SM: How has technology changed the mother-daughter relationship?
SMS: Technology has made a huge difference. It's offered mothers and daughters 24-hour access to each other. There's always the good side of technology and the bad side. Even though a mother can be in contact more with her daughter, it doesn't mean it increases the intimacy. When we think about when we were young women talking to our parents, we talked to them once a week on Sundays, whether we had anything to say to them or not.
LPG: Technology also creates an opportunity to set boundaries that are good. For instance, I had to think about this when I was "allowed" to go on Facebook. I knew that other people my age were doing it, and I let it go for a long time (even though I do like technology a lot) and then I said: "You know what? I want to connect with people I knew in college." I went on Facebook, and I purposely did not try to befriend my daughter because that's the boundary I set. What's funny is that later, my daughter said, "Why didn't you ask to be my friend?" And I said, "Because this wasn't about my trying to spy on your life. This is about me having my own thing. If you wanted to be my friend, I was giving you that opportunity. But I didn't want to put you in a position where you felt like your mother was now going to have access to the information that you send out to your friends."
SM: Does the current state of the economy affect the mother-daughter dynamic—for example, an adult daughter moving back home with her mother?
SMS: It can be a very good experience. It's another opportunity to mentor and coach your daughter. But again, it only works if you welcome them back as adults and not as children. So you're not telling them what to do, but [rather] you're providing them with opportunities to do more for themselves and manage their lives.
Maintain healthy boundaries, and [make sure] that your daughter feels that, incrementally, she's able to become more and more self-sufficient.
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