This is the question that started our work.
I feel like I’m losing my daughter, what do I do?
We used to be so close, now I feel like she’s rejecting me.
Last week, she got embarrassed by me in the grocery store.
I hoped this would never happen, but I guess it’s inevitable?
I’m having sucky deja vu from my childhood, but this time I’m the lame mom.
We’re used to hearing the message in our society that (painful) disconnect during the teen years is inevitable, and, even, normal. Teens are gonna be rude and reject you, or so the old parenting playbook goes. Mothering & Daughtering is based on the idea that this is a load of crap.
Today we’re getting real about the fear of “losing” your daughter, and why it isn’t true. It’s ok, mama, take a deep breath. We got you. Click the video below to watch.
Even if you don’t feel like you’re losing your daughter, this episode is for you too — because we’re all swimming in the cultural sea of normalized disconnect when it comes to mother– daughter relationships, especially in the preteen and teen years. It’s time to change that story.
Once you’ve gotten a chance to check out the video, leave a comment below —
Have you ever felt like you were losing your daughter or that you didn’t know what to do as a mom?
Share your answer below — because collective wisdom rocks, and we want to hear your take. We need each other, mama.
Sil & Eliza
WOW! Am I glad to see this amazing duo! Finally a mother daughter team that believes in bonding through the pre-teen and teen years. How well you articulated my fears and struggles while raising a teen. Can’t wait to watch the next video and to tap this resource. I feel stronger just knowing I am not alone on this mothering journey. Thank you Sil and Eliza!!
Welcome to the Mothering & Daughtering tribe, Anne! We are so happy that you are walking this journey with us! xo
Absolutely love your new site! Brings me back to the amazing weekend we spent with you at Omega in May. So glad to be able to listen in and keep your wisdom close. Thanks for sharing!!
Thank you for your feedback! So glad you will be staying close and hearing and sharing wisdom! xo
I really needed this tonight! My 16 year old baby is growing up and I’m just not ready. Way more about my emotions instead of hers 😀 She is growing into herself, as she should! Thanks for your wisdom
Oh Lori! I am so moved by your words. I can relate and I know so many other mothers will be able to relate!! Good for you for having the wisdom to know the difference between your emotions and hers! You are allowing her to grow into herself! Brava! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with our community!
Gorgeous website, gorgeous women (inside & out). Being a part of both workshops (8 years ago?) was illuminating.
Miss the M&D tribe and hoping to see you soon. Peace…xox
P.S. Reunions? Mothering & Daughtering oar college/21+ ? Reconnecting day?
Hi Pier-Anna! We have been thinking about all of this: mother/adult daughter workshops and reunions, etc. We will put you on a list if any of this happens. Thanks so much for you interest. xo
Lovely video. Reasssuring but still brought a tear to my eye!…. ‘saying goodbye’ to my little girl 🙁
Thanks for the great talk x
Glad you found it reassuring and the tearing up is soooo appropriate and healthy!
Thanks for sharing your feelings with us.
Thank you, thank you Sil and Eliza you hit the nail on the head! I am so blessed to have a 17 1/2, 13 & 8 year old daughters.
I have had my up and down days but have to remind myself not to allow myself to be lead by my feelings because they don’t always relate truth. My daughter’s are all so different. I usually say I have one that is like the morning, another like the evening and one that is like mid day. So how I relate to each is different and unique.
What I have found to be helpful in how I relate to each one is having them take the “Meyers-Briggs” personality test (my oldest was the one who introduced me & our family to this). It has really helped us all understand/relate each other better and see how we are so unique and different personalities and this is why we do what we do or don’t do.
Another big connecting point for me has been to take each daughter away once a year on a mother/daughter retreat. My husband does this also once a year with each daughter. Being away just one on one has been a very special time we all look forward to.
The last connecting point I’ll mention is having a surprise “Coming of Age” ceremony for my daughter’s. We did this for my oldest when she was 16 and just recently for my other daughter at when she turned 13th. My husband and I knew that one was ready earlier in life than the other and that isn’t a slight on either we just want to follow their lead in the right timing. I would say this ceremony was an amazing way to ushering them into young womanhood.
