How To Apologize To Your Grown Daughter

Dr. Michelle Deering

It’s not uncommon for a mom to get all tied up in knots when faced with having to apologize to her grown daughter.

But if they can’t get settled on how to do it, most mothers will just quit or give up even trying; especially if they feel that yet another argument will ensue.

However, this short article will cover 3 Steps every mom needs to take to help her apologize to her grown daughter. As a Mother-Daughter Relationship Consultant, they’ve worked wonders for my mom and adult daughter clients.

Step #1: Coming To Terms With Conflict

What mothers need to understand about this steps is that dealing with conflict is conflicting.woman resigned face

What’s most important about taking this step is that you honestly acknowledge the internal emotional turmoil that you are experiencing in light of the interaction that resulted in an argument with your daughter.

This steps is critical for a mom’s apology because not acknowledging your feelings will make you powerless to control your feelings and look at your mother-daughter situation rationally enough to make any changes that will facilitate communication, connection, and closeness.

The most effective way to address your emotional turmoil is to:

  • acknowledge your desires to be connected to your daughter
  • admit that your separation from your daughter is an emotionally painful experience for you as her mom …and for your daughter herself
  • pause to consider what feelings are really at the core of the issue that has upset you and contributed to the argument with your daughter.

 

Steps #2: Take Ownership Of Your Contribution To The Conflict

woman sihlouetteAs a mom, you need to understand the following: from your daughter’s perspective, you have contributed to the conflict in some way even though you may not have actually done anything to contribute to the argument. Since it takes two to have a relationship, it also takes two to have a conflict. Sometimes the “issue” may have nothing to do with you and is actually something internal and unexpressed by your daughter. However, the conflict is with you and can still feel real to your daughter because you “represent” something else to her.

It’s important for every mother to understand this possible mental-emotional pattern may exist because you may have to express some form of contrition even though you may not be “in-the-wrong.” It won’t feel fair. But, accepting this possibility will allow you to separate it from the facts of what’s going on from the feelings that are occurring in light of what’s occurring.

This taking ownership step is critical to a mother’s ability to apologize to her grown daughter. Why? Because,  at the end of the day, taking ownership of your contribution to the conflict is not about “losing (or saving) face;” it’s about restoring connection  with your daughter.

To put this step into action you will need to:

  • acknowledge your daughter’s feelings
  • communicate how your actions/inactions have (likely) contributed to your daughter feeling the way she feels
  • express (if it’s true) how your intentions were not to hurt or neglect her in any way
  • say, “I am sorry for___(name the action/inaction)__.”
  • ask her for forgiveness
  • state that you’d “understand if (she) is not able to forgive (you) now but hope that (she) will be able to forgive (you) in the future.”
  • tell/assure her that you love her because she’s your daughter

Steps #3: Hit The Reset Button

Reset buttons are easy to press but seldom easy to live out. As a mom, you’ll need to understand that you may need to extend your daughter (and yourself) a little more grace. Apologizing takes time. Forgiveness takes time. Change takes time. reset button

The most important aspect of this steps is that you don’t (internally) beat yourself up, or harden your heart, or lash back out in anger towards your daughter if and/or when either of you repeats the same error in interacting with each other in the future. In short, you’re both going to make mistakes as you work through the apology process.

So, hitting the reset button is critical in your apology process because you will be tempted to lose hope or resign yourself to think that “nothing will change” between the two of you. Realize that the process will be a one-step-forwards-two-steps-back-process until you each find a new rhythm of interacting and a new level of trust.
There is always hope for change. But that change first start with you.

So the main things for you to remember to do here is to

  • respect your daughter’s emotional, physical, and mental space that she’ll need to readjust
  • look for common neutral ground for interacting with each other
  • ask permission to interact with her on neutral ground
  • offer to help in a way that meets a need she may have but which does not compromise your sense of value materially, financially, emotionally, physically, spiritually, or mentally.
  • exercise patience not permissiveness.

If you want to cause yourself more heartache, then ignore these steps at your own risk. But if you want to decrease the conflict and relational distance, then take these 3 Steps to heart. You’ll be glad you did.

One more thing before I forget.

if you’re a mother who wants to decrease the conflict and relational distance with her daughter, then  contact me. I’m here to help:)

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