What you need to know about the Mother-Daughter relationship

Dr. John Gray discusses the mother-daughter dynamic and how puberty and individuation affects the relationship
Family and Parenting Advice | What you need to know about the mother-daughter relationship
KidsInTheHouse the Ultimate Parenting Resource
Kids in the House Tour

What you need to know about the Mother-Daughter relationship

Generally one of the easiest relationships is mother and daughter up to puberty, and then it becomes the most challenging, difficult relationship because puberty is a time of individuation. And a girl is learning about herself up to that point by being like her mother, so she tends to be more amenable, she seeks her mother´s approval more. But at a certain point at puberty, suddenly mom´s singing in the grocery store is like oh my gosh, I am so embarrassed and just as she needed her mother´s approval, as she is going through the process of individuation, she is seeking the approval of peers. And she is trying to find herself as separate from my mother. And this is a new thing for her because prior to that she is finding herself by being like her mother, so her mother is used to telling that little girl do this, do this, do this and the little girl goes yes, I want mommy´s approval. And suddenly, mom is not being received by that child. It can be very upsetting to her, so rather than being the mommy who is always correcting and improving and giving suggestions, you have to back off as a mother and become more of a consultant to that child. You want to listen more and make it difficult for that child to get advice out of you or you might say would you like to know what I think about this but not to push that on the child. It is a very delicate time, and it is a push pull because you are giving her that space to be independent and then suddenly she wants to be your little girl again. And then, you come in and you are mommy. And then, she wants to push away. So the key at that turbulent time where she is having to pull away is to create space for her to express herself and don´t be hurt by her rejection of you. That´s the greatest thing is to not take it personally when she is rejecting you. She is not really rejecting you. She is really just trying to find herself so then she can then come back and find herself like you as well.

Dr. John Gray discusses the mother-daughter dynamic and how puberty and individuation affects the relationship


Expert Bio

More from Expert

John Gray, PhD

Best-Selling Author

John Gray is the leading relationship expert in the world. His relationship and health books have sold over 50 million copies in 50 different languages. His groundbreaking book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, is the best-selling non-fiction book of all time.

John helps men and women better understand and respect their differences in both personal and professional relationships. His approach combines specific communication techniques with healthy, nutritional choices that create the brain and body chemistry for lasting health, happiness and romance. His many books, videos, workshops and seminars provide practical insights to effectively manage stress and improve relationships at all stages of life and love.

John also travels the world teaching communities and companies the best ways to improve their relationships and communication. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show many times as well as The Dr. Oz Show, The Today Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, The View, and many others. He has been profiled in Time, Forbes, USA Today and People.

John Gray lives in Northern California with his wife of 29 years, Bonnie. They have three grown daughters and four grandchildren. He is an avid follower of his own health and relationship advice.

More Parenting Videos from John Gray, PhD >
Enter your email to
download & subscribe
to our newsletter