Ways To Be The Best Daughter Ever

Updated July 1, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

Parents can be considered one of the most important figures in our lives. Our relationship with our primary caregivers profoundly impacts all aspects of our development, including social, mental, physical, and emotional. Our parents helped us to grow into the adults we are today and we often apply their life lessons in the choices we make in our daily lives. And we confide in them when we need a second opinion. Like with your mothers, having a healthy father-daughter relationship comes with several wonderful benefits.

As a child, having parents who play an active role in their life increases the likelihood of them doing well in school. Children are also more likely to grow up with better social skills, higher self-esteem, more confidence in romantic relationships, and more likelihood of graduating and going to college. Even for adults, having a good relationship with your parents can positively affect your life.

While we may focus on the parents as the important component in a healthy family, promoting a positive relationship with your parents also is beneficial. For example, an extensive research study found that having a positive relationship with your parents is just as important for their psychological well-being as it is for your own. The opposite is also true. If the relationship is strained or worse than the parent expected, it has negative effects on their well-being. The study also found that changes in psychological well-being will have an effect throughout life for both parents and their children, whether positive or negative.

Thus, the relationships you have with your parents will have an impact on both of you for the rest of your lives. Whether you are a young adult still living with your parents or have older parents and possibly a family of your own, know it is important to maintain a relationship with your parents. The benefits go both ways.

So how can you be the best daughter ever to your parents? Here are six suggestions.

Celebrate important dates

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As a child, it is up to your parents to remember your birthday and other meaningful events. They may have come to important events in your life, such as dance recitals, sports games, or graduations. Your parents probably still call you on your birthday and are there for you to celebrate your accomplishments. In return, it is important to do the same for them to show your love and respect.

Here are a few holidays to put into your calendar:

  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries
  • Holiday celebrations

Depending on your situation, you might also want to get in touch with your parents on other meaningful dates. Unfortunately, not all dates will be happy ones. If someone close to one of your parents was recently deceased (such as a sibling, partner, friend), then you might want to call them or see them on the anniversary of the death. Those dates often hold meaning and can be hard on living relatives.

See them as often as you can

While prioritizing seeing your parents on holidays and special occasions is important, the more you can see your parents, the better. This can be trickier if your parents are separated or live far away but do your best for your circumstances. If you live close to your parents, that will mean you have more opportunities to spend time with them.

Time together is more valuable when you become an adult. After graduating high school, on average, you’ve already spent 90% of the time you’ll get to spend with your parents before their death. That’s a sobering statistic. And as mentioned earlier, your involvement in your parents’ lives is good for their well-being.

It could be as simple as trying to get together every week or two for dinner. You can also call them a few times a week if they live far away. Phone calls and text messages will not replace in-person interactions, but they can help bridge the gap between the times you see each other.

Lastly, do not wait. There are no guarantees on how long your parents will be around. They might feel like they are bothering you if they’re the ones instigating conversations all the time. Take the initiative and be the one to make the first move. They will be delighted to be a big part of your life.

Start difficult conversations

Let’s be honest. Most people do not want to talk about death or money. Yet, these conversations are valuable to have while your parents are still healthy. There are certain preferences your parents will have that you may not be aware of. Once they are terminally ill or gone, it can be a lot of pressure to try to decipher what they may have wanted.

Ask them questions like:

  • Would you rather be cremated or buried?
  • Would you rather pass away at home or in a hospital?
  • Would you be opposed or willing to live in a nursing home?
  • Do you have a will?
  • Any requests for how we should conduct your funeral?

These questions are awkward and uncomfortable. There’s no doubt about it. But they are necessary things to know. If one of your parents do not want to live in a nursing home when they can no longer care for themselves, what is the plan? Will someone hire a nurse to visit their home? Will they have to live with you? Who will pay for a nursing home or visiting nurse?

The end of life is stressful and sad for most people but knowing the answers to many of these questions will help the transition happen without traumatic change.

If you are experiencing trauma, support is available. Please see our Get Help Now page for more resources.

You can also ask the questions in a roundabout way to make it less uncomfortable. For example, you could bring up the questions about another relative: “Do you think Great Aunt Mary will live in her house forever or move to a nursing home?” 

