Dear Answer Mom: I know you keep saying about adult children “don’t advise without their consent” but what do I do when my daughter keeps calling and asking for my advice about her relationships and is she making a mistake and so forth. Part of me feels flattered that she wants my advice but part of me feels terrified that I’ll give the wrong advice and she’ll follow it. Lots of times I feel as unsure as she does about what she’s asking. How to handle this? –Charlotte
Dear Charlotte: The trouble with your “unsure” is that it’s unspoken! Say it. Tell her that you’ll always be willing to listen because that may be what she needs but you don’t always know the right answer. Just talking about alternatives may help her to find the right answer. You may not be able to help her out but you certainly can hear her out. And that’s a lot!
Dear Answer Mom: My daughter-in-law came to stay at my house for a few days while she had a job close to where I live but far from where she lives. Without going into details she just ignored certain ways I do things in my home and acted as if I could be ignored. I asked her to go to dinner with me and it was arranged until her friend called and then she just broke our appointment like it didn’t count at all. She’s going to be coming back again. Should I confront her or should I say something to my son and let him handle it? –Mom-in-Law-
Dear Mom-in-Law: It’s your daughter-in-law, your home, your problem. It’s between you and her so don’t force your son to get involved. Invite her to lunch before she comes. Express your disappointment at the way you were treated. Tell her you’ll be happy to help her by welcoming her to your home when she needs to be there but there must be a better understanding between you. Leave son out of it. You may have fought his battles for him when he was little but he shouldn’t have to fight yours now since you’re big.
Problems? Contact Helen Oxenberg, MSW, ACSW, at firstname.lastname@example.org