Why is My Grown Daughter So Mean to Me?

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No parent ever sets out to raise a mean and disrespectful child. Raising children can be as challenging as it is rewarding and sometimes, despite a parent’s best efforts, grown children can be disrespectful and mean.

It is an upsetting position to be in as a parent, you have spent years nurturing your child, loving them unconditionally and now they are a grown adult and after everything you have been through together, they aren’t treating you with the love and kindness you deserve.

Sons and daughters can be mean to their parents but why do mothers and daughters or step-daughters often have difficult relationships when the daughter becomes an adult?

Have you ever found yourself despairing to your friends, asking them ‘why is my grown daughter so mean to me?’

If your friends have not been able to give you the answers to explain your grown daughter’s behavior, this article will provide you with explanations and solutions to your problems with your not so little girl.

Signs Your Adult Daughter is Being Mean To You

Are your adult child’s bad attitude and unkind behavior towards you really a cause for concern? It is never a pleasant experience when someone is being mean to you, especially when that someone is one of your own children.

However, it is important to remember that we are all human, we all have bad days and sometimes take out our stresses and negative emotions on the people we are closest to. Of course, this type of behavior isn’t OK but it can be forgiven.

At some point in life, we have all started an argument with our loved ones or been unkind for no other reason than we feel overwhelmed or upset and don’t have the strength at that moment to work through our feelings calmly.

If your adult child is regularly behaving in a way that is making you feel upset and appears to be intentionally hurting your feelings, then this is a problem in your mother-daughter relationship that needs to be addressed. 

Here are 4 signs your grown-up daughter is mean:

She says things she knows will hurt your feelings

There is saying something you don’t mean in the heat of the moment and then there is taking the time to think of things that will hurt a person’s feelings and still saying them anyway. If your daughter regularly says things she knows will hurt your feelings then she is being mean.

She doesn’t want to spend time with you

Does your adult daughter ignore your calls? Does she leave it days to text you back or ignore your messages altogether?

Do you feel your daughter is always canceling plans and never inviting you over to visit? If this all feels painfully familiar then your daughter is being extremely unkind by refusing to see you and offering no explanation. 

She argues with you over every little thing

Disagreements happen between parents and their adult children, it happens. But is your grown-up daughter fighting with you over small differences in opinion?

Are you having massive blowout arguments over things that could easily be solved with a calm discussion?

If your adult child is arguing with you regularly then she may enjoy upsetting you and be purposefully starting fights, this is mean and immature behavior that needs to be addressed.

She is just plain rude

Rudeness comes in many forms: hurtful sarcasm, passive-aggressive comments, ignorance, disrespectful and impolite communication.

If your adult daughter is regularly being unkind and disrespectful and treating you in a way you have previously expressed you do not wish to be treated, she is being unkind and this type of behavior is just plain mean. 

Why Do Mothers And Daughters Fight So Much?

The signs are clear, your grown daughter is being mean to you, what happens next? Well, a good place to start is gaining some knowledge on why mothers and daughters fight so much.

You are not the only mom going through this, the mother-daughter conflict is something many women struggle with. 

There are many reasons why mothers and daughters clash so much. Here are 5 possible reasons why you don’t have the relationship you long for with your adult daughter:

Your relationship has changed

You will always be your daughter’s mom but that does not mean she wants you to parent her like you did when she was younger.

The needs of an adult child differ significantly from those of an actual child and your daughter may feel like you haven’t acknowledged her shift into adulthood.

Your daughter is a woman now and she will want to be treated as such. It can be hard for parents to no longer look at their children as their ‘babies’ but your daughter is all grown up now and she needs you to treat her like a fellow adult, not a little girl. 

Someone is jealous

Perhaps you are jealous of your daughter‘s youth and freedom? Maybe she is jealous of all the things you have achieved and the strong confident woman you are? Often when there is mother-daughter conflict jealousy could be hiding below the surface causing a lot of tension. 

You are too controlling and don’t give her space

As a parent to young children you spend years telling them what to do – ‘Put your shoes on!’, ‘Eat your veggies!’, ‘Don’t forget to do your homework!’.

There are times when children are small when parents can feel like all they do is tell their child what to do and control almost every aspect of their life. This is normal, left to their own devices 24/7 who knows what kids would get up to.

But your daughter is an adult now and doesn’t need you telling her what to do. Your daughter needs to make mistakes and learn from them, she needs to carve out her own path through life, it is no longer your job to tell her what to do.

She needs space and privacy from you too. Even if you used to be the best of friends, it is completely natural for your adult daughter to not want to spend all of her time with her mom or to tell her every little thing about her life. 

She resents your parenting choices

Now your daughter is grown up (and perhaps has children of her own) she may have reflected on her childhood and feel like you did some things wrong.

This isn’t an easy situation for you to be in but your adult child may feel like you didn’t raise her in the best way, she may resent some of the choices you made and she is unhappy with you now about things that happened in the past. 

