Dear Coleen

I’m a woman in my early 70s and my husband and I have three daughters who all have children of their own.

I’m in contact with two of my -daughters all the time and have very close relationships with their children. I love being a grandmother and it’s brought such joy into my life.

However, my eldest daughter is very cut off from the family and I don’t know what to do about it.

She never gets in touch with us, unless we call her or send her a message and, even then, we have to nag her to reply. It often gets to the point where I’m -genuinely worried about her welfare because she takes so long to respond.

She has two young sons, who I barely know at all, which makes me sad and I wish I had the same -relationship with them as I do with my other grandkids.

My eldest daughter has always been independent and goes her own way – she left home as soon as she could, spent quite a lot of time travelling and her jobs have taken her all over the place. I respect her independence, but I’m starting to worry our relationship is fading. What would you do?

Coleen says

I think the way to look at it is that you have a different kind of relationship with her than you do with your other two daughters, who are much more involved. Our kids are all individuals and have different personalities, so of course we’re going to have different relationships with them – it’s certainly true of me and my three.

And, I have to admit, I’m like your eldest daughter in that I’m not in touch as much with my sisters and brothers who all live near each other and get together all the time.

However, I love them as much as they love each other and I’m sure they feel the same way about me. ?

If you know that she’s happy in her marriage and getting on with life, that’s the most important thing.

Yes, it probably hurts a bit that she doesn’t need you as much as the other two, but how marvellous that you’ve brought up such a confident and -independent woman.

Of course it won’t hurt to tell her how you’re feeling, something along the lines of “I know you’re very -independent and don’t need me as much as the others, but I’m always here. I’d love to speak to you more, but I also understand you’re busy”.

Be careful not to let this grow into something it doesn’t need to be.

Also, you might find that the -situation changes and at some point she will want to be more involved.

I remember when my son Jake’s band took off and I didn’t see him for about 18 months because he was touring all over the world. Now, he’s back living with me in Cheshire and it’s like he was never away.