How to Deal With a Disrespectful Adult Daughter

By Tammy Dray
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Relationships between parents and adult children are not always easy. If your adult daughter is treating you disrespectfully, it might be time to address the situation head on. Rather than engaging in a continuous fight or ignoring the issue, sit down and discuss the problem with mutual respect.

Improve Communication

The first rule of communication between parents and adult children is to sit down and talk about what's bothering you. Don't expect your adult daughter to understand what's bothering you unless you say something. Instead, sit down and ask her what the problem is and how you can talk about it and find a solution together. If talking face to face is difficult, start by writing down everything that's on your mind and ask your daughter to do the same. Then sit down to discuss those issues. Ensure your daughter you want to find a solution, not bash each other.

Try to Understand Her Point of View

As a parent, it might be hard to accept that your child has grown up and is now an adult with her own opinions, values and passions. Learning to respect the fact that those might be different from your own can help heal the relationship. It's essential to let your adult daughter know her feelings and opinions are valid, even if you don't agree with them -- adults can agree to accept each other's differences with grace. Role playing sometimes helps understand the other person's point of view. Start a conversation where you each play the other person -- the mom portrays the daughter and vice versa. This often offers insight into the other person's feelings and thought processes.

Be Open to Compromise

Especially if you disagree on basic points and beliefs, it might work to sit down and discuss each point of view. Rather than accusing your daughter of being disrespectful, ask her why she behaves the way she does and whether there is something you both can do to fix the situation. For example, if you have been demanding and she feels pressured, you might be able to find a middle ground where both of you feel comfortable and feel appreciated.

Enlisting Professional Help

Ideally, you can find a solution to your differences together, but sometimes outside help is a must. A family therapist or coach can help you discuss your differences in a neutral environment, where the chat is more conductive to solving the issue rather than accusing each other. Local community centers, churches and other free resources in your area might be able to help, too.

About the Author

Aside from writing experience, I also have coaching/teaching experience, both as an writing coach (currently teaching three workshops at www.coffeehouseforwriters.com) and an ESL (English-as-a-Second-Language)teacher abroad. I'm a certified Nutrition Consultant and fitness trainer and a longtime contributor to health/wellness publications, from Self to Marie Claire. I am fluent in Spanish and have worked as a translator and a language instructor. I also have two books forthcoming in 2008.