Prayers For Broken Mother-Daughter Relationship

MOTHER’S PRAYER FOR HER DAUGHTER – adult children relationship

Prayers For Broken Mother-Daughter Relationship

Prayers for adult children and relationship. The bond between a mother and a daughter is one that should be valued. However, a mother and daughter relationship can be challenging and complex, due to the stages of life that children face.

At every stage of your daughter’s life, the natural response of a mother is they want to continue to teach and nurture their child. However, as your daughter continues to grow and develop, they are keen to become young adults, experience life, become independent and develop their own relationships.

A mother’s prayer for her daughter is therefore fundamental at every stage of their life.

This article aims to explore the reasons why we should pray for our children and the importance of a mother–daughter relationship. This article also aims to outline how a mother’s prayer for her daughter can protect and encourage throughout life.

Why we should pray for our children?

We are living in a fallen world and there is an expectation that we raise our children in a society where values are contrary to the word of God.

We live in a world that wants to hurt and destroy our children with sexual exploitation, peer pressure and girls been informed by negative social images that they need to be a certain size and look a certain way to be accepted.

It is for this reason why we need to pray for our children and cover them in prayer against the plans and wiles of the enemy who comes to kill steal and destroy. “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” (John 10:10).

We need to pray for our children so that we remain alert, aware and equally hearing God’s voice in every situation as a family unit. Mothers should pray for their daughters, praying a prayer of blessing over them.

Therefore, a mother’s prayer for her daughter is important because the prayer of blessing over your daughter cannot be reversed (Numbers 23:20). It is through a mother’s prayer for her daughter that blessings can be spoken over her, thus enabling your daughter to be confident in Christ Jesus.

 “The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26). 

Praying for our adult children is also a divine assignment and it is the duty and responsibility of every mother. A mother’s prayer for her daughter empowers, protects and defends them.

  Equally a mother’s prayer for her daughter nurtures them spiritually giving them the spirit of excellence in all that they do. A mother’s prayer for her daughter destroys every weapon formed against them.

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper…” (Isaiah 54:17).

Mother’s prayer for her daughter

Dear Jesus, thank you for who you are. You are indeed omnipotent and omnipresence. I am grateful that you can see into our hearts.

So right now God, will you see into the heart of my daughter? Purify her heart and protect her from all evil thoughts and ideas. Help my daughter to see the beauty you have placed inside of her. And help her to not be blinded by the world’s definition of beauty.

Father help her to be secure in who you say she is; fearfully and wonderfully made; a royal priesthood, a chosen generation.

I pray for Your spiritual, physical and emotion defense over my daughter. Help her to known that you are her refuge and strength in times of difficulties. Protect her mind from evil conversations and grant her the spirit of discernment.

Father, help her to hear your voice clearly and that she will hear nothing but truth. Lord help her to realize that safety can only be found in You and no-one else.

So, thank you Father for your love, strength and protection over my daughter in Jesus Name. Amen.

A mother’s prayer for her daughter helps because children are constantly under attack from worldly pleasures, the enemy and the flesh.

Therefore, being aware that your daughter is under attack should encourage persistent prayer. A mother’s prayer for her daughter helps because no one can pray for your daughter you can.

This is because you know your daughter intimately and a mother can discern their weaknesses, struggles and hurts.

The importance of mother-daughter relationship

A mother-daughter relationship is important because from birth, a mother takes on the responsibility of caring, cooking and generally looking after their daughter into womanhood.

A mother may not necessarily be biologically related; however, a simple definition of a mother is one who can show unconditional love, giving their full support or being a caregiver, in turn helping their daughter progress and develop throughout their life into womanhood.

A mother-daughter relationship is important according to the Word of God because a mother helps their daughter to walk in the truth. “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4).

A mother-daughter relationship is importance because a daughter can be influenced by the behavior, conduct and attitude of her mother.

A mother’s prayer is therefore to speak words of wisdom and kindness over them (Proverbs 31:26). Praying over your daughter will cause them to honor and respect you as their mother.

Children are commanded to honor their parents/guardians so that they may live to see long days (Deuteronomy 5:16).

Being able to understand the purpose of a mother’s prayer for her daughter, will enable you to pray persistently and effectively in your Christian walk. Knowing why you should pray for your children and the importance of a mother-daughter relationship will also enable you to develop a deeper relationship with God as well as achieve a greater level of self-discipline in praying for others.


