Mothers and Daughters: Giving and Getting Advice

Find tips to help mothers and daughters recognize when it's okay to get and give advice.

A number of studies indicate that throughout their lives daughters seek a mother's advice; however, giving that advice is tricky! Frequently, it sounds like these women are calling to solicit a mother's advice when what they really want is for Mom to be is an "innocent listener" or "sounding board."

"It took a long time before I caught on, gave my opinion and had it trounced on," admitted one mom. "My daughter wasn't really calling for my opinion. She just called to hear herself talk."

Mom, It's None of Your Business

Moms best opt for caution when wanting to hand out unsolicited advice! "Daughters seem to view their spouses and offspring as constituting a family unit unto itself, distinct from their relationships with their mothers," assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University, Karen Fingerman said.

However, mothers don't perceive it the same way and see themselves as a more integral part of their daughter's family life. "As a result, mothers may feel free to offer advice or direct affairs in their daughters' lives in a manner that daughters experience as intrusion."

When It's Safe for Advice Givers

Most moms find it much safer to give advice when…

  • They are specifically asked for it.
  • There is a matter that is of great importance.
  • They see consequences their daughters may not be aware of.
  • They ask their daughters if they can give their opinions.
  • They use phrases that ask questions like, "Have you considered this?" instead of giving advice that is opinionated and dogmatic.

Paying attention to how advice might be given could ensure a smoother ride for mothers and daughters.

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