Helping my daughter with..?

This could be a call out to all dads with daughters as it’s got me stumped.
So, she turns 18 next month, so she will be officially a adult. But she in art college on her last year! Been asking her about her dreams, passion and goals for the future. She has no NI number, no ID or bank or her own funds to her name! I’m a trained life coach, and I help clients with this problem of “purpose” but with my daughter, I get a shrug of the shoulders and then changes subject (she lives with her mum, not me). Her anxiety took a hit with all the stupid lockdowns, just trying to get her on the “grid”

Thanks for and ideas🙏

Having been a daughter with no life plans at 18 it might just be worth “being there” for her while she tests possible paths. She will try things and some will be for her and some won’t. But the joy in trying them all out is wonderful.

Maybe you can talk to her about setting up a bank account and stuff just so that she’s ready if a cool job opportunity crops up.


Why? That should have automatically been sent at 16

As a mum with an almost 18 year old, it’s tough. Lockdown messed up A levels due to the anxiety, so switched to a btec in game design. They do the degree in it at the local college as well so at least there’s a direction in place for the next few years.


Not sure how this is possible? If she has a birth certificate she’ll have an NI number at 16.

The forgot to send me mine so I had to fill in a form to get it

She’s got to 18 and never bought anything herself or worked?

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As others have said she’s got an NI number, is highly likely she got the letter with the number on and thought meh whatever. Its made its way into the bin. HMRC can resend it if she contacts them, they’ll either do it over the phone, where she has to answer questions to get access to it. Or if she can’t answer the questions correctly, there’s a form that would need to be completed.

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I’m not a dad but as a starter I’d chase up the NI number which she will have for sure, get her to at least get a provisional driving licence and a bank account.

I am sort of impressed she got to 18 without a bank! I had one at like 10!

Btw do they still issue NI physical cards? I still have mine with Inland Revenue on it…


No it’s just a letter these days

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I still have mine somewhere, though it does have an awful colour scheme and has snapped in half horizontally at some point over the years. Can’t remember the last time I had to get it out, these days if I need to find my number I just look up an electronic payslip.

I remember being pretty directionless at 18 as well, and being told you have to make all these really important, really big, life decisions was practically paralyzing. So maybe try and see what hobbies or things you can explore with no pressure as a starting point.

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Thanks for all your help guys! Being the bank of dad (but doesn’t live with me) I have decided to take the reins and help her. I remember getting a NI card but apparently she’s received nothing, unless her mum has one!
She’s obviously had paper rounds and other odd jobs, but is focusing on her art work. I suggested we’re down 5 different careers that interests her, then research how to get there step by step.

I know you’re trying to help, but I wouldn’t set a focus on a career at this stage.

What I did at 18/wanted to do/do now are poles apart.


I was lost as a teenager and lurched between college, the job centre, unemployment, but through good fortune I found my way into a passion and career and now, in my 30s, I am happy with my life. That said, if you’d asked me at 18… or 21… or 25… what I’d be doing in my 30s, I wouldn’t have been able to say with any confidence, despite the fact that the thing I was doing in my 20s is what I’m doing in my 30s.

I think what I’m trying to say is that for some people, goals and ambition and careers aren’t the right model for their life. From the outside, I have a great career that I’ve built over the last decade, but I don’t think of it as a career nor do I think of life as a series of steps towards something greater… I just wake up each day and do whatever makes me happy. If, tomorrow, I wake up and realise I don’t want to do what I did yesterday, I’ll just do something else: from the outside that might look like starting over, but that isn’t how it would feel to me.

I’m not a parent so I can’t relate to the need to help a child, but I can relate to the need to help the people in my life. I think there’s a rational-but-unhelpful need for our help to be tangible in some way, we bias towards things (like obtaining a national insurance number, or submitting a job application) rather than feelings (encouragement, kindness, empathy) because it’s easy to measure progress through tangibles and difficult to measure progress through feelings.

So I’d say, despite it perhaps feeling futile and difficult to measure, you might find greater success with a focus on emotional support and set aside tangibles like a national insurance number, or a career plan. If she’s spending her days miserable and struggling with anxiety, then certainly you might need to intervene (caveat: I’d argue the intervention there is more emotional support) but if she’s happy (even if happiness to her is doing nothing for a bit) then so be it.

As an aside, I wouldn’t say I resent my parents for demanding I “do something” with my life (which manifested itself as being forced to go to college) but I don’t have a relationship with them today and part of that is because there were years of constant anger and frustration and upset which often revolved around me getting kicked out of college etc. I can’t even begin to imagine how I’d have turned out if the pandemic had happened during my formative years, I hope young people get a great deal of time and support to process it.