38 Tips for Improving the Mother-Daughter Relationship

The bond between a mother and a daughter is extremely special, but also complex. Sometimes, it can be strained. If you want to know how to improve it, keep reading.
38 Tips for Improving the Mother-Daughter Relationship

Last update: 09 October, 2021

Human relationships are all pretty complex and the bond that’s established between mother and daughter is no exception. In fact, despite being an extremely special relationship, it has its own peculiarities, some of which can often create a considerable distance between mother and daughter.

Of all the types of relationships, the mother-daughter is by far the most complex. Certain research has been conducted in support of this fact. It suggests that the relationship is most complex when the daughter is at the adolescent stage.

The tips and activities that we’ve compiled in this article will help you take care of and maintain your bond regardless of the current condition of your relationship, and whether you’re the mother or the daughter in the equation. Let’s get started.

Seven tips for a mother to connect with her daughter

No differences are irreconcilable. As a matter of fact, most of the time, the distance that separates a mother from her daughter can be shortened with the implementation of a few small and practical changes.

Research suggests that a daughter’s self-esteem and social satisfaction are positively correlated with maintaining a good relationship with her mother.

Of course, this connection between the two doesn’t appear out of the blue. Behind it, there’s both commitment and work. If you’re a mother, pay attention to the following seven tips to improve your relationship with your daughter.

Adult daughter with her mother

1. Give her space

If there’s one thing you should learn as a mother, it’s to give your children space when they ask for it. In fact, although a mother and daughter relationship is built through moments together, it’s just as important to know when to pull back a little.

As a matter of fact, when there’s space between the two, the shared moments are more appreciated. This applies to all ages. If she’s a teenager, let her spend time in her room or go out with her friends. Alternatively, If she’s an adult, make sure you don’t pressure her to tell you about everything she does.

In addition, pushing her to do activities together all the time can put stress on her. She may feel that you’re invading her space, that you don’t allow her any privacy, and that you prevent her from practicing her favorite hobbies or even from just being on her own. Remember, cultivating moments in solitude is important.

2. Learn to forgive

We know it’s easier to write about it than to put it into practice but no list of tips for improving the mother-daughter relationship would be complete without this suggestion. Indeed, many of these kinds of relationships break down due to a lack of forgiveness.

Holding onto resentment leads nowhere. Furthermore, forgiveness is often related to healing, and no relationship can be sustained when negative feelings toward the other are involved. It doesn’t necessarily mean forgetting, but it does mean understanding. Nor is it about approving. Instead, it means replacing criticism and resentment with construction.

If you really want to regain your mother-daughter bond, you must be willing to put the past behind you. Today is what matters. Today is the foundation from which to start building your relationship again. If you try to do it on the pillars of resentment, it’ll fall to the ground. Furthermore, it’ll happen sooner rather than later.

3. Improve your listening skills

Do you really listen to your daughter when you talk together? More importantly, do you listen to what she doesn’t actually tell you? Improving your skills in these two aspects is key to strengthening the mother-daughter relationship.

To do this, you can put into practice what’s known as reflective listening. When you talk to your daughter, focus intently on what she’s saying and remove any distractions from your mind. In addition, put aside any prejudices you may have about the things you’re talking about.

Her tone of voice and frequency, her gestures, the speed with which she speaks, and her posture can all tell you how she feels. If these relate to happiness and joy, then what she tells you is important to her. Consequently, also for you.

4. Practice empathy

Empathy is the ability to put yourself in her place and see things from her perspective. It’s an extremely important aspect that’ll help you understand her.

It’s always easy to give an opinion from the comfort of experience and from the strength of a life already lived. However, your daughter probably doesn’t have the same experience, particularly if she’s an adolescent. Therefore, don’t expect her to have the same conception about the world and other people as you.

Experts suggest that the relationship between mother and daughter changes when the daughter becomes a mother herself. This is because it’s at this point that she experiences maternal empathy and thus becomes closer to her mother.

5. Take the time to think things over

Try to reflect and not give automatic and impulsive responses. Because these usually lead you to say things in an inappropriate way. Therefore, avoid letting the emotions of the moment cloud your judgment, and don’t say words that you’ll later regret.

In fact, whenever you can, reflect before saying something, especially when that something could put your relationship in check. In turn, try to eliminate sarcasm, irony, and hostility in your messages. The first two are barriers to communication, the third a thorn in the side of any relationship.

Always think carefully, calm your emotions, and choose your words carefully. As a matter of fact, thinking before speaking is a good quality for practicing assertiveness.

6. Don’t close yourself off to what she can teach you

A daughter can teach her mother as much as a mother can teach her daughter. However, sometimes, because you’re in a situation of power, you believe that your authority and wisdom are all-powerful. Nevertheless, a healthy relationship means that both parties are on the same level.

When you manage this, you open your doors to learn from it. We’re not only talking about skills or practical knowledge here but also about aspects that can contribute to your day-to-day life and your way of being.

7. Keep an open mind

Finally, the last of our tips for improving the mother-daughter relationship from a mother’s perspective is to keep an open mind. That’s because if you always put obstacles in the way and criticize her you’ll never be able to consolidate the bond between you.

Only by opening your mind can you achieve a healthy, strong, and lasting relationship. The kind in which you include all of these seven tips.

Seven ways to get closer to your mother

As we’ve emphasized from the beginning, any advice to improve the relationship between mother and daughter is only valuable when there’s a commitment from both parties. Now, we suggest what a daughter can do to get closer to her mother.

1. Remember how important you are to her

This is something that children often tend to forget. Remember that you’re the fruit and sacrifice of nine months of her care and attention. Remember also that she fed you, protected you, educated you and guided you in your first steps. In fact, although you often probably don’t see it that way, everything she does or says to you is for your own good.

Her decisions may not be the right ones, in exactly the same way as any decision you might make. However, the quicker you understand this, the better you’ll understand some of hers.

2. Never ignore what she can teach you

She’s taught you so much throughout your life, even though much of it you won’t even remember. Even if you think that what she wants to teach you now points you in the opposite direction from where you want to go, don’t ever ignore her advice completely.

Value can be found in everything. In any case, it’s a good excuse to spend some time together. Just as you now better understand some things today, she’s able to understand others in which she has more experience.

3. Share with the family

When there’s a break in a relationship between mother and daughter, part of that rupture involves moments spent together as a family. In fact, the importance of these are never fully understood, until it’s too late to re-live them.

Sharing time with your family doesn’t only mean being physically present, it also means being emotionally present. In fact, even though your body may be in one place, you can still be with them in your mind and your physical absence won’t necessarily matter.

4. Be grateful

One of the things that make us human is our ability to be grateful to others. Furthermore, who you are now is nothing more than the sum of the decisions of your ancestors. More specifically, to the decisions of your grandparents and your parents.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a little or a lot, but you should be grateful. You can express this gratitude verbally, through actions, or simply by understanding it. Indeed, understanding it gives you one more reason for strengthening your mother-daughter relationship.

Mother and daughter reconciling

5. Find common ground

If you don’t want to find common ground between you, rest assured that you won’t. Of course, it’s not always easy to find, but if you don’t even try, you’ll never find any. Also, remember that you can always discover new activities to enjoy together.

The generation gap can be an obstacle when it comes to finding activities. After all, each generation is generally misunderstood by the previous one. Nevertheless, this has never stopped a mother and daughter from maintaining a special bond.

Later, we’ll tell you about some activities you can do to improve the mother-daughter relationship. For the moment, the first step is wanting to find some common ground between you and, most importantly, to sincerely want to do some of these things together.

6. Avoid making comparisons

Here, we’re referring specifically to comparisons with other mothers. Even more serious are speaking such comparisons aloud. You might have another exemplary relationship you use as a guide, but you should never try to imitate it. Furthermore, you can take someone else’s attitude as an example, but don’t expect it to be reproduced in your relationship.

By this, we mean that each mother and daughter relationship is unique. In fact, comparisons are never healthy, as they can do more harm than you think. The sooner you stop, the easier you’ll find it to accept your mother for who she is.

7. Make respect a priority

This is not something you should only practice occasionally. In fact, every relationship is created based on respect, and without it, you wouldn’t get anywhere. Just as a mother must have unconditional love for her daughter, daughters must have sincere respect for their mothers.

Ten healing tips for mothers and daughters

Forgiveness isn’t the only method of healing. There are other strategies that both of you can do to improve and strengthen your bond. Here they are:

Mothers

As a mother, you must hold on to your adult position. Your life experience should be the light that guides you at the moment of reconciling the relationship with your daughter. You can practice these tips to achieve it.

