Bonding with Adult Daughter

Updated on February 23, 2010
K.M. asks from Shawnee, KS
14 answers

Hi Ladies,

My daughter is about to be sent home from Army basic training. She getting a medical discharge. She is very much disappointed in herself & since she has been gone she has been enlighten on what real life is about. So now she would like to do something together, her idea was to get a tattoo together with her two little sisters names on it. While I'm not against them, I have one, but only one that is about the size of a nickel in a spot that no one sees, I'm not really wanting to get another one. I got that one in my mid twenties in a different time in life. I now have remarried & have had her two little sisters. My current husband didn't approve of the tat that I have, which is just a heart, that's too bad but he wasn't in the picture then & I don't reget getting it & I would to do it again at that time because I actually do like it. Anyways, that's not the point, while I would like to do something that is this bonding experiece with her, I just don't want to do that. Does anyone have any ideas of what they have either done or thought of doing that would do just as well? She comes home March 1 if not before & I would just like to have some ideas that would be better.

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answers from Indianapolis on

I vote for buying each other matching necklaces, maybe for all of you girls.......if her two sisters are too young to wear them now, they can be saved and given to them when they are 16 or something.....or a some kind of matching jewelry that will mean something to the two of you. Maybe get something designed especially for you. That way it can be handed down to the her children I can come up with. But I agree on the tat......Good Luck and be sue to let her know just being together is a good thing as well........Good Luck

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answers from Portland on

Bonding doesn't have to have an outward symbol. How about doing something meaningful together that you'll always remember. I've done a number of things with my daughter at different ages that we both recall with a smile. These are the ones that come immediately to mind:

Spending a weekend helping orphans in Mexico;
Attending a week-long camp focusing on outdoor education;
Having her help me for a day when weeding a new plot of ground for a raspberry patch;
Skydiving (really!).

It doesn't have to be involved. Helping in a soup kitchen for a couple of hours might be perfect for you, helping an elderly or pregnant neighbor prune her roses, or even a shopping trip for a few civilian clothes and a meal in a nice restaurant. Or start a photo, drawing, or poetry project together; pick a theme, and each of you contribute to it weekly for some specified time period. This could be your own original work, or something you find in a book or online that touches or amuses you.

You've got a lovely inspiration here. I hope you find just the right thing to do.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I like the suggestions you've already gotten...

What about something YOU have always wanted to do? Is there something/somewhere you've always wanted to do/go and haven't? Maybe a trip to the Grand Canyon? Niagra Falls?

My point is that there are travel agencies and groups that plan trips all over the world. I would encourage you and your daughter to do something memorable together (if financially possible). Because your daughter is already bummed about being discharged, she can probably use something to lift her spirits. Remember planning is half the fun! So even tho the trip may not happen immediately, you can research some ideas and say, "Hey, I thought we could do something we've never done!"

Also, it doesn't HAVE to be an exotic location. It could be something simple too like going to Kansas City, getting a hotel room, seeing a live show and dinner in a fancy restaurant.

Otherwise, what about a "spa day" for both of you? Get pampered and "recharge" together. Then maybe you can present her with a gift, like a matching bracelet set where you have one and she has one? You might be able to get something engraved? My mom gave me something - "First my daughter, now too my friend."

Best wishes

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

You've gotten some great ideas, some I might think about when my daughter and son are older!

I like the photography idea, but how about portraits of just you and her, to capture this moment in her life as she launches into the next phase (sounds like the REAL world has arrived!). You all could get makeovers beforehand or get pendants identical to each other and meaningful.

Will she be setting up a household of her own? Can you get a little welcome party arranged for her and solicit small but useful gifts from everyone in her life, to help set her up?

It'll be so hard for me, I know, but I think one of the most important things for a parent to do at this stage is to let them make their own decisions and mistakes. Writing her a letter about this part of your relationship would probably be very meaningful for her! Good luck with this part!

It sounds like she's been missing the little sisters, because she is thinking about putting their names on her own body, so maybe she'd like a weekend saturated by good times with you and them (indoor water park, Chuck E. Cheese's, shopping for them, visiting family together).

I don't know what's out there, but there could be online or real-life support communities for people leaving the service. If you spend a little time looking up such things, it might give her something to check out and make this transition. Sometimes it helps to know other people who have been through the same things, and just chat and exchange stories.

