My daughter is an adult. She doesn’t need my advice.
“I’ll just Google it,” she informs me.
“I Amazoned it,” she says, showing me a screenshot. As her mother, I need to reframe exactly how to be helpful to her. If I am honest, I’m quickly becoming a relic.
I grew up in the twentieth century when our mothers’ and grandmothers’ advice and perspective were heavily relied on. Back then there were so many fewer sources to depend on for guidance.
Now we have access to countless resources
Now, well into the twenty-first century, we are able to access countless resources and perspectives on any topic. With the hive mind at our fingertips, we can gain insight into our everyday struggles in mere seconds. We can easily find online information and support for any conceivable issue.
My adult daughter doesn’t require my instruction, opinions, or advice. So, what then specifically, does she need from me? She needs me to air fry a batch of onion rings, our guilty pleasure. She needs me to encourage her to take a walk to clear her head or set up a date to go shopping for a new piece of athleisure.
I don’t need to dominate our relationship with my opinions
To maintain our relationship, I don’t need to dominate our conversations, overreach with my opinions, or assume that my solution is always the best option, just because she came through me years ago.
I am not entitled to comment on her wardrobe, her boyfriend, or her cooking. I am not entitled to be critical of her life choices. I owe my daughter the following: I won’t extend my advice unless I am explicitly asked for an opinion. I won’t offer up even the smallest, tiniest piece of advice. Ever.
Instead, I will ask a lot of questions. I will also ask her permission. I will focus on making plans to be together as much as we can manage. And the times we spend together will be easy, fun, and comfortable.
The world has changed and I need to recognize my role in it
The world is very different than the one I grew up and my daughter is not the little girl she once was. It’s time for me to recognize my place in her life. During these adult years, my daughter is no longer looking to me for information.
She might end a long-term relationship or be in a fight with a friend. She might slip and sprain an ankle or get laid off. Whether she is dealing with a small setback or a major crisis, I will consider it an honor if she requests my presence.
But she does not need my judgement. In fact, the very last thing she needs is my judgement. If I’m invited to witness her struggles, I will sit next to her on the sofa. I’ll ask a lot of questions. But I won’t provide the answer. I probably don’t even have the answer.
My daughter will find her own answers and I will be there to support her as she figures it all out. And if she needs reinforcement, Google and Amazon will always be there for the assist.
More Great Reading: