Daughter Doesn’t Want Me Scenarios and Responses


From the first moment parents learn they’re having a daughter, it’s safe to assume that she’s almost always on their minds. But what about when it turns out differently than expected and she doesn’t want you? As our daughters grow up, this situation sometimes happens.

‘My daughter doesn’t want me’ warrants thorough examination. It may be a simple toddler temper tantrum or more complex especially if your daughter is a teen or young adult with different choices and expectations than you. Afterwards, you’ll be more effective in handling it, with communication key.

As parents of one daughter (and three sons), as well as being a daughter myself, I know that the parent-daughter relationship is special, but also complicated.

Are you having trouble with your children? We have an extensive holistic parenting course just for you. Check out our Have A Peaceful Home Without Yelling video course here.

I’m happy to share what I’ve found most effective in parenting a daughter, as well as tips and suggestions for different daughter stages when it seems she ‘doesn’t want me’. Keep reading to learn more!

What does it mean if my daughter doesn’t want me?

Research supports daughters having positive relationships with both mother and father, so what does it say about daughters who don’t want their parents?

Daughters who don’t want their parents may suffer from toxic parenting; bad influences; rebellion; mental illness; or natural growing pains. It’s really up to parents to figure out the root of the problem; and for daughters with bad parents, it may be healthier to cut parents loose indefinitely.

Let’s look closer at these issues as the occur at different ages and stages of a daughter’s growth. I’ll address toddlers; 8-year-old daughters as a representation of adolescence; teen daughters; and daughters in adulthood in this issue of ‘doesn’t want me’.

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Toddler Daughter Doesn’t Want Me (To Leave Her)

Toddlerhood is known for ‘terrible twos’, so it makes sense that this might be the first time parents experience trouble with their children. But surprisingly it’s not that toddlers don’t want parents. Usually, it’s that they don’t want them to leave her.

It’s often separation anxiety or control issues if toddler daughters don’t want parents to leave her. If she acts frightened or fearful they won’t come back, it’s separation anxiety. It’s more about a control if she’s demanding to be taken with them when they leave. Both instances are growing pains.

To Deal With This Toddler Situation, Parents Should:

  • Calm the toddler daughter by reassuring her.
  • Ensure she’s left with safe guardians that she’s familiar with and understand her routine.
  • Don’t leave her often and if possible do it at a regular time. (Emergencies can’t be scheduled so this isn’t about that.)
  • Don’t bargain or barter by promising treats or toys. It’s better to not reward bad behavior or ‘buy’ appropriate behavior or you’re setting up a terrible precedent.
  • Discuss what’s happening in simple, toddler-ease.
  • Read her a story like You Go Away by Dorothy Corey, or watch a video of a similar situation, to help her with the concept of parents leaving and returning.

8-Year-Old Daughter Doesn’t Want Me (To Help Her)

It’s common for 8-year-old daughters to become ‘cheeky’ and not want your help as much as before as they start moving toward independence.

After your daughter passes the toddler stage, usually there’s a calm period for your family. However, there’s a time during adolescence when your daughter will start exerting independence, usually around 8 or 9 years old. So during this time, your daughter may not want you to help her or intervene.

Your 8 or 9-year-old daughter doesn’t want you to help her or intervene because she’s at a stage of exerting her independence causing her to rebel. She’s forming her own opinions and feeling empowered to handle things. Try not to take offense, but also reassert your role as parent.

Here Are Some Suggestions For This Problem with Your 8 or 9-Year-Old Daughter:

  • Tell her that you’re proud of her. Often this is what she’s really craving.
  • Let her know that you appreciate her help. This lets her know you value her.
  • Give her more responsibilities, but be sure they’re age appropriate.
  • Perhaps set up a class or extracurricular activity for just her to do.
  • However, reassert your role as parents and be firm that you’re the boss.

Teen Daughter Doesn’t Want Me (In Her Room)

Another time you might experience your daughter not wanting you is when she becomes a teenager. So how should you handle it when your teen daughter doesn’t want you in her room, for instance?

Your teen daughter doesn’t want you in her room because she sees that as a symbol of her impending adulthood. However, you need to set a balance of your daughter’s desire for independence and your role as parent and person in charge of the household and all things connected, including her room.

Tips for Dealing With Your Teen Daughter:

  • Respect her ideas and ‘things’ including her room. However, it’s advisable to set boundaries, like doors remaining open and not locked except for privacy or sleeping purposes.
  • Explain to your daughter than while you understand her desire for independence, she’s not an adult yet and you have the right to be ‘in the know’ about her life.
  • And since she wants to be an adult so much, tell her you’ll talk to her like an adult and expect her to be ‘adult-like’ in her demeanor and manners.
  • In addition, she should also respect your boundaries for your things too, and ask before entering your room and/or ‘borrowing’ your things.

Adult Daughter Doesn’t Want Me (To Visit)

It’s certainly a different dynamic as you navigate ‘parenting’ an adult daughter. This is something that we’ve worked through ourselves. And it’s just as confusing for your daughter to figure out how to have parents while being an adult, too.

‘My adult daughter doesn’t want me to visit her’ is an issue that frequently arises for parents. Often the daughter is living a lifestyle much different than her parents or is hiding something. Parents should work to maintain open communication above all else, even if it means limited visitation.

When Your Daughter Doesn’t Want You To Visit At College:

  • As parents you are still in some control over your college-aged daughter, that is, if you’re footing the bill. It’s still important to work with your daughter and schedule your visits (or expect her to come home on holidays and so on), but you should feel confident that visiting is acceptable.
  • Keep an eye on your daughter’s behavior to make sure she’s not involved in drugs or alcohol abuse and to make sure she’s maintaining good academic expectations at school.

