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IAdvocate4U
IAdvocate4U, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 0
Experience:  Masters in MFT. School Psychologist credential and School Counseling credential.
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My 19 year old was given a citation for Minor in possession

Customer Question

My 19 year old was given a citation for Minor in possession of alcohol. She's a good student, has good friends, etc. but did something stupid and unthoughtful. I know she needs to deal with this herself as an adult, and pay the natural and logical consequences. I can't stop being mad at her, disappointed with her, wondering how this will affect her future. How do I deal with this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.

DrFee :

Hello! Please remember that my responses are informational only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.

DrFee :

I can understand that you would be angry and disappointed.

DrFee :

How long has it been since you've found out?

JACUSTOMER-ueio8yi5- :

Just this morning

DrFee :

OK, so please consider the fact that you haven't had much time to process what you've found out, so of course your emotions are going to be high right now.

DrFee :

Are you her Dad or Mom? Usually it's harder for Dads. ;)

DrFee :

Also, it might be difficult to think about this right now, but her behavior is normal --many 19 and 20 year olds to try alcohol. That is not an excuse, however, for most, it does not affect their fture in a negative way. And, it might be better, actually, that she was caught.

DrFee :

future

DrFee :

Given that she was caught, it might curtail that behavior in the future.

DrFee :

The best thing you can do right now is give yourself some time to calm down.

DrFee :

Would you like to interact a bit? Comment more on how you feel? Ask another question?

DrFee :

I see that you went offline. I am happy to interact with you further, until you have a satisfactory answer. There's no one "right" answer to how to address this issue in families, given that every family is different with different dynamics. I hope that you will return and comment on what I've said so far. Take care.

JACUSTOMER-ueio8yi5- :

It took me a while to find you answer. I agree that it is a good thing she was caught now. Perhaps it will eliminate this behavior in the future. How much support do I, as her mother give her? She will have her license revoked which means transportation will be an issue. I feel she must be inconvenienced financially and other ways, but I want to step in and support her too.

DrFee :

Oh, I am sorry about that! I agree that it's good for her to be inconvenienced, and it's also good for you to support her as well. I think that in finding the answer to your question you must consider both what she needs to function (i.e. getting to school and/or work) and what you are both able and not able to provide. For example, it might fit into your schedule to drop her off at school for her 9 AM class, but it would be a hardship, difficulty or even inconvenience for you to pick her up at 2 PM, so she has to take the bus home at that time. Does that make sense?

DrFee :

So, my suggestion is that you take a close look at her schedule, your schedule and first be very clear in your own mind what you are both willing and not willing to provide for her. After you are clear in your own mind (and this may involve other people in your family as well --husband, sibling, etc) then you need to communicate very clearly to her what you will and won't do. "I can drop you off at school on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays you will need to (walk, take the bus).

DrFee :

This will involve some honesty with yourself (to not over-commit yourself if that's an issue).

DrFee :

I don't think making her take the bus (if that's an option) all of the time is necessary for everyone to get the point --relying on others for a ride is a hardship for most of us. But my other point would be that you know her best, and so think about that when making your decisions.

DrFee :

Please follow up again if what I've said does not address your concerns completely enough. If it helps to give specific examples of what you're thinking about, please do so!

Customer :

Thank you. I want to be there for my daughter-although sometimes I'm so mad at her I don't even want to speak to her. She needs support now as she is very distraught and hating herself. My problem is that I don't know how to support her, yet let her endure the natural, logical consequences that she obviously needs to learn from. For example, her license will likely be revoked and she will need to figure out transportation. When she's home from school, do we chauffeur her or should she have to arrange her own transportation.

Expert:  IAdvocate4U replied 2 years ago.
Hello! My name is Janet and I work as a School Psychologist. You obviously love your daughter very much. Seeing her make this mistake is clearly devastating for you.

I don't believe in fighting your feelings. It is perfectly ok and normal to feel how you do. I would instead advise you to think through exactly what this means for YOU. For example, your daughter is an adult, yet still so young. As a parent, our children are an extension of ourselves. When our children do something like this, it is hard to not take it personally as a parent. Yet she needs to accept the consequences. I'm assuming she is in college, as you said she is a good student. You also said she has good friends. These things are HUGE! She has been raised well. Our children rarely deviate too far from a solid upbringing. If she is in college, and has nice friends, she is way ahead of the game. Keep these things in mind.

You might want to try writing a letter to her (except you will not give it to her). Put all your feelings down - say things you might not say directly to her in real life. This is your personal letter to her. Then read it and make sure you covered everything. Then find access to a shredder. When you are ready - shred the letter - and release those feelings. This is a cleansing activity and helps to move forward. It doesn't mean your pain is all gone. That is not possible - because this event DID happen, and she IS your daughter. However, it allows you to release some of your most innermost feelings about this situation.

And give yourself a pat on the back - because you have raised a promising young lady who will learn from her experience!

Let me know if you have more thoughts or questions about this or anything else!

Sincerely,

Janet

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