What is the real reason for mother-daughter conflict?

Generation after generation of women have said they will raise their daughters differently, after experiencing some form of conflict with their own mother, yet problems still keep occurring. What is happening between mothers and daughters, and what can we do to help resolve this?


I am a certified mother-daughter coach trained by Mother-Daughter Coaching International (MDCI). Currently, there are around fifty coaches worldwide certified with MDCI, and we are a fast-growing community. There is a real need for mothers and daughters to connect, bond and establish trust. Mothers and daughters are wired for connection, and whilst many say the time of adolescence is when a daughter pulls away, she will always have a deep need to connect with her mum, and problems and issues can be overcome with the help of a mother-daughter coach.

Adolescent girls

Early fields of psychology suggested this time of separation was a necessity for mothers and daughters, and it is only fairly recently that the true model of development has been questioned.

As Terri Apter wrote in 'The Mother Daughter Revolution', “I was forced to conclude that the struggle between adolescent girls and their mothers is one of redefining their connections to adjust to the daughter’s growth, rather than an attempt to sever connection or create emotional distance”.

Girls look to their mothers as a source of how a female should be, and what that means, and this is where mother-daughter coaching gets really interesting. As part of the mother-daughter attachment® model (the only one of its kind in the world), we map out three generations of women: the grandmother, the mother, and the daughter. This takes an in-depth look at what is going on for the females in the family and helps bring the emotional reality of these women to the forefront.

The 8 stages in a mother-daughter relationship

There are in fact eight distinct stages in a mother-daughter relationship, starting with ‘the daughter is born,’ then somewhere around the middle ‘the daughter gets married,’ and ends with ‘the mother dies.’ Each of these eight stages presents the mother and daughter with individual growth and development, and if one stage is not addressed at the time (i.e. during adolescence) it can easily pop up during a later stage, such as ‘when the daughter becomes a mother’. These unresolved issues can resurface and impact the relationship once again, and past disappointments and unmet needs may contribute to ongoing conflicts.

Generally, you would find that some mothers and daughters would need help during one of these eight stages. However, ‘mother-daughter training’ is sadly lacking in the counselling and psychology world, and therefore there was no place to go. Fortunately, this has now changed with the introduction of the mother-daughter attachment ® model, created by Rosjke Hasseldine; the world’s first mother-daughter relationship therapist and coach. With over 30 years of listening to thousands of mothers and daughters around the world, her valuable insight into why they fight and emotionally disconnect is now available to us all through mother-daughter coaching.

The mother-daughter attachment ® model

There are many layers to work through in the attachment ® model, and one of them is working on effective communication. This is essential in any relationship, but misunderstandings, misinterpretations or ineffective communication styles can create further barriers between mothers and daughters contributing to further conflict.

As your coach, I will draw upon the model’s expertise in effective communication and facilitate these sessions with you. As mentioned previously, the mother-daughter mapping history is an extremely powerful tool. As Rosjke herself says in her book ‘The Mother-Daughter Puzzle', “It empowers women to connect the dots between how they behave, the choices they make, and the truth they have come to believe about themselves, with how their family treats women.”

Mother-daughter coaching

The real beauty of this coaching is not only understanding the real cause of conflict between mothers and daughters but also realising what it truly means to be a woman in today’s patriarchal society. We, as women, can at last start to claim our own voices, look to have our needs met, and most importantly learn to share our voice; so we can ensure the generations that follow are better equipped to deal with life.

We will look at the emotional dynamics such as feelings of jealousy and rivalry, and what they really mean. We will also look at societal and cultural expectations, where often the roles and responsibilities of the women in the family can contribute towards conflict.

Attending this coaching as a mother-daughter couple is highly effective; however, if that is not possible, you can still attend alone. I myself found this process very healing after my own mother had passed away, as I still had many questions that psychotherapy alone had been unable to answer for me. Afterwards, I was able to move forwards with a lot more understanding and empathy for my own mother and her life and figure out once and for what the dynamics between us really were.

If you have ever questioned yourself wanting to do things differently, understand the unfairness of what being a woman in today’s society actually means, and all the different cultural expectations, then this is for you. Not only will you cement your mother-daughter relationship, but you will also begin to change all the relationships around you for the better, and your own personal development will grow exponentially.

If you would like a discovery call to chat some more about mother-daughter coaching, please book through the Discovery Call section, or drop me a text or email and I will be more than happy to help. Thank you for taking the time to read this article, and I hope it has been of benefit to you.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN6
Written by Kerry Castledine, Association for Coaching (MAC) Registered
Lincoln, Lincolnshire, LN6

Kerry Castledine is a Life Coach and Mother-Daughter Coach in Lincolnshire. Her passion is helping people become the best version of themselves, by reconnecting, rebalancing and renewing. Mother-Daughter Coaching is a unique coaching tool which helps, cements and strengthen, the Mother-Daughter relationship.

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