I would love to see you two do a retreat in Texas hint hint 😉
Wow Denise! What gold you are sharing about your relationships with your THREE daughters. Thank you! I love your metaphor of them being as different as the three times of day. Beautiful. I love that you have used the Meyers-Briggs personality test in your parenting. I know a lot of moms who have found it helpful. There is a good- I believe out-of-print book called “One of a Kind” which applies the MB personality types to children.
Love that your husband supports you in getting away for special time with each daughter. That is the best way I know of to keep the bond strong through the teen years. I also appreciate the way you trusted your intuition and did your coming of age ceremonies for your daughters at different ages. When it was right for each one. Brilliant. We would love to teach in Texas! Love your comments. Welcome to the Mothering & Daughtering “tribe!”
And these days, well these past years, no I haven’t felt that way. We learned a lot from you Sil and Eliza, I’ve come to trust the process and the depth of the relationship so much more, and wow! My dear girl is 16 and we are closer than ever. Connected, in healthy ways that our culture says doesn’t happen. I am blessed with an intelligent, articulate, and as she describes herself “social-justicey” girl, and I will do all I can to stay connected and build a foundation beneath her so she can bring her gifts into this world.
Love and blessings to you both,
Amelia! It is so lovely to hear news of you and your “social-justicey” girl. FANTASTIC.
Why am I not surprised?
Love and blessings back!
Sil, please give me the name of the author for the out of print book you recommended called, “One of a Kind.” Thanks 🙂
The name of the author is Lavonne Neff
Sil and Eliza ~ I can’t thank you enough for your video. I have always been close to my daughter but just recently we have been having a lot of conflict. I feel like no matter what I say, it’s wrong. She is not sharing things like she use to and the whole situation has made me so frustrated and sad. After having a good cry tonight, I decided to go online and search help on the internet. Your site popped up. After watching your video , “I Feel Like I Am Losing My Daughter, What Do I Do?” I didn’t feel so all alone. I hadn’t identified my fears of feeling like I was losing her until after watching your video but that is exactly how I was feeling. It felt so good to hear that I am not alone, that this is all normal. My daughter is a great girl and I am going to do my best to educate myself so I can be there for her and not push her away by being reactive towards her. I decided to express my honest feelings with her. I went to her room and told her that I wanted to share some things. She agreed to listen. I told her that I know that she is going through a lot as a 17 year old girl. Her body is changing, she has the pressure of school, friendships, preparing to go to college, just to name a few. I shared that I appreciate that it is very stressful. I then told her that the conflicts we have been having recently have been frustrating but mostly sad because the truth of the matter is, I am feeling great fear, the fear of losing her. I confessed that I looked for help online to figure out how best to handle things with our conflicts and discovered that I am in fact not losing her and that this is all normal. I shared that she is so incredibly important to me and my plan was to figure out how I can grow with her. I also let her know that it was important to me that she knows that I am here for her no matter what, that I would always have her back. Of course this was all spoken through my tears but she sat and listened to every word I had to say. After I was finished, she told me how much she respected what I had to say and appreciated me coming in to speak to her. WOW!!!!! My daughter, who is not really an affectionate person, actually hugged me and let me kiss her head not once but twice!!! I feel so much better now. I plan on devouring your info so I can be a healthier mom and cultivate a healthier relationship with my daughter moving forward. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Wow Melissa! Amazing story. I am so glad to hear that our message is helping. Thanks for sharing your gold with us and welcome to the Mothering & Daughtering tribe!! I think you and your daughter might really benefit from reading our book. And even if she doesn’t want to read the Daughtering side, you will get a lot out of reading it. Keep it going Mama! You got this! xo
I’m glad I found your site. Watched it while crying. Still too raw to share more, but, again. lucky to have stumbled here. Thank you!
You are so welcome Ruth! Welcome to the Mothering & Daughtering tribe!
