders because family members have told them they are fat. In fact, if we could take a survey, it may be that most eating disorders began as the result of family criticism. Losing weight can be a way to gain approval and affection.
Sometimes daughters feel so beat up on the inside that they eagerly look for a ticket out, even if it means marrying some guy who shows her all the wrong kind of attention. But by this time, she thinks any attention is better than none.
What daughters want most from their mothers (and fathers) is love and approval. Now I don’t think parents should approve of sin. Of course not. But love and approval can be shown in many positive or even neutral areas. Daughters want to please their parents, and they want to be appreciated for who they are, how they look, and what they are doing. Sometimes, if their approval rating is in the tank, they may do something stupid just to prove they don’t care what their parents think. But the opposite is actually the case: they care very much, so much, in fact, that this act of rebellion is a desperate cry for attention. And if they can’t get attention any other way, then maybe this will work.
Disapproval and criticism are crippling, paralyzing, and deadly. They drive a wedge between mother and daughter that can only be fixed one way, and that is by repentance.