15 Insights on Improving Mother-Daughter Relationships

Mother-daughter relationships are complex and diverse. Some mothers and daughters are best friends. Others talk once a week. Some see each other weekly; others live in different states or countries. Some spar regularly. Some avoid conflict. Others talk through everything. And undoubtedly, there’s a hint of all these things in most relationships.Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships

There also are ups and downs, no matter how positive (or prickly) the relationship. In her private practice, Roni Cohen-Sandler, Ph.D, psychologist and co-author of I’m Not Mad, I Just Hate You! A New Understanding of Mother-Daughter Conflict, sees three primary complaints that daughters have about their moms: Moms try to parent them and are overly critical and demanding. From moms’ perspective, daughters don’t listen to them, make poor choices and have no time for them.Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships

Whatever your relationship with your mother or daughter, you can always make improvements. Here’s how to enhance your communication and connection and cut down on clashes.

1. Make the first move.

Don’t wait for the other person to make the first move, said Linda Mintle, Ph.D, marriage and family therapist and author of I Love My Mother, But… Practical Help to Get the Most Out of Your Relationship. Doing so inevitably leaves relationships stuck. “Think about how you feel in the relationship and what you can do to change.”Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships Relationships

2. Change yourself.

Many think that the only way to improve a relationship is for the other person to change their ways. But you aren’t chained to their actions; you can change your own reactions and responses, Mintle said. Interestingly, this can still alter your relationship. Think of it as a dance, she said. When one person changes their steps, the dance inevitably changes.

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