Posts Tagged ‘Conflict’

The Mother-Daughter Bond – Conflict and Comfort

For many women, the mother-daughter connection is life’s most complex relationship. So it comes as no surprise that many of us struggle with the relationships that we share with our mothers and our daughters. As a mediator and as a woman, I am intrigued by how the mother-daughter bond can bring both conflict and comfort. Over the years I have had the opportunity to discuss this issue with clients, friends, and colleagues.  Here are some of my take-aways:

The powerful and primal Mother-Daughter bond can bring a woman unique insight and understanding. Mothers and daughters often serve as mirrors for each other. Mothers shape our lives and plant the seeds that become our ideas about love, family, work, and connection. Ultimately, we learn to be women from our mothers.

To a 5 year old, Mom is a Goddess. Ten years later, the 15 year old frequently sees her mother as a wicked dolt. As the Mother-Daughter relationship evolves and dependencies change Mom is supposed to becomes a supportive friend and ally. But those early patterns continue to influence us. And, for some, the Mother-Daughter relationship stays stuck in adolescence – fraught with hurt, disappointment, disconnection, anger, and conflict.

One key to having a positive and successful Mother-Daughter relationship is the mother’s willingness to accept her daughter as an adult. Mothers who are unable to accept their daughters as adults will typically find that their relationships are categorized by a struggle with the same old patterns of control and rebellion. Mothers indirectly teach their daughters how to treat them. And, mothers also set examples for
how daughters will allow themselves to be treated. So, in order to improve the Mother-Daughter bond the mother has to do more of the work. Sadly, this is a task some mothers seem unwilling to accept.

Here are some things I believe you can do to heal your Mother-Daughter relationship:

If you are the Daughter:

1. See and understand your mother as a person. Get curious about her life. Ask about her childhood and her relationship with her own mother. Find out about the disappointments and joys that she has experienced.

2. Suggest that you and your mother read a book or watch a movie with a Mother-Daughter theme and then discuss it.

3. Create a Mother-Daughter tradition or take your mother on a Mother-Daughter retreat.

4. If your mother is not receptive to hearing your perspective, find someone else to intervene. The intervener should have no emotional connection and should be able to look at both sides objectively.

If you are the Mother:

1. Do NOT criticize. This is the primary complaint adult daughters have about their mothers. Sadly, a mother’s efforts to motivate self-improvement will often make a daughter feel hurt and inadequate. Daughters need their mothers to view them as competent adults and beautiful women.

2. Listen supportively and empathize with your daughter. Allow breathing room. Avoid giving advice, which may reflect your values or desires but may not be the right decision for her. Ask questions to help her to figure out what she wants to do with a given difficulty or life
situation. Let your daughter make her own life decisions – even if you disagree with them. Allow her to make her own mistakes and find her own way through tough situations. Just make sure she knows you are on her side.

3. Check it out. Before you do anything for your daughter or intervene in anyway check it out with her and see if this is really what she wants. Remember the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would like to be do unto does NOT apply. Instead, do unto your daughter, as she wants to be done unto. The only way you will know this is to ask her what she wants.

4. Be willing to apologize for mistakes you made. You may not even know what they are but every parent makes mistakes. Let your daughter know that you know that the mistakes you made, with no ill intentions, have caused her distress. And, it is that distress that you are apologizing for.

The 10 Step Plan For Ending Feuds and Fights and Re-Building Connection

Yes, you can resolve even the nastiest of your conflicts, if you are committed to rebuilding the relationship. This article outlines my 10-Step plan for ending feuds and building connections.

Click here to go to and view Elinor Robin’s complete article

Avoid, Confront, and Everything in Between – The Conflict Management Style Primer

Do you tend to avoid conflicts or face each one head-on, never taking no for an answer? Or is your typical response to conflict someplace in between these two extremes? Conflict management researchers have identified five styles that are commonly used to both resolve and temporarily manage conflicts: avoiding, accommodating, compromising, competing and collaborating. You may favor one of these styles, however knowing when and how to use all five appropriately can help you produce the best results. This article discusses each style and explains when it is most appropriate to use it.

Click here to go to and view Elinor Robin’s complete article

Conflict Management Predictions For 2010

Recently I was asked to make conflict related predictions for 2010. Here is what I said.

In 2010, as resources become tighter, we will encounter more conflicts in our personal and professional lives and this trend will be mirrored on the local, national, and international stages. The new economy will continue to foster the creation of innovative services by entrepreneurs who are able to side-step the traditional attorney-driven model of conflict management. The majority of these services will be technology based, allowing people to access information that they will use in DIY models or with reduced fee service providers.

Additionally, here are my top 3 Conflict Managment predictions for 2010

1. Mediation will be used to resolve many of our current foreclosure and related mortgage problems.

2. Terminated employees will bring law suits against their former employers in record numbers. Most of these cases will be treated as nuisance matters and settled for small sums.

3. Media circus divorces (Jon and Kate) will continue to lose in popularity with celebrity couples choosing instead to use the confidential process of mediation to negotiate their break-ups. The public will continue to follow suit.

Friendship at Work – The Benefits and the Potential For Disaster

We are living in an increasingly mobile society. “Until-death-do-us-part” marriages are becoming rare. Many of us can no longer depend on our extended families for social support. So where do we turn to fill in the gaps? Our friends. And, for busy professionals work is often where our friends are. Sometimes we meet friends at work, befriending the boss, a co-worker or an employee. Sometimes we hire our friends into our workplaces. Sometimes we go into business with our friends. In any event, adding a layer of friendship onto a business relationship can bring both benefits and the potential for disaster. This article discusses the positives and negatives of workplace friendship and offers six tips for keeping the bonds of workplace friendship strong.

Click here to go to and view Elinor Robin’s complete article

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