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7 Types of Unhealthy Mother-Daughter Relationships and How Each Affects Your Life

Prayers For Broken Mother-Daughter Relationship

What you once thought was normal behavior may, in fact, be toxic. There are little indicators that prove you’ve witnessed unhealthy mother-daughter relationships, which are in dire need of repair.

Those snarky remarks aren’t cute and no, they are not to be looked over. These things are signs of trouble, and if you can catch them in time, you may be able to save your relationship. If not, your entire life can be infected by bitterness.

Discovering the flawed connection

Unhealthy mother-daughter relationships come in various forms. There are no singular ways to describe the characteristics. On the other hand, these relationships can be placed in categories to help you understand the types. Here are a few examples and how they affect your future.

The controlling relationship

This form of parenting is seen quite often in mother-daughter relationships. It is also considered a normal way of parenting for mothers who have endured the same behavior from their own mothers.

Controlling mothers pay little attention to their daughter’s feelings and needs. They often project a set of needs onto their daughter and say that it’s for their daughter’s “own good”.

At the same time, the mother will keep the daughter pressed down so that it’s easier to control the entirety of her life.

The daughter complies because she believes she is never good enough to do things on her own.

Behavior this can affect how the daughter performs in school or work and keeps her from reaching higher goals. It can also become the same parenting technique for when the daughter has a daughter of her own.

The critical relationship

It’s okay to be critical of some things, but it’s unhealthy to nit-pick everything your daughter says or does. Being overly critical is seen in many mother-daughter relationships. This is why we see so many mothers pressuring their daughters to be more, do more and look better.

If a young woman fails, her critical mother will recognize each failure and make it larger than it really is. Enduring a critical mother can make it hard for a daughter to love herself properly. She will never think she’s good enough.

Fighting relationships

My aunt had three daughters, and she fought terribly with all of them. However, the youngest daughter seemed to make her blood boil. My aunt would grab her by the hair and throw her across the room.

I’m surprised she was never arrested for child abuse. The point I’m making in saying this is some mother-daughter relationships are one big fight, all the time.

To them, it’s normal to “raise hell”.

Unfortunately, abuse or even just constant fighting can cause so much damage to a woman. She will never be able to see her mother as a loving and caring protector. Some daughters see their mothers as the enemy, and that’s a shame.

The big joke

Sometimes mother-daughter relationships can seem one big joke, literally. In many families, parents, both mothers, and fathers thrive on poking fun at their children.

This can be okay if it’s only occasional joking. But when a mother jokes about her daughter constantly, it can cause psychological damage. After the same jokes are told, the child starts to believe these are facts, insults that the parent want to make but put them in comedic form.

Children are smart. They hear redundant things and they read between the lines. While some mothers simply enjoy cracking jokes about their children, they don’t realize that their words have the power to make or break their daughter’s self-esteem.

Mama drama

Some relationships between mothers and daughters are dramatic productions. Simple communication is just not enough to satisfy this toxic mother. She must make every mistake seem the end of the world. The family drama includes screaming, throwing things and insults, designed to instill fear into the other person.

Mothers who use such drama believe that there is no other way to get their point across without blowing everything proportion. The long-term effects of this for daughters means the possibility of experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or passing on the same behavior to later generations.

The dismissive relationship

One of the most hurtful relationships between mother and daughter is the dismissive type. This sort of relationship leaves the daughter feeling as if she doesn’t exist. The mother always has her own agenda and despite how hard the daughter begs for her attention, the mother cannot see the effort.

This relationship form can lead to low self-esteem and constant competitiveness. The daughter will continue to seek the attention that she did not receive from her mother and fail to provide the same attention needed by her own daughter.

No boundaries

Opposite of the dismissive relationship is the one with no boundaries. Some mothers are always snooping around and invading privacy, or as they call it, “just being concerned for their children”. I bet you’ve heard that before. Maybe you are the mother trying to break the passcode on your daughter’s phone…tsk tsk.

Well, it’s actually healthy to have boundaries between mother and daughter, but it’s a fine line. While you want to make sure you are keeping your offspring safe, you also want to give them room to be themselves. As for adult mothers and daughters, yes, your child still needs healthy boundaries with you.

A mother-daughter relationship can be healthy

For unhealthy mother-daughter relationships, I think, before tackling these issues, you should find time to sit and just communicate.

As a matter of fact, when was the last time you actually talked to your daughter? I don’t mean when you delegated responsibilities or you reprimanded them for a bad decision.