My soon to be 12 yr old daughter has done a complete 180 in the past 3 weeks. We have been super close since day one and we have a very open relationship. She will come to me and talk to me about anything and everything. 3 weeks ago it all went out the window. A switch flipped and i am now the worse person in her life. Her father and I are divorced(10yrs) and i have full custody and he gets every other weekend. She wants nothing to do with me and refuses to speak with me and just wants to live with her dad. I completely understand girls are “daddy Girls” and im willing to give into that as much as i possibly can, court order there are serious reasons i have full custody. She has spent 3 weekends in a row with her dad and got home last night and within 5 mins of her dad leaving she was slamming doors and screaming and called her dad to come get her. I feel so lost, I tried communicating and finding out what was wrong with her and if i had done something to upset her and nothing.. I cried myself to sleep last night. I woke up crying. im crying right now. Not only is she fighting with me 24/7 shes fighting with her brother. She can be playing one min and in a blink of an eye she is losing her mind. If i surprise her with something shes been wanting its never good enough. I remember rebelling with my mom but not like this. My mother and I never really had a relationship. My dad was in the military so he was always gone and my mom let me do what i wanted when i wanted so i didn’t have much of a parent or a friend. I know my mom did her best and we are super close now but i always say my mom taught me how not to be a mom as bad as that sounds. Im glad to know im not the only mom going through this i just pray it doesnt last long. Im so crushed by it all.
Ashley- I am terribly sorry to hear about your situation with your daughter. Are you getting the emotional support you need?
My daughter is sixteen & recently I feel she’s broken my heart. My husband & I separated 18 months ago. Both my teens came to live with me full time, although we wrote it into our separation agreement that they would choose where they wanted to live. My son is now 18 & he stays with me full time & goes to dinner at his Dads a couple times a month. At the end of school my daughter decided to stay at her Dads during exams as she said it was quieternal. Then she stayed there for the summer…but we had an agreement she’d be back for school starting up. All summer she was grumpy & distant. In September she stayed with me 10 days & then went back to her Dads. Now my Ex has contacted a lawyer to say she lives with him full time & is stopping his support payments. He retired & taxis her around all the time. He got her a new laptop etc. I only see her twice a week for a couple hours while she goes horse back riding. I feel I’ve lost her. I cry a lot & even cried last week when I picked her up. I tried to find out what I’d done wrong. She simply said I already had my son with me & she felt her Dad was lonely & needed her. She said she feels happier there. Is there any hope?
Dear Dianne, I am so deeply sorry for your pain and I feel that of course there is hope. Maybe your daughter’s heart is broken by the separation. It is hard to remember that our 16 year olds are still kids in many ways and she might even be regressed by the breakup of her family as well. I would urge you not to take this personally (I know, sounds impossible not to, you are human!) and to make sure that you are getting the support you need to express all your feelings with an a therapist or other adults. It sounds like she is pretty clear for now that she has made a decision to “take care of her dad.”The most important thing is for you to take care of yourself and to make sure your fundamental happiness is not based on whether your daughter wants to live with you. I am not saying this is not agonizing- but get the support you need to heal here and not cry when you pick her up and find love from your dear friends and cry in their arms and meet your girl when you do (I know it is painfully infrequent) from a healed heart and a confident place. I suspect she will get tired of taking care of her father and as you become more healed, she will find your home and you very comforting. If you want a free 1/2 hour coaching session just go to our website motheringanddaughtering.com and go to coaching and sign up. Sending love.
I enjoyed your video very much. I’ve read books on moms and daughters, teens, parenting and the like, but I still feel such a loss. My 15-year-old daughter went to live with her Dad after living with me her whole life. She barely speaks to me. I feel depressed about it honestly. I have three daughters, one is grown, my 15-year-old, and my youngest is 13. Without getting too personal my x-husband has no visitation. There were a lot of issues. My daughter gave me no choice but to let her live with him (even though I truly believe he’s not a good choice). I knew it would be difficult, but it’s way harder than I imagined. My youngest daughter won’t speak to her father, and I would never force her too. But now because she won’t speak to him (which she hasn’t in years) I can’t talk to my daughter. It’s a no-win situation. I’m certain he’s filled her head with unkind things about me, which I knew would happen, but I thought she would keep her own mind about things too. I feel sick. I feel sad. I miss her terribly. I know people who read this will probably judge me, and that’s fine, but I really did the best I could by my children. I wanted an amicable divorce. But I discovered it takes two to make it that way, and he had other plans. I don’t know how to proceed. I cannot ask my younger daughter to talk to him so I can talk to my other daughter. It’s impossible. My family is angry with her for leaving, and I can’t talk about how sad I am about it. And frustrated. Thank you for saying I am not alone. I needed to hear that today.
