It can be a painful thing for a mother when her daughter is distancing herself from her. It is important to first find out why she is distancing herself then we can dive into potential solutions.
The older your daughter gets the more likely she is to distance herself. Especially up to your daughter is in her 20s where she has no real reason to speak to you regularly. For that reason, finding and fixing the problem when your daughter is first pulling away from you is key.
I don’t mean to scare you.
In some periods of your daughter’s life, it is completely normal to see her pulling away. Especially during teenage years, it is quite common to see teenage girls distancing themselves from their mothers. This is the time in their life where they develop their own personality and they may need space to do that.
Do not take it personally. There is a high likelihood that you have done nothing wrong. Even the best mothers have teens that pull away.
In order to properly answer the question, I have separated the possible causes and solutions by age group.
0-12 Year Old Daughter Distancing Herself From You
If your daughter is younger, it can be more concerning when she is distancing herself from you. She is not yet at an age where it is typical for her to pull away but yet she still is. If this is the case, you need to take a closer look at her home and school life.
In some cases, she may just be maturing early. If she is 11 but acts like a 14-year-old it would not be weird for her to be pulling away, she is just growing up early. In today’s world girls are growing up earlier and earlier.
Having trouble at home is a common reason why a girl younger than 12 may be having issues with their mother. Parents that are too strict or overbearing will have their daughter pull away regardless the age.
If you are helicopter parenting your child, they may be distancing themselves from you just for a breath of fresh air. Especially during these years when things are supposed to be fun, you cannot be overbearing and at the same time surprised when they are pulling away.
13-19 Year Old Daughter Distancing Herself From You
If your daughter is in high school and you feel her pulling away, this is completely normal. Girls at the age pull away from their parents and further into their friends. Although you should not be too concerned if she is distancing herself at that age, there are still things you need to look out for.
Here are other reasons a 13-19 year old would pull away from their mothers/fathers.
It may be unlikely, but it is possible. When a teenager gets drawn in by drugs it is almost always followed by them distancing themselves from parents and friends. If you are concerned your daughter is doing drugs be sure to contact the National Addiction Center.
With the pressures of high school life both socially and academically, some students fall into depression. If that is the case check out the SAMHSA’s National Helpline for a guide on dealing with a depressed teenager.
3. A Boyfriend/Girlfriend
If your daughter is in a relationship she is not comfortable telling you about, she would start distancing herself from you. Whenever parents disapprove of someone we are dating, we start having a secret life that is separate from our parents. Anywhere from keeping our phone from them to lying about where we are going.
If you have a hardcore stance on dating then this is a real possibility because a healthy percentage of high school students date at least once in high school. If you don’t want your teen to pull herself away from you when she gets in a relationship you need to have an open dialogue about their dating life.
As parents, without noticing it, we can be difficult to talk to. We often speak to our children in a judgmental tone which in return makes it less likely they will talk to us.
If none of these situations really fit your situation it is likely that this is just a phase she is going through.
20-Year-Old and Up Daughter Distancing Herself
If your daughter is over 20-years-old and you feel like she is pulling away from you, this can be dangerous. As I mentioned earlier, at that point in your daughter’s life, her relationship with you is optional, especially if she is not living with you.
Don’t expect your daughter to remain as close to you as she was when she was younger. As women get older, they start developing their own friends, partners, and social groups. She may even have a job and significant other that are going to take up a decent amount of her time.
There is much more going on in her life at that point, and parents tend to take a backseat. Again, don’t take this personally. Her distancing herself from you at that age does not necessarily mean that the relationship is ending between you two. As long as there is nothing sour between you and her, she may just be learning to deal with her adult life.
On the other hand, if there is bad blood between the two of you, your relationship could be in dangerous waters. The more independent your daughter is, the easier it is for her to distance herself from you.
How to Keep your Adult Daughter from Distancing
The best way to keep your adult daughter from distancing is to treat her like an adult. Continuing to treat her like a child is the fastest way to get her to stop talking to you. Why would anyone want to spend time with someone that treats them like a child?
Don’t overdo it. Don’t call her multiple times a week to check how she is or even worse guilt trip your daughter for not calling you more often. She is learning to manage her own life. Although we are concerned to death about how she is doing, we need to give her the space to develop into her own adult.
Call her up once every week or every other week. Let her complain to you about work or how messy her roommate is. Once a month or so schedule a time to have dinner with your daughter, your treat! If she has to cancel don’t get emotional or need, just reschedule.
Be someone your daughter looks forward to hanging out with, not someone she has to hang out with.
If you feel like your daughter is distancing herself from you, chances are it is just a phase she is going through. If she not yet a teenager, you may need to take a closer look into her home life to learn more. If your daughter is an adult, you may want to approach the relationship more delicately because her relationship with you is up to her.
Really love your child and do what is in their best interest and she’ll eventually realize what she’s missing.