Mother daughter relationship

It takes effort on the part of both the mother and the daughter to strengthen the bond they share

Rejection from the Source

  • A mother might be partial to her boy-child over her girl-child.
  • A mother might be jealous of her daughter because her husband gives attention and affection to the daughter and deprives her of romantic love.
  • A mother might be angry towards her girl-child as her in-laws blame her for not providing them with an heir to the family.
  • A mother might prefer the ‘diplomatic’ daughter over the ‘outspoken’ daughter, and is not affectionate and accepting towards the one who speaks her mind and who free spiritedly lives by her own values.
  • A mother might ‘conditionally’ love her daughter ‘only’ if she fulfills her [mother’s] dreams and aspirations, thus vicariously trying to live her life through her daughter.
  • A mother might also ‘conditionally’ accept her daughter based on her looks, whether she conforms to the mother’s dictates or not, the academic or other accolades she brings home or not, her income-generating capacity, her taking sides with the mother against the father when there is a husband-wife tussle, her undying loyalty to the mother even if the mother is unfair and unjust to her or others, her unquestioning and quiet acceptance of her mother’s incorrect ways and immoral choices.

In all the above cases [which are just some of the ways in which the mother rejects/conditionally accepts the daughter], the daughter is deeply emotionally scarred for life and requires deep healing through an intensive therapeutic process.

Healing at the Source

These storm clouds formed in the mother-daughter relationships bring up two important questions, ‘Is it not possible to prevent such wounds and scars?’ And, whether there is a way to mend such wounded relationships between mothers and daughters?

Like any other relationship, this can be improved as well but it requires a genuine will, true humility, deep desire for personal growth, and sustained effort on the part of ‘both’ parties.

The role of the mother

  • To love your child for who she is, not trying to make her a replica of you and not trying to live your life vicariously through her.
  • To accept and respect the different ness in her and enjoy the uniqueness of who she is.
  • To let the daughter be her own woman, and to enjoy witnessing her ‘becoming herself.’
  • To tell her that she simply needs to ‘become herself’ and to teach her ‘unconditional self-love and self-acceptance’ by unconditionally loving and accepting her.
  • To not control or possess her as an investment who yields dividends for your future.
  • To view her as a ‘gift of life’ and a ‘child of life’ who has come through you to love and nurture.
  • To live the adventure of being a mother and discover newer dimensions of your child everyday.
  • To say it as often as you can, and show her that you are so proud of her and love her for who she is, and who she is growing to be.
  • To tell her that you are blessed in being allowed to witness the unique flowering of life in her.
  • To let your eyes light up when she enters the room, thus showing her non-verbally that she is loved.
  • To never disallow, but instead welcome, her living out the purpose of her life, whatever and wherever it is, telling her to fly to her destiny ‘guilt-free’.
  • To give her the complete freedom to free-spiritedly be the person she is meant to be and not what you think she is ‘ought’ to be.
  • To learn from the mistakes of your own mother; learn from what you did not receive as a daughter.
  • To always do to her what you would have liked your mother to do to you.
  • To learn from your own parenting errors of the past, and to genuinely and humbly apologise and ask for forgiveness for the same.
  • To ask for and to be open to feedback from your child, and to receive it non-defensively, and to reflect on it with great sincerity and seriousness, making the necessary changes, thus growing as a mother as you watch your child grow too,
  • To dedicatedly work on the relationship as a ‘labour of love’ to let the relationship evolve and grow and get better on a daily basis.


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Minnu Bhonsle
Dr Minnu R Bhonsle, PhD, is a Mumbai-based consulting psychotherapist and counsellor. She conducts training programmes in Personal Counselling [Client-centred Therapy] and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, and also workshops in Stress Management, Art of Listening, Couple Therapy, and Communication Skills. Minnu has co-authored the book, The Ultimate Sex Education Guide along with Dr Rajan Bhonsle.


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