Dreading Christmas with thoughtless teenager(14 Posts)
My eldest DD and I have had a challenging relationship over the last 2 years and after some very expensive therapy (she was adopted 10 years ago and apparently was venting her hatred of her birth mother onto me) I thought we had resumed fairly normal relations. We encouraged her to go to uni in the hope it would help her wise up and appreciate everything that she is and has. It started well with regular calls, texts and Skype but over the last couple of weeks she has completely ignored our emails and texts - I am really upset about this. She has no respect and it would seem little love - we drove for 4 hours on Saturday to see her and she acted as though nothing has happened. I don't think I can bring myself to speak to her about this - I have a very demanding full time job, was diagnosed with diabetes 2 weeks ago and am feeling really fragile - I feel terrible but I wish she wasn't coming home for Christmas as I know she just wants to argue all the time and I really haven't got the energy - I'm waking up crying because I feel so hurt. I know we're good parents and we've supported her but it's like we don't exist - until she wants something and then she contacts us - how have others dealt with this?
If she's acting as if nothing has happened, perhaps she doesn't think it has? I can see that given your history you are concerned, but a couple of weeks with no contact from a uni student really isn't a big deal. She may just be focussed on her work (if her course is busy at the moment - DS has been rushed off his feet the last few weeks) or on her social life. I'd put it down to ordinary teenage focus-on-self rather than reading anything awful into it.
I can see that it's been a difficult time for you, but teenagers aren't always that perceptive. "Thoughtless" may well be an accurate term, but it doesn't mean she's any worse than average IYSWIM?
I agree about it being thoughtless rather than necessarily any desire to hurt you. I regularly went for weeks without contacting my parents at that age (still do ). It would never have occured to me that it might be a problem. So I think that in itself is perfectly normal and I would attempt not to be bothered by a lack of contact for a little while.
Is there anything in particular you end up arguing with her about? With me at that age I argued with my mum a lot about my freedom, she seemed to be expecting me to be the same teenager who left home but I had a taste of independence and didn't really want to be reporting in and doing chores as soon as she told me to. I realise now that she was only expecting basic courtesies, but at the time it felt very invasive. I think my mum stopped us arguing so much by asking me to do something once and then not mentioning it again until it became urgent.
Could you try avoiding arguments in some way? Refusing to get worked up, walking away, etc. I realise you've probably tried a lot of that but you need to look after your own health right now and leave her to it a lot of the time. She's an adult now, you don't have to be forced into an argument you don't want to have, she can take responsibility for her own actions.
It's completly normal for a teenager at uni not to keep in contsct with thier parents on a regular basis. She may ust have been busy and not got round to answering your text and emails. We can go weeks with out hearing from either DD1 or DD2 and they are 25 and 23. It's not because they don't love us but just because they are both busy at the moment.
I found that once they went to uni they gradully started to grow apart from us ,as they were making a new life for themselves,which is what is supposed to happen.
Very many thanks for these responses - I think I'm probably being over-sensitive. I've found the transition from knowing where she is and what she's doing all the time to not knowing how she is or what she's doing really difficult and you're quite right about our perception and hers - we have very different expectations and I need to put myself first. I need to approach this more positively - she's obviously having a good time at uni and that's exactly what we hoped for -if I anticipate that she's going to treat our home like a hotel when she's home then I won't be surprised - counting to 10 and sale shopping I think will get me through - thanks again for taking the time to share your experiences - good to know I'm not alone xx
I completely understand your situation as it is very similar to my own at the present. I feel comforted knowing that someone else's child behaves in the same way. My son is in his first term at uni; 2.5 weeks ago we had a minor disagreement over a botched arrangement to meet - largely due to his lack of ability to plan ahead or consider others. I have sent three conciliatory, chatty emails since then and all have been ignored. No texts, calls or anything. I feel particularly hurt as he has been to visit his Father, so he has been down to this area (we're separated, haven't seen in him years, although DS does). I can't help but think of the hundreds of pounds I have given him, stacks of emotional support, little presents through the post, etc etc since September and feel that nothing has been appreciated or valued. Sorry to take over your thread but maybe this helps? I have a full time job and two toddlers from my second marriage to look after, and I'm not looking forward to Christmas for the same reasons as you!
I can see why it would be upsetting but honestly uni students get so wrapped up in the whole thing that contacting home is the last thing they're thinking about. My mum never, ever got cross or visibly upset when I forgot to ring her for a week or two (which,looking back, must have been hard!) but was just always pleased to hear from me when I did, just let me get on with it. I am really grateful to her for that.
Actually, oddly enough my mother was exactly the same, IHeartKingThistle. And I have always really appreciated the fact that she was like that! And yet I don't seem to be able to take the same approach myself, now that it is my turn!
Banshee1 - you mention that your daughter seems to lack feelings of love or respect for you. This is not only something I feel about my DS but I have heard this said by others who are parents to teenagers. It certainly is not just you who experiences this.
Another with a DD at uni.
DD is in her second year and now loves to come home, and often rings to say how much she is missing home, and me.
But last year she only came home three times (I paid the train fare, otherwise I wouldn't have seen her at all). At home all she could talk about
when she could be bothered to acknowledge my existence was going back to uni and all her new pals.
Now she seems to appreciate home more, and she's grown up a little.
Keep calm, and maybe find something nice for you to do while your DD stretches her wings.
Oh I know exactly what you mean PoshPaula- we're paying £400 a month for her accommodation and to help afford this I will be spending my Christmas holiday marking 400 exams. I started off send a letter every week and like you say chatty texts and emails but have been utterly blanked - I think it would have hurt less if she'd stabbed me. I'm hoping she'll wake up one day and have wised up - in the interim she probably won't be able to argue much with me as i'll be too busy earning extra money for her!
Hi there - reading all this has really helped me feel I'm not the only one!
Read my recent post under lone parents - daughter coming home for xmas from uni
I guess we're all in it together!
Dd comes home for tonight for three week Christmas break, during her first term at uni she has spent all student loan, a thousand pounds savings and a thousand pound overdraft, she only calls or texts if she wants money or needs food and has spent most of this first term drinking, doing drugs for the first time, sleeping and doing just enough at uni to pass exams and assignments. Dreading these next few weeks but hope she will rest, relax and appreciate a bit of time away from her destructive lifestyle. Good luck to you ladies too.
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