Mother and Adult Daughter

Updated on May 24, 2010
J.T. asks from Reston, VA
12 answers

My adult daughter doesn't want me in her life. I am out of the inner loop. What can I do?

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answers from Washington DC on

Again, you didn't provide too many details, but I'll tell you that my mother and I had a lot of problems dealing with each other. Especially after my younger brother died. I didn't "get it" until I had my own kids. If it's just the usual mother/daughter friction and she doesn't have any kids yet, I bet it'll change when she does. Most girls come to understand their mothers MUCH better once they themselves are mothers. If it's something else, like a fight or something one of you did, then I think it's just going to take time. She also could be just exerting her independence in which case, she'll eventually come back around.

So I guess the crux of my reply is, give it time. Continue to send birthday/Christmas cards and thinking of you cards etc... but otherwise, give her her space. This way you make it known that you are always there and that you love her without crowding her and irritating her with constant contact.

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answers from Norfolk on

I'm guessing this didn't happen over night. Is she hanging out with a bad crowd or is she busy working, dating, going to school, etc? Some detail on how things got this way would help people figure what advice would be appropriate. Why don't you get together for coffee once or twice a month and chat about what's new - like a date. It would help if you had something new to talk about too. I took a great class (a while back) and learned how to make stained glass lamps and sun catchers. There's a glass shop in the plaza at Rt 50 and Rt 28 and if they are still giving classes, you can have a few gifts to give people plus meet some nice people as well. If glass work isn't your thing, there are other craft classes you can take at Michael's or other craft centers. Learning new things keeps us all growing.



answers from Washington DC on

How old is she and what are the reasons? It may take time if there are any hurts that haven't been dealt with. However, you could start writing to her and hope that one day, in your lifetime you can give it to her. I lost my mum when she turned 60 to cancer and so wish I could tell her how, in so many ways, she was special to me. Our early years (20's for me 40's and 50's for her) were not good due to a dysfunctional childhood but our last ten years before she died were great. If you are a believer you can pray - I will for you. Where there's life there's hope. Polly



answers from Washington DC on

Hi, J.,
I am currently in the same situation. It's been going on for 9 years. I had to sneak into her wedding and watch from the back. I haven't even seen my 5 grandkids in person. Back on 9/11 I tried calling her, and she wouldn't even talk to me. Someone suggested I write her a letter. I'm trying to do that. I want her to realize that I love her, her husband and her kids, even though I've never met the kids. Maybe you should try that. I hope all goes well.




answers from Washington DC on

I'm sorry to hear this. Is there a reason why your daughter doesn't want you in her life? If something happened, maybe just give it time and let her know you're sorry and you're there for her if she needs you. Depending on her age (20s?), she may just feel the need to find some independence and branch out on her own. Hopefully she'll grow out of this phase and realize how important you are to her. I took my parents for granted when I was younger, and sometimes I still do, but since having a child of my own, I feel much more understanding and can relate to them as parents. Hang in there, be patient, and just let her know in gentle ways that you care.



answers from Danville on

Hi J.,
You didn't provide much information as to why your daughter has chosen to shut you out. So, everything I am saying is based on what may be the issue.

If you did something to hurt her,contact her and apologize. If she refuses to take your calls, leave a message or send a card telling her how sorry you are for whatever may have taken place between the two of you.

If you didn't do anything (other than be a mother):-) still contact her. Let her know that you love her, miss her and would like to talk to her to work out whatever issue has come between you two. Once you have done your part, all you can do is give her time to forgive, if that is the case.

Regardless of how long it takes her to make contact with you, continue to to acknowlege birthdays, holidays, etc.

