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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
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18 year old daughter

Parents of teens/adults, how do you handle it?

She's a new adult. I can share my feelings with her but I can't tell her what to do anymore and it's so hard to watch her make decisions that I think will hurt her.

Her ex boyfriend broke her heart a few months ago. She wants him back so badly she's settling for "friends with benefits."

We've talked about pregnancy, birth control, and her heart. It was a good talk but she thinks she knows what she's doing better than I do. (Oh teenagers!!)

Ugh. This sucks.


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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 08:07 AM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

Who said 18 year olds are adults?

Is she in college? Working?
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 09:40 AM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

I've had two... they still believe they know better seven and nine years later.

Truth is... sometimes they do.

But when you think they don't, instead of trying to "tell" what to do or how to do it, pose your concerns in general lessons of life and growth as you discuss things. Learning and living your words have a great impact on others around you...be sure you can "walk your talk" or you will find a lot of stones on your path that she will notice as well.

Ask her to define three things for you... self-love, self-respect, and self-worth, then ask her to apply them to her current situation.

She may struggle... be patient and kind as she works through it and don't make it about you... this is all her because when we find ourselves constantly trying to prove our worth to someone, we have already forgotten the value we have in ourselves.


This might be better in the Family and Parenting Forums... perhaps a moderator can move it there if you wish.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 09:50 AM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

Surely you know that teenagers are always right

Must admit I am so glad that those days are way past, mine are all in their 30's now.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 10:01 AM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

What's wrong with FWB? Ha. I wish I did that more when I was young.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 10:52 AM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

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Originally Posted by roxiethewriter View Post
Parents of teens/adults, how do you handle it?

She's a new adult. I can share my feelings with her but I can't tell her what to do anymore and it's so hard to watch her make decisions that I think will hurt her.

Her ex boyfriend broke her heart a few months ago. She wants him back so badly she's settling for "friends with benefits."

We've talked about pregnancy, birth control, and her heart. It was a good talk but she thinks she knows what she's doing better than I do. (Oh teenagers!!)

Ugh. This sucks.


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When I was 18 I made the decision to get an apt with my then bf. I had been gone from my parents home for over a year by then so I felt I like more of an adult than the typical 18 year old. Still, I expected my mother to go berserk and tell me how bad my decision was, the typical protective parenting stuff. She didn't. She told me why she told me how she felt about it but she also told me that she respected my decision and knew I would be mature enough to respond to whatever good/bad came out of it. That I was young and it was natural to want to exert my independence but that it was most important to try to learn from my experiences.

That brief conversation really hit home. She showed me that she wanted what was best for me but that she trusted me to make the right decisions and to learn from my mistakes.

I know you have a tremendous need to protect your daughter from making mistakes that are so easily avoidable but you have to give her the opportunity to learn from her own experiences. Many parents do not have the closeness that you two currently share. The fwb situation is a very intimate topic and her sharing it with you shows that she feels she can trust you and confide in you. Place value in that by avoiding judgement. As a young adult it's very empowering to feel that the adults whom you look up to, respect and trust your decisions and even when you make mistakes, they won't say I told you so. Instead the focus is on what is learnt not who was right. Having that kind of support system is makes you want to do the right thing. You start to think more about the consequences of your actions because you don't want to disappoint the people who placed so much trust and confidence in you.

All this to say give her the space to make her own decisions and learn from them. She needs to experience the consequences of her own decisions.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 12:53 PM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

My w and I have made our values crystal clear to our kids. We don't believe in living together before marriage at all - it diminishes the awesome feeling of seeing someone you love every day after marriage. I realize that's an old philosophy and it was even 30+ years ago but it worked so I advise it.

FWB is just a copout IMO meaning you don't like the person you're screwing enough to have a relationship, or you're too lazy to have a relationship, or your self esteem is so low as in the case of your daughter.

