Question: Dear Luise: I am a mom of 3 daughters, 17,19 & 21.The problem I have is with my 19yr old. She is in college over 1000 miles away. She has no respect for our family. She thinks her friends have her back but they don’t stay around long when they figure out her attitude. She is not on speaking terms with me but will talk with the rest of the family. Every conversation becomes an argument. She and I have the tendency to need the last word. Most of the arguments are because she says I’m yelling at her. I try my best not to raise my voice at all but she digs and digs until she almost forces me to yell. She won’t talk to me but still expects that I pay her bills including travel for the holidays. I am still trying to be the mom I feel I’m suppose to be; sending her care packages, texting her compliments and I don’t get any response. Her sisters are upset for her lack of respect to the family and dad is tired of getting caught in the middle. J.
Answer: Dear J.: No one makes you yell. You are not anyone’s puppet. Your daughter has life on her terms and you being a doormat is part of the picture. She loves to think she “makes” you yell.
Tell her that since she is of age and she is so critical of all that you do and say, that she gets to have her life be on her own terms and however she wants it to be. Let her know that at the end of the quarter you are going to get out of her way and she will be free to take it from there. Enabling her to be abusive is something you are not going to be able to respect yourself for and her lack of respect for you goes hand in hand with that. If she wants more college she can do what most of us have done and find a way to give it to herself. Do not let her move back home. This is tough love.
Talk with her dad. I’m not surprised that he is sick of the whole thing. Tell him that you are just as sick of it and are going to cease and desist and ask him to partner with you in that. If he refuses, let him know that she is his full and total responsibility and you are going to retire from active duty. Then, stick by it. No more care packages and undeserved, complimentary texts.
She won’t think you mean it, of course. Don’t do it unless you do, and don’t complain further if that’s the case. You have the opportunity to help her build character if you are up for it. And in the process, your younger children are going to learn a valuable lesson. Blessings, Luise