Mothers fighting daughters

Why Do Mothers Fight So Much with Their Daughters?

The relationship between a mom and daughter can be famously fraught with complications, full of fun and wonderful memories, or both. From Gilmore Girls to Sharp Objects to older classics like Golden Girls, the media is packed with examples of both loving and contentious mother-daughter relationships. The reason for that? We’ve all got mothers. Every single one of us. And coming to terms with whatever that relationship looks like is one of the greatest tasks in our emotional development as humans! So, the first thing to know if you’re struggling with mother/daughter fighting is you are not alone. Let’s take a deeper look into why mothers and daughters fight and how to stop.

The source of arguments between mothers and daughters is not always easy to pin down. There are, frankly, so many places that tension could be coming from that there might be more than one. There are a number of resources out there for you to read more and research specific attributes of your mother/daughter relationship, but here are a few common ones.

Constant Exposure

You know the old cliché that says, “absence makes the heart grow fonder?” Yeah… what about the one that says, “familiarity breeds contempt?” At a very basic level, sometimes the tension between a parent and child can be coming from the mere fact that they never have space away from one another. The mother’s 100% access to every detail of her daughter’s life makes her the most informed observer of her daughter’s decisions about everything from paperwork to snack foods, and vice versa. Especially if you’re cooped up in the same house together, this constant exposure to one another simply provides you with more opportunities for arguing than you might have in other relationships! In the words of the great band Chicago, “Everybody needs a little time away…. From each other.” If this is the source of the tension in your mother/daughter relationship, it might just be time for a break--we’ll talk more about that later in the section on boundaries.


Social influences and culture have a huge impact on our opinions and beliefs, and often, mothers and daughters are simply on opposite sides of a cultural divide. From politics and religion to passions and pursuits, mom and daughter can simply have different priorities in life. When someone as close to you as a mother or daughter sees such important topics differently from you, it can feel like an attack on your identity. But is it? That depends. More on this in the section on grace and respect.

Independence vs. Protection

The moment a lot of mother and daughter fights begin is the moment one expresses any opinion about the decisions of the other. Because of that constant exposure we mentioned earlier, the opinions of our close family members hit harder. They have context. They might just know what they’re talking about. And that can be infuriating. Nothing feels more like an outright attack on a daughter’s independence, competence, and intelligence than when Mom says, “Is that what you’re wearing?” But the fact of the matter is that, in many cases (not all), Mom was just speaking from a place of protection, thinking through things like weather, activity, and societal pressures because she wants her daughter to have the easiest and safest experience possible. In a healthy relationship, this is where grace and respect would step in. In an unhealthy one, cue the fight!

Generational Trauma

Every daughter has a mom. Every mom is a daughter. If the mother/daughter relationship is this big of a deal, then we have to realize that it can impact more than just a single generation. How you’re parented (or not parented) is inevitably influenced by how your parents were parented. Recognizing that your mother is the result of her own experience as a daughter can be a huge step toward healing, especially if the source of the tension between you is actually rooted in the mother/daughter tensions of a previous generation. If your mom has a hard time accepting your independence, maybe her own independence was disrespected too. These kinds of things are passed down through families, and that very well could be the root of your personal mother/daughter struggles.

What Can We Do About It?

If you’re researching why mothers and daughters fight, you’re probably interested in figuring out how to stop fighting with your mom or daughter. Identifying the many sources of tension is a great place to start but be careful not to simply blame your relationship problems on an outside factor. Use this information to attempt growth and healing.


Start by listening. As hard as it might sound, next time a fight breaks out, don’t get sucked into the emotional tennis match. Take a deep breath and say, “Okay, this is something that clearly matters to you. Help me understand it better.” Instead of talking, open your ears. Try to give the other person some space to calmly vocalize what’s really at the heart of this moment’s argument. Is this about independence? Is this about generational differences? Though it sounds scary, the only way to stop fighting is to stop fighting and start listening to why you and the other person can’t see eye to eye on something.