Best wishes!



answers from Kansas City on

take her out to her favorite restaurant and talk. Glamour Shots is also a neat experience to do a mother/daughter picture and then have some single ones taken as well. They do your hair and make-up and take high quality pics and make you feel like a model.



answers from Kansas City on

So ready some of the responses I can definately agree with the sentiment to not do anything you are sure about. Tattoos are permanent and should never be done because of pressure, even from a child. I did want to share with you a story about something my mom, my sis-in-law and I did. Over Thanksgiving I decided that I wanted to get my nose pierced (personal decision, not advocating it) and my s-i-l decided to do hers with me. We had both always wanted to do it but were to chicken to go by ourselves. My mom thought it was a great idea and decided to pierce hers too. We were shocked because we never thought she'd consider it. She took hers out three days later but now everytime I look at my nose ring it reminds me of her and its a great memory.

My point is it doesn't matter what you do as long as its special and she knows that you wouldn't want to do it with anyone else. I treasure the experience I had because it is a permanent reminder of the lengths my mom will go to to be a part of my life. I'm sure your daughter will be thrilled with whatever you decide to do as long as it makes her feel like she's still very important to you, especially now when she reached the age where she's not supposed to still need mom so much.



answers from St. Louis on

I agree with the matching jewelery--- my mom and I got matching necklaces from Kay's. (The open heart's collection by Jane Seymour.)
It really helped bring us closer during a rough time in our lifes.



answers from Kansas City on

I agree with taking a little girls' trip somewhere. I would love to do that with my mom!! Do a weekend getaway somewhere warm or just hole-up in a hotel downtown and schedule yummy dinners and pedicures!



answers from Kansas City on

I have an adult daughter, married with children. Both of our lives are very busy, but I always look forward to her birthday, when we go to lunch together and then shop for something she would like. We are also going to a concert together. Music that we both would enjoy, but our husbands could care less. The time you can allow for only the two of you will be special no matter what you do.



answers from Kansas City on

First, let me admit, I hate tattoos, so I'm not going to endorse such a crazy thing. My cousin, the plastic surgeon, makes a lot of money off tattoo removal. You may like yours, but your daughters may have regret later. Please don't promote this...I know you can't stop it, but don't promote it.

How about a cruise together? So many exotic places to visit these days on a ship. Such fun and everything is taken care of for you. You only unpack once and can see many different places.

Another Mama mentioned going to work at an orphanage...what a rewarding and bonding experience that would be. There are so many around the world. You could combine a little philanthropic work with a side pleasure trip. That experience, I'm sure, will have a lasting bonding memory for all of you. Again, no tattoos!!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I won't try to talk you into the tattoo (LOL), I hate them. If your daughter still wants to get a tattoo, you can go with her and support her, just tell her you don't want another tattoo.
I like the idea of an overnight getaway and spa stuff.



answers from Orlando on

How about having professional pictures made of all the girls together. I also like the idea of some type of matching jewelry or something with all your names on it for a keepsake.



answers from Kansas City on

I, for one, think the tattoo would be great. My 2 oldest sons from my first marriage are in the Air Force and Army- we each got a small red/white/blue star on our upper left arm. It is some thing that binds us together. Are you not wanting to get the tatoo because your current husband doesn't like them? This is between you and your daughter- not him- it is your body- I have 7 more children with my current husband- and I would never let him tell me that I couldn't do something with my first 2 sons just because they aren't his nor would I let him tell me that my younger children and I couldn't do something. A tattoo isn't that big of a deal, and if it would help your daughter- then sit down and design something together- I, for one, will never regret my tattoo, nor will my sons.



answers from St. Louis on

I think you've gotten some great ideas. Here are some more:

-attend a cooking class together
-learn how to make salsa (or something else you both really enjoy)
-attend a glass-blowing class and make something for each other

If you have a local community college, they could have some really neat classes there. Otherwise, check with a local restaurant that you both like and see if there is some way they can help you. It would also be great if you could both volunteer at a local homeless shelter, Salvation Army/Goodwill, or someplace else. If you call your local social services agency, they should be able to help you out.

Have fun!

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