1. Break the circle

This means ending the parenting circle that you were raised with. Even if the relationship with your mother was loving, solid and communicative, there were surely certain patterns of hers that you’d choose to alter.

Also, the fact that your mother educated you in a certain way doesn’t imply that this was the correct one. Times change, as do ways of relating to children. Therefore, gather up the good points, stay away from the bad, and don’t be afraid of opening yourself up to new possibilities.

2. Set realistic expectations

Don’t expect a perfect connection or for the link to suddenly improve in a matter of days. In fact, it’s extremely important that you set realistic expectations so you don’t continually get frustrated or disappointed.

Healing emotions, memories, and the past always takes time. You must be patient and progress with small steps and actions to strengthen your bond.

3. Avoid attachment and overprotection

In their proper measure, attachment and overprotection are part of any relationship. However, when they exceed the limit of what’s healthy, they destroy it and make it toxic.

Each of you needs your time, your space, and your mistakes. In this way, you can continue progressing and learn to be both autonomous and independent.

4. Understand the difference between being a mother and a best friend.

You can’t pretend to be your daughter’s best friend. You can be her confidant, her support, her advisor, and someone for her to share good times with, but you can’t ever be her best friend. Basically, because she needs a mother, and assuming one role implies rejecting the other.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t be friends with your daughter. You simply need to be aware that there are certain limitations. Indeed, there are certain elements that you can only contribute to your daughter from a mother’s position.

5. Recognize that she’s no longer a girl

In the event that your daughter is entering adolescence, coming out of it, or already an adult, it’s important that you recognize that she’s no longer a girl. Her understanding of the world, her way of understanding life, her decisions, her habits, and her tastes, you must respect them all.

When you recognize that your daughter is no longer a child, you take a giant step in your relationship. That’s because you’re recognizing her autonomy and her authority. In fact, it’s a good idea to put yourself in her shoes and remember what you thought, what you wanted, and how you wished you were treated when you were her age.

Daughters

If you’re a daughter, then the next set of advice is for you.

1. Be empathetic to your mother

Be empathetic to what she’s feeling, her concerns, her doubts, and her emotions. Be empathetic in understanding that many changes aren’t easy for her to assimilate. Be empathetic to her regrets, her willingness to improve, and her commitment to working on your relationship.

Of course, empathy must be two-way. Without this, it’s impossible to build any relationship.

2. Don’t hold back what you feel

Suppressing emotions doesn’t help you. Hiding how you feel won’t make it go away, it just prevents others from knowing you and knowing what affects you.

When you talk to your mother, open up to her and also talk to her about your fears and concerns. Doing this has a liberating, emotionally relieving effect. You’ll always carry extra weight if you never discard your emotional baggage.

Express how you feel gradually and whenever you can. Honesty is part of a healthy relationship.

Young girl crying and mother hugging her

3. Don’t be a victim

Victimism can play a role in any type of relationship. In fact, adopting a defensive position in which the other person is the culprit generates distances and even some conflicts.

Blaming your mother for everything isn’t the solution. Of course, she might get confused and make mistakes, but she shouldn’t be condemned for that. Remember that she usually wants the best for you.

If something happens to you, try to see what you can do to fix it yourself and maybe even ask her for help. However, don’t turn your relationship into a battlefield.

4. Think about the present

Letting go involves leaving the past behind so that it isn’t an obstacle to your relationship now. You can’t step forward if you’re tied to past memories, words, and actions.

Try to focus on today, how you want your relationship with her to be, and what you’re going to do to improve it. If there’s been true forgiveness and a sincere reconciliation, the relationship will be different.

5. It’s never too late to start

It’s never too late to start rebuilding your connection with your mother. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you both smiled together, or the physical and emotional distance that separates you now, what’s truly important is your willingness to start working on it and fix it.

Seven activities to do together to strengthen the bond

These keys to improving the mother-daughter relationship would be incomplete without a list of activities for strengthening the bond. We suggest the following:

1. Plan a trip together

It doesn’t have to be to another country. A short trip in your own country for a couple of days can be just as rewarding. The point is that you plan the itinerary and everything related to the trip together. You both choose where you’re going to stay, when you’re going to go, and the places you plan to visit.

