How to Restore a Relationship with My Daughter

Updated on April 21, 2011
N.W. asks from Bend, OR
17 answers

My oldest daughter is in her 20’s. We didn’t get along when she lived with me. About a year and a half ago, she moved out and we’ve had very little contact since then.

Alot has changed since she left, and I’d like to find a way to reconnect with this daughter. Have any of you mamas been in a similar situation, either as the mom or the daughter? If so, I’d love to hear your story. Was there something that you or your mom said that opened the door between you? What did you do that worked or didn’t work? And what do you wish you or your mom had done to reach out? If you have had a broken (and restored) relationship with your mom or daughter, please share what you've learned.

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from San Francisco on

How about apologizing for what you did wrong?

First, you need to give her a chance to air her grievances -- that means, listen, and do not disagree or make excuses for what you did. When she is done talking, say, "I'm really sorry, I will never do those things again." And then don't do those things again.

Maybe if you do this, the relationship can be healed over time.

This is what I wish my mom had done. A LONG time ago.

Edit My Answer
2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

My Mom and a sibling of mine, never ever got along.
Not ever.
My Mom would try.
But, unless the other person is accepting... it is hard to get through to them.

My sibling, had SOOOOOOO many high expectations, of my Mom, that my Mom could never rationally please her, enough.
In other words, my Mom was never ever, "perfect" enough for my sister.
Thus, the 'problem' was my sister. Not my Mom. My Mom, tried and tried. to get along.

They did not get along, until my Dad died.
My sibling, only THEN... appreciated my Mom.

Edit My Answer
2 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Austin on

Well, I can tell you the opposite, why I feel I have been able to still respect and love my mother after all of these years, even though sometimes, the sound of her voice can almost send me around the bend..

She told me and my sister a long time ago.

"I will always love you. No matter what you do or say, even if it is the worst thing in the world, I will always love you,. I may be hurt or disappointed. I may be the only person sitting with you and by your side. You will know I will always love you."

This empowered me so much. It gave me such confidence and the fact that she has proved it so many times even with my "toxic sister", she really is always there. She is also honest not in a in your face sort of way, but she uses terms like, "I am concerned." Or , "I feel like you may not understand." or "Sometimes, I wish I could solve this for you.."

Once again not a judgement, but a support of how she is feeling.

We are also respectful of each others feelings, needs and choices. That dose not mean I like my stepfather, but I do respect that my mother married him and he seems to respect her. I giove him lots of credit for that.

My mother has not always been thrilled with my attitudes, but she understands I take ownership of them. She has helped me feel safe doing this.

My mother has never spoken bad about my friends, my husband or my choices. She has had some concerns, but let me have ownership of these things. To me this is showing respect.

I am also honest with her, If I cannot help, Or if I am feeling pressured by her, I can say, "Mom, I really do not care for that person and so, no, I do not feel like it is right for me to attend that event in her honor. Please respect this. I am fine with you going, but please do not make me feel guilty about my feelings." She does the same for me.

The moment I held our daughter, I felt like I then really understood what my mother had said to me. I have also told her and my husband the same thing. I will always love you no matter what..

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

My mother and I are wonderfully close, but that was not always the case. Some of the fights we had The things I said..good lord.

I think a good start is a coffee date. Sit down and say sorry. It doesn't matter who was really in the wrong about what, just say it a mean it. Something broke and you are sorry that it did, that's a start. Follow it up with "I love you.". Try to keep in mind that while you heart sees your baby, she's now and adult. She has to bandage her own skinned knees, but you can hand her the band-aid now and then. Get the idea?

I think what finally opened my eyes was having my daughter. Finally realizing just how apart of me she was and how apart of my mother I was. You were once one person! I finally understood how much she really did love me and want to keep me safe. It was almost scary to realize the full extent that I would personally go to keep my girl safe.

Start slow, try to remember she is an adult now and she may not be fully ready to reach back to you just yet. Keep the door open, make the invitation and wait.

Best of luck!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

My mom and I didn't get along when I was in my teens and early 20's either. I think the major problem was that I had my opinion and she had her's, and neither of or were listening to or respecting each other. I wanted to be heard and validated and she wanted the same thing as well. Our hard headness and wanting only to see our own point of view caused a lot of arguments and hurt feelings.

I think what changed for us was when I decided that the fights that we were having were not worth having. (I've always felt like I was the more mature one in my relationship with my mom.) I started listening more and started allowing her to have her feelings and perspective. In turn, she gradually started to extend me the same grace and courtesy. Once she felt heard and that there was love there in my heart for her no matter what our differences may be, she was able to soften a bit as well. This was a huge learning lesson for both of us.