Grace and Respect

Again, this might be difficult, because you might feel so justified in your “side” of the argument that you think respecting the other person would be admitting defeat, but what’s the point of all that listening you just did if you’re just going to turn around and say, “Nope, I’m right. You’re wrong.” If you want your mom or your daughter to respect how you feel and think, might it not be fair to give her the same respect? There are 7 billion people on this planet, and therefore approximately 7 billion perspectives on every possible situation. Just as your life experiences have informed the way you see the world; your mom’s experiences have informed her. The world has room for more than one opinion. It does. Do your best to give your mom or daughter some grace and respect when you disagree, and hopefully she’ll be able to do the same in return.


Sometimes, however, we only have a certain amount of grace and respect to give before we’re empty. Boundaries help us to protect our energy so that we can engage with people from a healthy place, rather than constantly reacting to them from a place of self-preservation. If you and your mom or daughter are constantly butting heads, it might be time to establish some boundaries.

You need to create space for each other to feel like independent, competent, and capable human beings in your own right. Constant exposure, like living together or talking on the phone every single day, may not be what your relationship needs right now. Take some time to figure out what you want your mother/daughter relationship to look like and establish some boundaries that could help get you closer to that goal. 


Professional counseling is never a bad idea! And without mother/daughter relationships, counselors and therapists all over the world would be out of work. Sometimes we’re too close to our own situation to see it clearly enough to identify specific sources, triggers, or boundary issues. A calm and objective outside eye may be just what you need. Perhaps you need counseling just for yourself because you still don’t feel safe and comfortable having these tough conversations with your mom or daughter. Perhaps the two of you want to try mother/daughter counseling together. Talk therapy of any kind will likely be useful in helping you untangle the complicated mess that can be going on between a mother and daughter, so check out sources like Focus On The Family or our own HopeCoaches if you’re interested in that kind of support.

It would be dismissive to end this article without acknowledging that sometimes the relationship between a mother and daughter can be more than just a little challenging. Sometimes deep hurt is there, stemming from abuse, addiction, and much darker origins than disagreeing about politics or fashion. If that’s the case, whatever boundaries you try to set, or however much you may try to listen, healing this relationship may not be within your power. The only actions you can control are your own. If your mom or daughter can’t reciprocate the grace and respect you try to give them, it may be all you can do to seek support for yourself.

Don’t Give Up

Proverbs 10:12 says “Hate stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” No matter how bad the fights have gotten between you and your mom or daughter, the foundation of love that (hopefully) courses through the veins of your relationship can win in the end. It may be difficult, but it is possible to build stronger relationships with our parents and children. Don’t give up! And if you need help or support during the journey, you can always reach out to us at TheHopeLine and chat with a HopeCoach for help.

These Are the Most Common Mother-Daughter Arguments ...

These Are the Most Common Mother-Daughter Arguments ...

I love my mom. She's my best friend – no fake. I count her and my dad among my BFFs. I'm an only child, you see, so I've always been close to both my parents, but especially my mom. She's my person. I tell you all of that lovey-dovey back story to tell you this: we fought like cats and dogs when I was younger. We butted heads all the time. It happens. Mothers and daughters fight, even when they're closer than close. Every mother/daughter relationship is its own unique thing, but many of the arguments we have are universally similar. See?

1 Typical Teenage Rebellion

The rebellion is typical, anyway, but every daughter rebels a little bit differently.

2 The Fight for Independence

This begins sometime around 12 or 13 and ends when moving out is an actual reality because the adult world is a scary, scary place.

3 The Fight against Authority

All authority, but especially maternal authority. A girl will spend hours plotting against her mom's authority. Her plans are often diabolical.

4 The Battle to Become a Woman

Daughter is eager to be her own woman. Mom is determined to hold onto her little girl just a bit longer. Epic battles ensue.

