Thursday, May 24, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Trust feelings about mom to protect daughter

Be protective of daughter by trusting feelings about mom

Q: I grew up with a mother who was profoundly manipulative, volatile and mean-spirited. My siblings and I all have anxiety disorders for which we have sought counseling. I have distanced myself from my mother and have a happy life with my husband and 4-year-old daughter.

I have begun allowing my mother limited contact with daughter out of my mother's desire to have a relationship with her. I am comfortable with where the boundaries currently are, but my mother is not. She continually pushes to have my daughter for weekend visits (she lives several hours away).

I do not believe she would overtly harm my daughter, but she can "fly off the handle" when upset and has very different ideas than I do about what is "acceptable" behavior from a 4-year-old.

My family seems to think I am being unreasonable to hold my mother at such distance. My sister has no personal relationship with her but does allow her to baby-sit her children. Am I wrong not to allow weekend visits, or am I being realistic?

Anxious Mother

A: If this is multiple-choice, then I need more choices. Like this:

"I refuse to leave my daughter with my mother unsupervised because I am (a) wrong; (b) realistic; (c) not out of my therapeutically reconstructed mind."

I'm going with (c).

I can't know what your sister is thinking, and have the sense not to pass under-informed judgment on the way people raise their kids, but I will spend part of today wondering how a parent too toxic for adults can be safe for kids.

You've mulled this yourself, apparently, and come up empty. Trust that. Don't be sucked in by a manipulative family that has damaged your own mental health. If anything, recognize that you're within their gravitational field and take a corrective step back.

Mom's pressuring you? So what. You're a mother too, one who knows the harm "profoundly manipulative, volatile and mean-spirited" people can do. Protect your cub. Be fierce.

Sharing concerns with therapist best advice for stepdaughter

Q: In the Feb. 1 chat ( wapo.st/14D8KhN), you said it's helpful for a teen to talk to someone who "doesn't have an agenda." My 12-year-old stepdaughter has witnessed a lot of violence against her mother while at her mom's house, so her dad has her in counseling with a highly recommended therapist she seems to like.

However, recently my stepdaughter has made comments that she doesn't like some of the things the therapist suggests — that perhaps there are better ways to handle things than violence, and perhaps my stepdaughter does get angry about things.

The therapist appears to be a consummate professional. But now I'm worried my stepdaughter will think her therapist has an agenda or is biased against Mom. Do I try to help her see the therapist is unbiased, or do I just stay out of it? She needs a third party she can trust.

Wondering

A: Please encourage your stepdaughter to express her concerns to the therapist directly. It'll be good practice for her in standing up for herself and setting the agenda for her own care (something she'll have to do with doctors and other caregivers throughout her life). It will also give the therapist, if s/he's a good one, a chance to address these concerns openly, thereby building or affirming mutual trust.

Comments
An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

An all-ages playlist of the summer songs of 2018? It can be done

Recently I was asked to create a playlist for a summer beach party. An opportunity to procrastinate and mess around on Spotify for a few hours? Yeah, totally, when can I start?I like playlists that are diverse, not just in terms of genre (pop, hip-ho...
Published: 05/24/18
9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

9 things to do indoors on this rainy Memorial Day weekend

Itís hard not to think of the Forrest Gump line: "One day it started raining, and it didnít quit for four months." If you are looking for something to do while the current deluge continues, we have some suggestions. There are obvious choices, like ma...
Published: 05/24/18

Tell Me About It: Busy mom wants to check her priorities

Q: As a mother of three young kids holding a full-time job and with a husband who frequently works late evenings and some weekends, I feel my priorities change according to what is in front of me at the time, then Iím reconsidering my choices later.H...
Published: 05/24/18
Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

Top things to do this weekend: Margarita Festival, Rays’ Kiermaier as Star Wars figure, Nintinder

LIME TIME: Tampa Bay Margarita Festival This year, there are twice the bartenders and a new RFID wristband system for less waiting at the two-day Tampa Bay Margarita Festival with a margarita flavor for every taste. Music headliners are the Wallflow...
Published: 05/23/18
Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Top things to do for Memorial Day weekend in Tampa Bay: Concerts, festivals and memorials

Our editors' picks for things to do this weekend.
Published: 05/23/18
John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

John Fogerty, coming to Clearwater, isn’t backing down on protest songs, Parkland and #MeToo

It’s been 50 years since John Fogerty wrote Fortunate Son, one of the most scathing protest songs from the Vietnam War era. Writing another one with that kind of impact has been a challenge ever since. "Back in the ’80s, I had a couple o...
Published: 05/23/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ Art and Short Film Mini-Fest

SHORTS: Art and Short Film Mini-Fest A fundraiser for the [email protected] brings an Art and Short Film Mini-Fest to the studio Thursday, May 24. There will be four short films, an exhibit of artwork by Corinne Leavengood and photography by Diana Lucas Le...
Published: 05/23/18
A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNFís US Festival tribute

A weekend of festivals: Sunset Music Fest, 97X Barbecue, WMNFís US Festival tribute

THE BEATS GO ON: Sunset Music FestivalAt last yearís Sunset Music Festival, the focus was all on crowd safety. After two fans died from drug overdoses at Tampaís largest annual rave in 2016, organizers heightened security across the board, yielding a...
Published: 05/23/18
5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

5 things to do under $5: Sand mandala construction, Blast Friday, get outdoors at Bass Pros Shops

1 Tibetan Monksí Mandala: As part of a Sacred Art Tour, eight Dalai Lama-sanctioned monks from India will be at the Florida CraftArt Galleries for a week to create a sand mandala of the Green Tara, a female representation of the Buddha of Compassion....
Published: 05/23/18

Tell Me About It: Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepper

Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepper"target="_blank">Mother-in-law is a habitual line stepperQ: My son and his family recently moved back to our area. I feel Iíve missed so many milestones, though I did make the effort to visit them every month ...
Published: 05/23/18