DEAR HARRIETTE: I am the mother to a 25-year-old daughter who has no real plan for her life.
I want to start off by admitting that it is completely normal and acceptable not to have it all planned out when you’re in your 20s. In my 20s, I had no clue what I was doing.
My fear is that my 25-year-old daughter lacks ambition. She has never even expressed a real desire to map out her future. I rarely hear her discuss her future at all. All she seems to want to do is hang out with her friends, go clubbing and sleep until noon.
Her lack of ambition terrifies me as a mother. How can I motivate an unmotivated daughter? Is it even possible at this point?
DEAR WORRIED MOM: Life can feel overwhelming for some young people, especially if they have high-achieving parents and feel pressure to perform at a high level. What you are seeing is that, regardless of what you have achieved, your daughter has her own path and her own life that she has to live for herself.
You can help her with some tough love. If she is living at home with you, not working and basically hanging out, you can create boundaries and rules with consequences.
Did you live at home rent-free when you were a young adult? I didn’t. Establish a rent that your daughter must pay monthly in order to stay with you.
Request that she make a plan to find work so she can pay her own living expenses. That doesn’t mean creating a dynamic career. It means getting a job that pays money.
Stop giving her money if you haven’t already. Resolve to allow her to suffer in order to grow up. As long as you coddle her, she will not step up and take responsibility for herself.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother always had an open-door policy when I was growing up. Anybody could come over to my house at any time.
I have been the exact opposite. I appreciate my privacy and do not want people coming over unannounced or uninvited.
My daughter asked me if she could have a group of friends over — people who are coming from out of town to visit. She wants them to camp out at our house for the weekend. I know it’s a nice idea, but I am so reclusive that I have never had a group of people in my house.
She would be so happy if I said yes, but I think I would be anxious as all get-out. How should I handle this?
Hosting a Group
DEAR HOSTING A GROUP: First of all, say yes. Your daughter will be forever grateful.
Talk to your daughter and give her ground rules for where her friends can be and what her responsibilities are. Arrange to be out of the house for part of the time they are visiting. You can welcome them and give them the lay of the land, but schedule time to go out so that you aren’t overwhelmed by your emotions.
Trust that your daughter and her friends will not tear down your house. Invoke your mother’s energy and decide you will have fun — even though it’s a bit uncomfortable.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.