marge's picture
marge

When Mom and Dad Disapprove

I really need your advise.  We have a daughter who is 20 in college and living at home with us.  She didn't date in high school, and only went on 2 other dates before she started dating her current boyfriend (21 yrs. old), which she has been dating for 8 months.  Our daughter had a wonderful spirit and personality but recently we have noticed a lot of changes in her.  My husband and I have witnessed awful anger and disrespect from this young man.  Everytime we try to comfront our daughter about him, she gets very angry and defensive and we get into a shouting match and nothing get resolved.  We do not feel comfortable about this young man, and feel he is a bad influence for our daughter.  We have two other children older then her and they are in agreement with us, yet we cannot seem to convince her he is not right for her.  We have asked he not come to our home anymore because the strain and stress it has put on our family. This recent request has cause more anger with our daughter and her boyfriend.There is so much stress on our home that no one talks in the evening, and she comes home and goes straight to her room, and any mention of his name makes her get very definsive. Has anyone been in this situation? and does anyone have any advise for us.  How can I reason with my daughter and get her to see her father and I only want what is best for her?  Please help us.



BobMeadows's picture
BobMeadows

Marge,

I am a dad and I feel for your situation. I offer these comments with humility and a generous spirit.

 

At 21, I married a 17yr old my dad said was a "damn hippie", and at our wedding my mother cried about this not being what I wanted. They were wrong. Two kids and 37 years later, we are still in love. That story is true, but with many others, things go bad and kids alternate weekends, or worse. There are no guarantees.

 

Don’t confuse volume with logic, or logic with emotions. You should never raise your voice against your daughter or criticize her choices under the circumstances. What circumstances? You said your daughter did not date in high school. She has found someone who fills that void, and it was a void. This is a very, very strong pull on both her logic and emotion meters. Your negative comments are not received as just parental meddling, but as a prelude to returning to that void. Consider that a starving man will eat spoiled meat, even if you tell him it is bad for him. You might look to what can improve your daughter’s confidence and marketability. I know this sounds harsh, but not knowing much about her, or your family, I can only generalize… harshly.

The reason a beaten dog often stays with its master is the alternative. Nothing is as bad as being alone… nothing! Screaming with parents, arguing with older sisters, being abused by the boyfriend all pale when juxtaposed against the void of aloneness. You might say, “She is not alone, she has her family and friends!” It’s just not the same: family and friend affection, inclusion, and desire… not the same!

 

I understand I could be completely wrong about this. But, in the event I hit a nerve, keep reading. Is your daughter attractive? I know, all children are beautiful to parents, but not to the opposite sex. This is not a sexist question; attraction is based on perception and presentation. How does she present herself? Is she overweight, teeth not straight, pimple city, skinny, short, tall, laughs like a donkey, has chronic bad breath, dumb, strange hair, nose rings, odd odor, too much makeup, too little, and lots more….? If she has a problem, help her fix it and she will gain confidence. Also, if she has a deficiency and you are one of those who say, “Just make do with what God gave you!” consider this: how’s that working for her so far? If your God gave you bad teeth, he also gave you a brain to help figure out how to fix them. They came up with that phrase about birds of a feather for a reason. There are lots of birds out there, and a better her may just find a better bird to build a nest with.

 

On the other hand, let’s say she is a beauty queen; now you have a different problem. This one would be pretty much lack of confidence and/or experience. You don’t really have any options here beyond simply being there and enforcing the rules in you home, which you should do anyway... Remember, when you are ragging on her boyfriend, she sees you ragging on her decision more than just him, and even if she eventually dumps this guy, her memory of you will be negative rather than, “Oh Mom and Dad were right.”

 

Unless you plan a physical intervention, you should drop the confrontations. They are apparently making things worse because communication is cut off. By the way, when you use the phrase, “we just want what is best for you.” she sees you making decisions for her and thinks you believe she is not capable or smart enough to make them for herself. You may be right, but remember perception is a big part of reality.

 

The simple truth is, we learn best from our mistakes and failures; hopefully if this is a mistake she will learn something about herself. What will she learn about you; that you were unsupportive of her and dumped on all her decisions? Or, that you did not agree, but were there for her? It’s like I told my son when he took a disrespectful tone, “You may normally be right, but, you are never right in that tone of voice!” The same applies to parents: you always lose when you approach trumps you point.

 

In the end you may have no alternatives, and will have to ride out the tide and be there if she crashes. After all, she is an adult.

 

DaMoKi Bob

susanc's picture
susanc

This was my story 17 years ago. I  went ahead and married a man that my parents did not approve of.There were all kinds of "signs" that I just did not see.With two young daughters, we escaped that marriage...alive.If you suspect any pysical or verbal abuse, please show your daughter this message. The verbal and pysical abuse does not get better,ovet time it worsens.I regret not listening to my family and friends.I would rather be alone for the rest of my life, than married to that man.In the years that have followed, I did re-marry, my husband is the "father" of my girls, and things are good.Your letter really hit home for me,please encourage your daughter to really take a look at this man.Ask your daughter, how does he treat his mother, his family?Is he disrespectful?If she marries him,is this the kind of dad she wants for her  children?If she can see any 'warning signs"now, It will only get worse in the future.