Mothers Group at St. Anthony of Padua

10 Tips for Dealing with Your Strong Willed, High-Spirited Daughter

Jul 7, 2020

I often see moms posting in different online forums, exasperated, looking for help in dealing with their high spirited daughters. My daughter is going to be 25 soon. I thought I might share a few ideas that mentor moms shared with me at that time:



Oftentimes when a strong willed child is being a little more aggressive than usual, it means that they have been hurt, possibly bullied, or have had a tough time academically – try to be extra nurturing, understanding that there may be an underlying issue that needs to surface and they don’t have the maturity or know how just yet.



Accept that your daughter might have strong leadership skills, that the behaviour she’s demonstrated could be extremely useful in a variety of circumstances.



After a period or time, or a battle of wills, between you and her, consider deliberately “changing the channel” meaning head out and do something FUN together, those positive endorphins, can refresh the relationship and dynamic.



Learn to “Let it GO” more. For example, I decorated my daughter’s room (at that time) with a Holly Hobby feel, putting a beautiful, handmade straw hat, with tons of beautiful dried flowers on it, with wooden letters on the circumference saying, WELCOME- low and behold she tore it down, putting a lanyard, with some keys in it’s place. After about 20 exchanges, where I took the lanyard off, and put the straw hat back on the wall, (she kept putting the lanyard back up) After some prayer and discernment; I came to the conclusion that she didn’t like the beautiful handmade straw hat as much as I did. It got damaged. I also realized it was HER room, and I had to realize that this battle wasn’t worth fighting.



I have a strong conviction that children, more often than not, have made me face my sinfulness. I often, to this day have to ask myself, “Why am I getting so triggered, over this and that?” Off to confession when I saw excessive anger, pride, knit picking etc. Sacramental grace helped, tho I struggle with getting upset over seemingly “stupid stuff.” The struggle is real.



I came to see, my daughter is quite a bit like me in someways, so sometimes it’s a personality thing. I had the same issues with my mom. If that’s the case, having more space in the relationship. I would take my daughter to my sister’s place for a visit. My sister is a very nurturing, caregiving, home economics maternal soul. Having spent much of my professional life in business, consulting training, my skill set is remarkably different. Just being at my sisters would recalibrate my relationship with my daughter.



My daughter, just like me, can be very pointed, at those times, I tell her to actively seek out her dad (he’s like the big patient bear) he’s a great listener. I can get combative with her.



Maintaining rightful authority in the relationship when it matters is important. “No, you are not breaking this rule” (when it is extremely important) If you break it, there will be a punishment (consequence). I was raised by a mother who survived WW2, what made her a particularly good mother was that she was both demanding (I had a healthy fear of her) and delightful. Drives me crazy when I see moms that are always lovey dovey and don’t have any maternal authority.



Pray to the Holy Spirit and Our Blessed Mother.



When your child was born, you were given a deposit of grace – specific to each child. Pray with your daughter and ask her to pray for you. I still tell both of my children, “Pray for me! Pray for your dad! We NEED your prayers! If you are able, take her to Eucharistic Adoration, a mother, daughter date with journals!


Dorothy Pilarski is the founder of Dynamic Women of Faith, author,  motivational speaker, blogger , guest columnist with the Catholic Register and a facilitator on Salt + Light TV.

To learn a little bit more about Dorothy, visit her website at You can get her book, Motherhood Matters, here on Amazon.   If you feel called to start a Mother's Group, get the ministry's publication, How to Start a Mother's Group! 

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