Adult mothers: I also don’t mean when you fought with her about her own parenting skills.

When I say communicate, I mean getting to know each other as individuals. This is a great way to be fair and to set ground rules for the household. Communication opens pathways to these other issues so that you can find ways to repair all the toxic symptoms.

Yes, I do believe mothers and daughters can have a healthy relationship. So let’s get started now!


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Mother-daughter relationships: which category do you fit into?

Prayers For Broken Mother-Daughter Relationship

Wendy Bristow, a London-based psychotherapist, says: “It’s not particularly healthy to try and be your daughter’s best friend, or to treat your mother as your soul mate.

It suggests you haven’t accomplished the psychological task of separation, which is a crucial part of growing up.

There’s nothing unhealthy about loving your mum a lot and wanting her around, but you can’t be forever in a child relationship with your parent.”

The two notable separation stages during childhood occur in toddlerhood and adolescence, and if this isn’t achieved, she warns, “mother and daughter can be stuck in a perpetual adolescence together.”

If it sounds a recipe for grief, it can be. One “best friend” daughter, Joanne, 38, a PA, from Hull, invited her divorced mother on her hen night, where she (the mother) drank, danced, and smooched the night away. Their friendship subsequently suffered.

“Our relationship was always tricky,” says Joanne. “She wanted to be close, to be one of the girls, but when I let her, she’d inevitably take over. It was she was the child and I was the parent. Now we no longer talk.”

In this type of relationship, Bristow adds, “It could be that the mother is in denial about her age, which is not healthy. You need your mother in a supportive, parental role. She needs to live her own life, in her own generation.

You need space in your life for your own partner, and best friend mothers can become jealous of husbands or be too involved.

To have a fulfilling relationship with your partner, your mother needs to take a supportive back seat in your life.”

2. The Sunday night caller

This daughter tends to call her mother weekly, and probably lives in a different city from her. These women have a good relationship but the daughter values her independence and is selective about the aspects of her life she shares with her mother.

To move away from your parents and live your own life is normal, says Bristow. “If you keep in touch once a week, for many daughters that works perfectly well. It can be a sign that the relationship is strong and can tolerate distance. The question is, is there distance in more ways than one? If you were upset or thrilled by something, would you still only ring once a week?”

Emma, 43, an engineer, from Shropshire recognises herself as a Sunday Night Caller. “We do deeply love each other but it has been a distant, difficult relationship. I used to ring and say ‘how are you?’ She’d chat for 40 minutes about herself, then ask how I was.

I’d say ‘I’ve hurt my knee’ and she’d reply, ‘oh yes, my knees hurt!’ And we’d have another 20 minutes talking about her. Now I say, ‘Okay, the conversation has swung back to you again!’ Now I can be honest with her, our relationship has improved.

And I know she’s very proud of me.”

3. Can’t live with her, can’t live without her

This is the Dawn French/Billie version of the mother-daughter bond. “Our relationship exists in a bizarre kind of process of peacetime, small battles, war,” she said.

“The peacetime is much more than the other two energies, but we have our wars.

The love, thank God, is profound and I do thank God, because I love that kid so much that sometimes if I don’t her or she doesn’t me we survive it.”

Mother and daughter live just 12 minutes away from each other in Cornwall. “We could no longer live together – there would be murder,” said French. “But we have to live nearby.”

Pairs these would be lost without each other, even if they sometimes drive each other to distraction. To Bristow, this is a poignant, honest example of a healthy parent-child relationship.

French said: “I haven’t got a kid who wants to read with me and have adventures with me, I’ve got a different kind of kid.

” As Bristow says, “her vision of motherhood was that she’d have a daughter she could read with, and it turned out the daughter she got didn’t want to read with her.

That is called parenthood! You might have kids who share what you love and you might not, and in a healthy relationship you accommodate the differences.”

Blow-up arguments are far better than pretending disagreement doesn’t exist, she contends. “It’s natural to drive each other round the bend,” she says. What matters is that your bond can tolerate this; that you can argue, make up and still love each other.

4. Mum as staff

This is a mutually beneficial relationship where mum does most of the childcare while daughter works and/or has a night out. The mother is pleased to be involved and enjoys time with her grandchildren. The daughter enjoys the free babysitting. However, these mothers can occasionally feel unappreciated by daughters who are prone to occasionally take advantage.