Even if your parents are not nearing old age yet, it is a good idea to talk about these things and keep a record of the answers. They could change over time, but the topic will not be as sensitive when they are healthy. These conversations are hard for everyone as we our compelled to face the inevitability of mortality. Being able to give your parents their wishes (or at least some of them) will help them feel more relaxed throughout the process, which will help you feel more relaxed too. Lastly, you will not be forced to make as many decisions during the difficult transition of aging parents.

Practice communicating

The last tip about having tough conversations is even harder if conversations, in general, are already awkward with your parents. Whether you are a family of few words or you prefer to avoid deep conversations, here are a few tips to get everyone talking freely.

1. Talk over board games.

Playing a board game or watching a TV show together can get everyone in a looser mood. The stakes aren’t as high, and it puts everyone in a better mood. If you choose to watch a show together, keep the lights on so you can look at each other. It’ll also make it clear that conversation is encouraged. For bonus points, pick a show or board game that encourages you to talk about moral or philosophical dilemmas.

2. Remember fond childhood memories together.

Parenthood is stressful, so it can be reassuring to hear that your children grew up happy. It’s also a good way to lighten the mood or fill the awkward silence. Everyone remembers things differently, too, so you might bring up a story that they didn’t remember. 

3. Bring notes

This one is for the people who freeze up the second they are around one of their parents. Perhaps you have a healthy relationship with your mom, but you feel like your dad does not understand you as well. Consider preparing a few questions to ask him ahead of time. He never has to know.

4. Set boundaries

Parents aren’t perfect so they will have their weaknesses. They might have old habits of fighting dirty, or they always say something hurtful when it comes to a certain aspect of your life. Whatever it is, you can set a boundary around it to avoid eroding the relationship. For example, if you always fight about politics, you can set ground rules for how those discussions will go or choose not to talk about them at all.

Be your authentic self

Every parent goes into parenthood with expectations for their children, even if their best intention is to not have any. They might hope you continue the family business or stay connected to their religion. As tempting as it is to be the person your parents want you to be, know you are your own unique person with a specific set of attributes and desires that are your own. When you are thriving and living your best life, your parents will be proud that they played a part in your blossoming. It might take time for them to understand where you are coming from, but healthy parents will support you in your life’s path. 

As surprising as it sounds, taking care of yourself in all facets of your life – including relationships – is an excellent way to be the best daughter ever. Sometimes it’s hard, especially if you feel like your parents do not understand you. But if you are happier, they will be happier too. If you find that it is growing increasingly difficult to find this place of joy, consider making an appointment with a therapist. Talking to a mental health therapist is a safe space where can talk out your feelings and develop strategies that resolve the reasons for your unhappiness. Mental health support can provide insight and clarity that may help a solution seem more possible and tangible and offer additional support until one's circumstances can be improved.

While in-person therapy is beneficial, many people find it difficult to manage appointments, commutes, and the inconvenience of making time for therapy. In these cases, online therapy can be a beneficial alternative to in-person therapy. Online therapy has also been shown in several studies to be not only just as effective as in-person but in some cases more beneficial due to accessibility factors and cost-effectiveness. This is especially true for people who are unable to find mental health support due to limited access to psychotherapy resources, accessibility difficulties because of living in a rural or isolated location, and personal limitations that keep someone from making an appointment due to stigma or feeling embarrassed. 

If you are making life changes that your parents do not understand, open the door to communication with a conversation that explains where you are coming from. You may be unsure how to effectively communicate with them, but talking to a therapist can help. If you are looking for extra support, speak with a licensed online therapist alone. 

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Encouraging your parents to live their best lives will be meaningful for both of you. Even if they may not be able to pursue the dreams of their youth, there are wishes that can be fulfilled an any age. It’s a unique experience for parents to be supported by their children. You most likely know your parents better than most people as you most likely have spent more time around them than anyone else. Trust your instincts on how you can continue to build a relationship with them. You do not always have to try to be the best daughter ever. Sometimes simply being more involved in their life is enough.

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