Mean Girls- Understanding the psychological issues behind Mother/Daughter Conflict

Moms & girls. They can’t stand to be apart- or just can’t stand each other. One of the most complex, challenging, confusing as well as rewarding and meaningful relationships in life can be found between mothers and their daughters. This psychological tension could occur early as early as childhood or be delayed until the teen years, and in extreme cases create problems for decades. At its worst, the friction and fights generated by these conflicts can destroy a relationship for good and even ripple into breaking a family apart.

Understanding what is causing the conflict in a home is the beginning of solving the problem. When a young woman is engaged in a major power struggle with her mother their home moves from a safe place to a war zone that can spin dangerously out of control.

The five most common conflict styles girls may experience during the journey to becoming a young woman are listed below. Once the traits are identified that describe the tension in your home, use these parenting strategies to directly cope with conflict so you can bring peace back to your home again.1) KIA- Know it all'sMethod: Showing disrespect through continual arguments to degrade and discredit their mother as an authority on anything- especially being a parent (Boss)Mood: Ccritical, harsh, bossy, aloof with continual verbal battles, (Mood worsens as Moms attempt to confront behavior).Message: "I'm in control of my life, you can't tell me what to do- so don't even try. Wake up and smell the coffee Mom- because you're an idiot."Motivation: (Arrogance from Self-Authority) 2) Drama QueensMethod: Dressing like a fully "grown up" woman with sophistication on the outside; while underneath acting like a spoiled little girl with self-serving behavior (Princess)Mood: Changes instantly with no predictability. Weepy and screaming one minute, then brooding or giggly the next. Loud with continual demands for more things to satisfy their driven desire of entitlement.Message: "You owe me, so buy me whatever I want to look like I just stepped out of a clothing catalog. I'm scared to grow up, so watch out, my insecurity means that the next mood swing is in two minutes!"Motivation: (Adult Acting for Approval)3) Tough ChicksMethod: Attacking mom with aggression and meanness to push her away or continually punishes her; even though mom is likely the closest person in the world to her. (Bully)
Mood: Violent, dark, hateful, spiteful, bitter or extreme. Use of street talk or other gutter behavior to hurt Mom. This includes any loud behavior, music, partying, body piercing, tattoos, dressing gothic, or whatever will tick off their mom's the most.Message: "Get the *#*&%* out of my way you sorry *#%&*. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you! Please don't ever leave me!"Motivation: (Attacking to win Agenda)

4) Lost Girls
Method: Driven for acceptance, particularly from guys, while taking their relationship with mom for granted. (Note- this behavior is often tied to the absent father syndrome). (Chameleon)
Mood: Nice, naughty, needy or seductive, codependent, compliant, fearful, clingy, never really shows her identity because she doesn't know who she is.
Message: "I'll do whatever a guy wants me to do or be whoever he wants me to be, as long as he doesn't let me go!"
Motivation: (Acceptance from Anyone who cares)
5) Good GirlsMethod: Dodging mom with busy activity and "yes ma'am" talk but never letting mom get close enough to see what’s going on
(Kiss up)Mood: Distant, casual, deception, passive-aggressive, socially focused, career driven, flirty, hides her hurt and her heartMessage: "I'll play by the rules to keep the peace, but cannot wait to get out of this house and be away from you b-----!"Motivation: (Avoidance through Activity)

Mother/Daughter Conflict Strategy:To connect a daughter into healthy relationships and guide her toward success as a young adult, she needs to receive these five key elements from her mother and father to gain success on her journey to becoming a strong and confident woman.
1) Acceptance- From the people closest to her, who love her no matter what she may have said or done in the past
2) Approval- In spite of her teen insecurities, imperfections, fears and failures, which she often feels like she is drowning in
3) Affection- Gentle, tender, kindness and love from safe people in her family and life. She needs healthy touch now more than ever!
4) Authority- Giving up a self-centered agenda to accept the leading of her parents and other healthy role models as a positive source of guidance, encouragement and support
5) Accountable- Tracking behavior and measurable actions to build responsibility and develop strength of character.

Dwight Bain Bio:Author, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. Professional member of the National Speakers Association and Critical Incident Stress Management expert with the Orange County Sheriffs Office, founder of and trainer for over 1,000 business groups on the topic of making strategic change to overcome major stress- both personally & professionally. Access more life coaching strategies at

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