“In previous societies and generations, this is what would have been called a family!” says Bristow. “It happens less often now, but at the healthy end of the scale, if the daughter is working, having her mother looking after her children is a lovely way of organising childcare and can work fantastically well.”

Naomi, 65, has looked after her seven-year-old grandson – whom she adores – while her daughter works, since he was born. She says: “I’m getting too old for this. I’m exhausted. It’s got to the point where I’m nervous to tell her if I’ve booked to go away. I do feel she takes me for granted.”

Another potential flash point in this type of relationship is if the mother starts to take over and the daughter, feeling guilty, worries she can’t impose her own parenting values.

This, suggests Bristow, can be summed up by the refrain from the children, “Granny lets me eat Mars Bars until I’m sick!” But she says: “A healthy mother-daughter relationship can tolerate having a conversation about this, and it can be sorted out.”

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7 Uplifting Prayers For Your Daughter

Prayers For Broken Mother-Daughter Relationship

Your daughter is a precious gift from God and you want to do all that you can to protect her, encourage her, and build her confidence.

One of the greatest tools we have as a parent is prayer! The below prayers on various topics such as self worth, wisdom, purity, and protection, can help you find the words to pray over your daughter.

When you are worried and anxious about your daughter’s life and choices, you can cast your cares on Jesus and find peace knowing that He has a plan for good! Be encouraged that God moves through prayer and you can equip yourself and your daughter with wisdom.

Prayer for your Daughter’s Heart

Dear Lord, I know that Your Word does not return void and I'm believing great things for my daughter today:
1. Let her learn early in life that to obey You, God, is the best way to the life her heart truly desires (1 Samuel 15:22).
2. May she find comfort in Your ability, God, to reach her, hold her and rescue her (2 Samuel 22:17-18).

Let her find confidence in You, God, even when hard times come and she doesn't know what to do, by keeping her eyes fixed on You (2 Chronicles 20:12).
4. May she keep herself under control and not give full vent to people and situations that anger her (Proverbs 29:11).
5. Let her walk in the security of Your assigned worth to her.

Give her a strong work ethic and health to accomplish all her tasks. Give her a heart that desires to extend her hand to those in need. Protect her for the right husband, a man of respect and godly honor. And let her be a woman of joy and laughter whose Christ-centered character is what makes her most beautiful (Proverbs 31). May we both grow in our relationship with You.

In Jesus' Name, Amen.

~ Lysa TerKeurst

Prayer for a Struggling Daughter 

Create in _________________ a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within her (Psalm 51:10). Though you have made ______________ see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore her life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring her up.

You will increase ________________'s honor and comfort her once again (Psalm 71:20-21).

Thank You that Your word says I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate ___________ from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
~ Cindi McMenamin

Prayer for Our Daughter’s Self-Worth and Purity

Dear Jesus, we weep with you over the number of our kids who are buying into the lie that sexual pleasure is something to experiment with.

We pray that our daughters would treasure their sexuality as a true gift from You, and that they would honor that gift by saving it as a precious treasure to give their future spouse.

We ask that you would help them to be strong in the face of their own desires and that they would choose purity in the face of temptation. 

Lord we also ask that you’d protect our daughters from the idea that they must do anything and everything (including abusing their bodies through eating disorders, drug abuse, or other harmful behaviors) in order to attaining a “preferred” shape or figure.

We pray you’d protect our sons from that kind of destructive thinking, and that if they’re tempted to take these kind of drastic measures, that you’d send someone in their lives to stop them.

Help them to remember over and over that their identity is not in how they look on the outside but what you see as their potential and worth on the inside.

We pray that our daughters would treasure their health as a gift from God and that they would have a passion to eat nutritious food and to stay active in order to do their part to take care of this treasure. In Jesus name, Amen.
~ Alicia Michelle

Prayer For Daughter to Find Identity in Christ

Dear Jesus, help my daughter know that we are all born as sinners and separated from God because of our wicked hearts. However, at an early age, help her grasp the life-transforming concept that he does not have to live as a sinner under that condemnation.

Teach my daughter that she has the opportunity to accept a new, beautiful identity that is called “good,” not because of what she has done or what she looks , but because she is secure in who YOU say she is: treasured, delightful, known and protected.

Let her not place her self-worth in accomplishments she may or may not achieve, but let her discover these deeper truths about who You believe she is and build every decision she makes on that sure foundation. In Jesus name, amen.

