How To Have Healthy Boundaries In Your Mother-Daughter Relationship

When some people think of what a mother-daughter relationship should be, they think of the word, “close.” However, the main prerequisite for a thriving mother-daughter relationship is that it has healthy boundaries.

Photo: Ralph Katieb on unsplash


A boundary is a demarcation line between one entity and other. It is that “line” which indicates where something begins…and ends.

If you look at your natural and man-made surroundings, you are able to identify and distinguish one item (e.g. tree, cloud, office building, desk…) from another.


While boundaries are part of our lives and the world around us, there are four big myths that many people believe about them.

Unhealthy…Myth #1: Boundaries are bad.

This myth stems a belief that you are being “kept out,” “prevented from,” or “left out” of accessing something you desire.

         The Healthy Reality: Boundaries are good when you have and apply them with accurate knowledge regarding situations and circumstances.

Unhealthy…Myth #2: Boundaries are not necessary.

This myth stems from feeling that you are entitled to have access to something that is inaccessible.

         The Healthy Reality: Boundaries are necessary and essential to your existence. They keep you from melding into everything that surrounds you. They also empower you to exercise control over your surroundings.

Unhealthy…Myth #3: Boundaries prevent closeness.

The reason this myth exists is that it stems from a deep emotional need to prevent feeling the pain of separation.

         The Healthy Reality: “Closeness” – when two objects stay in near proximity to each other – can only exist if boundaries are present. The laws of physics explain how this is possible through friction. At an atomic level, objects possess surface area that has gaps in it. Those gaps are where there is interaction that facilitates those objects staying in contact with each other.

Without those gaps, then the objects would just slide on by “like two ships passing in the night.”

Unhealthy…Myth #4: Boundaries are (always) rigid.

The reason this myth exists is that it stems from your (likely) having had interactions with someone who was “rigid” and/or demanding in your life.

         The Healthy Reality: Boundaries can be both rigid and flexible. Your earlier experiences with others who have been rigid and/or flexible with you. will affect your ability to judiciously apply such boundaries.


Unhealthy Boundaries:

Unhealthy boundaries exist in your mother-daughter relationship when there are breaches in the “lines” that distinguish each of you as separate entities.

Photo: Pan Xiaozhen on unsplash

Some obvious boundary breaches are those resulting from physical or sexual abuse. You may also be experiencing other forms of (emotional & mental) breaches if you are experiencing…

  • Pressure to please the other person
  • Being dismissed by the other person
  • Being vicariously lived through by the other person

In each of the above scenarios, your interaction with your mother or daughter leaves you feeling like you’re either an extension of, smothered by, or an anathema to the other person.

Starting & Implementing Boundaries:

In order to break generational cycles of breached boundaries, you’ll first need to realize that you can implement healthy boundaries in your mother-daughter relationship. In actuality, you – your body – started setting up healthy boundaries when your daughter was in utero. You then continued with that boundary-establishing process when you gave birth to – separated from – your daughter.

After birth, it then becomes a question of how to translate those physical, mental, and emotional boundaries into what your daughter’s needs are at the different age-appropriate levels.

In order to know when and how to implement boundaries with your daughter though, you’ll need to:

  1. Take a personal look at how you have (or have not) been boundaried in your life.
  • Identify what messages you learned regarding boundaries…especially in the realm of motherhood.


The process of building, establishing, communicating, and maintaining healthy boundaries with your daughter is involved. It will involve:

  1. Acknowledging the 4 unhealthy myths about boundaries.
  2. Accepting the 4 healthy realities about boundaries.
  3. Acclimating to the process of building, establishing, communicating, and maintaining healthy boundaries.

If you are feeling:

  • Unsure how or where to begin
  • Frustrated with you and your daughter bumping heads
  • Worried about you and your daughter staying close

…then schedule a quick No-Guilt Consult Call with me to get things back in sync in your mother-daughter relationship.

©2023 Dr. Michelle Deering | All rights reserved.


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