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camd2000, Parent Coach/Therapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 13
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Child and Family Therapist, Parent Educator and Mother.
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My husband controls my 17 year old daughter. He wants to know

Customer Question

My husband controls my 17 year old daughter. He wants to know what she's doing every minute of the day. She has a car, has a job and goes to school. She is a straight A student. Just the other night, she got off from work and was going to pick her boyfriend up (who she has been dating for 2 years) and he flipped on her that she had to come home right after work. This is 9:45. Then a day later, she and her boyfriend were eating dinner at our home and after dinner she wanted to go back out. She has a curfew of 10:30. He flipped out again, that it's already 7PM and you don't need to go out. It's dark out? Are you kidding me? Whenever I try to interfere, a huge war starts. I am not allowed to be involved at all when it comes to his "rules". My daughter suffers all the time and she's a good kid. I mean, might as well be bad if your treated as such. She doesn't though for my sake. I really believe my husband needs counseling. He says I'm the bad parent because I don't back him up. How can I back him up, when what he says/does is totally outrageous? I just want my daughter to have a fun childhood and fun memories as a teenager. I honestly don't worry when she's out. She's never broken curfew (that is when he allows to her to even stay out to curfew). I'm at my wits end, and honestly don't know what to do anymore. I think he has a personality disorder because I've been reading up about it lately. Am I wrong? Am I wrong to let my 17 year old responsible child leave the house on her own as long as I know where she's at? And is home by curfew? I really don't think I am but need someone else to tell me so.

Thank you so much!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  camd2000 replied 4 years ago.

camd2000 :

This sounds like a difficult situation. The teenage years are tricky because there it is tough to balance giving your child some freedom and autonomy and wanting to make sure they are safe. It sounds like your husband is worried about your daughter and trying to control her is how he is handling his worries. It sounds like your approach is very different. I am sure you worry about your daughter at times too, but that you also trust her. Everyone has different parenting styles, but it sounds like your daughter has earned her freedom and autonomy since she follows your rules and is on time for curfew. I cannot tell you whether he has a personality disorder since I cannot diagnose him if I have not met him and since he is not my client. But, I can understand your concerns about him being controlling. It sounds to me like you both could use some support around co-parenting. It is often that parents disagree on parenting issues, but it is important to try and find some compromise so that you can be consistent with your daughter. Perhaps a professional like a therapist or a parent coach could help you two come to some agreements when it comes to parenting your daughter.

camd2000 :

Sorry, I accidentally hit submit before I had finished writing. One idea is for you and your husband to try and come to some compromise (if he is willing). You can create some specific guidelines for your daughter (such as the curfew, how many times that she can go out during the week and maybe she needs to check in after she has been out for a while). I realize that some of this may be giving her less freedom, but if you put a few things in place that will help your husband worry less then maybe he can let some other issues go. I wish you the best and hope this is helpful.

JACUSTOMER-4si1t1hx- :

Hi, and thank you for your response. I have tried the suggestions that you have made. She does have to text us as soon as she gets to where she is, then calls to check in and then texts us again on her way home. She really is not doing anything wrong. I just don't know how to get my husband on board to let the reigns loose a bit. I think he just makes up rules sometimes just so he can yell at her even when she does no wrong. It's just not separate parenting, I think he really has mental issues. I will never ever get him to see a counselor or anything. We do sit down and come up with certain "rules" but a week or two goes by and he's like, new rules, everything's changing again. He'll agree to something the night before and then when the next day comes he pretends as if he never even had the conversation. It's extrememly frustrating. I told him that he can not keep changing the "rules" set. It's bad parenting. It shows that he even has no consistency so what is she to believe herself? I don't know, I'm just at my wits end.

camd2000 :

It sounds like you have good instincts and good parenting instincts. And it can be very challenging to deal with someone who seems to have their own agenda. Have you tried asking him how he thinks it makes his daughter feel or asking him why he changes the rules. Perhaps if you can tap into his feelings (ask him if he is worried about her or why he would like to be strict with her) maybe he will be more receptive. Does this impact your daughter negatively as well? Has your husband always been this way or is this a new development? Is he controlling in general or just with your daughter? Is it possible that your husband would be willing to meet with a non-counselor professional like a parent coach? Some people are more receptive if it is not therapy. I am asking a lot of questions to get a better understanding of the situation so I can give you more information. It does seem that this situation warrants professional intervention. But, if your husband is not willing, unfortunately the best thing you can do is look at ways that you can work within this difficult situation. If you think that is the case we can discuss more ideas about how to do that. Please let me know.

camd2000 :

I hope this was helpful. If so, please give me a positive rating. If you are not satisfied with the answer, I would be happy to follow up if you have more questions.