My 15-year-old daughter has seven responses to anything I ask: It’s fine; It doesn’t matter; Never mind; Whatever; I don’t know; I don’t care; and I know. Most of which are accompanied by an audible huff and an eye roll.
If I remind her that we are having dinner with her cousins in three days, she’ll respond huffily with I know; but if I don’t tell her in advance, then on the day of she’ll be furious because she forgot and made other plans that I insist she cancel.
We’re just the two of us; her mother passed away at the beginning of COVID. It’s been a hellish nightmare for us both, but we have mainly weathered the storm and come out the other side. Except that now I have a full-fledged teenager on my hands.
I try to give her a lot of slack because of everything she has gone through, but I don’t like the disrespect and rudeness. What is a dad to do in this situation?
I’m so sorry for your loss. That must have been such a difficult time for you and your daughter. I assume you went through grief counselling – if you didn’t, you may want to. It’s never too late. And both you and your daughter would benefit from therapy. You may also want to find a professional who helps families together. You only have each other, so you need to learn to lean on each other, while she’s at the stage of her life where she is naturally pulling away and seeking independence.
Logistically, a shared calendar would help. Upload anything that pertains to her as well. From doctor’s appointments, dinner plans to extracurricular activities for you both. She needs to know when you have activities or appointments where you won’t be available.
Finally, you need to remember that you’re the adult and the parent and she has no right to be rude and disrespectful to you or anyone. You appreciate what she’s suffered, but you won’t tolerate being ill-treated. And if it doesn’t subside (don’t expect it to disappear because she is, after all, a teenager and they are known for their surliness), consequences will occur.
I’m 22 and live at home with my mother. She was sick during my last two years of high school so I opted to stay home for university. Thankfully, she got better over the course of my first two years at university.
She’s now dating a new man. I’m happy for her that she’s healthy and has the chance to live more of her life. But I don’t like this guy. I don’t like the way he looks at me, treats my mom, or acts when he’s in our house.
I’m afraid to say anything to her because I don’t want her to think I’m trying to ruin her happiness. But I don’t think this guy is a good guy.
Any thoughts on how to handle this?
Find someone you trust who knows you and knows that you only have your mother’s best interests at heart. Invite them over for dinner one night when your mom’s man is present. In other words, get a second opinion.
I’m not saying your judgment is off, but you could be biased based on what you two have just been through. You could be overprotective. If this person sees what you see, then you’re going to have to talk to your mother. Think about whether or not you could bring this same person in to the discussion for validation, without your mom feeling as though you’re ganging up on her.
She may need to hear it from someone other than you.
FEEDBACK Regarding the dating hockey mom (March 27):
Reader #1 – “That guy is dreaming that his eight-year-old is going somewhere! It would be great if he was able to separate his hopes for his child, from his relationship with this woman. Since he clearly can’t, perhaps they could remain hockey parent friends.
“It’s definitely a reflection on him and not her. She liked him, but wasn’t interested in the competition. My second marriage has been successful for over 35 years. What originally brought us together was friendship, camaraderie, and a similarity in our outlook on life and our beliefs.”
Reader #2 – “I think the hockey Mum was looking for a gracious way to avoid having more coffee with the assertive hockey Dad, clearly but tactfully, and without making waves of awkwardness.
“I enjoy your column, read it every day.”
Lisi – I think you’re right – and thank you for your continued readership!