For you, I would suggest inviting your daughter out for dinner. During dinner, just listen to her and try to just observe without judgment. You may not like what you are seeing or hearing from her at this time but there's a good chance that she is storing up a lot of pain and hurt feelings and she really needs to purge all of that out out and heal those wounds before she can get to those good feelings once again. Once she has done this, I'm sure that you will find her to be less reactive, a lot calmer, and probably making better decisions than she had before.

Hope this helps and that you and your daughter can find your way back to a healthy and loving relationship once again.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I'm so happy that you are the MAMA asking for how to reconnect with your daughter. In so many instances (and speaking from experience), it seems like it falls to the child to often pick up the pieces and say 'let's start over' or 'i'm sorry"-even if they aren't really to blame.

Recently my niece, (we are only 9 years apart-30-39)...sent me an email-basically a 'i don't know what happeneed, but can we start our relationship over" type of thing. It's not mom and daughter, but similar. I was so impressed and touched. It was not malicious...just a "help me understand what happened and then can we move on" opened the door immediately, and we are taking baby steps.

I would recommend something like that-email or letter to olive branch. No blame, just-let's fix this, I love you to much.

There are a number of things throughout my life where I have felt-darn it...why isn't my mom taking the lead on this...I'm the KID here...

Granted though - you shouldn't just roll over either - your daughter is an adult so if she has done something that is really crossing boundries you don't have to be OK with that either-but maybe just let her know you still love her.

Go mama.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Call her, tell her you miss her. Tell her your sorry for the way things have been, tell her that you love her. My point is TALK to her. Be prepared to hear things that you don't want to hear, be prepared to be criticized and have your feelings hurt. Usually in a broken relationship both parties have made mistakes, by you admitting to yours, she will more than likely admit to hers. Maybe you will both come to an understanding of what the other one feels like. My sister and I went through this with my mom. She was so involved with herself she never stopped to consider what her actions and words did to us. As she got older, she had come to realize what mistakes she made and in general tries to be a better person. This is what happened with us, it may or may not pertain to your situation.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

This happened with my mother and I. We slowly rebuilt, by basically just talking to each other. We text, chat on facebook, send pictures to each other, and we get together too. I don't bring up the past and have learned to let it go and sometimes I hold my tongue. It can be a slow process... but you have to start by reaching out and taking a sincere interest in her, do things with her, be a friend.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

My mom & I never had a close relationship when i was growing up and as i got older things got worse. I left home when i was 17, i kept in touch with my dad on and off thru the years. To be honest for a long time neither of us did anything to work on things between us. What finally opened that door was my moms 2nd ovarian cancer diagnosis. We both realized it was time to let go of the hurt & anger that had built the wall between us. Things arent perfect between us, but i feel better knowing that if today is the last day on earth for either of us we arent angry at each other.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I finally have had a good relationship with my mom after the birth of my son, especially when we found out that he has Down syndrome. She told me well we just have to play the cards that we are handed.

I guess after me having kids made me realize the work that my parents actually had to go through so it made me more understanding of why my parents did the things that they did.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

My mom and I always get along better when we don't live under the same roof. And that has happened after college, after a divorce, when buying a house with a time "gap" for getting in (w/husband).

I think you just have to put yourself out there. Maybe invite her to meet you for lunch? Do you have anything that you feel like you need to apologize for, or clear the air about? If so--Do it! If not, keep it a fun lunch with light catching up conversation. I'll bet you get a return invitation! Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Spartanburg on

A mother-daughter relationship is still hard even when all seems to be well. It's two women, often very different, who did not choose to be "friends", even though they are supposed to be and who also have a generational gap to add to the situation. My point, though, is that whereas no one chooses their parents, much more often parents choose to have children, and they raise those children THEIR way, so in my opinion, parents, more often than children, are to blame for a relationship with their children that they have not been able to build in time. I am not saying that there aren't difficult children or that being a parent is an easy job, on the contrary, but I do believe that we all build up some form of anger/resentment towards our parents while growing up. We can be right or wrong, but it doesn't matter, that's what happens. So if I were to restore a relationship with my kid, I'd go quietly over all the things that went on in our relationship, first, I'd try to understand that no one is perfect and that maybe *maybe* i was supposed to understand something that I didn't about my kid, or maybe that i wasn't able to help her, because i didn't know how, and then I 'd realize that life is too short to hold on to negative experiences that cannot be undone...I would not want to keep living with such an important part of my own self missing and I would know that my kid - just because she is mine-would only feel relieved if finally would give her the opportunity to get close again. My opinion is that is up to the parent to ease the way towards re-connection because is the parent hurting the children more often than the opposite. Just my personal opinion on the matter. Good luck, every sweet, cautious attempt will surely be appreciated by your daughter, even if she won't tell you at first.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

She will turn 28 someday and see you in another light. Also she might become a mother and that changes things greatly. I had a similar situation with my oldest daughter. She got older had a son and now I can say we are really on good loving terms with one another. She is also a very devoted, loving and hard working mother.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Been in your shoes, Mine is 31 and she acts like shes 12 still. Theres nothing i can do to change who she is. She holds the grandkids against me to get what she wants. I have had to shut the door on her many times (TUFF LOVE) tuff love is harder on you than her. Buts its the only thing that wakes my child up. Ande dependeing on how bull headed she is it make take awhile for her to get it. I have 4 kids, 2 girls 2 boys this daughter of mine is different then the others, I have a real hard time with her way of life, shes a wild child with no respect for others. she dosnt even like her own siblings. she wants to be an only child. Now thats shes in her 30s Ive had to really step back hard and realize that shes a grown women. And we will never see eye to eye. your daughter is a grown women to. for your heart just keep nice words for her. Thats what will help you. sometimes love works better at arm length! So sorry I know your pain. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My Sister moved out when she was 19. My mom gave her an ultimatum and she moved in with her boyfriend rather than submit to my mom's rules. This caused serious strain to their relationship and within the family. They have since rebuilt a relationship, but not a close one. My sister has always wanted an apology for being kicked out and my mom doesn't think she did anything wrong. It's been 17 years and this is still a barrier between them.

My suggestion is to examine your previous interactions to see if there is something you should apologize for. A heartfelt "I'm sorry" could go a long way towards putting your relationship back together.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I wasn't sure if I wanted to open this post...just because..I'm a daughter who does not speak with her own mother. I'm now 34 years old and my mother and I have NEVER had a great relationship. She's the mom that does everything by the book....very old fashioned, timid. I on the other hand is the opposite. I say something if I don't like something..I say something when I don't agree. I say something if I really believe something is wrong. I remember high school through the time we stopped talking...I would hate to run errands with her would just be me and her..and there's nothing really to talk about..My mom would find ways of saying something negative about me..or my life. I got pregnant and married at 19. Divorced at 23..remarried when I was 31. A lot has happened...I could go on and on. I moved to the East Bay with my family to get away from them. My mom had nothing good to say..nothing was good enough. If I had a disagreement with her...she automatically would think that I was disrespecting her. My dad would find out how well I did in school or what accomplishments I've had..and she'd get was definitely walking on egg shells with her. She always had something negative to say to me. After all this...and all that has happened...I'm actually better w/o her..because I wouldn't feel so upset or down about all the negativity. We have crossed paths last year because of my grandfather passed, but I just had her enjoy her 2 new grand children...and kept things simple and quick. One thing I've wanted was....having a mother -daughter relationship...but...I knew that wouldn't happen .....I thought maybe it would when I got married..and became a mother/wife didn't. Sad to say..but...I do feel it's better this for even thinking of...`"working" things out...I really don't know how it could possibly happen for us. I'm sure you might be more open to it..and maybe your daughter....I would probably call your daughter and say..keep it short...because I think on her end..she'd think weird is this...2...what does she want? ...etc..etc....I say..start small..and work your way...but of course let her know that you do miss her and would like to work on your relationship with her. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

im not in your situation and im not in your daughter too but let me say it to you from the medical point of view Im a doctor and in psychology this matter will only solved by only one way be direct with her dont shy to admit your feeling to her ask her for chance to be back on track say you are sorry if you aren promise to work on it with her be the weak side show her your warmth your hugs be a mom as our old moms or grandma I never forget the warmth or the sent of my mom dont be ignorant to her or judgmental on her dont start with Im worry about you but I love you I miss you I need you im lonely without you I will never resist that from my mom. just be natural and a mom and everything will be back let her scream or be hard on you all this will go away and you will find her crying on your shoulder but you had to down your shoulder first to her to reach and good luck I will pray for you

1 mom found this helpful

Next question: My Mother Is Belittling Me as a First Time Mom of My 16 Month Old Daughter