You can also choose a means of transport that favors communication along the way. As a matter of fact, the journey is often more important than the destination.

2. Play a sport together

It doesn’t have to be a sport that requires collaboration as a couple, just one in which both of you can have fun. For example, biking, jogging, swimming, or hiking.

Physical exercise helps release stress and is a healthy excuse to spend an hour or two together. As with the previous activity, the idea is that you find spaces to connect with each other.

3. Recreate a family tradition

This way you’ll recreate the essence of the family. However, it depends on what the family nucleus consists of. As an example, you might prepare a dessert or a dish based on a family recipe, or create or paint clay or ceramic figures.

It’s also important to become more involved in family celebrations. For instance, plan and celebrate each other’s birthdays. In this way, you’ll be able to strengthen your ties and your family relationships.

4. Enjoy board games

Board games are another excuse to spend time together. Not only will you be amused and entertained but you’ll also be able to achieve a good rapport between the two of you. In addition, they’ll also help you talk about interesting topics while you play.

5. Join a class together

This could be anything. Although it’s preferable that it’s something you haven’t yet mastered and that you want to share. They might be guitar classes, dance classes, learning a new language, makeup, or cooking classes.

The good thing about these types of activities is that you can continue to share your opinions and ideas when you get home. You can also create incentives to support you during the learning process. It’s another way of consolidating your mother-daughter relationship.

6. Volunteer

Helping others and getting to know them gives you a change of perspective on the world, others, and life in general. Choose a volunteering activity that involves teamwork. In this way, you’ll start to understand each other better when it comes to helping others.

7. Write a journal together

Writing about desires and emotions is a highly recommended activity to help you feel better. Usually, a journal is an intimate experience, one that you only share with yourself. However, why not do it together, so you’re both included in this new process of change?

Both of you must be available for this activity. Furthermore, you must both be committed to being sincere and honest when you carry it out. It’s about writing a diary in which a space will be left for the other to include their impressions of the moment you described. Both of you will have access to what the other has written, so it helps you learn a bit about each other’s emotions.

Seven questions for a meaningful conversation

Choosing a topic of conversation isn’t easy, especially when you want to strengthen a relationship or rebuild a bond. Here are some possible topics to talk about that’ll help improve your relationship.

1. What things do you think can be improved in our relationship?

You can’t improve things that you’re not willing to accept. Talking openly about them, even if they’re just minor details, goes a long way toward improving a bond.

2. If you could change one thing about me, what would it be?

Nobody’s perfect. Nevertheless, we can all improve certain aspects of ourselves. In this case, it’s about pointing out something that interferes in one way or another with the relationship. It should always be done with respect and empathy.

3. What do you think is our greatest attribute?

In the same way that things that might be improved should be pointed out, so should the positive attributes of the relationship.

Communication, friendship, respect, or sincerity might be some of them. Naturally, you should talk at length about it and avoid responding in a hurry.

4. What are your expectations for our relationship in relation to the future?

Knowing your mother’s or daughter’s expectations will help you regulate yours. Based on this, you’ll be able to  achieve harmony as you’ll both be working in the same direction. Don’t ever ignore what the other expects, leaving you moving in opposite directions.

5. Do you think we’ve come a long way from the past?

This question seeks more than a simple yes or no as the answer. Indeed, contrasting where you were before and where you are now is an extremely important exercise to work out how much progress you’ve made.

If you’ve put all your efforts into the relationship, you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come since then.

Daughter talking to her mother

6. What do you think is most important for a healthy mother-daughter relationship?

The answer to this provides you with the opinions of the other concerning how to achieve a better connection. It doesn’t matter if your answers are different. As a matter of fact, it’s better if they are. Because through these different perspectives, you can work to further strengthen the bond between you.

7. What’s the most important thing I should know about you?

With this question, you abandon the conversation about “we” and turn it to “I”. Indeed, not everything has to revolve around the relationship. Space must also be given to know and be interested in particular aspects of you both. For example, your fears, dreams, hopes, and ambitions.

That’s the end of our 38 tips to improve the mother-daughter relationship. We hope it’ll prove helpful to you in the process of creating a healthy, lasting union that’s based on respect and cordiality.

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Almost all of us have the need to be seen by our mothers, we seek their approval.

 



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