Time To 'Let Go'

Mark Huttenlocker
 


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QUESTION:

I have a 22-year-old & an 18-year-old daughter. My oldest has started hanging around with this girl from work (age 23), and as a result, my daughter has changed dramatically in her mood swings. She says I irritate her and she can’t stand to be around me. She is always going away with this girl on weekends, and since she has met her, she has even broken up with her boyfriend of just over a year (they had planned to get married). My God . . . I hate to say it, but I think she might be hangin’ with a lesbian.

Am so worried about her at the moment and feel that this girl that she is hanging around with has some kind of hold on her, and I get this bad gut feeling that maybe its just more than a friendship thing (i. e. , more of a relationship between the two of them).

Usually she brings her other girlfriends at home, but ‘cause I told her earlier on that there is something I don’t like about this girl, she is constantly hanging around with her. I’ve asked my daughter if this girl is a lesbian, but she doesn’t say much …she goes quiet.

My husband, in the heat of an argument, accused my daughter that this girl is now her lover. She went absolutely spastic and started calling my husband a pervert and a weirdo.

I’m so sick and tired of all these fights and the disrespect that she is showing me for the last 4 months. I’m at the end of my rope at the moment …our house is a constant battlefield every time we try to speak to my daughter and question her.

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ANSWER: With all due respect dear mom, your daughter is an adult now and is capable of making her own decisions. I get the feeling that you are over-protecting her (which is the opposite of fostering the development of self-reliance).

Is she still living at home?! If so, how much rent does she pay per month, and when will she be moving out? Is she attending college and working at least part-time? If not, then you are over-indulging her, which is a main contributor to the current parent-child conflict.

It sounds like you and your husband may have inadvertently set-up a Romeo & Juliet phenomenon (or should I say Juliet & Juliet). You’ve tried hard to discourage that relationship, and as a result, the two have bonded more tightly.

I would let her spend time with her girlfriend, however let her know that she could still contact a *** transmitted disease if she has unprotected sex.

I am not condoning *** activity at her age, but I am saying that your best efforts will not pull those two apart – in fact it will have the opposite effect of strengthening the relationship.

Also, one thing that strikes me with this situation is the ‘lack of openness’ your daughter has with you …she seems unable or unwilling to ‘come out’ and talk to you about this sensitive issue. Sounds like trust is broken and resentment is setting in.

Time to (a) let go and (b) promote the development of self-reliance in your daughter by helping her ‘leave the nest. ’

Don’t let your daughter steal your joy. You did a great job of raising her in spite of her opinion about it.

Mark Huttenlocker, M. A. , is a family therapist who works with teens and pre-teens experiencing emotional/behavioral problems associated with ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Autism, etc. He works with these children and their parents – in their homes. You may visit his website here: http://www.MyOutOfControlTeen.com/support

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