5 The Attempt to Pull Away
Daughters always try to pull away. We don't know any better. We're really just asserting our independence but we don't realize the error of our ways until a bit later.

6 Parents Just Don't Understand

Mothers, you will hear this. A lot. Like all the time. However, even though your daughter will accuse you of not understanding or not remembering what it was like to be her age, try to remember – it'll help.

7 The Disappointment Disagreement

Ugh, this is the worst. Knowing that you disappointed your mom is the absolute worst. It makes you feel so defensive that an even larger fight is usually the result.

8 The Mom Knows Best Fight

Daughters seem incapable of believing this until after the fact. In retrospect, however, mom generally does know best, yes.

9 The Grown up Disagreement

If you got a nickel for every time you told your mom you're not a little kid anymore, you'd have enough money to move out.

10 The Friend Fight

Daughters, you will always have at least one friend your mom doesn't like. Mothers, that friend isn't going anywhere until your daughter's good and ready.

11 Of Periods and PMS

Sometimes you bond over your menses. Sometimes it's just World War III.

12 The Clothing Spat
No matter what your style, your mom will have something to say at one point.

13 The “I'm a Cool Mom” Battle

Daughters, there will come a time where your mom tries to fit in with your friends. This too shall pass.

14 The “do as I Say, Not as I do” Fight

This fight is twofold. Sometimes your mom wants you to follow in her footsteps and you resist. Sometimes you try to follow in your mom's footsteps and she resists. Fun times!

15 Boyfriend Battles

Or girlfriend battles, depending on who tickles your pickle. You'll have at least one partner whom your mom just hates, though.

16 Party Debacles

When you first start attending parties or going on dates, the fights are never ending.

17 The Inevitable Fight about College Life

Your mom is undoubtedly proud of you, but college is just as scary for your parents as it is for you.

What's the most common fight you have with your mom?

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10 rules for a girl's mother

Reviewer Kovtun Tatyana Anatolievna


September 15, 2021


Like it or not, most women dream of having a daughter. They imagine how they will dress her up in dresses, weave pigtails, play with dolls together and how later they will go shopping together in search of “those” shoes. And few women imagine what a big job it is to raise a girl.

Rule 1, immutable: she is beautiful, no doubt!

Even if you don’t like the shape of your daughter’s nose or you see that her hair is thin, and not at all a luxurious mop like Rapunzel’s, your daughter is still the most beautiful! And she must feel that she is beautiful. Compliment her, sincerely admire her. Your words in early childhood are the key to high self-esteem of the child in the future. Just don’t overdo it: you don’t need to create a feeling in your daughter that she is an unattainable “star”, the best of the best. Avoid comparisons with other children. nine0005

Rule 2: accept her with all her personality traits.

Who said that real girls don't climb trees and don't fight with swords? But what about Merida with her amazing accuracy in archery? Or Cinderella from The Story of Eternal Love, who saved the prince by carrying him on her shoulders from the robbers? Your girl will grow up to be a strong and independent young lady, so support her.

Rule 3: teach her how to be stylish.

Who better than you to teach your daughter to combine colors and styles, to instill a love for hairstyles, hairpins and bows? Your baby should have an inspiring example before her eyes. Her mother is a role model for her. If you want your daughter to wear earrings, you will have to wear them too. If you dream of developing a girl's taste for beautiful outfits, follow the fashion and dress up together. nine0005

Rule 4: teach her to follow her dreams.

This is the most difficult rule. Mom is so hard to do everything! When it's time to listen to yourself and find time to fulfill your own desires ... If now it's hard for you to find time for yourself, keep in mind that this will affect the character of your daughter. Mom, mired in household chores and interested only in television intrigues in the Sultan's harem, unwittingly brings up passivity in the girl. Don't expect your daughter to reach for a book if her mother didn't. nine0005

Rule 5: instill in her love for the household.