I feel for you and get this may happen among my 5 kids. But I'd never hesitate to push her to ask more of herself and stop settling for so little. I'd recommend counseling even - sometimes a break up at a young age just is too much and she may not have the coping skills to handle it,

My dad was a shrink so I have no problem with the idea of reaching out for help.

Bottom line for me - it's not the sex it's the self loathing and sorrow or sadness she must be feeling to be downgraded from GF to just another girl to screw particularly if she loves him.

Talk if you have an open dialog and if not start to work on thst


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 12:58 PM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

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Originally Posted by Keke24 View Post
When I was 18 I made the decision to get an apt with my then bf. I had been gone from my parents home for over a year by then so I felt I like more of an adult than the typical 18 year old. Still, I expected my mother to go berserk and tell me how bad my decision was, the typical protective parenting stuff. She didn't. She told me why she told me how she felt about it but she also told me that she respected my decision and knew I would be mature enough to respond to whatever good/bad came out of it. That I was young and it was natural to want to exert my independence but that it was most important to try to learn from my experiences.



That brief conversation really hit home. She showed me that she wanted what was best for me but that she trusted me to make the right decisions and to learn from my mistakes.



I know you have a tremendous need to protect your daughter from making mistakes that are so easily avoidable but you have to give her the opportunity to learn from her own experiences. Many parents do not have the closeness that you two currently share. The fwb situation is a very intimate topic and her sharing it with you shows that she feels she can trust you and confide in you. Place value in that by avoiding judgement. As a young adult it's very empowering to feel that the adults whom you look up to, respect and trust your decisions and even when you make mistakes, they won't say I told you so. Instead the focus is on what is learnt not who was right. Having that kind of support system is makes you want to do the right thing. You start to think more about the consequences of your actions because you don't want to disappoint the people who placed so much trust and confidence in you.



All this to say give her the space to make her own decisions and learn from them. She needs to experience the consequences of her own decisions.


Interesting perspective but I couldn't disagree more. I agree not to judge the person, but it's a parents job to not equivocate and judge behavior. It's ok and good to share judgements about behavior if there are reasons for it (other than "premarital sex is just bad" or "what would the neighbors think?" which are bs reasons )

If a parent believes their kid is on the wrong track and the kid can't see consequences because they lack life experiences then the parent should talk about them. The decision is ultimately the kid's but the wisdom and big picture consequences of the parent can help the kid make the best decision for them


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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 02:10 PM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

Ask questions that make her think and return her conclusions to you. You may find out that she is alright and alleviate your fears. You may just make her think enough to do something different. Either way, she will do what she pleases.

Don't tell her what to do. It's too late and will push her in the direction you'd rather she didn't go. She has some growing up to do. She will have some hard knocks. Sorry.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 02:21 PM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

Had you done your jobs as parents, you should be glad she is thinking for herself and making her own decisions. One of the hardest things we have to do as parents is to watch our children make decisions we may not agree. But ultimately it is their life. All you can do is love them, support them when they fail and celebrate with them when they succeed. Your children are just your wards temporarily. By the time they get to adulthood, hopefully you have taught them to be independent self sufficient people, able to think and act in their own best interests.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 03:07 PM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

you know there's not much to do about that, she has to go through whatever that coming up to learn the right from the wrong. i know it's horrible to watch your daughter get hurt again but you have to be there for her whenever she needs a shoulder to cry on. that's how teenagers are unfortunately we've all been there haven't we?
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 03:30 PM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

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Originally Posted by TheTruthHurts View Post
Interesting perspective but I couldn't disagree more. I agree not to judge the person, but it's a parents job to not equivocate and judge behavior. It's ok and good to share judgements about behavior if there are reasons for it (other than "premarital sex is just bad" or "what would the neighbors think?" which are bs reasons )

If a parent believes their kid is on the wrong track and the kid can't see consequences because they lack life experiences then the parent should talk about them. The decision is ultimately the kid's but the wisdom and big picture consequences of the parent can help the kid make the best decision for them


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I think we're saying similar things. When I said don't judge I mean don't suggest she's a bad person or stupid or immature because her decisions don't fall in line with the parents belief. Let her know that it's normal to make bad mistakes at this age, that the parent does not agree with the decision for x, y,z reasons but keep the trust and support intact.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 05:47 PM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

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I think we're saying similar things. When I said don't judge I mean don't suggest she's a bad person or stupid or immature because her decisions don't fall in line with the parents belief. Let her know that it's normal to make bad mistakes at this age, that the parent does not agree with the decision for x, y,z reasons but keep the trust and support intact.


