Mother-daughter relationships can be challenging to maintain, and even the best of intentions can’t make up for a daughter who claims to hate you. It won’t be easy, but you can make things right with time and effort. Below are five solid solutions to help you work towards that outcome.
Scan your existing relationship dynamic for problematic patterns. Disregard your intentions for now and gauge how your actions might be coming across to your daughter. Focus on open communication and respecting them, and try to sneak in some bonding opportunities and affection where you can. Lastly, feel free to ask your spouse to lend a hand!
Identifying the underlying conflict is the most crucial step in the process. Hate is a deep-rooted emotion, so it needs to be handled decisively before your relationship degrades further.
1. Figure Out Your Main Source Of Tension
There are plenty of reasons that lead to mother-daughter conflicts, and if it’s gotten to the point your child actively claims to hate you there’s likely been a running pattern of behavior established.
Be mindful of their perspective. There could very well be a huge disparity between your intentions and actions, or your actions and their interpretations of them. What you see as caring could be viewed as overbearing from their position. What’s doting for you may be smothering for them.
Carefully consider what emotion comes up most often when interacting with them, along with the most common leadups that draw those feelings out. Self-scrutiny can do wonders on troubleshooting problems like this, and it’s never too late to learn and apply this practice.
2. Work On Your Communication And Respect
While being a mother does have its own responsibilities and perks, don’t play that card too often – especially if it’s done to avoid taking responsibility for mistakes.
Most parents act like they can’t be human with their child – in that they need to be exemplary, infallible role models. They prioritize being correct over being understood, to the deterioration of the relationship. As a mother, you need to maintain an understanding with your child. Open communication and mutual respect won’t come by always being right.
Avoid setting ultimatums for your daughter. You want to coax them into seeing you on fairer terms, and you’ll push them farther away by taking the choice from them. Establish that you do want to mend your current relationship and that you’re willing to discuss it without leveraging your parental status.
Hate and resentment are pretty exhausting on the body and mind – no one wants to maintain it, especially without good reason. They might not come around immediately, but approaching them as a reasonable equal is a good start to fix things.
We strongly recommend you brush up on your active listening skills. This means letting them explain what they have to say without any interruptions.
Think about it this way: if they’re just making excuses, you at least have some context on what was happening. If they did have a genuinely good reason for whatever happened, you learned something worthwhile. Shutting them down before they can elaborate is a horrible start on both communicating and respecting them as human beings.
3. Mind Her Boundaries
Don’t try to force a good relationship while they aren’t ready for it. Your daughter may still have some resentment to work through, and the last thing they need is someone urging them to drop it for stuff like “family” or “because it’s right” – pressuring them to decide while they aren’t ready could further any misgivings they hold against you.
It’s also quite possible that you’re pushing uncomfortably closely into their private life. While parental worry is a valid concern, it should never overtake their right to privacy. If your child isn’t in any immediate danger regarding the topic you want to discuss, we’d advise you not to pry.
Think about if someone did the same to you, even if you told them not to. They’re making it abundantly clear that they don’t trust you, nor do they care enough for your input to matter. It’s a very bad choice that should only be remotely considered if their safety is in jeopardy.
4. Seek Out Bonding Opportunities
If your daughter says they hate you, there’s likely either frequent arguments, uncomfortable silences, or both between the two of you. As mentioned before, trying to fix it too early will just cause more problems in the long run.
The solution here is as simple as just having fun with them. While it’s important to share what you love, younger kids tend to have more selective passions in mind. Forcing them to try out your interests is very inconsiderate – even if you’re only doing it to “broaden their horizons”, doing this shows a clear disregard of their personal agency.
Start with things like toys (if they’re of that age), television, and other casual interests. If they’re being really stubborn about it, starting with a gift might be the best call. The main objective here is establishing a shared experience. This makes a great foothold for making things right and has a decent chance of brightening up their day to boot.
Even little moments will do wonders. You don’t need to take all of their hobbies to heart – something as small as a “hello” or a packed lunch can make all the difference. Cut past all the tension and make them feel loved and cared for. They’ll eventually soften or even reciprocate, regardless of their foul mood!
5. Check What Dad Does Differently
If they like him but hate you, try and figure out the main difference between you two. There’s likely a difference in parenting style involved, and it might just boil down to strictness. It’s very common for fathers to be the more lenient side between parents. Your daughter hating you but loving them could just be an extension of what they want, rather than any real loathing.
Talk to your spouse to get an idea of how they manage your daughter. Them “hating” you could be from silly reasons like you not letting them go out with friends while their dad would let them.
That said, you don’t necessarily have to change your parenting style to match theirs. Just soften up a bit, and handle your daughter with more consideration and forethought than you did before.
Having a daughter that hates you is heartbreaking, but there’s usually some underlying reason that can be settled between you two. Don’t overdo it as a mother – they need you as a friend more on some occasions. Remember to respect them as much as you love them, and things should turn out better in the long run.