I Want a Closer Relationship with my Adult Daughter

I now know how it might be possible.

Merre Larkin


My daughter and me, when she was 2 and I was younger than she is now. (Photo provided by author.)

It was my adult daughter’s birthday yesterday. I texted her, wished her a happy birthday, told her I love her.

We argued a few days ago, her in New York, and me in California. It doesn’t take much for us to start. This particular conflict grew out of a difference of opinion about the Covid vaccine.

I realize that I spend a lot of time and energy trying to understand why my daughter and I do not get along. She is my only daughter. I have not struggled in my relationships with my sons as I have with my daughter. I want to understand why. What am I doing to cause our conflicts as mother and daughter? What is she doing?

According to Rosjke Hasseldine, a mother-daughter relationship therapist, speaker, and author of The Mother-Daughter Puzzle (which is next on my reading list, as of right now), the societal expectation that mothers and daughters are supposed to be close causes them to blame themselves for their relationship difficulties.


Hasseldine clarifies, though, that based on her years of working with mothers and daughters as a counselor and studying that relationship intensely, she contends that it is our society that tends to set mothers and daughters up for conflict.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I read this, and then continued to read Hasseldine’s article:

I felt like it was my birthday, not my daughter’s. This article, and Rosjke Hasseldine, my gifts.

I agonize over my relationship with my daughter every day, but I hide it in the back of my mind. I wonder what I did wrong. I can’t understand why she seems to resent me so much. I can hear it in her voice.

I want us to be good friends, the way I am with my mother, and the way my mother was with hers.

According to Hasseldine, it’s not that simple. In fact, the mother-daughter relationship is very complex…



Merre Larkin

Writer. Life coach. Educator. Marathoner. Survivor. Avid reader. Here to share, here to learn.