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My wife and I have a 27 year old daughter, who graduated from NYU with a degree in Finance and Information Systems, worked for a large corporation for 2 years, then decided to leave, take a massive pay cut, and now works for a large retainer as an associate buyer. She is not making any money, is a very bright child, and she just seems to be wasting away her young years of earning power. She wants to live in New York City, but can't afford to live there. At this age she can't even afford a place of her own. My wife and I seem to have wasted 4 years of tuition money on her, and we just want the best for her. What additional advice can we give her? From a Loving Dad.


Jim Taylor, Ph.D. Replied: I fully appreciate your concern for your daughter's future, especially in these times of economic uncertainty. At the same time, I should point out that she is a grown woman (not a "very bright child" any longer) and it is her right to choose the future that she wants, not the future that you want for her. Clearly, her "earning power" is not a top priority for her. You are imposing your values on her life, which, because she is now an adult, you do not have the right to do. The fact that she isn't doing what you want her to do does not present a problem in my eyes. She may not be making much money at this point, but if her career change was motivated by her desire to follow her passion (for fashion, in this case), I have little doubt that she will become successful in time. In the meantime, assuming she is doing something she loves, you can be sure that she is happy, which is what parents always tell me is the most important thing to them. My advice to you is as follows: 1) if you are supporting her financially, either do so unconditionally or don't do it at all; 2) discuss your concerns with her, but only if you can do so in an open and accepting way that focuses on her values and needs, not your own; and 3) as long as she is happy and healthy, support her life choices and let her live her life as she chooses.
Posted On 2007-06-01 15:48:39
Annie Fox, M. Ed. Replied: Dear Loving Dad, I have no doubt that you love your daughter and want the best for her. But your 27 year old daughter is no longer a "child'. The fact that you describe her as one may be part of the problem here. Even if we don't always agree with the choices our adult children make, we need to acknowledge that these are THEIR choices, not ours. You seem to have a problem with her choice to leave a large corporation and take a pay cut to work elsewhere. Ok, you wouldn't have done that, but she had her reasons and this is her life. If your daughter is asking you for money due to her voluntary salary cut, then you have a right to offer your opinion of her career path. If she's making ends meet, then I'd advise you to resist lecturing her. If she wants to live in NYC and complains that she can't afford it, don't get sucked in. She's an adult. She needs to make her own way. If she can't earn enough money on her own to live in NYC, then she'll figure that out on her own. If you interfere you are depriving her of an opportunity to master her own life. And if you pressure to do something she doesn't want to do she will resent you for it if it doesn't work out. Stay close emotionally but not so close that you don't respect the boundaries between parents and adult children. In other words, try to be neutral about her choices. I hope this helps. In friendship, Annie
Posted On 2007-05-01 21:49:39
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