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How involved should a parent be in adult daughter’s health?

(42 Posts)
Cabbie21 Thu 31-Jan-19 19:46:48

In contrast to a thread about adult children’s Attitude to their mum’s health, I am wondering how much a mum should get involved in an adult daughter’s health.

There is a fine line to be drawn between being too involved, too intrusive, or appearing not to care.

A friend of mine has just gone back to work after taking theee months off to support her daughter.

But I am not sure that my daughter would want me to get that involved in her life. She is having various tests for a health condition. I try to tread a middle course, being ready to listen if she wants to talk, without trying to be too nosy. I hope she does not think I am not supportive enough.

I suppose it must depend how much help is needed, but I would not want to tread on her husband’s toes.

Bridgeit Thu 31-Jan-19 20:37:53

I would say as involved as the daughter wishes & taking in to account the nesscitiy,practicalities & availableity of time .
The main thing is to ask her & talk through all options . Best wishes

dragonfly46 Thu 31-Jan-19 20:43:59

Absolutely talking is the key. I would ask outright what support she needs and take it from there. Asking for help is far more difficult than choosing from options offered.

Newmom101 Thu 31-Jan-19 20:46:39

Exactly as Bridgeit says. It depends on how much support she wants. As an 'adult daughter' who was recently unwell (not deathly, but enough to warrant a short spell in hospital) I asked my mother to accompany me to hospital so that my partner could stay at home with DD.

I was grateful to her for doing this, but quite annoyed after when she was insisting she 'should have known when I first felt unwell' and 'should have been told that I had to see much GP'. I was perfectly capable of managing myself and DD up until that point and as I only felt a bit unwell I saw no reason to tell her. She does have a tendency to feel she should be involved in every decision I make though.

I think the right balance is checking to see if she's okay (although not hounding her with calls/messages) but not pushing the issue if she doesn't want to talk about it.

mcem Thu 31-Jan-19 21:01:28

Supporting an ill DD is one thing but it gets more difficult when depression is involved and she doesn't know or acknowledge when she needs help.
When she clearly is not coping but refuses to admit that, what do you do?
When she isn't looking after the children properly when is it ok to put in your tuppenceworth and when do you have to back off?
When she sees offers of help as interfering and accuses you of twisting everything she says?
When you do as you're told and step back, only to be told you don't care?
It is incredibly difficult!

paddyann Thu 31-Jan-19 21:51:09

It is the hardest thing watching your adult daughter struggle with the simplest of things.Mine has multiple health issues.Fibromyalgia ,polycistic ovaries ,hyper joint mbility syndrome and several other things.She's confined to bed for days and sometimes weeks on end .We have a great relationship and she knows I'll do all that I can to help her with her children,her housework and just by listening .If theres a line to cross we haven't come across it as she tells me all the setails of all the problems.Yes its hard and it causes me countless sleepless nights ,but I will never turn my back on her and she is well aware of that and always grateful

mcem Thu 31-Jan-19 22:15:36

As you know paddy my daughter has very similar problems. Fibro, low kidney function (operation soon to help we hope) and a colostomy too so I know her self-esteem and confidence are low.
Understandably she is deeply depressed but recently there's been a change.
She won't accept help, resents questions and is not coping with the children (though she won't admit that).
She tells lie to cover up and excludes her close family. Am close to the end of my tether and think I have to write to her gp.

M0nica Thu 31-Jan-19 22:32:32

mcem, I do think dealing with mental illness is very very hard to d, especially when combined - and caused by physical illness

Generally, I think it very much depends on the nature of the health problem, how far the ill person can continue to lead their normal life, what other support systems (partners) they have and who they need to care for (children)

Our only experience is of sudden looking after our daughter after she was seriously injured in a road accident. DH and I lived with her for two months after her (premature) discharge from hospital.

We stayed, usually only one of us at a time because DD preferred it that way, until she was physically able to manage her own life again; bathing and dressing, cooking and cleaning and was back behind the wheel. Then, when she thought she could cope unaided, in the nicest possibly way, she made it clear that she would like to have her house to herself again.

Her medical treatment continued for another 5 years, including further ops and we just played it by ear. She always wanted and needed us to stay for a few days when she had further operations and sometimes for other treatments and would ask for help when she needed it.

I think, we just have to be sensitive to what our adult children want us to do and not try to to do more than they want.

olive2709 Thu 31-Jan-19 23:16:44

My DD has RA so uses crutches or stick all the time, I have balance problems some days so use a stick on those days.So we move at same speed and she does not feel so conspicuous has a problem with being looked at. SIL works 12 hour shifts 365days so on hospital appointment's if she wants extra support or we have been known to go for lunch after just calls me .Yes I do have quite a high level of involvement works for us

sodapop Fri 01-Feb-19 08:35:05

I think MOnica's last sentence says it all. Be sensitive and honest with each other. I have to remember when helping my daughters that things which are important to me are not always important to them. Help where they ask you to and sometimes it's just taking time for a cup of coffee and a chat.

paddyann Fri 01-Feb-19 09:31:51

mcem we've been working on mindfullness and guided meditation for the depression my D has.She's very lucky that she has friends who will do all they can to see that she stays positive even on her worst days.I know how you feel ,its very difficult to cope with her when she says she's reached the end of the road and just wants to sleep and not wake up.
It breaks my heart .

Coconut Fri 01-Feb-19 10:06:31

I don’t think there’s a generic response to this as we all are very different people and all have very different relationships with our daughters. I think people have to set their own boundaries with each other. My own mum has never recognised the difference between caring/helping as opposed to controlling/dominating. I know she cares, just goes about it the totally wrong way and ends up pushing people away.

