Researchers are studying a growing phenomenon within the family structure -- daughters relying on mothers to be their "virtual therapists."
Certainly, most people -- sons and daughters alike -- lean on their parents for emotional support and seek their advice during life's most challenging moments. But recently, researchers have found that women in their 20's and 30's are depending on their mothers -- and sharing their most intimate secrets -- more than ever, for a variety of reasons.
With the proliferation of cell phone and email usage, mothers and daughters are staying in touch more often and for longer, deepening their emotional bonds. Families tend to be smaller today than in past generations, increasing the focus on the children. And young adults are delaying decisions today about careers, marriage and having kids. WATCH VIDEO
(Interestingly, researchers say that these factors affect the mother-daughter relationship significantly more than the other parent-child relationships.)
With these factors and others in place, mothers become friends, confidants and pseudo-therapists for their daughters -- which begs a variety of questions:
* Does this kind of a relationship hinder the daughter's ability to develop independent decision-making skills?
* Is it appropriate for a mother to be more of a friend than a parent? At the same time, though, isn't it natural for a mother to provide emotional support?
* At what point does the co-dependence become too much?
* What if a married daughter relies more on her mother than on her husband? What impact does that have on a marriage -- especially a new marriage?
* Why doesn't this phenomenon occur as frequently between mothers and sons, fathers and sons or fathers and daughters?
We're interested to hear how you've either witnessed or dealt with these issues in your families, so let us know what you've observed and experienced!