~ Alicia Michelle

A Prayer for Daughters Protection 

Lord, I pray Your emotional, physical, and spiritual protection over my daughter. Keep evil far from her, and help her to trust You as her refuge and strength. I pray You will guard her mind from harmful instruction, and grant her discernment to recognize truth.

I pray You will make her strong and courageous in the presence of danger, recognizing that You have overcome and will set right all injustice and wrong one day. Help her to find rest in Your shadow, as she lives in the spiritual shelter You provide for her.

Let her know that the only safe place is in Jesus, and that her home on earth is only temporary. In Jesus name, amen.
~ Rebecca Barlow Jordan

Prayer for Daughter’s Spiritual Strength

I’m praying my daughter whose hands are limp and whose tongue is silent. Nudge her to pick up her sword. Help her conceive a strategic plan to take back what the enemy has plundered.

Lead her to scriptures for every area of defeat. Give her a voice to speak them out loud. Let the enemy know that You are raising up a standard against him with a resurrected daughter. In Jesus name, Amen.

~ Christine Wyrtzen

We hope these prayers have been able to guide your thoughts and desires for your daughter! Rest in God's promises that He is a loving Creator and Father who has good things in store for your child! Join other moms in the comments below and be encouraged by our large praying community.

This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray.

Prayer for Healing
Prayer for Strength
Prayer for Protection
Morning Prayers
Good Night Prayers
The Prayer of Jabez
Short Prayers
The Lord's Prayer
The Prayer of St Francis
Serenity Prayer
A Birthday Prayer
Sinner’s Prayer
Prayer for Forgiveness
Prayer for Guidance
Intercessory Prayer
Irish Prayers and Blessings
Advent Prayers
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Easter Prayers
Mother’s Day Prayer
Prayers for My Husband
Prayers for My Son
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How to Repair a Strained Mother-Daughter Relationship |

Prayers For Broken Mother-Daughter Relationship

The relationship between a mother and her daughter is sacred and unbreakable. The importance of mother-daughter relationships is critical for both mother and daughter’s emotional well-being. But it is complex and diverse as well.

Some mothers and their daughters are each other’s best friends while there is hostility among some. Some mothers keep an effective communication line with their daughters, while some barely talk once a week.

Some mothers and daughters see each other weekly; some moms or and daughters live in different states or countries. Some argue and fight regularly while some moms and daughters avoid conflict.

How to fix mother-daughter relationships?

There is no smooth relationship as there will be ups and downs in relationships. The mother-daughter relationship is troubled with new encounters at every stage of life, and disputes and misunderstandings are inevitable.

But we learn to recognize potential barriers early, communicate openly and most importantly, makeup with hugs and declarations of love and gratitude over a course of time.

Below are some tips and things to do for repairing mother-daughter relationships-

1. Listen actively

To repair a broken mother-daughter relationship, for that matter any strained relationship, you must have listening ears. You must be able to listen attentively to your mother or daughter. Let her know she can talk to you about virtually anything.

As it is being said, active listening is “reflecting back what the other person is saying”, when you reflect back what your mother or daughter is saying, you’re telling her that she’s being heard and that you understand.

Listening is the key to handling difficult mother-daughter relationships.

Don’t just listen to the words being said by your mother or daughter; you should also try your possible best to listen to the feelings underlying the message.

You get to understand more about the message being passed across if you understand the feelings of the other person. Often the words you say are not what you are really feeling or rather trying to pass across.

That is why it is so important that you learn to listen carefully. To repair a strained relationship between mother and daughter, active listening is critical.

2. Forgive easily

When your feelings are hurt and your emotions run extraordinary, it is quite often hard to forgive — or ask for forgiveness. Instead of attentively listening to your mom’s or daughter’s emotions and feelings and validating it to potentially apologize, you tend to feel personally attacked and fight back with harsher words. This style only causes more anger and hurt.

Forgiving someone is not admitting or saying that what happened is OK. It is not condoning, pardoning or minimizing the impact. Just saying “sorry” after an argument opens the door to a sincere conversation that permits us to well understand how our words and actions make the other person feel. For mending mother-daughter relationships, willingness to forgive is extremely important.

3. Communicate effectively

An ineffective communication system is one of the challenges with mom-daughter relationships. Some mothers learned the importance of keeping an effective communication line with their daughters while some barely talk once a week. Troubled mother-daughter relationships stem from a poor communication system.

How to mend mother-daughter relationships?

