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Saturday, June 15, 2024

What you’re actually saying together with your Mom’s Day present

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Right here mum, I’ve purchased you one thing!

After your daughter spends the weekend visiting, a shock present looks as if a form gesture – till you open it and discover a vacuum cleaner. What does this say about her go to and what she thinks of your home? Must you obtain it with gratitude, hand it again in a huff, or begin planning a revenge present?

We give presents for all types of causes: to point out somebody we love them, are happy with them, or admire them. Because the above state of affairs reveals, we additionally give presents to present a touch, to flatter (or offend) somebody or to assert affect.

Exchanging presents is a solution to categorical private needs, social norms and kinship, particularly in relationships. And moms and their grownup daughters have a few of the most advanced relationships.

In a paper printed in January 2024, we interviewed 27 moms and their grownup daughters to discover the politics concerned in gift-giving and receiving. We discovered that presents are a means for moms and daughters to speak a number of issues. Items can present recommendation (even unwelcome) with out the giver having to say it, assist strengthen the connection, and (not so) subtly counsel that the opposite particular person change.

Items may assist moms and daughters find out about one another’s boundaries and about themselves. Receiving an undesirable present generally is a essential second, when a mom realises the variations between herself and her daughter, or a daughter sees herself for the primary time as unbiased from the connection.

Strengthening the connection

As we discovered from the moms and daughters in our research, exchanging mundane presents is a solution to verify an enduring bond, particularly if the connection goes by means of a tough interval. One 32-year-old girl who was in a poisonous romantic relationship advised us that her mom would purchase her small presents of flowers, books or goodies, or she would come to see her.

She described this frequent stream of small, however considerate presents as “strategic”, saying that her mom “took a step again, [but] she didn’t need to lose her reference to me”.

For the mom, these presents served as a method of preserving the mother-daughter connection regardless of the presence of the daughter’s troublesome boyfriend. Her mom defined:

We tried to not choose and stand by her as a result of that’s what she wished. I’d take her to the live performance from time to time. He would attempt to sabotage it by having a combat together with her.

Generosity and gift-giving generally is a solution to present love and approval and strengthen the mother-daughter bond. However they will additionally include strings hooked up, or a way of responsibility to reciprocate.

A 37-year-old girl who wanted a second automotive to fulfil childcare commitments advised us that after her mom gave her some cash, she would go to her dad and mom and cook dinner for them as a means of “saying thanks”.

Nudging the opposite to vary

Some moms and daughters use presents to softly nudge one another into making higher choices. One 58-year-old mom who’s a hoarder discovered it amusing that her daughters gave her presents of experiences – massages and spa days – as an alternative of tangible gadgets.

One in every of her daughters responded: “It’s embarrassing to ask buddies round” as a result of they see a cluttered home. The daughter used these experiential presents to attempt to “remedy” her mom of hoarding, and save herself from feeling embarrassed.

An older, Asian woman and her adult daughter stand back to back with arms crossed and unhappy expressions on their faces
It’s the thought that counts, proper?

Typically, the demand for change is much less delicate. A retired girl we interviewed described receiving costly holidays and weekends away from her eldest daughter, Aurora, regardless of being a reluctant traveller.

I’ve all the time been nervous about new locations. I’ll by no means really feel assured. Aurora tries onerous instilling confidence in me. She simply doesn’t hand over … I did ask her to not organise any extra holidays [like this], it’s garbage. And he or she mentioned, “No, you’re garbage” and I mentioned, “Sure, we’re.” Oh, I’m ineffective. I felt safer when Aurora was round.

Ultimately, Aurora took her mom and father on a visit together with her, reasonably than giving it as a present. This happy her mom, who mentioned she was “ecstatic” to be taken care of by her daughter on vacation, saying: “I didn’t have fears as a result of we [my husband and I] had been going with Aurora and her husband. We had been being handled like youngsters.”

Whenever you give or obtain a present this Mom’s Day, take into consideration what you’re actually saying. You may be making an attempt to shore up a rocky relationship, asking for assist or suggesting the opposite particular person make a change of their life. Otherwise you would possibly merely be saying: I like you.


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