Your relationship has always been strained

Sometimes a mom can do everything ‘by the book’ and still not manage to form the mother-daughter bond she dreamt of.

Maybe family and personal circumstances meant you weren’t always there for your child in the ways she needed you, maybe she grew up feeling like she wasn’t good enough in your eyes or that nothing she did ever made you happy.

Whatever it is, if there are wounds from childhood that haven’t been given the attention they need to heal, a strained relationship with your adult daughter should not be completely unexpected.

How Do You Deal With A Disrespectful Grown Daughter?

The first thing you need to do is not consider your daughter’s behavior as something to be ‘dealt’ with. Don’t seek answers to the question of how to deal with a disrespectful grown child?, instead, look at your relationship as something you need to work on together to heal.

Don’t despair, if your grown daughter is being mean to you and is often disrespectful and unkind, there are steps you can take to have a healthier and happier mother-daughter relationship.

Here are 5 things you can do to try and heal your relationship with your adult daughter. 

Talk about your feelings

If your daughter is regularly mean to you then you need to confront her.

Try and find a time when your daughter is in a neutral mood and bring up the topic of her behavior. Try not to make it an argument, just speak calmly and honestly and make it clear how your daughter’s behavior is making you feel. 

Start viewing her as an adult

Are you still treating your daughter like she is a little girl? You need to do some personal work on changing how you see your daughter, regularly remind yourself she is an adult now and doesn’t need you to make decisions for her and control her life.

It can be a difficult thing to do but once you accept your daughter is an adult and doesn’t need you in the same way she once did, your relationship should grow stronger.

Your daughter’s behavior towards you could potentially completely change, simply because you have made the effort to treat her like a fellow adult. 

Write her a letter

Are you fearful a conversation about your daughter’s behavior could easily slide into argument territory? If so, perhaps a letter is a better option.

Sitting and writing a letter will allow you the time and space you need to express everything you are feeling without getting sidetracked by your daughters comments.

Your daughter may not write back but you can find some peace knowing you have told her exactly how you are feeling. The letter could be the first step on your healing journey and your daughter might even write back explaining why she has been being so mean to you. 

Listen to your daughter’s point of view

It is going to take a lot of communication and listening from both of you to repair your mother-daughter bond. Once you have said your piece, ask your daughter how she feels about your relationship.

Encourage honest and genuine communication. She might be mean with her words but try to really listen and understand why she has been behaving this way.

Validate her feelings, just as you would a young child, and try to listen with empathy instead of getting defensive.

An honest adult conversation should be the first step towards your daughter letting the barriers down and letting you gain some understanding of her unkind behavior. 

Respect each other’s boundaries

You both need to set some healthy boundaries to help your relationship.

Mom, you need to accept that there may be some parts of her life your daughter doesn’t want to share with you, just as your daughter needs to acknowledge that you still want to be a part of her life.

Boundaries are a good thing and deciding on some key relationship boundaries together will be a really positive step in your journey to a closer parent-daughter bond. 

Love her unconditionally

No matter how mean she is, how many arguments she starts, or how often she says unkind things, make it clear you still love her.

Of course, call her up on her behavior and make it clear that this is not how you want to be treated but don’t ever let her think you only love her when she is nice to you.

Make it obvious that as her mom you will love her always and all you want is for her to have the happiest and best life possible.

It is a parent’s job to love their children unconditionally, no matter how old they are, and whilst this doesn’t mean you should let your adult children get away with murder, you should always try to make it clear you will love your children no matter what.

Try spending time with your daughter doing things you both enjoy, get to know her as an adult, treat her with love and kindness and once she feels safe in the knowledge you love her unconditionally, she will hopefully begin to reciprocate. 

The Final Thought

There are many reasons why grown daughters are so mean to both of their parents, but the mother-daughter conflict is more common within families.

However, if your daughter is being mean to you or their father there are several things you can do to try and change the way she treats you.

You are going to need to be patient and be prepared to potentially hear some painful home truths. But it is possible to have a happier relationship with your daughter.

It is likely to be a long and difficult process, but there are steps you can take together that will help your adult daughter treat you with more respect and kindness, leading to a stronger bond between you both. 

Hi, I'm Emma and I'm a mother to 5 beautiful children aged from 1 to 21 years old- life is hectic! I have learned so much along the way, not only from my own children but also through my professional life. In my positions as a Childminder and Teaching Assistant, I have studied Child Development and The Early Years Developing Practice. I wish to share all of this knowledge and help you with your own parenting journey!

Hi, I'm Emma and I'm a mother to 5 beautiful children aged from 1 to 21 years old- life is hectic! I have learned so much along the way, not only from my own children but also through my professional life. In my positions as a Childminder and Teaching Assistant, I have studied Child Development and The Early Years Developing Practice. I wish to share all of this knowledge and help you with your own parenting journey!