Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Parent/Child Relationships > The Core of the Mother-Daughter Dilemma

The Core of the Mother-Daughter Dilemma

There are three basic theories that I want to offer up for your consideration. Each researcher assumes the answer to finding the core of the mother-daughter dilemma. Victoria Secunda, author of When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends and feminist theorist S. Ruddick each talk about an inherent conflict in the mother-daughter relationship. Dr. Charney Hearst focuses more on a theme she found pervasive throughout most mother-daughter relationships. All three theories, in my estimation, offer valuable points that warrant our attention and merit the fame to blame!

Woman to Woman

How sad! When mothers and daughters get wrapped up in blaming each other for ill feelings or a conflict between them—wrong decisions, unhappiness, or any other possible conceivable problem—hostility arises that blocks the release of love. And love is the bond that puts everything else into its proper perspective.

Behind Theory Number 1

Ruddick points out two primary factors that in her opinion form the basis of the conflict:

  1. The simple fact that a mother and her daughter are and should be two separate persons.
  2. What fosters growth or happiness in one does not always do the same for the other.

Behind Theory Number 2

Secunda thinks the problem lies more in the fact that mothers and daughters have an inherent position of being allies and enemies. Here is what she means:

  1. Mothers and daughters share some aspects of their identities. However, there is just as much of a need to be different as there is to be similar.
  2. There is "a built-in and unavoidable tension that goes with being someone's child."
  3. There is a competition that mothers and daughters feel that encourages daughters to do things as well as or better than their moms.
  4. Daughters frequently feel that survival without their mothers would be impossible, despite the feelings that put moms and daughters at odds.

Behind Theory Number 3

Psychotherapist and author of For Mothers of Difficult Daughters (Villard, 1998), Dr. Charney Hearts claims that all mother-daughter relationships are set up for misunderstanding due to each participant's expectations. Mothers expect a reincarnation of self and an imitation of their behaviors. Daughters expect encouragement for individuality, approval of everything and all decisions, and lifetime nurturing. Both mothers and daughters feel disappointment in each other for not living up to these impossible expectations, Hearst concludes.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

st. patrick’s day

Celebrate the
luck of the Irish
with recipes
and activities.



10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks