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My Daughter Says She Hates Me

My Daughter Says She Hates Me


Dear Rachel,

I am a single mother of a teenage daughter whom I have always been close with. But this past year no matter what I say or do I can never seem to do right. What is most hurtful is that recently she is blaming me for everything wrong in her life. She is angry that I don’t have the money to buy her what she wants, that she doesn’t have a father at home, and for the school she is in which she hates. I have always done everything I could for her but she doesn’t seem to appreciate any of it and recently left home to live with a friend. I am in so much pain and want her back home but can’t bear to live with a daughter who claims to hate me. Furthermore, she just turned eighteen so she is a legal adult so I can’t really make her come back. What should I do?

Devastated Mother
L.A., CA

Dear Devastated Mother,

I am so sorry to hear about the struggles you are going through. And there is no doubt that such harsh accusations must be causing you a tremendous amount of pain.

Reflecting back on my life as a teenager, I remember I had an uncanny ability to blow everything way out of proportion. And since I wasn’t able or willing to take responsibility for my actions or consequences, anyone around that I could blame for my mistakes, usually got the blame.

As we grow and mature, G‑d willing, so does our perception. Most teenagers have some degree of difficulty seeing anything beyond themselves, their feelings, their pain and their vulnerability. Seeing the larger picture, reviewing the past, recognizing blessing in their lives and working towards the future is the kind of insight that usually only sets in a bit later down the road, after we've lived life a bit more.

It sounds like your daughter is attempting to do just that. Perhaps her leaving home is a step towards her personal growth. It sounds like she has some issues to work through and might just need a little space. It is easy to think that everyone else has a perfect life until you are actually outside of your own to realize what you had. I am hoping that with a little distance she will be able to evaluate how she treated you, what she is able to do to help improve her life and how to come back home.

In the meantime, I hope she is in a safe, supportive and loving environment, receiving the space and the discipline she needs to feel "okay" with herself. Unfortunately, on her way to finding her "peace" she left you in a lot of pain and confusion. It does not sound like right now having her home is necessarily the healthiest thing for either of you, especially if she does not want to be there right now. However, I encourage you to a) make sure that she is being well cared for and supervised, and b) really pray that she finds what she is seeking in her life. Prayer is the foundation on which the Jewish woman builds and strengthens herself. So, if you do not do so already, making a special time each day to pray just for her. It could open up a lot for the both of you.

Furthermore, she is eighteen. As much as she still is a teenager, she is also a young adult. Which means that as hard as it is to see her make space for herself, it is also an opportunity for you to make space for yourself. It is clear that as a single mother you have dedicated so much of your time to raising your child. Now is also a time you can focus on yourself, your happiness and your growth. Spend some time cultivating a talent or hobby that you may not have had time for in the past. Find a Torah class for women in your area and work on your spiritual growth and development. While she is not at home, utilize the time to better yourself!

Raising a teenage daughter is a challenge in the best of circumstances. Being a single mother with financial struggles only makes things harder and more complicated. You aren't necessarily supposed to know how to do everything "right." No one knows how to do it right all the time. Accepting that in an honest and humble way is very important. All that is expected of you is to do the best you can.

Try to keep an open line of communication. Let her know you are there and available when she is ready to talk. And while it may be hard if you fear she hates you, let her know that you love her. While right now she may not be ready for this type of connection, hopefully she soon will be. Even though you didn’t choose this situation, you can try to make it positive and let her know that you are willing to give her the space she says she wants. Her leaving is not necessarily about you but more about what she feels she needs.

I also encourage you to seek a support group for mothers of teenagers. As a single mother, you will hopefully meet other women in your situation, maybe make new friends and it will hopefully be an outlet for encouragement, support and good advice as well.

I hope soon that your daughter will realize how lucky she is to have a mother who loves and cares for her so deeply and that the two of you will be able to once again have a close relationship.


"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Discussion (194)
September 20, 2016
Devastated Mother
I know what you're going through. The more you do for our daughters the more they turn on you. Try not to distress over her although I know this is hard. Leave her to her own devices that's what she wants. I have agonised over my daughter, she had the best of everything, a loving family who gave her everything and she ran off with her boyfriend at 22 and refuses to share what is going on in her life with us. I thought we were friends but she didn't want anything to do with us. She sees us once a year for a day that is all. It still hurts but I know that there is nothing more that I can do because that's the way she wants it.
Emily WADE
Geelong Vic
September 19, 2016
Dear LA,
I am so sorry for your pain. Sara said what I would have said. Teen years are stressful, especially mothers and daughters. 18 year old girls are supposed to want to branch out and be independent, but they are not supposed to disrespect you as they do. I hope your daughter discovers how blessed she is to have you as a mom....I think she will, but it may not be until she has children of her own that she really gets it. In the meanwhile, I pray for you to have strength and seek out support from parents of other teenage girls.
September 17, 2016
Daughter hating mother
I am sorry for what you and your daughter are experiencing. However, I can relate. I havent seen or talked to my daughter in over 4 years. Until tonight. My ex sister in law has my girl at her house right now, This woman has interfered in my life for the past 40 years and she just wont go away. She will not stay out of my relationships with my kids. Hopefully our daughters will grow up a little bit and come to understand how much we love them. There isnt much else I can do about it right now. I just keep hoping my girl will come around. I have learned the reason our children blame us for everything is because we are THE MOTHERS and we are suppose to make everything right, good, all better. Thank you for letting me share.
Kim White
August 31, 2014
Dearest Sita, I'm sorry your daughter is causing you these problems, but you may have misunderstood the ethos of this forum. It's for parents who are no longer in contact with their children due to divorce poisoning or another similar reason. That said, I have limited, but some ideas which may help. Perhaps bringing people into your home for social gatherings and opening up your daughter to new social experiences would help her develop the social skills that you believe she is lacking, and help her to be more independent, or at least less dependent on you.
August 30, 2014
My daughter lacks confidence
My daughter who has just finished her medicine studies and is now a qualified doctor lacks confidence. She is now 24 but acts like a 12 yr old. She was extremely brilliant in studies, hence she easily became a doctor. But she has no confidence to do anything on her own, neither cooking, nor shopping on her own nor going to the parlor for hair cut.

She expects me to do everything for her like accompany her for shopping, cook for her. She keeps nagging me for every small thing which makes me feel frustrated about her. She has no boyfriend. She has just 1-2 friends with whom she chats on mobile whole day and acts irresponsible.

I am a single mother. I work for a living, I have to manage house and pay the bills. Her nagging irritates me. I feel she should be responsible and develop her skills to find a good job such as communication skills or public speaking or confidence building. But she lacks confidence, hence she chats with her only friend who sympathises with her. I need help pls.
July 6, 2014
fantastic answer
February 14, 2014
Dear Wisconsin,
It's been five long years for me. I vacillate between missing her and being (sort of) okay with it. If she's hostile (and she is) to me, that wouldn't make for a healthy relationship, it would only hurt, so I ask myself would I want that? It's just so sad that her father uses her to get back at me for leaving him. No, that's not love, but he does love her, so it's very complicated. She'll never be able to see him for the manipulator he is, only that he loves her and is trying to "protect" her. It's a shame because I was really trying to rear a responsible, well adjusted adult. Instead I have a self absorbed, petulant 23 year old child. As my lawyer put it, she's just like her father. Sigh.
February 12, 2014
Broken hearted in NY. Wow my exact life, isn't it horrible that there was no thought towards your daughters happiness. When ever I think of my ex I remind myself that he's going to have to face that one day, karma! You can brainwash someone, but in there mind it will never sit right because the child has there own memories. It is a hard thing, tough love, but being verbally abused and these kids feeling entitled when parents have gone out of there way, even feeling guilty because the kids were stuck with divorced parents. I haven't spoken to my daughter in three years. I mourned her and everyday gets a little easier. I even went and spoke to a psychologist and he told me I went through the grieving process and the fact is my relationship with my daughter will never be the same. It's a shame that an angry ex spouse can ruin a childs life forever, that's not love, that's sick.

Sad in wisconsin
February 5, 2014
I hear what you are saying but to bash your own mother, slander her good name and make up LIES, is not what I call living her own life. My daughter became a stranger to me after being brain washed by her father and then her boyfriend! Both had their motives father didn't want ever to pay child support. He spent 17 1/2 yrs harassing me and brainwashing her! Her boyfriend then did the same because his sick twisted mother who lives with her ex-husband and husband, two sons the eldest sons girlfriend and then they brainwashed my daughter to move in 3 weeks before her 18th birthday! really what kind of father pushes his daughter to move into that kind of home at 17??

broken hearted in NY!
February 2, 2014
Your children are just human after all.
My heart goes out to everyone here; I'm having a similar struggle with grief and disbelief over the kind of people my daughters have become. I work in healthcare- and have specifically worked in hospice for almost a decade. I see families at their best and worst and I'm convinced there is no better education on family dynamics than hospice. In the final analysis, I have found that parenting often determines very little of how people are (not our current cultural belief I know). Whether someone is cruel and critical and kind and compassionate comes from deep within and by choosing. I have seen addicted, abusive parents with kind and wise children and kind and wise parents with abusive, heartless children. You must always be courageous and follow your conscience when parenting but you must also realize that ultimately your children will choose who to be and how to act...and all of that is outside your control. It's their G-d given life, they are free to live it as they please.