Thank you so much!
I needed this video today. My 14yr old daughter went on her first date today. Besides that we’ve had some intense power stuggles lately. She’s so strong and tenacious and it’s astonishing, terrifying and heartbreaking. I’m realizing how much of my life I’ve lived for her as a single parent since she was 5 months old. I suddenly feel so small and weak and how I’ve suddenly woken up and here she is .. this person I’ve never met before. This video helped calm me, I’ll definitely be following you through this.
You are so welcome! Welcome to the Mothering & Daughtering tribe where mothers totally find their confidence and footing during the teen years! Make sure you are on our email list so you can get the WETHRIVE blog every two weeks! XO Sil
I’m a grieving mom of one daughter, a month from 17. We have always been super close and now we are at real odds. She has made it clear that she does not want a relationship with me, to talk to me, wants to be out of here for college and not even come back at Christmas. Well, as of just Christmas past, we were confidants, I knew what was going on with her, and she trusted me-too much, and I “became her voice” in her dating relationship. So when that ended, we did too. Some separation and untangling is necessary- and I want to learn how to create a new relationship. But this is as hard for her as it is me- and accordingly, she is not being nice, in fact, her father has told her she can’t be so cruel to me. I want to believe that we will get each other back, in what ever new way it needs to be!
Hi Katharine, So glad you reached out. You are not alone. Many mothers find us grieving that they have lost their daughter and we help mamas to retrieve the relationship. I agree with you that some separation and untangling is necessary, but you can get back into “right” relationship with your daughter again. Her behavior sounds very much like peer orientation. We have lots on the topic in our book and in our online course, themotheringcourse.com. Make sure that you get our free video How To Get Close to Your Daughter When it Feels Like She is Pushing You Away when you opt-in on our website… there are real steps to make towards retrieval. Warmly, Sil
I really needed to see this and I thank you! I’ve been telling my husband I feel like I’m losing my girl and that I feel like she hates me and doesn’t need me anymore and doesn’t love me. She suddenly pulled away from me when before she was like an attachment to my hip and then all of a sudden now she’s closer with her dad and will cut up with him and everything and yet pulls away from me and it’s breaking my heart. I have cried so much about this. So it helps to know that I’m not alone. Not that I wish this feeling on other mothers, but it helps to know that it’s not just me feeling this way. I’m feeling the hurt and the pain which obviously is more my emotions. I know she needs this and she needs to grow but it really hurts. So thank you.
Hi Vicky, I am so glad to hear that you found our message helpful. I am not so glad that you are suffering but it is true, you are not alone! I strongly recommend that you read our book, Mothering & Daughtering: Keeping Your Bond Strong Through the Teen Years. If you find that helpful, you might want to come to one of our workshops or take our online course: themotheringcourse.com Let me know if you have any questions about how you can use our resources. With love, Sil
I would love to know about your workshops and/or your online courses. My daughter is in college and I am struggling with feeling so disconnected and lonely without her here. I feel she has a better relationship with her father than she ever has but since I was the one who was with her the most growing up and did most everything for her I feel really feel the loss now. I’m struggling with feelings of jealousy towards my husband, resentment, and terrible sense of loss without my daughter here and also as if my life has no meaning or purpose anymore because I can’t be her mother in the way I was used to it.
Hi Susan, Our online course would be very helpful in terms of you understanding the attachment approach to creating a closer relationship with your daughter. Do not despair! Themotheringcourse.com