Don’t expect the other person to be a mind reader.  We need to communicate effectively, carefully and clearly.  Be gentle and careful as you speak from your heart. Words said are broken eggs, it is quite hard to put them back together. Saying harsh words pierce deeply into the person’s heart and can leave a painful wound, even if you never meant to hurt the person.

Be clear and calmly state how you’re feeling. Also, speak your mind in a very heartfelt but gentle manner.

4. Find common interests

Common interests are those activities two people enjoy together. A mother-daughter relationship breakdown happens when they don’t do anything together and when they don’t spend time together.

There must be something you love doing with your mom or daughter.

List them out and frequently engage yourself in those activities as it will go a long way in strengthening the bond between you and your mom/daughter.

Also, spending some quality relaxed time together while discovering common interests deepen the mother-daughter bond. There is definitely something you and your mom/daughter enjoys doing together.

You might feel you and your mom/daughter are not interested in doing anything together, if this is the case, explore something that is quite new to both of you. For example, take a music class, go on a tour e.t.c

Mother and daughter relationships thrive when they spend time together doing something both of them are passionate about.

5. Make time for each other

One of the most common complaints from mothers in a strained mother-daughter relationship is that their daughters no longer have a quality one on one time with them. However, you need to find the balance of knowing how much time to spend together.

Too much togetherness can cause petty frustrations and arguments to surface. Yet, not enough togetherness leads to isolation and a disconnection.

To remedy a strained relationship with mother or daughter, it is important that you strike the right balance in the time that you spend together.

As daughters tend to grow up and move away, we tend to live separate lives as it is difficult to maintain our relationship when quick phone calls on the run become the norm. Phone calls, texts, emails are the occasional ways to communicate with each other but you still need one on one conversations maybe Video calls and so on.

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3 Steps To Healing A Strained Mother-Daughter Relationship

Prayers For Broken Mother-Daughter Relationship

Editor’s Note: While this article provides useful help in repairing broken relationships, we want to be clear that there is no shame in cutting toxicity your life. If you feel that your relationship with your mother is too damaging to attempt these steps, that’s okay.

Source: Getty Images

A recent article has surfaced that discusses the mother-daughter relationship between Alice Walker and her daughter, Rebecca Walker.

Rumors of their poor relationship have been around for quite some time now, but it appears that daughter Walker is once and for all addressing the problem publicly. In the confession, younger Walker even blames feminism for her mother’s poor parenting decisions.

Although I think it is far-reaching to blame feminism (as a theory and activist practice) for one’s parenting choices, I think that the article brings up an important discussion about the significance of mother-daughter relationships.

In the Rebecca Walker’s writing, one can almost feel her pain in the words.

There is something sacred about mother-daughter relationships that leave many women feeling empty and less whole when a mother is absent from their life.

Broken mother-daughter relationships are more common than most are aware.

Studies suggest that nearly 30% of women have been estranged from their mothers at some point in their life (see The Unhappy Mother’s Day).

Frequently, I come in contact with women who have struggled with low self-esteem, dating and relationship problems, and feelings of worthlessness and depression related to emotionally abusive or absent mothers.

In U.S. culture, the importance of the “father-child” bond is a common narrative throughout mass media, pop psychology, and the mental health field.

There is even a word for it in popular culture – daddy issues – the term used to refer to a woman who is having a difficult time functioning in dating relationships, due to the residual effects of a bad relationship with her father.

An issue that is rarely discussed openly in mainstream culture, which makes those affected feel even more abnormal, is the issue of poor mother-daughter relationships.

Maybe poor mother-daughter relationships are less discussed and appears or feels to be more “dysfunctional,” because it is believed that women are more nurturing, empathetic, and social than boys and men, which should prevent any serious conflict between mothers and their female children.

Hence the popularity of stepmother and mother-in-law conflict in storylines.

This article here even suggests that stepmothering is more difficult than parenting as a stepfather.

Rarely do we come across news articles of biological mother-child conflict.

And because a strained relationship between a mother and daughter appears to be outside of the norm, when there is animus or emotional disconnect between a mother and an adult female child, it may actually cause more emotional distress (i.e., anger, frustration, shame, and hurt) than traditional parent-child conflict.

Individuals affected by a strained or emotionally absent mother-daughter relationship may try to hide their feelings from others, which only leads to more feelings of shame and loneliness.

