Oftentimes, it is easy to find yourself “at odds” with your daughter or mother. It may not be a full-fledged argument or fight (hopefully not physical), but you find that you are both just not communicating well. Being in that situation — where there is a lack of communication — is akin to the both of you being “in conflict” with each other.
When there is conflict in a mother-daughter relationship, finding a way to get your communication back on track can be tricky. However, in the over 20 years that I’ve been working with moms and daughters, there are 5 different types of open-ended questions that can help move you both back towards each other.
I call these questions The 5 Conflict-Curbing Questions™.
THE CONFIRMATION Question™
The purpose of the Confirmation Question™ is to engage (or re-engage) with your daughter or mother. It will help you convey to her that you are desirous to understand where she is coming from. It is a question that ought not to be said with any “attitude” but with a sincerely conveyed intention to hear her.
It is stated right after your daughter (or mother) has expressed something which either: doesn’t “sit right” with you, confuses you, or leaves you wondering “what on earth did she mean by that!?!”
An example of The Confirmation Question is: “So, what you’re saying is____(fill in the blank with what you just heard your daughter or mother saying)___?” (emphasis on the “question mark.”)
THE COUCH Question™
The purpose of the Couch Question™ is to help you connect with your daughter’s or mother’s feelings. Connecting with her on a feeling level will help her be less inclined to blow up in the moment. [NOTE: If she does blow up, then that indicates that there is more work that you’d both need to do build a foundation of understanding between the two of you.]
This type of question is stated after confirming the specific content that your daughter or mother communicated to you; so you’re both on the same page. So, when you add a connection with her feelings, then she’ll feel more connection to you.
An example of The Couch Question™ is: “I can see how that could/would make you feel ____(fill in the feelings she’s conveyed)___. Is that how you feel?”
THE CHECK-IN Question™
This question — the Check-in Question™ — is your actually checking in with her to make sure that what you’ve intended to do (i.e. to hear her) is actually what she is experiencing. This is a no-frills type of thing to ask.
An example of The Check-In Question is: “Do you feel that I’ve heard you?”
[Warning: Be prepared and brace yourself for the possibility that your daughter or mother may say that she does not feel like you’ve heard her. If that happens, then that will indicate that there’s more work to do in the are of learning how to better listen to her.]
THE COY Question™
The Coy Question™ is one that you’ll likely find hard to do because sometimes you just want to say things and get your opinion heard (hmmm…could that actually be what she desires, too???).
This question is asked so that you can give your daughter or mother the space that she may need to process your what communication has transpired between the two of you.
“Giving her a choice will help her develop her voice.” – Dr. Michelle Deering
An example of such a question is: “Can I share some of my thoughts about __(fill in the blank with whatever the topic is that she’d brought up)___with you now or would you like to hear them later?”
This Coy Question™ is very important. Why?
Well, which would you prefer: to have the last word and/or “win” the argument? or to have a lasting close relationship with your daughter or mother?
THE CONTRACT Question™
This last question, the Contract Question™, is a way to not just convey to your daughter or mother that the topic of the “discussion” (aka, argument) is important to you and but that your relationship with her is even more important to you.
The key though is to communicate to your daughter or mother that you want her input on the way your interactions will occur between the two of you.
An example of a Contract Question™ is to ask, “Where would you like to go from here in this discussion?”
Depending on how your interaction with each other has gone during the prior four questions, your daughter’s or mother’s response will vary. Regardless, it’ll be important for you to still give her the opportunity to verbalize her input on when/how/or if she wants to continue communicating with you about the topic of your conflict.
There are 5 types of questions — The 5 Conflict-Curbing Questions™ — that can help lessen the intensity and./or occurrence of arguments between you and your daughter or mother. They are:
- THE CONFIRMATION Question™
- THE COUCH Question™
- THE CHECK-IN Question™
- THE COY Question™
- THE CONTRACT Question™
Still feel unsure about how to use these question in your specific mother-daughter relationship situation? Then make sure to read about my online course or Mother Daughter Relationship Personal Training services if you are having trouble with your tween/teen or with your mother.
If you’re looking for a community of moms for support and guidance, then also make sure to JOIN my Mother Daughter Connections Facebook Group and/or APPLY to my Conflict To Closeness Mom Mentorship Circle.