View Full Version : Desperately seeking a sane solution
10-12-2004, 09:21 PM
Dr. Bradley as of three months ago, my 15 year old daughter decided to rebel against me by leaving what I would consider a loving, stable home to live with her paternal father. Here’s where the real problem begins. Ever since she has left, I have had numerous arguments over her newly found unhealthy habit of smoking. That’s just the beginning. Her father allows her to have as much freedom as she wants. Naturally she would want to live with him at 15 simply because her dad doesn’t have rules to abide by. She stays out late with her friends, she uses profanity like a new found religion and moreover, she has completely lost all respect for me, other family members such as her grandmother, and not to mention her own siblings. Why just today, she called me every name in the profanity book and then some. Words that only her own father used on me so many times especially in front of her. So that there should tell you how upset this situation is to me. She will eventually end up a product of her father’s environment. My husband and I are completely lost in emotion not to mention that even though I have full custody of her, my attorney explained to me that as long as she wishes to reside with her corrupt father there is technically nothing I can do until she uses drugs or starts to drink alcohol. Then I can contact the proper authorities to investigate. Meanwhile, am I just to sit back and watch terrified as she continues to ruin her life that I have giving to her? How can I help my child and moreover, how can I help myself from going completely insane over what I consider to be a catastrophic moment in my life?
10-17-2004, 06:44 PM
This may be the most difficult time you ever have with your girl, and you must use every bit a discipline to play this out well.
In most states, teens are allowed to chose which parent they will live with. And you are correct in noting that many kids will go to lax places where they can do as they please.
So the thing to do is to let her go. Calmly tell her (one time) your concerns, and then say that as a young woman she must decide what is best for her.
You can't stop her from leaving, so the next best thing is to have her leave as therapeutically as possible, meaning that you not allow your anger, fear and hurt to destroy your relationship. If you are correct about Dad, she will come to see this in time, and then will have the best chance of recognizing that she still needs structured parenting from you. If you burn your bridges with her because of your pain, she will have no "retreat" route back to you.
Remember, you are playing not for what she does over the next year, but what she does over a lifetime, for who she will become as an adult. She may need to see the other side of parenting to understand why we have rules. Hopefully, she will not get too hurt in that learning. Even if she does, you want to be in a position to catch her if she falls.
10-20-2004, 09:21 PM
Dear Dr. Mike,
Thank you kindly for such a quick response to my concerned question. I can honestly say, that I pray every night searching for answers to the path I should take with my daughter and that this has been such a challenging year for both my teen and I. I know that she too, must be going though many transformations both mentally and emotionally. I think that what she fails to realize is that as her mom, I only want what is best for her. That sometimes is so difficult to explain to 15 year old who thinks she can take on the world and yet fails to except that fact that she is after all still confounded by adolescence searching
desperately for a way out. I do understand her needs to experience with life’s obstacles, however, how do I get her to understand that? I unlike her, had no-one to talk to growing up, in fact, I was what you would consider a “Latch-key-kid”. So you see, I can relate to what she is going through but how can I get her to sit and listen to me so that I can help her understand that, moreover, without challenging me, my authority, or by causing an argument between the both of us?
10-25-2004, 01:44 PM
I'm afraid you can't have what you want (to make her listen to you) so you have to take the next best thing, which is to do what we discussed before. She will "hear" short, dispassionate statements from you outlining your concerns (even if she rolls her eyes and storms away). Leave those with her to mull over on her own. The more we try to "make" a teen listen, the less they hear.
Again, please set up your discussions with your daughter to allow the best return later, i.e. "Sweetheart, I think that your moving could be a big mistake, but you must decide what is best for you now. Please know that my door is always open no matter what you decide. I love you and want whatever is best for you."
Beyond that, anything you do will only push her more towards the place you don't want her to go.
Good luck, and be well.
10-25-2004, 03:56 PM
My situation is virtually the same as Marci's, except that my daughter only wants to spend weekends with her father. He is in a neighboring town, and he would have no way to get her to school every day during the week. She has no interest in changing schools, and living that far away from her friends. However, she enjoys not having any rules on the weekends (especially no enforced curfew). I contend that if she wants to live here, she has to abide by our rules, seven days a week. She can't just go out on Friday and Saturday night, claim she is "staying with her dad", and be out from under our umbrella of boundaries & rules. She really doesn't end up staying there half the time anyway, she ends up staying out all night where ever. She claims that she doesn't need to check in with us and let us know where she is, who she's with, and where she's staying, because "she's with her dad". She's trying to have the best of both worlds--but I don't think that's fair. I've spoken with her father about enforcing our rules, he says he will but doesn't. He lies to me on her behalf, because he would rather be the friend and confident than the parent. Am I right to insist that if she will be going out on the town in MY town, that she will have to follow the rules of MY house, rather than those (nonexistant) of her father, who is a half hour away? (I might also add that I do have full custody, he doesn't pay child support, and has problems with the law due to alcohol and drug abuse.)
10-26-2004, 12:54 AM
It sounds as if you could use a vacation just like the rest of us! Fathers, for some reason or another, and not in all cases I might add, don't get it because they hopelessly just can't get it when it comes to "Full force parenting". They either give in to quick, or they don’t give anything at all. I know from experience. I grew up without a father. My mother was both my parents and at times I wished I had a father to run to. I think that its hard especially when you are raising a child in this day and age much less in divorce circumstances. Not to my surprise, has any child that I have had the opportunity to talk with ever said it was easy dealing with "Their parents". Yea, that's right! You read me correctly. Kids today, are actually dealing with their parents a lot differently than when we were growing up and guess what? It is just as difficult on them as it is on us. They won’t admit it right up front because they are pretending to hard to be brave especially in front of their friends. But you want to know something Stacey, as Dr. Bradley had mentioned to me in the beginning of my threads, if you allow your child the opportunity to figure out the difference between both you and her father, and your child will come to do so in time, you will be amazed at the results. Read the beginning of my forum again. Let me know if you don't think you fit into the category! Good Luck! Marci
10-26-2004, 01:11 AM
As luck would have it Dr. Bradley she called! I did exactly what you recommended and to my surprise it worked! “WOW” what a relief! She and I finally shared small conversation for about an hour or so and there was no brawling between us. It was more-or-less "Soft spoken words" incorporated into a cool conversation between old friends. Who would have guessed? I felt as if I could finally open up my heart and ears to hear for the first time what it was that my teen was striving to say to me. I tuned in carefully and listened instead of talking. She sympathetically expressed to me that she missed me and that she detested this passed summer because of our relentless arguments. You probably heard this a million times……. The mental and emotional pain that I face each day with the trials and tribulations of raising my kids far more exceed the pain that I experienced during child birth. I felt as though my heart was broken. It was almost like losing a loved one. That is how frighten it felt to me. For the first time Dr. Bradley, I can honestly say that I am in fact a “good mom”! Sure, I had my doubts more times than I’d care to admit, but then what parent or mother for that matter never questioned herself on her ability to raise her children appropriately. I suppose its only natural or at least I hope so, so that I don’t stand to far at a distance from other parents. I am grateful that you wrote a book that I can open and read for advice whenever needed. I am also grateful that my prayers are being answered from above. I prayed for solutions to questions I have about raising my teenager, and your book has provided me the answers that I so desperately searched for. Most of all, I am grateful to you Dr. Bradley for both your time and consideration with respect to my dilemma.
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