Give Your Daughter Coping Skills For Her Years Without You

Everyone has inside her a piece of good news. The good news is you don’t know how great you can be. Anne Frank, German diarist

On social media and personal contacts I often read/hear laments by adult daughters who, after the death of their mother (sometimes years after the death), feel helpless, hopeless, identity-less, and floundering without an anchor. 

Their plight brings to mind some tips to help your daughters successfully cope with life after your death.

  1. Encourage your daughter to internalize the reality that she will probably (and hopefully) outlive you. Help her recognize that this is the natural order of things. No one lives forever—not even mothers.
  2. Before she becomes an adult, prepare your daughter to be an independent person, a person who can successfully, confidently, and joyfully live her life and make good decisions without your constant input. 
  3. Help your daughter discover and embrace her own identity apart from you and her role as your daughter.
  4. Help your daughter understand that she will not be responsible for your death (unless, of course, there’s mistreatment).
  5. As you age or draw near to death, help your daughter understand that her death will not mirror your death—not the day, time, or manner. Each death is unique. Daughters generally have anxiety over the anniversary of their mother’s death (especially when they reach the age of their mother when she died). You speaking to your daughter about this may give her peace in the future.

These are the hard truths I’ve learned as I’ve interacted with countless motherless daughters. I hope there’s a take-away for you, Dear Mother.

Affirmation: I will do all I can to help my daughters (sons too) thrive after I’m gone.

Coaching questions: If any of these tips resonate with you, what will you do about it? What action will you take? What conversation will you have?

An independent mother raising an independent daughter.

Thinking of Anne Frank

I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains. Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

I’ve been thinking about Anne Frank lately. She was thirteen when she started writing The Diary of a Young Girl while hiding in a small space for two years and thirty-five days. Not only was Anne’s family of four hiding from the Nazis, they were sheltering and sharing food with four others at the risk of their own lives. 

Two months after the Allied landings in Normandy, the police discovered the Franks’ hiding place and all those in hiding were arrested. Anne and her sister Margot survived Auschwitz only to be sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. There the two girls died of typhus shortly before the camp was liberated by the British Army on April 15, 1945. Anne was 15, her sister was 19.

Affirmation: Thinking about other’s circumstances helps me accept mine.

Coaching questions: What’s been the most difficult aspect about sheltering in place for you? What are you learning about yourself and others? 


Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash