• Your mother wants to feel loved and appreciated for making you the wonderful adult you are. She wants you to call and sincerely say, "Mom, how was your day?"
  • Your mother wants to be included in your life. If you don't have time to see her, try to say it nicely. It never hurts to be considerate and protect her feelings.
  • Realize it's difficult for some mothers to stop seeing their adult daughters as younger daughters.
  • Try to understand your mother's life circumstances, the choices she makes, and the challenges she faces, especially when you are engaged in minor conflicts.
  • Learn to live within the consequences of your conduct and be prepared for your mother's disapproval when you make a decision with which she disagrees.
  • Be clear in your intentions; you want to be talked to as an adult. Continue the dialogue even when the going gets tough.

Regardless of age, your children remain your children. Their increasing maturity does not bring an end to your caretaking role, it merely changes the ways in which you execute this role. Parenting adult daughters can be much more difficult than parenting children. There are no road maps or manuals on what to say or do, and you must proceed without knowing what lies ahead. The pattern of more than two decades has ended, and you and your daughter must adjust to new roles: her economic independence, her role as wife or partner, and her role as mother. Both mother and daughter have to adjust to a new order, where the relationship is more equitable. Maintaining the balance among caretaker, companion, and trusted confidant; guiding your child without taking charge; and helping your daughter to carry out her own solutions is your new role. Take a breath and enjoy, and, as the saying goes: "If you love something, let it go; if it comes back to you, it is yours forever."

Find out more about what the authors have to say about mother-daughter relationships

Excerpted from Too Close for Comfort? Questioning the Intimacy of Today's New Mother-Daughter Relationship by Linda Perlman Gordon and Susan Morris Shaffer © 2009 by Linda Perlman Gordon and Susan Morris Shaffer. Excerpted by permission of The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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