If you can, please let us know what happened. Or offer some more details so we can help you through this if possible. Be blessed!!!



answers from Washington DC on

If you've done something in the past that has cause this to happen then there's nothing you can do. She will contact you if and when she is ready. I have a grandmother that I refuse to speak to, and I have no intention to ever have contact with her, regardless of the circumstances. She calls my other grandmother to ask about me and my life, and I can tell you this does not make me feel any better about the situation. My life is none of her business, and I have removed her from it for a reason. You may have to accept this is the way that it's going to be for your daughter as well.



answers from Washington DC on

I don't know you, so I have no idea if it is accurate. But I would guess that SHE feels you are a negative influence on her - probably that you make her feel bad about her self and her choices and don't respect her decisions. Or because YOU made bad choices when she was a child that make her feel bad today.

When we have people in our lives who make us feel bad, it is natural to distance oursleves from them. You don't give enough information to know if she is doing something (e.g., drugs, abusive boyfriend) worthy of your judgement or if you did something worthy of her discomfort (e.g., a lack of bonding with her, not defending her in some way).

Either way, it seems like you need to 1) show her you are respectful of her need for some space and you will not force yourself on her but 2) indicate that you want to rebuild a new and better relationship and 3) you ask her to be open to it and work with you on negotiating some groundrules to get you started. As a previous poster mentioned, call her to say hello, send her short "thinking of you notes" etc. But don't force it. Let her know you are there, and put the ball in her court. Don't push buttons, etc. And I bet you know exactly wha tthose buttons are!!!!

Consider counseling, if not for the two of you then for you alone. It can help you look obhjectively at what has happened in the past, and help you manage the pain of her distance. It also is a great symbol, if you take it seriously, of you making an effort that maybe your daughter will appreciate. It is also a practical thing - a therapist can give you suggestions for interacting with your daughter in a postive way that won't make things worse. Maybe your daughter will join you if she realizes you are really serious about repairing any real or perceived wrongs.

I have had some estrangmetns in my family (and am completely estranged from my father for very good reasons). I don't believe that biology entitles you to any relationship with your child (youth or adult) or grandchildren. I don't think people who hurt you or are manipulate you (and are unwillling to take responsibility) deserve a spot in your life. However, I hope that that is not this situaiton. I hope it is simply personality and misunderstanding. And if it is, hoepfully you two can cool off and take babysteps to creating a new relationship not rooted in the past. I genuinely wish you good luck.


answers from San Francisco on

I honestly don't think its a matter of not wanting you in here loop, I think that shes' just found friends at this point who don't visit with their parents to often and its wearing off on her. If you feel that she is deliberatly doing this, then come right out and ask her why she's not as close to you. I'm sure its just a misunderstanding. You have to remember that girls' are more independent than boys', this will pass I'm sure.
Simply ask her if she is to busy to spend some time with you. Its very possible that she isn't seeing it herself. If you were close before you can guarantee that she is not doing this to hurt you. Take care, give her some away time and she will be back, she's just growing up. Moms' and daughters' always stay close, don't feel neglected. She will be back in your life. She loves' you and needs you, don't think differently.



answers from Washington DC on

Is the request that she doesn't communitcate at all? Or just that she doesn't share stuff with you. If you really want her in your life, keep doing little things. Send cards just to say 'thinking about you'. Call her phone weekly and just say 'hi'. It doesn't have to be a daily thing, just a gentle reminder that your still there.




answers from Dallas on

what I'm ganno do of my 24year old step daughter who is very lazy?
Is she responsible to handle money insted of me because her father which is my boyfriend is giving her money to keep insted of me that I am his girl friend.



answers from Washington DC on

I'm assuming something or a series of things has happened. It is hard to grow and move on if the past history with her hasn't been discussed/addressed/fixed... sounds to me (with very little to go on that you mentioned) that this wasn't some "out of the blue" decision. Confront her. If you don't know of any issue(s) that could have prompted this then you need to ask and work on it. I'm not even saying that it was something YOU did... but there is something there it seems.

I have had a few issues with my side of the family, and I have been tempted to just distance myself. There are some MAJOR issues that will never be fixed on their end. I remind myself of the good times with them. I have brought up things that bothered me and issues I was concerned about to them but I have found that there is no change. I've just taken it upon myself to look past things. They are family! There are plusses and minuses!

I wish you luck! And I hope you figure things out. Life is short!

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