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  • Writer's pictureDr. Donna Cill

Do you hear what I hear? 4 Tips to Opening lines of Communication with your daughter

-through Listening and Responding, at any age.                      

by: Donna Cill (Mother Daughter Connect)

Two Studies on Mother Daughter communication highlight the importance of Listening and Responsiveness. This entire month is dedicated to providing useful tips on LISTENING to our daughters.

Here is the scenario

Your daughter walks into your bedroom, or calls you on the phone. She presents her dilemma; it’s the same situation that she has presented a million times before.  It’s a topic that sparks old negative feeling, and as she speaks you find yourself feeling frustrated, angry and weary of this never-ending topic. You think to yourself, ‘I have heard her a million times before, saying the same thing; I m so tired of hearing the same words.’

The Research

If you feel this way, chances are you haven’t been listening. Well, at least not effectively listening. According to research conducted by Pluhar & Kuriloff, listening is one of the most critical skills necessary to promote positive communication between mothers and daughters. This study examined one of the six health risk behaviors noted by the Center for Disease Control, sexual activity. A link was noted between effective listening between a mother/daughter dyad and decreased sexual activity.

Listening is a skill-it requires extreme patience and tolerance. When you are listening, your mind should be clear and without pretense. When your daughter is speaking you should be listening to her every word. Her words are the pathway to her feelings.

Once we control our response, and begin to listen; we begin to hear the words of our daughters. This allows us the ability to HEAR what  our daughters are saying.

According to research conducted by Fasula & Miller , effective communication between the mother daughter dyad was critical in reducing health risk behaviors. Specifically responsiveness during communications from the mother to the daughter.

4 Strategies to Strengthen Your Listening IQ

Here are Four evidenced Based Tips that will increase communication through Listening.

  1. Listen- remembering that your daughters words are the pathway to her soul. Each word she speaks has a measure of value.

  2. Hold your emotions Hostage -This will be difficult but it will allow your mind to open up to hear your daughters words.

  3. Before you Respond (Process the Information)- A true listener never responds immediately. Take time to hear what your daughter has said and also consider the words she is not saying.

  4. Responses to your daughter should have three elements: Openness , comfort, and understanding. Fasula & Miller noted that these qualities during a response provided the most favorable outcomes.

As an expert in communication, I still struggle with listening to my older daughter especially when she touches on a sensitive topic. What helps me through this difficult time is Stephen Coveys 5th Habit. “Seek to understand, than to be understood”.

Listening is an investment and your return is a stronger bond with your daughter.


Fasula, A.M & Miller, K.S. (2006) African-American and Hispanic adolescents’ intentions to delay first intercourse: parental communication as a buffer for sexually active peers, Journal of Adolescent Health Volume 38, Issue 3.

Pluhar, E.I & Kuriloff, P (2004) What really matters in family communication about sexuality? A qualitative analysis of affect and style among African American mothers and adolescent daughters, Sex Education, Vol. 4, No. 3

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Author Stephen R, Covey, Free Press A Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc. New York, NY, Copyright 1989,2004


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