Of course, it is difficult to do this if the mother herself does not like cooking, ironing or cleaning too much. Nevertheless, it is necessary to show the daughter that the mistress of the house is a very important person. And all things can be handled effortlessly, especially if you do it together. Laying laundry in bags is fun. Getting out to energetic music is fun. Kneading dough and baking pies is fun. Call your daughter a little hostess, trust her with feasible household chores, praise and thank her for her help. Then housework will become a joy for the baby. nine0005

Rule 6: show her love.

Hug and kiss your daughter, tell her about your love. Ask dad to do the same and as often as possible. Do everything in your power to create a harmonious atmosphere of love in the house. How you and your husband behave with each other is a model for your daughter's future relationship with her man. You don't want her yelling about her socks being scattered, or wailing over an unwashed plate, do you?


Rule 7: Protect her from childish experiences.

Even if your girl is the most mature and independent in the world, this does not mean that she can be deprived of her childhood. Do not burden her with adult problems and worries, do not force her to make serious decisions, never deceive her daughter, do not protect her from unpleasant information regarding her life. Do not forget that she can not cope without support. First of all, my mother.

Rule 8: teach her to trust you. nine0017

There is nothing better than a secret before bed. Talk to your daughter about how your day went, share feelings and intimate childhood memories. Be sincere and do not demand frankness from your daughter in response, but this will not be necessary. Feeling your trust, the girl will willingly share her experiences. And it is to you that he will come for help or advice when he grows up. It's priceless.

Rule 9: make her happy!

It doesn't matter which way, let it be ice cream, a cheerful poster above her bed. The most important thing is for your little one to know that she is loved and that love does not have to be earned by good behavior, excellent grades, or cleaning the house. A girl should feel that she is loved under any circumstances, and when she grows up, she will be able to distinguish real feelings from a fake. nine0005

Rule 10: teach her mercy.

Understanding and sympathy is what will help a grown-up girl find friendship and love, respect others. Develop empathy in her, talk about her own feelings and the experiences of others, feed the birds together in winter, collect things and toys for those who need them, help unfamiliar grandmothers carry heavy bags and let your beloved dad rest after a hard day's work. There is nothing more important than teaching a child to truly empathize with others. nine0005

Playing with dolls is not difficult, and you can learn to weave pigtails in just a couple of months, but it takes years to raise a real woman from a girl. Be sensitive and patient, do not scare away your beautiful swan.

Reviewer Kovtun Tatyana Anatolievna nine0005

Scientific adviser to PROGRESS JSC, candidate of medical sciences

All expert articles

What will happen to the daughter who was punished by her father?


Parents Man and woman

I have often had to work, both in a group and individually, with women who were punished by their fathers in childhood: spanked, put in a corner, scolded. It leaves an indelible mark on the psyche. It takes a lot of time and effort to smooth out the consequences of paternal aggression. nine0005

A father for a child is the personification of strength, power. And for a girl, her father is also the first man in her life, an object of worship. He is the one from whom it is important for her to hear that she is a "princess".

What happens if a father physically or mentally puts pressure on his daughter? Like any living creature, when attacked, the girl has no choice but to try to protect herself. Animals try to escape, and if it doesn’t work out, they bite, scratch, fight.

Where can a girl run from her "educator" - her father, who grabs the belt? First to the mother. But how will she do it? Protect or turn away, take the child and leave the house or scold the daughter, cry and call for patience ...

It is healthy behavior for a mother to say to her husband: “Put the belt away! Don't you dare beat the child!" if he is sober. Or grab the kids and run out of the house if the husband is drunk and aggressive. It is no better if the father beats their mother in front of the children.

But this is if there is somewhere to go. Sometimes this takes time and resources. If they are not there, then the mother remains to sympathize with the child and ask his forgiveness for the fact that she, as a mother, cannot give him security.

