As a parent, you raise your children to the best of your abilities, and the things you do have a significant influence on how they behave and act as adults. Even if you try your best to raise your children well, there may be some things that you do that cause your children to feel resentful toward you when they grow up. Having an adult daughter who holds contempt for you is a difficult situation as a parent, but there are many things you can do to deal with the pain and work toward building a better relationship for the future.
Accept the fact that your grown daughter has her own valid reasons for disliking you as a parent and that arguing with her or trying to tell her she's wrong to feel that way will only push her further away from you. Accepting the problem is an important step for you to take to deal with your daughter's emotions because this will allow you to see the problem more logically, rather than trying to deny it's there.
Validate your daughter's emotions to show her that you're willing to talk to her about the things that cause her to hate you. Even if you don't agree with what she's saying, telling her that her reality is true will help her take the next step toward repairing your relationship. If you don't agree with statements that she makes about you, explain that you're sorry she feels the way she does and that you never meant to come across as unloving, impatient or controlling.
Be honest with yourself and your daughter about your flaws as a parent. If your daughter says that you spent too much time at work and never spent any time with her as a child, accept the past and apologize. Don't try to play down the severity of your flaws; instead, take responsibility and accept the fact that your flaws may have caused your daughter to feel hatred or contempt for you.
Write your daughter a letter of apology and attempt to make amends by promising to talk openly and honestly with her about her feelings. It is sometimes difficult to think of the right thing to say when you're having a stressful conversation, so writing these things down in a logical order and giving them to your daughter may be a more effective way of showing your emotions and taking the initiative to mend your relationship. Write about your flaws as you perceive them and how she perceives them, how her negative emotions make you feel and how you want to work toward building a better relationship with her in the future.
Maintain a consistent dialog with your daughter about her feelings and thoughts on the situation. Call her or set up a lunch date at least once a week and ask her to explain her thoughts to you. This may be painful to bring up, but consistency in discussing feelings can help bring the two of you closer together and more clarity to you concerning what you need to do to make things right.
- Don't be pushy or overbearing. If your daughter decides that she wants to stop talking about the issues or isn't comfortable bringing up her emotions, ask her to talk to you after she has a chance to gather her thoughts and feels more comfortable.
Megan Kelly started writing professionally in 2007 when she was published in the anthology, "Lit Kids: Mama Bird and the Electric Rabbit" through Mill City Press. She is also a submissions reviewer and grant writer for "Spout Press," an independent magazine in Minneapolis. Kelly is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Minnesota.