Dr. Charney Herst, author of For Mothers of Difficult Daughters (Villard, 1998) believes, "If you want to share a marital coping strategy with your daughter every now and then, that's fine. But 99 percent of the time, acting as her marriage counselor will backfire—even if she asks for your help." Your daughter will patch things up and be embarrassed or resentful that you know so much about her relationship and her husband.
Furthermore, you cannot be objective. We all know that. Perhaps a good rule of thumb is not to offer advice with one exception—if she is being abused. That calls for immediate intervention. Otherwise, try to be satisfied being her mother.
Add to that the wisdom a young married woman imparted to her mother. "My marriage is different than yours. We work things out to suit us, our personalities, and our needs. I don't expect the same things you do from Dad."
Topics Off-Limits for Moms
Other areas besides marital counseling to steer clear of include…
- How your daughter and her husband spend their money.
- How they raise their kids.
- How clean they keep their house.
- How they manage their household.
- How they celebrate their anniversary.
- How they spend their leisure time-whether together or separately.
- What you deem to be appropriate or acceptable gift-giving.
Without respecting these as zones of "no admittance" you could seriously jeopardize the good feelings your daughter and her husband have toward you.