After all, this is his body, and no one has the right to hurt him. Even for educational purposes

"Education" with a belt is physical abuse, it violates the physical integrity of the child's skin and soft tissues. And even the demonstration of the belt is violence: the child in his head will complete the picture of horror when he gets this belt on the body.

Fear will turn the father into a monster and the daughter into a victim. “Obedience” will be precisely out of fear, and not out of understanding of the situation. This is not education, but training!

For a little girl, her father is practically a god. Strong, all decisive and able. The father is the very “reliable support” that women then dream of, looking for it in other men. nine0005

Girl - 15 kilograms, father - 80. Compare the size of the hands, imagine dad's hands on which the child is leaning. His hands cover almost her entire back! With such support, nothing in the world is scary.

Except for one thing: if these hands take the belt, if they hit. Many of my clients say that even just the cry of their father was enough for them: the whole body was paralyzed, it was scary "to the point of stupor." Why is that? But because at that moment the whole world will be decided for the girl, the world betrays her. The world is a terrible place, and there is no defense against an angry "god". nine0005

What kind of relationship might she have in the future?

So she grew up, became a teenager. A strong man presses her against the wall of the elevator, pushes her into the car. What will her childhood experience tell her? Most likely: "surrender, otherwise it will be even worse."

But another reaction may work. The girl did not break: she gathered all her energy, pain, will into a fist and made a promise to herself never to give up, to endure everything. Then the girl “pumps up” the role of a warrior, an Amazon. Women fighting for justice, for the rights of the offended. She protects other women and herself. nine0005

This is called the Artemis archetype. According to the myth, the goddess Artemis competes with her brother Apollo in shooting accuracy. In response to his challenge to shoot the deer, she shoots and kills ... but not the deer, but her lover.

What kind of relationship can develop in the future if the girl has decided to always be a warrior and not yield to men in anything? She will continue to fight with her man for power, for justice. It will be difficult for her to accept another, to find common ground with him. nine0005

If love is painful in childhood, a person will encounter "painful love" in adulthood. Either because he doesn’t know otherwise, or to “replay” the situation and get another love. The third option is to avoid love relationships altogether.

What will be the partner of a woman who, in childhood, her father “brought up with a belt”?

There are two typical scenarios: either looking like a father, domineering and aggressive, or “neither fish nor meat”, so that he would not touch a finger. But the second option, judging by the experience of my clients, is very misleading. Outwardly not aggressive, such a partner can show passive aggression: not really making money, sitting at home, not going anywhere, drinking, teasing, devaluing. Such a person also “punishes” her, just not directly. nine0005

But it's not just about the belt. When a father spends hours educating, scolding, scolding, “running over” - this is no less severe violence than a blow. The girl turns into a hostage, and the father into a terrorist. She just has nowhere to go, and she endures. Many of my clients exclaimed: “It would be better to hit!” This is verbal abuse, often disguised as "caring for a child."

Will a successful woman in the future want to hear insults, endure pressure from men? Will she be able to negotiate or will she immediately slam the door so that what happened in childhood with dad does not happen again? Most often, she is sickened by the very idea of ​​a showdown. But when conflict builds up and is not resolved, the family tends to fall apart. nine0005

the relationship between physical violence and sexuality

A complex, difficult to work through topic is the relationship between physical violence and sexuality. The belt most often hits the lower back. As a result, the girl's sexuality, children's "love" for dad and physical pain are connected.

The shame of being naked - and at the same time excitement. How can this affect her sexual preferences later? What about emotional ones? "Love is when it hurts!"

What if the father experiences sexual arousal at this moment? He can get scared and close himself from the girl forever, if only something doesn’t work out. There were many fathers, but he suddenly “disappeared”. The girl "lost" her dad forever and does not know why. In the future, she will expect the same betrayal from men - and, most likely, they will betray. After all, she will look for such people - similar to dad. nine0005

And finally. Self-esteem. "I am bad!" "I'm not good enough for dad .

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