The Millennial generation is known for many things: multitasking, tech savvy, social networking and enterpreneurship. But bonding with their parents? Maybe not so much.
I am convinced that with the birth of every new gadget or network, the chance to network and socialize in person diminishes. I did not give the subject of mothers bonding with their daughters much thought until I interviewed Erika Katz, beauty journalist and author of Bonding Over Beauty.
The book was written to show mothers a way to really and truly bond with their daughters over fun topics like grooming, hygiene and painting nails. “I have an eight year old daughter and I wanted to ask her how things were going at school,” Katz says, but noted that the daughter was seldom inclined to make any conversation with her mother.
“But as I was cutting her nails she would talk, talk, talk. It was like going to your hairdresser.” Katz notes that as she was cutting her nails one day, she had a scrub and put it on her hands, and slathered moisturizer and give her a mini manicure. “I got the whole story of the day,” she says, “and I thought wow, this is how you can talk to your daughter.”
This form of beauty bonding is so different from bonding with brownies and cookies. Katz, who has a long history with beauty with her experience as a writer, television and modeling, gives mothers (and general beauty junkies in general) tips, and inside advice into the activities and beauty secrets that are the perfect “glue” between mother and daughter.
” I wanted it to be a guide,” says Katz, “because you establish your relationship with your daughter with little things and when it comes big stuff like sex and drugs, she knows she can trust you.”
As for boys versus girls, Katz does think that boys are simpler! “You take them to a sports game and cheer them on and they’re happy,” she says. “Girls don’t have the same kind of the thing with their mom and they’re competitive with their mom, and parents don’t actually watch what they’re daughters are watching,” she says.
Also, girls are really influenced by media and celebrities in a huge way, and sometimes rely on their mothers to sort out what’s what. For instance, Katz’s daughter would come to her and say a strand of blue hair, or clip ins of blue hair are totally trendy, and Katz would ask her to show her who in the world has blue hair. Her daughter would pick up a magazine with Selena Gomez, for instance, with a low-slung ponytail. “I understood her and listened to her because it’s very hard to know what’s on trend,” says Katz. “Moms are busy and moms are working, and then on top of this to keep up with Selena Gomez’ hairstyles just isn’t always possible.”
So the bottom line in the book? Mutual benefit. Moms can learn a lot from their daughters, but also help daughters realize what’s on trend. And the trick is to not constantly talk at her, but make sure that they are respected for who they are and their person stylistic choices.
The book also discusses the importance of skincare, and how it’s important to moisturize and the entire ritual of taking care of skin, as well as diet. Katz admits that her daughter has responded the most to bonding over nails, and also scrubs. Kids love scrubs and they way things feel, and she has an entire section of her book devoted to making scrubs and beauty recipes at home — another way of bonding.
“There’s nothing she loves more than having a mask on and soaking in the tub,” says Katz about her daughter. “She loves seeing her face.”
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