Disappointed with your children.

(11 Posts)
figray Sat 12-Jan-13 18:47:28

I have two daughters 18 and 19 and I love them both immensely.

I know this is a terrible thing to admit but I have just been feeling really let down by them. It's really making me depressed.
I didn't expect perfect children. I just can't help thinking that the way they are is my fault.

It's Saturday evening and they are both at home watching tv. Neither has a boyfriend or many friends it seems.
The eldest is supposed to be back at uni now but has not gone back yet as she has fallen out with all her flatmates. Actually I am beginning to wonder if she will go back at all.

Anything I say is taken as criticism, not that I am trying to help.

They both seem to think that they are still young kids not adults and have to be at home with mum doing everything for them. I dread the future if this doesn't change.

Is it something you should never admit that your children are not what you imagined.

legoballoon Sat 12-Jan-13 18:59:56

I think that not having a boyfriend is not anything to get disappointed about. I'd be glad they were giving themselves a chance to study and suit themselves, follow their own ambitious etc. rather than compromising to keep up with a partner at this early stage of life.

I don't think it's unusual to be disappointed with your children's decision and behaviour at times - especially as they get older, they are now young adults and have to find their own way, and it won't always agree with yours. Lots can happen over the coming years, your children's lives will have twists and turns over the decades to come, sometimes there will be successes and good decisions, sometimes failure and stupid or bad decisions. I guess a parent has to just take a step back, let them get on with it, and decide to be around and help when things go wrong.

Re. mum doing everything for them, perhaps time to sit down and draw up the terms of their board & lodging. I would expect adults sharing the home to pull their weight, and maybe this would need to be discussed and agreed more formally with them.

And finally don't 'blame' yourself. Guilt does nothing, a purely negative emotion. Focus on what you have provided for them, keep loving them, and believe that things will get better.

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 12-Jan-13 19:43:34

It's a bit mean to be disappointed in them for not having boyfriends at 18/19! And as they are close in age, maybe they see each other as friends and are enjoying a girly night in?

Happymum22 Sat 12-Jan-13 20:27:44

I have teenagers/grown up children and I'd say the things you are disappointed about are things you should be concerned about.
Scrap the boyfriend comment though

It's Saturday evening and they are both at home watching tv.
It is first week of term I assue for your 18 year old? No doubt she is knackered and has a fair bit of school work. I don't know many people (even 18 year olds) who would be out this satuday of January. TV on a saturday night is fairly common in most UK households if not out.

Neither has a boyfriend or many friends it seems.
that is just harsh- everyone finds someone they click with at different times and it is no measure of how successful someone is. This attitude will really damage their self esteem. I've spent a lot of time helping DD believe it is ok to be single recently as she has struggled since breaking up with her ex.

The eldest is supposed to be back at uni now but has not gone back yet as she has fallen out with all her flatmates. Actually I am beginning to wonder if she will go back at all.
Sounds like she is unhappy at uni, you need to talk things through and find out the route of these issues. Uni is a very hard period of huge change and transition from teenager reliant on parents to adult, so many struggle with it at times and need a bit of tlc and support from parents.

Anything I say is taken as criticism, not that I am trying to help.
What a caring parent you sound. Maybe taking a more optimistic approach rather than labelling them in ways which makes them probably feel failures would boost their motivations and the way they take your advice.

They both seem to think that they are still young kids not adults and have to be at home with mum doing everything for them. I dread the future if this doesn't change.
It is pretty normal for people this age to go home from uni knackered, stressed and in need of sleep/food/a bit of time out. Cut them a bit of slack, they are still fairly young, there is a huge difference between 18 and 21 year olds. I even noticed gradual differences between 1st 2nd and 3rd year of uni in terms of maturity and their expectations of me. If they ever cross the line then I politely remind them what I expect them to do/pay for and I don't let things slip.

