My daughter is growing up too fast.

sweetmommy

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#1
My daughter recently moved to a different town for college, so we barely see or talk to each other anymore. Last night, she called to say that she won't be home for Thanksgiving this year because she and her roommates are planning to go on multiple city singles tours. I know that she’s in college already, but to me she’s still my little girl and I still worry about her. I know that I should let her live her own life so she can grow, but at the same time I feel like she’s growing up so fast. Should I let her go on this trip? My husband and I miss her so much and we’re really looking forward to her coming home this November.
 

VEM

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#2
Your desire to see your daughter for Thanksgiving is understandable and from reading your post you do understand that she's beginning her journey into the world in an effort to become a self supporting adult and she's not gonna be in touch with you as much as in the past. I think her wanting to go on this trip reflects the fact that you and your husband have done a good job of preparing her for being on her own. She has the confidence to do so. Let her go on the trip but set a time and a date to have a good conversation with her about people and social situations. I would go over things like not getting serious with anyone she might meet, be very cautious about who you trust no matter how nice they seem, when you're in a bar and you leave your drink half full don't drink it after you come back someone might have put something in it regardless of her friends sitting there. Why take a chance. Tell her to make sure she stays in decent areas where her chances of something bad happening are diminished but certainly not impossible, ...to be aware of her surroundings including the behavior of strangers to see something coming before it happens. Don't be gullible and be skeptical of people. Don't let someone take you somewhere in their own vehicle and you're unsure of the environment where this stranger wants to take you.

That's what I'd do. You of course can't prepare her for every scenario and I'm probably giving you some talking points that you've already thought about going over with her then again maybe I've added some that you didn't think of.

I'm sure you've read and seen all the reports of some of our young people having bad experiences on their first few forays on their own but don't let that be something that engulfs you with so much anxiety that you two become miserable. She does have to learn to be on her own but again I would find a time and date and make sure she has the time for you to give her some advice on dealing with people and social situations.

I almost forgot, god forbid it happens but I'd tell her to get a guy off of you a good kick in the groin, scratching the face and eyes and a hard punch to the throat area are some good defensive measures.

I hope in some way I've been of some use to you, good day.
 
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#3
Yes, you should let her go on the trip. Not only that, but she's an adult now; she shouldn't need your permission. That's not to say that she wouldn't ask for your advice or listen to you. I understand about the kids. Mine aren't nearly that old yet but my oldest (6) is so big now compared to how he was ehen he was born that it amazes me.
 

sweetmommy

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#4
Well, even though she's technically an adult, she's still my daughter and we are responsible for her. Besides, 18 is still a tender age, no matter how mature or independent an eighteen year old may be. I guess it's just hard to accept that she has a separate life of her own now.
 

sweetmommy

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#5
Thank you so much for your response! It has made me realize that my husband and I should just allow her to grow on her own. After all, she will never learn and grow if she doesn't experience anything. It's hard to accept this, but at the same time I want what's best for her. I think we're going to follow your advice and just set a specific schedule to keep in touch throughout the trip to make sure she's doing fine. We should also give her "the talk" to avoid anything unpleasant from happening. We're not ready to fully let go yet- but we're taking the necessary baby steps to get there.
 

FEEL4

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#6
Hi, in the UK 18 is considered being an adult. I appreciate in the US 21 is the age. In my experience, and especially these days, children are raring to get into the world from the age of 13. Those additional 5 years to reach 18 are more like the equivalent of 10 or even 20 years in adult terms. The years seem to pass by much more slowly as a teenager. So to wait until she is 18 to want to travel may seem a young age to you but to her she has already waited a lifetime.

Why am I saying all this? Because there is a tremendous natural energy that runs inside an 18 year old. An energy that wants them to find independence and to experience life on their own terms.

I have two daughters (one is 22 and the other just 14) and have experienced the full cycle of attitudes etc. Having two daughters which are 8 years apart has given me a great way to compare their attitudes and what effect my parenting has had on them. So I believe I know from my perspective what it is a daughter wants and needs.

In your case, the energy I am talking about is obviously at a high level and your daughter wants to travel. From my experience as much as you love her you must let her go on this city tour now she is 18. Otherwise you will drive a wedge between you an her and that will lead to an outcome far worse than not seeing your daughter for Thanksgiving.

It is a great idea to use this as an opportunity to bond with your daughter. I hate to say it but offering her some money to make her trip better is one of the key "I love you so much Mom!" things you can do. She will respect and feel great fondness knowing you are supporting her and "understanding" her need to travel away from the nest.

You can bond with each other through Skype, the phone, or even meeting up face to face, to help her plan for her trip. Try not to overwhelm her or take control of the trip, this is very important advice or else the bonding can turn sour.

I would suggest that instead of sitting down and telling her a long list of dos and don't that instead you send her messages with links to other people giving that advice. You know the type of person your daughter likes and so find a video from someone who fits that bill, for example, this >>> video <<< is considered "cool" (I know that is an uncool word) by my daughter and she is much more likely to watch this than listen to me!

Be innovative, find travel vlogs, blogs and websites. As I mentioned teenagers love money and they love presents, so with that in mind maybe buy her some gifts that may help protect her, like Mace Spray, a rape alarm - BUT - balance is key, also buy her items like sunglasses, a travel bag, try not to overwhelm her with the evils of this world. She wants to enjoy the journey not fear it!

Finally, with regards to you and your husband not wanting to let go, well this is a perspective thing. The fact is she is grown up enough to do her own thing and if you get in her way you will always come out the loser. However, having said that, she is your daughter and whether she is in your house or travelling the world she will always be your daughter. And the one thing that can never be broken is love. If you constantly show her that you love her she will come back to you like a boomerang.

Show her respect, try not to control her and she will respect you and want to come to you more often in the long run.

It is a painful time watching your baby grow up and move away from you being the protector and adviser to being someone they almost come to for a pit-stop to refuel etc.

My greatest advice comes in a quote:

"Love is the attachment that can never be broken, chains are the opposite"

In other words try to put as little mental chains on your daughter as possible or else she will break them and cut loose forever, show her love and kindness and she will always want you in her life.

Finally, don't see this situation as you losing your daughter at Thanksgiving, think of it as the moment of triumph that all of your parenting has paid off. Your daughter is feeling empowered, happy and excited to travel and of those wondrous feeling are because of your amazing parenting skills which brought her to this point in her life. Feel proud and happy, her ability to travel confidently is a reflection on you, if she is happy, you should be happy, win-win.