Entries in Daughters (2)


Six Generations of Daughters: From Baby to Great, Great, Great Grandmother

Courtesy Christian DeBaun(NEW YORK) -- A Virginia family will have a lot of moms to fuss over this Mother’s Day.

The family has an astonishing six generations of daughters still living.  The matriarch of the family, Mollie Wood, was born in 1901 and just marked her 111th birthday.  The youngest addition to the family, Braylin Marie Higgins, was born in March to Wood’s great, great, great granddaughter.

So what's the secret to the family’s longevity?

“We’re ornery,” laughed 39-year-old Marlo Shifflett.  “I think that’s a lot of it.  We’re too ornery to stop!”

But there might be another magic ingredient as well -- resilience.

Mollie Wood was a young married woman with two toddlers in diapers and another baby on the way when her husband was stricken by polio.  It took him three years to recover enough to go back to work.

Wood’s granddaughter, Betty Goodson, said Wood “had to raise all the food, wash clothes by hand, cook everything from scratch.  She has worked hard all her life.”

That work ethic was certainly passed down through the generations.  Three nights a week, you can find the 70-year old Goodson leading a combination yoga and Pilates class.

Wood’s daughter, Goodson’s mother, is still going strong at age 88, as well.  Octogenarian Louise Minter cleans houses.  She’s been doing so for nearly three decades, since retiring from General Electric.

Minter lives just five minutes from her mother, and visits the family matriarch a few times a week.

Despite the strong family ties, “We are very independent.  We definitely are not one to expect people to take care of us,” said Goodson’s daughter, Marlo Shifflett, who owns a beauty shop and day spa in Elkton. 

That independence extends to 16-year-old Savannah Shifflett, the mother of baby Braylin.

“My daughter has not asked for help,” Marlo Shifflett said.  “And I thought, ‘Where does she get that from?’  And I realized we’re all that way.”

The family admitted they were devastated when they found out that Savannah was expecting, but the women said the baby has made them even closer.

Savannah is engaged to the Braylin’s dad, and said of her infant, “She definitely wasn’t planned, but she’s my world.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Aging Moms Prefer Daughter to Hubby, Study Finds

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- An international study shows mothers prefer their daughters as they age.

Debby calls her 26-year-old daughter Beth three times a day -- and might add a few daily texts on top of that.

Mother and daughter, both of whom live in Denver, are close, much more so than when Beth was a teenager.

“We talk about health, work, food, shopping -- just touching base,” said Debby, 60, who was shy about using her last name.  “I am just checking to see if she’s alive.”

A study published this week in the journal of Scientific Reports suggests that as women age they shift their focus of intimacy from their husbands to adult daughters -- even as their husbands continue to retain their wives as their closest confidantes.

Researchers from Britain’s Oxford University and Boston’s Northeastern University did an analysis of two billion cell phone calls and a half billion text messages from a mobile telephone carrier in a European country over a seven-month period. The contact most frequently called was considered the “best friend.”

The study said that in early adulthood, men and women focus most on their romantic partner. With women, that continues until about age 27.  But when they reach their 40s, they shift attention away from the spouse to the daughter. And that relationship strengthens over time, peaking at about age 60.

Men, at least in their cell phone communication, stick with a female best friend -- presumably their wives, according to the study. They call their sons and daughters equally.

Researchers suggest that the shift in communication may be biologically driven as women in their childbearing years move closer to motherhood. Debby agrees.

But her daughter Beth views the relationship differently, and Debbie admits that she might consider her a “helicopter parent.”

Beverly Hills psychoanalyst Fran Walfish said that while she appreciates “warm and close” families, when the lives of mothers and daughters become too intertwined, it can signal trouble in the husband-wife relationship.

“I am wondering if the women who were looked at in this study, they turn to their daughter because the relationships and communication with their husbands had decreased and fallen off track as they aged.”

The “main requirement” for a healthy coupling is that the male and female “create or establish a reasonable separation from their family of origin,” said Walfish, author of the 2010 book, Self-Aware Parent.

“The new husband is first, front and center,” she said. “What that means is the mental space that is taken up in one’s mind of who we think about has to be husband first, then, children, then parent.”

Adolescents need to separate to enter the world as adults, according to Walfish. “It’s necessary to create the bricks and mortar of the foundation of the couple and the foundation of a new family.”

Walfish said she has seen a rise in the number of couples in their 20s, 30s and 40s coming in for counseling because of “mother-in-law problems” … "I never get the complaint about fathers-in-laws.”

She agrees that biology may drive aging mothers closer to their daughters, especially as they become grandparents. “That’s a positive and wonderful thing,” she said. “But if reasonable boundaries aren’t created, it can be poison or toxic.”

Mothers like Debby say that constant calling and texting their daughter has nothing to do with their love of their husbands.

“She’s much more interesting than he is,” she says. “And I like her opinion on things.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio