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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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My 22 daughter has always had a bad relationship with me. She

Resolved Question:

My 22 daughter has always had a bad relationship with me.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

Can you tell me more about your relationship with your daughter? You wrote that she has "always" had a bad relationship with you....do you know why? What have you done to make the relationship better? What happened during counseling? Did it make any difference?

Dr. L :

I see you are offline right now. When you come online, I will be notified.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

Customer:

Hi, The councelor told me that because I have always given her every thing she wants she sees herself higher on the ladder than me and doesn't feel she owes me any respect. This is how it's been for her since she graduated from high school. She moves out from home and goes to college for a year. Her boyfriend goes on a Mormon mission. She is not Morman but is determined to stay with him. After about 6 months she decides she wants to move to Arizona for a change. My sister lives there so she moves in with her. 5 months goes by and she decides to move back to Utah. She is still unhappy. I find out in Arizona she has been smoking and partying. She continues to party and smoke when she returns to Utah. One night at 3 in the morning we get a call from a medic that an ambulance took her to the hospital. She was in the parking lot in a panic because she said she smoked some bad weed. She didn't want us to know about it. The medic found our phone # XXXXX her cell phone. Months go by and she decides to join the Mormon church because her boyfriend won't marry her if she isn't Mormon. He gets back from his mission and 2 months later she decides to break up with him. She is now dating another guy who is very nice but she still seems not happy. April 18th was her birthday. She wanted me to pay for a room at a hotel in Park City. I made the mistake of telling her that she didn't do anything for my 50th birthday and it really hurt my feelings. I know I shouldn't have done that. We began to agrue and so I thought it's ridiculous to pay $300 for a hotel room for her and her friends. Instead I sent her some flowers. Also my husband paid $500 for a plane ticket for her to go with her boyfriend to Florida. When I told her that she said I didn't even like the flowers and I am putting a $500 check in the mail to dad. I think what I have done her whole life is try to buy her love. Arlene

Dr. L :

Hello Arlene,

Dr. L :

I am so sorry that your daughter is treating you so badly.

Dr. L :

To start, you are not responsible for your daughter's behavior...whether that is good choices are bad. These choices are up to her and she needs to be responsible for herself rather than blaming you. At 22 years of age, she is young adult and she needs to start taking responsibility for her own life. Blaming you is not going to get her anywhere. If she choices to smoke and party and end up in the hospital....well then that is her choice as she is free to have made a different choice. Please don't get caught up thinking you are at fault..that you ruined her...that you are to blame for life not being as pretty or happy or successful as she wants. That is not on you...that is on her.

Dr. L :

And yes...we often do get into that place of buying love...thinking that "making" our child happy is the solution to everything. Truly...none of us wants to see our child unhappy...it hurts to see them sad, crying, in pain. But we cannot protect them from life...and sometimes life is harsh. Our job of parents is to PREPARE our child for life...not protect them.

Dr. L :

If you believe that you did attempt to buy her love...well now is the time to change that thinking and to come to see that there is a different way to parent. It will do you no good to see yourself as having made a bad mother for having parented in that way...it will be far more important for you to decide to have an adult to adult relationship with her. That means treating her like an adult and not being manipulated by her attempts to get what she wants from you. Obviously, that strategy has worked in the past and you have been all too ready to give her what she wants. Enough of that.

Dr. L :

I would like you to take a look at the following website www.loveandlogic.com

Dr. L :

This parenting strategy stops kids from taking advantage of or manipulating their parents. This is what has been happening with your daughter...and now it must stop.

Dr. L :

As I said...she is a 22 year old young adult. If she wants to rent a hotel room to throw a party...then she will have to figure out how to pay for that. Asking mom and dad to foot the bill is ridiculous. If she wants to smoke pot and get sick....again...that's her choice and she will have to suffer the consequences.

Dr. L :

My point here is that it is time to let life be the teacher. By that I mean...let the consequences of life show her and teach her how to make better choices.

Dr. L :

On your part...it is important that you get yourself out of feeling responsible for her. You aren't. You did your job as parent. She has chosen to be on her own...let her find her way. Sure...she's stumbling and things aren't as rosy as she wants...then let these situations teach her...

Dr. L :

She didn't like the flowers. Oh well. You did your part by sending them. She wants to give Dad back the $500. Fine. That's her choice. Let it end there. Don't feel bad about these things. Don

Dr. L :

t feel that you were wrong in saying No to the hotel. Sure..it wasn't so good that you threw that statement at her about her ignoring your birthday...but ... hey... you are human and you made a mistake. You can apologize for that.

Dr. L :

What you need to do is to take care of you. If you think that some counseling might benefit you to help you take a look at why you indulged her...fine. And at some point it might be helpful to understand why you felt compelled to buy her love. But...for now...it would be important for you to set some boundaries that keep you from getting beat-up by her attitude and behavior.

Dr. L :

Stop the manipulation. Tell her that you love her but that it's not okay to: XXXXX XXXXX will take care of every whim she has, support behaviors you don't approve of (smoking weed and so forth), allow you to talk or treat you disrespectfully. The Love and Logic material will help you better understand this.

Dr. L :

As she is now an adult...she is responsible for her behavior. And that includes treating her parents with respect.

Dr. L :

I await your response.

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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