My 14-year-old daughter and I have been fighting for days over her not being allowed to go to her friend’s house. She’s even screamed “I Hate You” at me and it broke my heart.
I ran to the bathroom to cry without her seeing how hurt I am.
I feel like I’m failing as a mother.
She says her girlfriends social distance when they get together. But I saw two of them walking in the neighbourhood and they were talking closely, without masks.
Also, though I told her that she couldn’t date until age 16, she claims she already has a boyfriend. She says I’m mean because I don’t trust her.
Do I have to stop protecting her for her to love me again?
You need an imagined shield for your heart so you can frame in your mind what’s really going on, without this battle of emotions.
She’s the child - bored, restless, not mature enough to fully understand and accept why the pandemic has intruded onto her daily wants.
You’re the adult who must show leadership and resolve in protecting your family. It’s not always easy.
But parents have risen to such challenges throughout history, keeping their children safe by every means possible, during other pandemics, disasters and wars.
Consider your daughter’s fragile, easily-aroused emotional outlook: At 14, the world she expected to take part in, would’ve included freedom to be with girlfriends without constant supervision.
It would’ve come naturally, walking home from school together, having a birthday sleepover with a few friends (and parents staying in their own room).
Now, nothing like that is possible when not only social distancing is required, but also separate bubbles of home life that disallows an outsider into your house or that of her friends.
She needs your understanding, not your tears and certainly not your sense of failure. Your work as a mother doesn’t stop because of her frustration.
Tell her you’re sorry about some of the ways the pandemic’s restrictions are affecting her. But you’re grateful for the ways to keep her safe from a terrible virus which has been found to affect young people and children, too.
Tell her you love her and will work with her to find distractions from the negatives - e.g. focus on a strong interest of hers such as dance, gym, singing lessons, online.
Tell her the way for current rules to relax is for everyone to observe them until they can be eased to a next phase.
Say that you’ll discuss together, when distancing eases, what having a “boyfriend” at her age involves regarding trust.
But also tell her that you cannot accept her screaming abuse at you. Period.
If she keeps it up, there must be a consequence that matters to her - like taking away her cell phone for several days.
You’re her mother, not a door mat to stomp on verbally.
The goal for both of you is the same for all of us in the pandemic… that we all can finally say, This too shall pass.
FEEDBACK Regarding the couple questioning having a second child during a pandemic (June 10):
Reader #1 – “There’s no greater gift parents can give Child #1 than a Child #2.
“Don’t wait too long, so they can be buddies.
“I’m very grateful my parents decided to continue building their family despite the huge uncertainties of living under occupation in WW2.
“I couldn’t imagine life without my brothers.”
Reader #2 – “Although some would disagree, it’s the pits being an only child. All the hopes and plans for the future are centered on this one child. It seems everybody else has at least one sibling to share life with.
“They may not always get along, but as we get older even one sibling can be so precious.
“We all lose parents one day but what a treasure to have someone else who understands our upbringing and life experiences.
“Despite friends, there’s nothing like a brother or sister to confide in, or a sister to look after the kids when you’re sick, or a brother who knows how to fix your car or give you advice.
“To have just one child is so unfair to the child you have. I believe that in time they’d regret their decision to have one child as will their child they now have.”
Tip of the day:
Wishing all a Happy Canada Day, with distancing and protections to assure a safe, healthy aftermath of celebrations.