So, where do daughters begin to repair poor relationships with their mothers? Why is it important to foster positive relationships between daughters and mothers?

Below, I provide tips on how to repair a broken or strained relationship between adult daughters and their mothers, which serves to preserve or improve the emotional health of the individual, the entire family, and female bonds.

Although here I focus on encouraging daughters to initiate healing conversations with their mothers, mothers and other caregivers will find the suggested steps useful as well.

Step 1: Set Up the Meeting

Schedule in advance a time and date to meet. Inform your mother in advance what the meeting will be about. Decide if it will take place in a private place, your living room, or in a public place, such as a coffee shop. Weigh the pros and cons of a public versus private meet-up.

Also, you should know in advance what it is you want to say to your mother and the message you would to convey.

Only involve the two individuals involved and primarily responsible for any past disagreements and repairing the relationship. The point is to avoid family members from siding with or teaming up against mother or daughter.

Of course, after the initial reconciliation talk, other family members can come together and discuss the renewal of the relationship or how to help support the relationship.

Step 2: Have the Conversation

Begin the conversation by thanking your mother for agreeing to join you in the conversation. Inform her that the meeting is very important to you.

Then, begin the conversation with identifying the positive aspects of the relationship. If there is no relationship at all at this point, you can simply begin by pointing out positive characteristics of your mother or positive events or behaviors in her past.

Most importantly, instead of beginning the conversation with who or what caused the problem, begin with pointing strengths about the person or the relationship. Be specific about the behavior or characteristic that you feel attracts you (or others) to your mother, makes you appreciate and value her as a human being, and makes you want to be near her more often.

Mother and daughter both should be given the opportunity to identify strengths about the individual or relationship before moving on to discuss the undesirable aspects of the relationship.

Sometimes it is difficult to identify strengths, especially when someone has been in pain for a long time. However, it is very important to let your mother know that she is not a bad person in your eyes.

In fact, there are things about her that actually draw you to her and those characteristics must be your focus, for no one wants to be criticized by someone they love.

Step 2a: “OPEN” Up My Heart, My Mouth, and My Ears

To make this step easier, I have derived the acronym: OPEN. Think of this step in the healing talk as “OPEN” up my heart, my mouth, and my ears.


It is important during the initial dialogue that you own up to your part of the discord.

Explain to your mother what mistakes you have made in the past and how you may have contributed to the negative dynamics of the relationship.


In this stage of the discussion, pinpoint specifically the action or event that caused you to withdraw from the relationship or lose trust in your parent.

In other words, be specific in naming exactly what behavior or set of behaviors hurt you.

Sometimes individuals in families are vague in stating the true problem; therefore, it is difficult to avoid correcting the problem. Consequently, the unwanted behavior is never changed.


For me, this is the most important step in any meaningful discussion.

Simply stated, suspend your ego.

Now is not the time to be concerned with winning an argument.

Even more important, do not worry about being embarrassed or appearing emotionally weak. The goal is not to win an argument or to save face, but to amend a very important relationship.


Where do you want to go from here?

Before closing this part of the discussion, explicitly state where you want the relationship to go next.

In other words, what do you hope to accomplish from the discussion or what do you expect now from you, your mother, and the mother-daughter relationship?

Step 3: Move Forward

Move forward from the conflict and toward healing.

I suggest that mother and daughter plan time to spend together alone.

It is best to start out with a short time period together, at lunch, dinner, theater performance, or a movie. This time should be spent without siblings, partners, or children.

I have found that when two people spend quality time together without responsibility to each other, they are actually more ly to enjoy each other’s company.

After a few short periods of time together, then mother and daughter can work on spending longer time together, at overnight events or family vacations.


In my opinion, mother-daughter relationships are sacred and worth preserving.

We live in a patriarchal society, where often the child-father relationship is given more attention and revered.

Consequently, when a mother-child relationship is damaged, adult children tend to cover-up and internalize the lost and take it more personally. They begin to view themselves as damaged, un-nurturing, or unworthy of love and attention.

Yet, mothers and daughters are human beings too; thus, we are necessarily flawed.

Dr. Venus E. Evans-Winters is an Associate Professor of Education and Faculty Affiliate of Women and Gender Studies.

Her interests are school resilience, urban education reform and policy, critical race theory, and feminism(s).

She is the author of Teaching Black Girls: Resiliency in Urban Classrooms as well as several scholarly articles and book chapters. Follow her on  @ileducprof and #BlackEdu.

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