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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1166
Experience:  Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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I have a 20 yr old daughter ( 3 other children, she is youngest.)

Customer Question

I have a 20 yr old daughter ( 3 other children, she is youngest.) She has always been responsible, respectful, loving and attentive. Things started changing 6 weeks ago. She became distant, quit her jobs ( just walked away fromthem NC/NS.) Moved out - to a 28 yr old boyfriends house. Stopped contact with all frinds and family. She has now dropped her phone off of my plan. SHe hasn't contacted me , and I haven't spoken to her in five days. I believe there is something terribly wrong, she said she was OK and is happy where she is, but all her actions tell me something very different. Am I right to worry ? ANd what should I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. L :

I can understand why you would be worried about your daughter. Her behavior is certainly baffling.

Dr. L :

You wrote that things changed 6 weeks ago. Is this when you met this man? Or has she known him for some time?

Dr. L :

Has she dropped all contact with your other children as well?

Dr. L :

It sounds to me like you have been respectful and caring. You asked to come visit her...she did not invite you. But...because you are so frightened for her...I would suggest that you and your husband...or one of your other children....drop in on her. While she may not appreciate that kind of intervention, you have little to lose if she gets angry or upset as she has already pulled away.Maybe consider bringing over some fresh flowers or a bag of groceries and just say that it was important for you to make sure that she is safe and secure.

Dr. L :

Because she is an adult...there is little you can do legally. However, she is your daughter and you are worried about her. The decisions she has made in the last 6 months don't make sense to you and are not in keeping with her past behavior.

Dr. L :

It seems to me that your past strong relationship with her will help her to know that all you want is reassurance that she is happy, safe, and okay.

Dr. L :

By dropping in for a short visit, you will get the answers you need.

Dr. L :

I await your response.

Customer :

I couldn't wait. I went to the house during my lunch hour. Her car was in the yard, unlocked. I rang the bell and knocked on the door. I went around to the back of the house. I knew somone was inside, because the sliding glass door on the deck was open leaving the house exposed with just a screen door closed. I called out for her several times, I even looked in the basement windows ( I know what you are thinking....I must be crazy! and yes I am- with worry.) She finally came out on to the deck and asked me what I was doing there. She was upset with me, and said she had told me not to come there. I was obivously crying and tried to explain to her how worried I am. She was evasive to really respond to my questions. Then, the guy came out onto the deck. He is older (28) but seemed (I am trying to be cautiously optimistic) OK. He didn't say anything. Finally, I asked her to introduce us. She did and we shook hands. At another point he offered me something to drink- I declined. She just didn't respond to me as she would have in the past. I asked if I could ask "Josh" a question- and she agreed. I asked Josh what he would think if this was his daughter- ( 18 yrs from now.) I listed all the behaviors over the past 6 weeks and he responded saying he would be very upset and concerned. Though, he didn't try to help alleviate my distress and concerns by saying they were happy together and she is indeed well. I would have felt better had he helped in any way. He said nothing else. I asked her to please be honest with me- though she has promised me in the past few weeks she would and hasn't. She said she did not drop her phone, just changed her number. I also asked her to call me or text me every few days- that even when her sister lived in London we spoke at least a couple of times a week. I asked her to go to counceling with me -she did agree:)

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I support your decision to go to the house to attempt to see her. You were sick with worry and it did not seem that your daughter was going to reach out to you.

Dr. L :

From what you have written, Josh was at least reasonable. He was not rude nor indifferent to your concerns. That he didn't talk very much is disappointing,but it may be more about wanting to take his cues from your daughter and being unsure how much he should say.

Dr. L :

That your daughter was not warmer is disappointing. Still, the good news is that she agreed to see a counselor. I encourage you to set up an appointment as soon as you can so that you hold her accountable to this agreement.

Dr. L :

If you need help finding a therapist, please let me know as I can assist you.

Dr. L :

All in all...I see many positives here. You saw your daughter. You met the boyfriend. She agreed to therapy. All good...

Customer :

Yes, I agree.

Customer :

I am cautiously optimistic abut the situation.

Customer :

Though, Molly having changed so drastically in 6 weeks is disheartening. I am so disappointed and afraid for her. Thank you for your input. I feel better that what I was feeling was not crazy.

Dr. L :

No..you were not crazy..you were being a Mom...and that's what Mom's do...worry.

Dr. L :

I agree...cautiously optimistic is a good way to put things. As much as you can...keep the door open. Invite them to dinner at your home...be warm and welcoming to Josh...the 4th of July is coming up...maybe plan a family get together. Think of other summer events that you might ask them to join you. The more you are open to Josh the better...that will help Molly see that she can be open and honest with you and not close down.

Dr. L :

I wish you good luck in this part of your journey as a parent.

Dr. L :

If you should ever want to chat again, please ask for me by name.

Dr. L :

Take care!

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