[Mother Therapy_Q&A] My daughter tells me to stop being obsessive about her.

Q. I leave home for work early in the morning before my 13-year-old daughter gets up. I am worried about her getting up and going to school late, so I often call her to check. One day, she told me to stop being obsessed about her and checking on her. I keep calling her since she does not answer my text messages. I wouldn't call if she lets me know how she is doing, saying she got up or she is leaving for school. Am I being obsessive? Can mothers with strong maternal instinct become obsessive towards children?

A. You are not being obsessive at all. You care so much about your daughter and you just want to take good care of her. However, your daughter may feel uncomfortable since you act only according to your own thought standards. You may feel anxious since you are worried about her not getting up on time and missing school. You may feel upset when she cannot be contacted, causing conflicts between you and your daughter. When such situations repeatedly occur, your daughter may think that you force your ideas upon her and feel uncomfortable.

Maternal love makes you feel happy just by giving love to children and it cannot be strong or weak. When mothers' expression of love is excessive or distorted, it indicates that they expect something in return for their giving love. You may have expected your daughter to respond to your giving in a sweet way and behave as you wish. True maternal love is the kind of love that stabilizes and nourishes children's body and mind. When mother's love makes children feel uncomfortable and hurt, it is considered to be driven by mother's own distorted desire instead of love.

You must reflect upon your thoughts and behaviors. You may have anxiety, which makes you feel constantly worried about your daughter. You must also talk about practical matters with your daughter and about her daily life considering her point of view as well as yours. You may find your daughter's ideas and feelings you have never thought about, and she may also be able to learn about what you think and how much you love her. Then, you and your daughter can negotiate and adjust for what both of you can do for each other in a positive way. Maternal love is supposed to make children feel secure, comfortable, and happy. It is unconditional love that never demands a return from children in any form.


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