More threads by hugsy

hugsy

Member
the situation: my daughter (20 yr old) told me that she's moving in with her boyfriend (who lives with his mom). she is now living with her dad. for the past year or so she's been trying to find ways of being more independent. she signed up for the national guard and left for basic training but two months later she was back because of health problems. she is now studying and has applied for housing at the university. she was told that there is a waiting list. when her boyfriend's mom offered that she come live with them, she agreed.

my thoughts: i think it's a mistake. she is looking for a way out of her dad's. she wants independence but is going to move in with people who are not going to foster that. i feel horrible that i can't offer her a place. there is some jealousy on my part because i want her to be with me. but aside from the jealousy i truly don't think it will be good for her.

my family is advising me to get her to change her mind. we don't agree on parenting issues. i believe i should respect her decisions, even if i think they are a mistake. but my family thinks i should try to change her mind and force the issue.

i'm torn. i love my daughter and want whatever is best for her. i'm not even sure what my question is... i guess i'm asking for advice on how to handle this situation. should i let her move and find out on her own what it will bring? should i listen to my family and try to convince her not to?
 

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
In truth, if this is what your daughter wants to do, there's not much you cn do to prevent it, is there? She's an adult now and free to make her own decisions...

I'm not sure I understand what your objections are, other than that you wish you could do more to help her. My guess is that the best thing for your ongoing relationship with her now is to try to be supportive and respect her decisions -- nothing wrong with asking her if she is sure this is the best thing for her, etc., but let her know that you have faith in her and will respect her right to make decisions for herself.
 

hugsy

Member
thank you David. i just found out that it's a done deal. she moved in a couple of days ago.

my instinct is to respect her decision and be supportive. my dad/mom/and two sisters have all told me how i should try to stop her and find alternatives for her. when my daughter told me of her plans, i didn't like the idea, i told her that i thought it would be better for her to live at the dorm or other place. it's bothering me that i don't have my own place to offer her. i'm aware of my own issues about this.

my issues are twofold. one, from my own experience i've seen that choosing your life partner at such a young age (she's been with her boyfriend since she was 14 and he 15) is not a good idea. there is so much to learn before making such an important decision and her life situation has not given her the opportunity to do so. moving in with her boyfriend and his mom is a step further to making things between them more serious. she's been looking for a way out of her dad's and is trying different things. which is a good idea. but i just don't think going from her dads to her boyfriends is the answer.

two, i feel really bad that i don't have a place to offer her. after her dad and i divorced she told me that she never wanted to have a step dad (live in the same house with). i met my ex fiance and decided to move to his state. i always thought she would go with me, and told her that i wanted her to. she didn't want to. she had one more year of high school, a boyfriend, and her dad and rest of the family here. it was such a hard decision for me to let her stay with her dad and not go with me. it's what she wanted, and in the end it turned out that it was better for her because she didn't have to experience the turmoil between me and my ex fiance. my family has been judgmental about that whole situation. they think i should have made her go with me. my mom told me once that she thought i had abandoned her. which made me very angry because it was not that way at all. it was very difficult for me to let her go. so i'm thinking that this is left over guilt because of my family's way of thinking. inside i feel that i should let her make her own decisions and if they turn out badly to learn from them, if they turn out well, to enjoy.

my two issues are 1) i think she should be learning to be independent and try being on her own. i know her boyfriend and his mom. they are both wonderful and love her very much and i'm happy about that. but i also know that the mom is very protective and does not promote independence. maybe my daughter needs this, i don't know. but i think it would be good for her to spread her wings. when she came back from basic training, she was so different. more alive, more talkative, more confident. it was visible that she felt good about herself. being back here changed that. she went back to being quiet, gained weight, stress showed on her face. there is a lot of history behind all this. 2) my family is telling me things that make me feel like i'm a bad mother. this is not new. i've tried explaining to them my reasons (i believe in letting my kids (son 22 and daughter 20) make their own decisions. i give my input then let them decide). they don't seem to understand this. they think it's a fault i have. i should probably not care what they think, but i do. and it affects me in a negative way. it confuses me, makes me wonder if they are right and i should be different. but deep down inside i'm doing what i think is right. and so i feel torn.

now that she has already moved in, i'm anticipating "hearing it" from my family...again. i still don't think it's a good idea for her own benefit, but feel that if she has decided to do this, that she needs to go through the experience and see where it goes. i've told her that this decision doesn't have to be a forever thing and if she ever wants to move out, i'm here.
 

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
One of the things I've found helpful in my own life and that I often say to clients is that you cannot prevent your children from making mistakes. We all learn to make good decisions by making a few bad ones. But if you are able to remain supportive, keep communication open, demonstrate that you have faith in your child's ability to do what is right for her or him in the long run, and ensure that s/he knows that you are ready and eager to be supportive and to help in any way you can, most of the time it will work out just fine.
 

hugsy

Member
you are confirming what i believe. sometimes i get so caught up in what my family thinks that it confuses me. but that is my issue to deal with, not my daughter's. thank you, David. i will try to stick to the important thing here, and that is my daughter's well being. :)
 

ThatLady

Member
Hugsy, you have a wonderful asset...an asset many parents don't have. You have the ability to let go, and allow your daughter to make her own decisions. At her age, that's what she should be doing. You're allowing that, while remaining supporting and loving. I commend you!

As far as your family's interference, they really have no say in the issue. She is old enough to make her own decisions, and so are you. Your family need to realize that the relationship between you and your daughter is between the two of you, and they need to let you two work it out. I'd tell them, quite frankly, that you don't need their advice on this issue, as your daughter and you are working things out quite nicely.
 

hugsy

Member
hi thatlady, as i read your reply, i realized that i'm trying to not do to my daughter what my family does to me. thanks for helping me see that.
 

ThatLady

Member
Heh, you're welcome. I was hoping you'd see the connection. :eek:)
 

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