When Your Adult Daughter Doesn’t Want You To Visit Her New Apartment:

  • If your daughter is not at college and working as a young professional or just starting a trade and has moved into her own apartment, she may not enjoy having you visit. It could be that she’s embarrassed by her meager living conditions, or that she wants to maintain distance to establish her adulthood, it’s important to take cues from her behavior and respect her wishes. In this case, call ahead and make sure it’s a good time or schedule a set time so that she can feel prepared.
  • Another thing is to pick up your daughter at her new place and then go for a lunch in her neighborhood. This way you won’t be staying at her place too long and make her uncomfortable, but you can still maintain contact and ensure she’s in a safe place.

When Your Adult Daughter Doesn’t Want You To Visit Her Family:

  • If your adult daughter now has a family of her own but it seems she views your visits as an intrusion, offer to have them visit you instead.
  • Another option in this case is to meet in neutral territory, halfway between her home and yours.
  • Although it may hurt your feelings that you’re not wanted to visit, try not to take it personally. There may be underlying reasons your daughter doesn’t feel comfortable having you visit her home. So the important thing here is to keep an open line of communication with her, not visiting her house.

Abnormal Situations When Your Daughter Doesn’t Want You

There are a few abnormal or uncommon reasons that could be the cause of the problem, ‘my daughter doesn’t want me’ to be aware of. Two of these are mental illness, on the part of the daughter or parent, and then, a history of toxic parenting.

Mental Illness: Mental illness can definitely harm family relationships. Whether it’s a parent with a mental illness or the daughter, it can interfere with normal interactions.

  • Often times on the part of the daughter, for example, mental illness might not surface until the teen or early adult years. This is true for schizophrenia. Daughters are just as likely to become schizophrenic as sons, but it’s more common for it to show in males at an earlier age.
  • If you worry that your daughter shows signs of mental illness, you should talk to a professional for help. Your family doctor is a good source, as well as clergy if you have a close relationship. Again, the most important thing in this situation is to keep communication open and nonjudgmental.

Toxic Parenting: Unfortunately, it may be that if your daughter doesn’t want to be near you, that you are the problem. And just as unfortunate, if that’s the case, you’re not likely to recognize it. After all, none of us like to think of ourselves as the problem.

  • Reflect on issues or problems you’ve had. Think about your part in it particularly. Are there things you could have handled differently? Did you push your daughter’s buttons, so to speak? Have you been neglectful or abusive?
  • Another way to handle this is to go to therapy. You might be more successful to do therapy on your own first, to deal with the issue. And then, depending on your therapist’s recommendation, invite your daughter to join you in order to work on building a healthy parent-daughter relationship.

Daughter Doesn’t Want Me – Dad Version

Research shows a strong father-daughter bond impacts a daughter’s future for the good.

There are also occasions when daughters have problems with one parent over the other. So what does it mean when dad’s say, ‘my daughter doesn’t want me?’

Dads who say, ‘my daughter doesn’t want me’, often are divorced and not living full-time with their daughter and/or aren’t fulfilling their parenting role. While divorce commonly leads to parenting problems, it’s also possible for parents still married to be negligent in their parenting role too.

Dads Whose Daughters Don’t Want Them Should:

  • Spend more time with daughters. This helps dads connect with their daughters.
  • Listen to their daughters; talk about their interests, daily activities, and goals.
  • Be consistent and clear with discipline and follow through so that daughters respect them.
  • Enlist mom’s help. Preferably parents are still married and should be working together to parent their children, but in cases where parents aren’t together, they should be ‘together’ in parenting expectations anyway.

Daughter Doesn’t Want Me- Mom Version

The hit TV show ‘Mom’ is about a turbulent mother-adult daughter relationship.

Just like some daughters don’t want their dads, there are some daughters who don’t want their moms. What should moms do when this happens?

Moms who say, ‘my daughter doesn’t want me’, are often divorced and too busy for their daughters. Other causes are that mom is in competition with her daughter and makes her uncomfortable; or tries to be daughter’s best friend instead of her mom, which is the same as neglecting the parenting role.

  • It’s common for divorced moms to work long hours and then spend free time dating or with her own friends. This leaves little time for her daughter, making their relationship strained. In this situation then, the daughter resents the mom and doesn’t want her.
  • Another common scenario is that some moms try to act like their daughter’s best friend. In crosses boundaries and sets up disordered roles. The daughter might welcome this dynamic at first, but over time, it proves unhealthy and the daughter then doesn’t want to be around the mom as much.

In both scenarios, the mom is at fault because she’s not fulfilling her parenting role. To fix this, the mom must re-establish her position as ‘mom’ and the parent. It will likely be challenging at first, but eventually it will be a much healthier relationship for mom and daughter.

The Takeaway for Daughter Doesn’t Want Me

The takeaway for any scenario that has ‘daughter doesn’t want me’ at the forefront is this: parents must establish themselves firmly and properly in their role. Whether your daughter is nine or twenty-nine, you’re still the parent and responsible for your actions as such.

Take a look at your part in this situation and correct any behaviors that you recognize not helpful for a healthy parent-daughter relationship.

And remember, ultimately, the most important thing is to keep communication open and working.

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Jackie Booe

Jackie Booe is a Catholic mother of four, grandmother ("Oma") to two, and wife to Mat since 1994. She is a former public school teacher of 18 years, licensed in 3 states and certified to teach elementary, secondary English, and English Language Learners. In addition, she also taught education courses online as an adjunct professor, mentored numerous education interns, hosted professional development for educators, and tutored, as well as homeschooled.

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