Absolutely.

I think many parents are too afraid of hurting the relationship with their kids by appearing critical or "nosing in" to their business.

That's what I'm pushing back against. I believe kids are better off with parents who stand by their convictions, are stable, and speak clearly and strongly when a kid does something against those values or which would hurt the kid

Most kids don't agree with their parents anyway on many things. So they'll either listen or not... but at least they'll have good role models on standing up for your principals and convictions, whatever they are.

OP clearly is worried and doesn't like the idea of her daughter being downgraded to FWB. I agree. I wouldn't like any FWB situation, but this is worse. I think it's ok for parents to go ahead and speak their mind and then be there to listen.

Good luck on this - it's going to suck for a while


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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 02:14 PM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

Roxie - what impresses me is she's talking with you. Keep those lines of communication open. I am of the thought you're ahead of many parent-children relationships. Try not to underestimate your influence.

I'm not expert at child rearing...but I think a hundred 2 minute chats were more helpful than dozens of 1 hour lectures. 🙂

It's painful seeing our kids hurt or make poor choices. Indeed it sucks.

****

This is a story that helped me in a small way. I'm sorry if it's corny. I'll abbreviate it almost to bullet points.

A young boy found a butterfly struggling mightily to escape its cocoon.

As the boy watched he saw the butterfly's abdomen and wings were just too big to squeeze through tiny hole in the cocoon. Heartbroken he used the tips of his fingers to gently tare the hole wider. From the boy's loving help the butterfly easily worked its way out and fell to the ground.

The boy watched as the butterfly laid in the grass with a twisted body and mangled wings. It never recovered and died.

You see, the butterfly's massive struggle to push itself through the tiny cocoon's hole was required by nature. The tightness of the hole distributes the body fluids collected in it upper abdomen throughout the rest of its body...including up channels into its wings. Without the fluid the butterfly was doomed.

So I'm sure you see the point that life has some struggles we have to experience. We cannot deprive our kids of the learning experience derived from it. No matter how much it hurts it helps to prepare them for future.

.........><)))#">
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 09:47 AM
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Re: 18 year old daughter

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Originally Posted by roxiethewriter View Post
Parents of teens/adults, how do you handle it?

She's a new adult. I can share my feelings with her but I can't tell her what to do anymore and it's so hard to watch her make decisions that I think will hurt her.

Her ex boyfriend broke her heart a few months ago. She wants him back so badly she's settling for "friends with benefits."

We've talked about pregnancy, birth control, and her heart. It was a good talk but she thinks she knows what she's doing better than I do. (Oh teenagers!!)

Ugh. This sucks.


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My daughters are 21 and 18. My W and I can offer advise for a month of Sundays to our daughters but....they will do what they are going to do anyway. We are currently in the mist of a 4 year relationship of our daughters to a near-do-well boyfriend that has ended just yesterday. He broke it off. She is hurt, upset, feels like a failure, etc. My W and I can only relate what we know from our dating days and the people who did the same to us. We can only relate how we have seen her relationship die on the vine. And for my W and I....it is for the better. Long story. Yet, our daughter will jump right back in the saddle if offered because she feels she will not do any better.....YET....she has others who have approached her for dates, etc. In hindsight my W and I are glad he pulled the plug because our daughter would not not. She is a miserable angry person as a result of this relationship but refused to see it.

Anyway, like I said, they can take or leave your advise but they will do what they want to do anyway. Learning from their mistakes as it were.

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― Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
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