The best books to read about the mother-daughter relationship

Rosjke Hasseldine Author Of The Mother-Daughter Puzzle: A New Generational Understanding of the Mother-Daughter Relationship
By Rosjke Hasseldine

Who am I?

My passion started as a personal quest in my twenties, struggling with my relationship with my own mother. When my daughter was born, I knew that I could not repeat the difficult dynamics between my mother and I. What started as a personal quest to understand the underlying dynamics between mothers and daughters quickly grew into a professional quest. Today, I have worked as a mother-daughter therapist with thousands of mothers and daughters of all ages and from different countries and cultures and have developed the Mother-Daughter Attachment® model that helps therapists and mothers and daughters uncover the hidden dynamics in their relationship and create a roadmap for change.


I wrote...

The Mother-Daughter Puzzle: A New Generational Understanding of the Mother-Daughter Relationship

By Rosjke Hasseldine,

Book cover of The Mother-Daughter Puzzle: A New Generational Understanding of the Mother-Daughter Relationship

What is my book about?

The Mother-Daughter Puzzle will change how women see themselves and their mother-daughter relationship. With sensitivity and respect for the hurt, anger, guilt, and blame that are so often felt by mothers and daughters, this book teaches the reader how to peel back the layers and examine their own mother-daughter history. 

Using the tool of mother-daughter history mapping, women can ‘connect the dots’ between what is happening between you and your mother or daughter, and the stories of how the women in your generational family have been treated. The result is a ‘road-map’ that points to the beliefs, behaviour patterns, and themes that need to be changed for a strong and emotionally connected mother-daughter relationship and a strengthening of all your relationships.

The books I picked & why

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The New Don't Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship

By Paula Caplan,

Book cover of The New Don't Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship

Why this book?

Mothers are too often blamed for their children’s and adult daughters’ problems. I regard Paula Caplan’s book as the quintessential text on understanding how patriarchy blames mothers and how mother-blaming harms mothers, women, and the mother-daughter relationship. Paula exposes the myths surrounding motherhood – revealing that there is no such thing as a “perfect mother.” 


The Silent Female Scream

By Rosjke Hasseldine,

Book cover of The Silent Female Scream

Why this book?

Patriarchy has silenced women for generations, and in my first book, I uncover how women have been taught to “play nice” and be “care-givers” rather than “care-receivers.” Uncovering women’s emotional reality, I expose the culture of female service and how no one is looking after mothers, not even mothers themselves. This book provides exercises to help women claim their voice, needs, and rights in all of their relationships.


When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life

By Victoria Secunda,

Book cover of When You and Your Mother Can't Be Friends: Resolving the Most Complicated Relationship of Your Life

Why this book?

This was one of the first books I read about the mother-daughter relationship and it helped me understand what was going on between my mother and I. Victoria Secunda outlines the types of behaviours or playbooks that mothers and daughters engage in and how these behaviours harm their relationships and provides helpful suggestions on how to improve their relationship. 


Motherless Daughters

By Hope Edelman,

Book cover of Motherless Daughters

Why this book?

Losing your mother is devastating especially when a daughter is young. I’ve found that Hope Edelman’s book is a go-to book for daughters who have lost their mother and for daughters whose mother may be alive but unable to emotionally connect. Loss comes in many forms and this book helps daughters on their healing journey.


Liberating Motherhood: Birthing the Purplestockings Movement

By Vanessa Olorenshaw,

Book cover of Liberating Motherhood: Birthing the Purplestockings Movement

Why this book?

I like this book because it is well-researched and reveals the politics of mothering. As Vanessa Olorenshaw notes, “mothers’ rights are the flotsam left behind on the ocean surface of patriarchy.” This is a must-read book for all mothers and daughters because the women’s movement has yet to prioritize the rights of mothers to not be the world’s caregivers.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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