I’m a girl, 16, in high school, asking how to tell my mother she’s behaving like an idiot. All my close friends agree, because she’s making a fool of herself and ruining my life. At school, random kids now gossip about us. Even my history teacher asked if there’s anything I want to talk to her about!
No way could I tell her that my mother’s having sex with my best friend’s father!! We can hardly talk now because we hate this so much!
My dad’s also an idiot who left us five years ago. I knew that my mom sometimes had dinner with my friend’s dad after his wife died a couple of years ago. Practically the whole school went to the funeral!
My mother says we’re all moving to a new place to start fresh. I just walked out and slammed the door after telling her that she’s ruined my life!!
Do you have advice for something this stupid?
Hate My Mom
You surely needed to vent strong feelings about all this! High school’s already a complicated time but your mother’s new relationship has drawn everyone’s attention.
That’ll change. What’s happened is pretty normal: A woman passed away, her husband was on his own with a daughter, a female friend comforted him. All still normal. Now, they’re planning to help each other by giving their daughters a family home. That, too can become normal.
It all feels awkward because it’s new. But it’s not happening without your having a chance to adapt and discover what you need in this new situation.
Things will feel a lot better if you and your friend ignore school gossip and recognize the benefits of living together as besties. Give it time.
We gained sole custody of a school-aged grandchild, who has always resided with us. We did this when we found she was in danger.
What should we tell new friends when they assume that we are just a babysitter?
Usually we state that she lives with us. We also need to find the right words to explain to the child our legal status as her custodial parents soon.
The remaining parent has visitation rights and is dishonest when speaking about our status to others.
We want to be honest and brief.
Time for Honesty
You must’ve gained sole custody through the court system after presenting good reasons related to the danger to which your grandchild faced. And the law agreed with you.
With the truth as your goal, you only have to say that she’s now legally in your custody. You can be proud of that fact. She’s lucky to have your protective care and guidance.
Since you don’t mention her age, I can only suggest that the “right words” to explain her legal status to her should be about love and security in your home.
If she’s too young to fully understand, or if she’s sad and upset about not living with the remaining parent, you might seek a social work counsellor’s advice, which may also be offered through the court system.
The child’s parent is likely trying to save face over losing custody. Since this person has visitation rights, you want to have as little tension as possible when the parent is present. Stay amicable if possible. Ignore what is told to others. Keep the girl aware of the truth and as comfortable as possible with it, without making an issue of it to her.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who feels “Stifled” by her husband (Oct.11):
Reader – “It’s obvious that while Stifled wants to be “'heard,” her husband is trying to “fix” her problems, her wrong thinking and her misguided actions.
“I know how frustrating and communication-blocking this can be. But the husband must also be frustrated that his “well-meant” suggestions (criticisms) aren't immediately accepted. So, they’re both feeling disrespected/unappreciated.
“They could both benefit from John Gray’s book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (1992).
“Meanwhile, her husband can learn to respectfully respond to her:
- Listen, understand, ask clarification questions only.
- Then, respectfully validate her feelings, provide encouragement and support, show appreciation for her confidences and insights.
- Initiate joint problem-solving. Don't just give your “solution.” Repeat what seems to resonate with both of you.
- Whenever his wife seems satisfied with an insight or result, he should back off.”
Tip of the day:
When partners planning to cohabitate each have their own child, conversations/preparations between each unit, and the whole group are crucial.