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Interview with Mother-Daughter Expert, Michelle Deering | Ep 21

How can you parent your daughter through a difficult divorce with your previous partner? What are some things to keep in mind as a single mother? How does encouraging your daughter to be her own person actually bring you closer together? In this podcast episode, I speak with mother-daughter expert, Dr. Michelle Deering.
mother daughter


Dr. Michelle Deering believes that every mother and daughter should have a thriving loving relationship. This refreshing approach has made her a sought-after speaker, online educator, and consultant.

Before running her consulting business, Michelle served as a Fortune 500 corporate trainer, higher educational professional, and a licensed psychologist and board-certified sport psychologist at a BIG 10 University.

Nowadays, you’ll find her speaking at conferences, training for her next Reebok Spartan Sprint Race, and practicing rudiments on her drum kit — all while coaching, serving clients, and recording her hit podcast, Mother Daughter Connections™.

Visit her website, connect on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Listen to Dr. Deering’s podcast here and book a discovery call to work with her here.

Free Book Chapter of What Mothers Never Tell Their Daughters
Want To Lessen Arguments With Your Daughter? – Download the free PDF



  • Modern-day takes on mother and daughter relationships
  • Single motherhood
  • Teaching your daughters about men


“I thought ‘why are they always blaming moms!’ because that’s been the history, I believe, at least that’s the way I see the historical thing, is to always point the finger at moms.” (Dr. Michelle Deering)

For many years, and throughout recent psychology, when a child (a daughter, mostly) struggles in life, blame has fallen on the mother’s shoulders.

However, even though mothers do have a large and powerful impact on the way their daughters interact with themselves, it is not fair or ethical to place all the blame on mothers.

“What I have been trying to do in the work that I do is to let moms know that [they] are enough, it’s not about pointing fingers, it’s about gaining an understanding of your history and how that is playing into the way in which you view yourself, and that self then becomes the mirror that you reflect to your daughter.” (Dr. Michelle Deering)

This reflection is mainly played out as the daughter grows older and begins to separate from the mother to form her own identity and sense of self.

The goal, then, changes from blaming mothers to helping mothers understand their own psychology, and then perhaps how their personal history and life experience may be impacting their children if they are not aware of it.


“Because of what you’re going through right now, it doesn’t mean your kids are going to be at a disadvantage. What will make the difference for them and for you is how you are going to respond in the moment … it’s so important for us … to really pause to consider our behavior in the moment and really take stock of what’s going on inside of us, feeling-wise as well as in our body.” (Dr. Michelle Deering)

Here’s what you can do for your children while you are going through the moment of this transition:

  1. Be honest with yourself about what you are really feeling, and what is really going on in your body at different points in time. You can even write it down and keep a record of what you feel each day so that you can be aware. Awareness is key.
  2. Take into account what’s developmentally appropriate for your child. What you can explain to them and what might you not be able to explain to them? Consider the things that you cannot explain to them because of their age range and then find an outlet to get that expression out for your own sake.
  3. Your top priority, aside from prioritizing yourself, is to prioritize the care of your children; their care involves you actually facilitating their own individual growth and development.


If your ex-partner– perhaps your daughter’s biological father– was a difficult person, you may worry she will find herself with similar partners in her future. It’s important to avoid badmouthing her father and instead, speak with her casually and earnestly about positive aspects to enjoy and seek out in a male partner. 

“You want to then engage them in conversation [when they are older and have crushes on boys] about “what is it that you like about so-and-so? And then you listen, and that’s where it becomes hard for a mom because you’re always wanting to tell [her].” (Dr. Michelle Deering)

“You want to then engage them in conversation [when they are older and have crushes on boys] about “what is it that you like about so-and-so? And then you listen, and that’s where it becomes hard for a mom because you’re always wanting to tell [her].” (Dr. Michelle Deering)

What you are trying to do here is:

  1. Around the pre-teenager age: gather information about their thoughts and feelings regarding relationships so that you can add valuable input.
  2. Walking alongside them through how they think about and engage in relationships also lays the groundwork for a mother-daughter relationship 10 to 20 years down the road based on openness and trust.

“Ultimately there is going to come a point where your daughter is going to have to figure out who she is apart from you, but – and I think this is a thing that moms fear – is “if she becomes her own person she’ll forget about me, she won’t need me, she’ll be separate from me” … the research [shows] that if you don’t allow that space for her to do that, then you’re going to continue to be at odds and you’ll end up with the very thing that you were fearing.” (Dr. Michelle Deering)

The more you try to hold onto things and keep her close to you, the more it is going to backfire. This is why you lay down the groundwork for her so that she can keep building on that and caring for herself after she has separated from you.

Parenting is tough because when you do it well, your children will not need you at all. Though this is painful, it indicates that you provided them the tools, skills, and scaffolding to thrive independently in adulthood.

Books mentioned in this episode:

Dr. Michelle Deering – What Mothers Never Tell Their Daughters: 5 Keys to Building Trust, Restoring Connection, & Strengthening Relationships


About your host:

Susan Orenstein, Ph.D.

Dr. Susan Orenstein is a licensed psychologist and relationship expert  with over twenty years of experience. In 2005, she founded Orenstein Solutions, a private counseling practice in North Carolina that serves children, teens, adults and couples. 

She created the After the First Marriage Podcast to support individuals through the significant life transition of divorce. She whole-heartedly believes that “happily ever after” is an option for everyone, and is dedicated to helping divorcées regain the confidence to pursue a fulfilling future after the first marriage. 

Whether you listen to the podcast, join the Facebook community, or follow along on Twitter,  you’re in the right place!

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