Saturday, February 17, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Time to get things right with daughter

You were right about boyfriend, now get right with daughter

Q: Quick background: I wrote to you before about my daughter's on-again/off-again relationship with her boyfriend whom we didn't like, and you wisely advised us that it was none of our business unless abuse or drug use or something was involved.

We stepped down on the situation and they finally broke up for good.

About a year later, I discovered he had a serious drug addiction and that was leading to all of their ups and downs. So, it turns out that our instincts were correct when we thought he was not good for her.

Fast-forward to now. She still hasn't looked for a relationship with anyone else and she doesn't trust her instincts, even though it's been almost two years since the breakup. That is her business, but her resentment toward us is ongoing. She still is angry at the way we wouldn't accept him.

We feel there are very few people who would be in favor of such a relationship and we stand by our opinion that the relationship was bad for her. She says if we truly loved her and accepted her, we would accept her choices. We say, as parents, we can't help but be protective of our child, even one who is a young adult.

How can we all get past this disaster of a relationship and the cracked pieces of our relationship with her?

We Were Right About the Boyfriend

A: Being right is an addictive substance of its own.

With this guy, you called it, yes — good eye. But, the ex-boyfriend's failings and what your daughter is upset about are two different things. When she says, "You should have accepted my choices," your "But we were right!" response is an emotional non sequitur. She isn't talking about the guy, she's talking about herself, and you keep coming back with responses about the guy.

Accordingly, if you want this impasse behind you, then you'll need to stop defaulting to your rightness about the ex-boyfriend, and admit you were wrong about your daughter.

What she's asking you to provide, rightly, is acceptance that her choices are hers to make.

What you owe her, given her current distrust of her instincts, is reinforcement that she doesn't need Mommy and Daddy to step in if one of those choices goes bad. As she proved with this guy, she's capable of figuring things out for herself.

She did, after all, realize "the relationship was bad for her" — not only that, but she also got out of it, which is harder than it looks. So many of these breakups don't stick, and the Unsuitable One is an unwelcome dish at your every holiday meal.

Yes, the path she took to enlightenment on this guy was a lot longer than yours, but isn't that usually the case for the people closest to a situation, most intimately involved? Your being right about the boyfriend was largely a victory of emotional distance; what you need now is a victory of intimacy and humility, by admitting to your daughter how very right she has been to stick up for herself — with the ex-boyfriend and now with you.

Comments

Tell Me About It: Vacation opens dialogue about money

Vacation opens dialogue about moneyQ: My girlfriend and I just went on our first vacation together. I thought it went well, but after we were home she told me she felt I had been cheap because I wanted to split all costs 50-50.I think cheap would be ...
Published: 02/16/18
Dance Moms star Chloe Lukasiak to appear at Florida State Fair on Saturday

Dance Moms star Chloe Lukasiak to appear at Florida State Fair on Saturday

TAMPA — Chloe Lukasiak will take on a different role than she is accustomed when she stops by the Florida State Fair this weekend.After all, the 16-year-old Pennsylvania-native and resident rose to fame on Seasons 1 through 4 of Lifetime’s reality te...
Published: 02/15/18

Tell Me About It: Past eating disorder affects food choices

Q: My wife refuses to change her diet and grocery shopping to accommodate my health needs and those of our kids. Everything she gets is processed grains and sugar. My doctor recently recommended losing weight, and exercise won’t cut it. But because s...
Published: 02/15/18
Top things to do this weekend: Florida State Fair, Mutt Derby at Derby Lane

Top things to do this weekend: Florida State Fair, Mutt Derby at Derby Lane

GO, DOG, GO: Mutt DerbyOne of the most hilarious days at the races is Sunday, when ordinary house pets get a chance to run on the Derby Lane greyhound track. Mutt Derby registration begins at 11 a.m., but you can register in advance at greyhoundpets...
Published: 02/14/18
This week’s best concerts: Mary J. Blige, Kelsea Ballerini, Wyclef Jean and more

This week’s best concerts: Mary J. Blige, Kelsea Ballerini, Wyclef Jean and more

LEGEND IN THE MAKING: Kelsea BalleriniComing off a debut with three No. 1 singles — Love Me Like You Mean It, Dibs and Peter Pan — it’s no surprise Kelsea Ballerini was feeling the pressure before dropping her sophomore album Unapologetically last fa...
Published: 02/14/18
5 things to do under $5: Apple's Steve Wozniak, mini golf in the library, Clearwater street parties

5 things to do under $5: Apple's Steve Wozniak, mini golf in the library, Clearwater street parties

1 Steve Wozniak: The Apple co-founder, above, will give a free talk on Tuesday, Feb. 20 as part of USF Muma College of Business’ new Thought Leader series. The college’s dean will conduct a discussion about everything from the need for en...
Published: 02/14/18

Tell Me About It: Girlfriend’s directness often comes off rude

My brother is getting married soon. My serious, but fairly new, girlfriend thinks she’s not been invited because we’re lesbians, but actually I’ve hidden the invite because I don’t want to take her.Thing is, I adore almost everything about her! She’s...
Published: 02/14/18
Why ‘Black Panther’ is revolutionary — and an excellent movie

Why ‘Black Panther’ is revolutionary — and an excellent movie

Like its real-life radical namesakes, Black Panther is revolutionary and Afrocentric, a black cultural fantasy made real in a medium taking too long. Children of any color except white haven’t seen blockbuster movie superheroes that look like them.No...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18
‘Early Man’ is a throwback in both story and Aardman Studios claymation style

‘Early Man’ is a throwback in both story and Aardman Studios claymation style

Nick Park’s stop-motion clay animation made famous with Wallace & Gromit seems prehistoric in a digital age. That makes it perfectly suited for Early Man, a throwback in both story and Aardman Studios style. Early Man is Park’s first...
Published: 02/13/18

Tell Me About It: Couple should talk rather than assume

Q: My wife has been a freelance consultant whose work has dried up. I have a good-paying job and I figured with her work having dried up, she’d take care of the house, bills, paperwork, etc., with her time. Instead, I don’t know what she does, but th...
Published: 02/13/18