Taylor53 Fri 01-Feb-19 10:10:48

I am having a similar problem with my daughter who is also 7 months pregnant. One minute she tells me I am not supporting or understanding her enough at other times she says I am too involved and to give her space. She often ask me for advice but then doesn't act on it. I just take one day at a time, sometimes I get it right sometimes I get it wrong. Luckily she has a wonderful partner who I can talk to and between us we try and help her the best we can, it's very difficult though.

mcem Fri 01-Feb-19 10:12:30

I'm afraid my sympathies have shifted over the last couple of years. Refusing to accept offers of help for herself is one thing but my priority is now the children.
Her 2 older ones have moved out and have minimal contact.
Offers to collect and return laundry so that clean bedding and uniforms are available are accepted and then turned down.
Until recently I did sit down for tea and supportive chats, biting my tongue and trying to ignore the chaos around us.
Now she finds excuses so that no-one can visit.
3 family members had house keys and there were times (with her agreement) when I'd go in, leaving her asleep in bed, while I got on with cleaning and laundry. In the summer all keys were taken back.
I have the children every weekend, handing them back to father, who has them for a few days, so they are only with her 3 days a week.I
I feel I have to write to her gp who is valiantly trying to support her, but doesn't have the full picture.

PECS Fri 01-Feb-19 10:21:16

It really is too variable to give a definitive answer! If you are aware of AC illness and impact it is having on family you may want to offer support. That might not be possible depending on your own circumstances . It is all about the quality of the relationship, the type of illness, AC s own family circumstance and one's own ability to give practical support. Tough to see one's child in difficulty and not to be able to help though. Good luck.

Allgoodnamesaregone Fri 01-Feb-19 10:23:57

All my 3 adult chn have health issues. Son was diagnosed with ASD last year & has had mental health problems since his early teens...he usually lets me support with that, but is less keen for help with his stomach issues. Oldest daughter has fibro plus austio-arthritis & auto-immune issues plus a back problem - she would welcome support, but actually it's my mam who helps more with her children as I teach full time & am a lone parent to DD10. My other adult daughter rarely asks for help & won't always accept it. She is currently suffering from depression quite badly, & also waiting for tests to see if she has Chrons. She has 4 children but lost her first to cot death when he was 3 months old nearly 13 years ago....then I didn't ask...I just helped. I offer to go down at weekends & help tidy, I run her to the shops. I took time off (unpaid) to attend some appointments with her recently, but I can't do that often.
The key is to keep talking...offer they know it's there if they need it, rather than having to ask.
It doesn't matter how old they get they are still our kids.
I'm off with flu at mo & my 82 year old mam has been popping round to see if I need anything.

ReadyMeals Fri 01-Feb-19 10:31:48

mcem, I assume the remaining children are of an age where they are not in any physical danger in the house with an incompetent parent? If so, just one final thing I'd suggest, is, if you can, put up some smoke alarms. You can get standalone ones that don't need installing, just pop them up on a high shelf or hang from picture nail. Only from your description it sounds like your daughter could be living the sort of lifestyle where things could be left burning on the cooker or cigarettes could fall onto sofas.

Jayelld Fri 01-Feb-19 11:01:17

My daughter has a hip problem that caused serious problems during her 4 pregnancies. I was heavily involved in her day to day life while her husband worked. This eased off after the birth of her last child but contact remained constant. Fast forward to February 2012 and I was 'on call' because youngest GD had life threatening allergies, the GS2 was diagnosed autistic. 2018 was a rounD of school visits, child minding while my daughter had meeting with schools, child psychiatrists, education authorities etc, to get GS2 removed from a state school and into special schools more suited to his complex needs. That finally happened 10 days before the end of school year in July!
Since then I'm still 'on call' but now visit weekly! We talk on the phone a lot and, through trial and error, have learnt to ask for help when needed. I still get it wrong but we can laugh about it now!
As said before, communication is the key, silent, passive support that says "I'm here if you need me" can work miracles also.

paddyann Fri 01-Feb-19 11:03:48

She needs help ,its just finding the right help.Can you get her onto the fibro sites on FB MCEM .They give support while showing that there are people who do understand what your going through .My daughter has s ite called "SMILING THROUGH" from that she could locate the other sites where she'll find folk who know how her life is and how to deal with some of it at least.
My daughters youngest is 7 ,she has major tantrums because mummy isn't fit enough to do things for her ,although mummy does loads of things that dont need physical effort.Lots of crafting etc .Its tough ,but I dont have experience of the pain she suffers so she relies on others who do to give constuctive advice .Good luck with the GP .

paddyann Fri 01-Feb-19 11:06:39

ready meals thats sounds so bad"incompetent parent" she's ILL I'm sure she would love to be the kind of mother she once was,her illness prevents most normal activity as I know with my daughter .

Aepgirl Fri 01-Feb-19 11:07:31

Make it very clear that you are there for her as much or as little she wants. Show concern, and of course love, but don’t go overboard.

jaylucy Fri 01-Feb-19 11:17:19

There are some times that you need your mum but don't like to ask!
Just have a chat with her and offer to go with her to appointments etc, so the door will be open for her to ask !

ReadyMeals Fri 01-Feb-19 11:40:30

paddyann I was using the term as an objective one, not emotive. I became incompetent as a housewife when I sprained my knee. I was still a valuable human, just as mcem's daughter is. She may become competent for that task again one day, just like I did.

Bbbface Fri 01-Feb-19 11:40:42


No poor whatsoever writing to your daughter’s GP expressing your concern.
Unless you write that you are concerned your daughter is negligent of her children (in which case the GP will refer to social services) strict patient confidentiality means the GP will not engage with you or act on your letter

Bbbface Fri 01-Feb-19 11:47:08

No point