Setting Boundaries & Resolving Conflict in Mother/Daughter Relationships

The mother/daughter relationship can be one of the most beautiful relationships you experience in your lifetime. With that being said, the mother/daughter relationship can often be layered and complicated. Moms were once little girls too and they can bring their own experiences and unresolved trauma from their childhood into their parenting. The most important thing in the mother/daughter relationship would be the mom having worked on things that might prevent her from parenting from a place of love, not fear, but this is not always the case. I believe most moms want to be great moms and for this to happen, they must work on themselves first.

Recently, my daughter, Madison, and I sat down to record a podcast episode to discus our mother/daughter relationship and share insights on the importance of setting boundaries, resolving conflict, and creating space for one another without projecting or holding each other hostage.

listen to the full episode on:

Apple Podcasts

On the importance of setting boundaries

The “B” word! It’s important and completely normal to set boundaries within the mother/daughter relationship. When daughters are young it’s more natural for boundaries to cross but as the daughter ages (matures) it is healthy to establish boundaries for both mother and daughter. As moms, we must let our daughters mature, make decisions for themselves and become independent of the mother/daughter relationship. It’s important to know what to say “yes” to and what we should say “no” to. We get to choose how we show up. Moms, our children are not at our beckon call! We must respect their boundaries. It’s important to communicate to each other what you want boundaries for each other to look like. Teach each other how to respect each other’s time. And it’s okay for boundaries to change, just communicate what is changing. Express boundaries. Respect each other’s boundaries.

On the importance of resolving conflict

In all of our relationships, and especially within our mother/daughter relationship, if we want to have a healthy relationship, we must normalize conflict. Conflict should not be feared, it is inevitable and should be expected, but it must be resolved. We will not feel genuinely close with someone if we are walking on eggshells or avoiding them. 

Here are a few tips if you are having conflict with your mom or daughter:

  1. Decide in advance that when you have conflict you each will be committed to resolving it.
  2. Set aside a time to resolve conflict when it’s convenient for both of you.
  3. Talk out your conflict until you each feel it’s resolved.
  4. Ask each other for forgiveness.

Hot Questions for Debbie—

In this episode, Madison asked me the following questions:

  1. How do I define generational trauma? Trauma that is passed down through families and is repeated until someone stops the cycle. It can be stopped but we must be intentional to stop it.
  2. What does it mean to “validate” your child’s emotions? It means that it’s their experience, it’s not our experience. Don’t feel threatened. Let your child know that what they expressed we hear them. We don’t have to take away their pain or fix them, we just need to listen.
  3. How can daughters begin to release their judgement of their moms? Realize that your moms are human and that they were little girls too. Person first, mom second.
  4. How do you parent out of love vs fear? We can be overprotective because of our own trauma. We don’t want our child to face the same things we did and want to protect them at all costs. However, this can sometimes limit our child from leaning and embracing their own journey. When we parent out of love, we’re learning to see our child for who they are, not who we want or need them to be.
  5. What would I do differently as a parent? Everything, haha. Be united with your spouse as you parent. Keep working on ourselves to have a healthy marriage and parenting.
  6. How have I have transitioned our relationship from you needing me for nourishment, safety, love and protection to you growing up? It’s been fun! As parents, we want to control our kids’ lives, but if we have prepared them, we get to reap the benefits of watching them grow up.
  7. What’s one message you would want to pass on to other mothers? It’s important for moms to have their own purpose and dreams.

With love,

Let’s connect on Instagram! @debbiekwhitehead
Connect with Madison @thefitflamingo