Nurturing the Relationship Between Mothers and Daughters

The relationship between a daughter and her mother are complex, and diverse. Sometimes you see mothers and daughters behaving like best friends, other times, they prefer small doses of each other. In some cases hundreds or thousands of miles separate them, yet they check in with each other often. Then there are those that have strained relationships, avoid conflict all together, and those that talk through absolutely everything.

My own daughters have made me aware of two “behaviors” they find frustrating:

1. Trying to “parent” them when they are grown, or
2. Seeming overly critical

From a mother’s perspective, those same behaviors translate into something different.

1. Our daughters don’t listen to us, or
2. They make “poor” choices

Regardless of the relationship you currently have with your daughter, or your mother, there is always progress and improvement to make.

Read on for 6 tips on how to make those improvements, learned from my own experience with daughters, and as one too.

Make the First Move

Don’t count on the other person to take the first step, you could be waiting forever. Waiting on others to act inevitably leaves a relationship stagnant, and unable to progress. Think about how you feel in the relationship and determine what you actually have to power to change.

Change Yourself

Many think that the only way a relationship can evolve is if the other person changes their behavior, attitude, personality, etc. We are unable to control others, no matter how much we might wish we could, but we certainly can control our own actions and responses to help improve our relationships.

Communication is Vital

Lack of, or poor communication is a challenge in any relationship, and is even more so in mother-daughter relationships. Often, one or both parties feel that they are so close and connected, that the other should “just know” how the other one feels. This is rarely the case and making assumptions like that really hamper communication.

It is important to communicate what you feel and think clearly, and respectfully. It is important to speak from a place of your own experience, however, and do your best to keep calm and maintain a respectful demeanor- even if you disagree. Engage in Active Listening.

Active listening

is absorbing and reflecting upon what another is saying, instead of making assumptions, or simply waiting your turn to speak. When you take the time to reflect on what your loved one is saying, you are communicating to her that you hear her and understand what she is feeling.

Resolve Conflicts Quickly

Failing to resolve conflict or disagreements quickly can have long-lasting effects. In general, unresolved conflict gets carried into future relationships, and potentially have the power to destroy them.


The relationship between mothers and daughters is far from simple, however, typically they are healthier than other types of relationships. Women generally have a better ability at maintaining relationships than men do, particularly when those relationships have a high level of intimacy. Mothers and daughters also share a unique investment in family that will cultivate a deeper bond, when the daughter becomes a mother herself.


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