How to Nicely Tell Your Mom to Back Off


Effective communication between children and their mothers is an essential part of what keeps a relationship healthy and nurturing for both individuals. As you grow and change, you may find that your mother continues to be very active and present and a caregiver. Sometimes when life changes occur and a child begins to experience more independence, a mother may feel very protective of her child and also a bit conflicted about her changing role in the relationship. Open, respectful communication and firm boundaries regarding your independence are all key factors in developing a healthy, mature relationship with you mother.

  • Reflect on your concerns and frustrations. Write in a journal or speak with a close friend or counselor, and make and effort to outline the primary issues that are happening in the relationship. You'll need to be specific about how your mother is over stepping her boundaries. Brainstorm specific solutions to the problem. For example, if she is calling too often to check in or give advice, you may need to consider how you'd like to limit phone calls in way that feels reasonable to both of you.

  • Set up a time to sit down and talk in a quiet, private place. It's important to plan where and when you will communicate your concerns so that you are both relaxed and comfortable. This will allow you to express your feelings and have an open discussion without feeling rushed for time or having others present during the discussion. Putting the time aside to talk privately will also show your mother that you respect her feelings and the privacy of your relationship.

  • Use effective communication skills, such as active listening and "I statements." Active listening shows the other person that you're willing to hear and understand their point of view. By using "I statements," you express your feelings without assigning blame. For example you may explain how you feel when her frequent phone calls interrupt your daily activities. Avoid blaming her for your problems, and be willing to understand her point of view and concerns about your well-being.

  • Discuss reasonable solutions. Try to come to a compromise about how your mother can give you more space and also remain involved in your life. Solutions may include that she give you a certain amount of time to accomplish tasks or goals on your own and you agree to discuss your progress at a later date. Effective solutions will give you a feeling of greater Independence, while still allowing her to take a supportive role.


  • Photo Credit Marc Debnam/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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