Is it something you should never admit that your children are not what you imagined.
They may not be what you imagined but reality is they are your girls, they are doing extremely well to be at uni and obviously ambitious. They may not be party animals with boyfriends and loving their time at uni, but if they were you would still have concerns- they would have other problems and you would be moaning they go out all the time and spend so much etc. The grass is always greener on the other side.

You seriously need to change your attitudes to your daughters for their self-esteem sake. You need to talk with them, show your pride in what they ARE doing well and find out if they are happy. Explain your expectations in the house and really think how you phrase things to them.

figray Sat 12-Jan-13 21:25:06

I feel terrible now, I am not an awful person. I would do anything for them, I care about them and that is what makes me worry all the time.

I will try to change my approach, it's just difficult to know how to.
I think a lot of it comes from my mum, she was exactly the same with me, criticising all the time and I ended up rushing into a disastrous marriage as she told me I was on the shelf at 23.

I just want them to be happy so know I am going to have to start behaving differently. Just have no idea how to at the moment.

LineRunner Sat 12-Jan-13 22:18:47

Do you spend time with them each, separately? I have two teenagers and I do think it helps to be make sure I spend time with each.

The not going back to university thing is serious and you need to talk about this, calmly. You shouldn't be wondering, you should know. The conversation needs to start with your DD's plans, hopes and dreams; and then refer to how this is being achieved and paid for.

I can't see the logic of the boyfriend comment?

Happymum22 Sat 12-Jan-13 23:13:43

figray, sorry to be harsh (but fair I hope) in my post. Believe me I've had my parenting moments where I've just needed to take a step back and calm down, review things and then deal with problems, and unfortunately I didn't always take that approach. You learn though.

You are so right, mothers making boyfriend comments does no good- it is up to the child and them making comments is not going to change anything. Generally we meet people when we aren't directly looking otherwise it is too forced and desperate and leads to bad marriages.

I think make a priority list of what needs addressing
1. the way you talk to and the feelings you put across to them needs to be much more positive
2. the uni situation
3. is other DD happy? is there ways you can gently encourage her to see more of her friends
4. chores

hope things work out better x

outtolunchagain Sat 12-Jan-13 23:29:48

Figray I know how you feel,there are certain things about your post which ring true for me with ds1 and I am petrified that whatever mistakes I made with him I will repeat with the younger ones.

I love him to bits but 19 years of boosting him up , worrying about him , listening to the endless moaning and negativity has worn me out. We used to have a rule when he was at school that he had to tell me at least 2 positive things about his day before he started on the negatives and I reminded him of that when I dropped him back at Uni . He has such high standards for friendship I think that no one ever measures up ,so he is constantly dissatisfied.

He has so many fantastic qualities but sometimes it is hard not to wish he was a little more straight forward , if only he could just enjoy himself like most of his peer group do without constantly looking for a negative in every situation and every relationship . I worry constantly about him, just had a very innocuous text from him but already I am worrying hmm

MollyMurphy Sat 12-Jan-13 23:45:59

They aren't finished growing into themselves yet OP...18-19' ones 20s.....lots of life to shape them to come.

no boyfriends, few friends - could just be late bloomers. I was and now in my early thirties have a family of my own.

If they are not in uni then I would expect jobs and rent. perhaps encourage some travel if the seem a little lost.

mrsjay Sun 13-Jan-13 10:05:58

MY dd is 19 anda bit like this she sits in at the weekend does have a boyfriend but seems stuck in still being a kid but she is improving and growing up do your daughters work Id get the working or at least hint about jobs , did my dd a power of good, she isnt back at college yet next week i think but she lives at home, I guess your dds are happy just being themselves , you have done nothing wrong imo,

flow4 Sun 13-Jan-13 19:55:46

figray, I think it's much more common to feel disappointed in your kids at at least some point in their teens than most people would ever admit, and I think it's brave of you to be honest about it.

I think it helps to remember that our children have to live their lives for themselves. I think the feelings of disappointment arise when they are not doing what we would want them to do - but really, they have to do what they want - and find their own paths and work out what's important to them - and inevitably make their own mistakes too.

They're not letting you down; they're just finding their way... smile

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