To feel like I hate my 21yo daughter???(39 Posts)
I have one child who is just 21. I divorced her biological father when she was 5 for his unreasonable behaviour (He was in the army, always out drinking, being with the lads, didn't want to act like a husband /father or generally grow up!), Then when she was 7, I met a new man who was lovely, we married 2 years later but sadly when she was 13 her stepdad was killed in a motorbike accident.....devastating but to try and help her 'get over it' I would shower her with anything she asked for (pretty much) and so, I admit it, she became a spoilt girl. I have since remarried another wonderful man, however my daughter's behaviour is worrying the life out of me...
She has admitted to me that when she was 18/19 she tried drugs a couple of times but that she hasn't taken anything for a couple of years. She can't seem to stick at anything, for example she trained as a hairdresser, qualified, then decided she didn;t want to do it. I said ok, what do you want? She said a regular Mon-Fri 9-5 job, so I helped her get a job where I work (a local hospital) and she stayed there for a year before deciding it was boring, she hated the people she worked with, and had to get out. She has always loved animals and horses (she's had her own ponies since she was 8) so left the job and went to work for a local woman who has horses. I did advise her against it but she wouldn't listen. After 4 months things didn't work out and she left with 2 weeks wages and came home. From the day she was back there were arguments, she was bone idle, wouldn't help, and was moody and sullen. i tried to tell myself it must be hard moving back home but she didn't help matters. Then she got an interview as a receptionist at a local salon, the same day she went and looked at a flat and took it. I advised her to make sure she liked the job first, but no.
Anyhow, she now has the job and a flat but she isn't earning as much as before, so is hard up. She rings or texts me several times a day telling me she wants to break up with her boyfriend, hasn't got any money, feels like a skivvy etc and I just don't know what to do. She had everything a few years ago, but really seems to have lost her way and I don't know how much more I should help her. She never listens to my advice but wants me to bale her out/act as her taxi as and when she needs me. She says that everything went wrong after her step-dad was killed but she won't go to counselling and I honestly feel she is using that as an excuse for her thoughtless behaviour.
What I want to know is - do I say 'look you are 21 now so you have to deal with your own problems, but I'll always he here to support you' or do I still have to accept that it is my responsibility to look after her? She worries me so much with her erratic behaviour it is making me ill, I can't sleep, am tearful all the time. Please let me know what you think....
It doesn't sound like you hate her, but hate the fact that you feel very anxious all the time in relation to the ups and downs of her life. I think there is a problem with the constant texting you with problems, and also thinking you will solve her problems. I don't think she's going to like it, but a slightly tougher stance is going to be the way forward- in other words, only check your phone once or twice a day, don't leap to reply to every message. I would also find a stock phrase 'that's a shame' or 'oh dear, that sounds hard' rather than trying to find solutions for her. I do think she sounds very demanding, which is wearing for you. On the plus side, she clearly can get work quite easily and does so regularly, so she's not unemployable or not personable.
You need to work on having your own life which isn't basically about responding to your dd's constant moaning, she's just developed a habit of texting you as her way to relieve stress and it's this that needs to stop.
Thank you HP, that is exactly what I am being told by people but I just feel so guilty. I am going to have to accept that whilst I will always be here for her, I cannot live her life for her so I need to learn to let her deal with her own things and not try and take it all on for her.
Gosh, this parenting lark is hard isn't it!
When she texts you how do you reply?
Do you ask her what she is going to do? Or do you try and give her some advise about what she could do?
She sounds typically like a spoilt child who was used to getting her own way, who is having trouble asjusting to the fact she is an adult and is responsible for herself now.
I think you need to start slowly taking a step back. Imo this is what the teenage years are for, I had a job at 14 and by 16 the only thing my parents provided was board and food. By 18 I was out on my own, but had had those 2 years of learning how to manage money and a bit of how the world works, the erratic kind of early teenage behaviour was pretty much out of my system. It sounds like your daughter needs to go through this, as due to events when she was 13 and you making up for it by giving her whatever she wanted, this stage has never really happened.
When she texts me I often ask her what she wants to do and how can i help her, I know I have to stop doing this though. At times I feel I have created a monster by always giving in to her but at the time I didn't know how else to deal with it. I will also say that from the day she was born I had post-natal depression very badly and have spent all her life trying to 'make up for it'. I feel guilty I didn't love her as much as I ought to have done, so bought her things to compensate. obviously she didn't know anything about it, but it made e feel that at that point I was being a good mother. Then when I got divorced I would give her all my attention and every penny I had to make her happy so she wasn't affected by it too much. Then after her step-dad was killed I bought her everything to 'take her mind off things'... clearly I know this wasn't the right thing to have done at any of the stages but it was as much for me as it was her. My new husband is just amazing, he is patient and accommodating but says I must start letting her make her own mistakes or I'll have a breakdown with the worry of it all.
I will say I did make her get a job as soon as she was old enough, at 16 she started cleaning at a local hotel and she always knew that sitting at home unemployed was never going to be an option she in her defence she does have a good work ethic, it's just she need to understand the real world does come with problems that I won't/can't always be able to sort out for her.
Thank you all for your advice, it really helps to have people who don't know me confirm that what I am thinking or feeling is actually ok ....
She has had you fixing stuff and being her main focus inher life she doesnt sound that spoiled just indulged and a bit immature her texting you shows she stilltrusts you to be there for her, treat her moaning as just that moaning have stock answers like thats a shame dear or how are you going to sort<problem> its her life let her get on with it
I think the fact that you're there to support her is great - but she shouldn't be running to you with every problem. I'm 21 and do ask my mother for advice sometimes, but I don't ring or text her with every single thing that goes wrong, because that's life.
In regard to being hard up, it's going to be difficult when you're first working and running a flat on what I assume is minimum wage? Nothing against minimum wage, I'm on it myself, but I do know I would struggle to run a flat and all the bills it includes alone on it. If she found a flat or house share (plenty of websites, spareroom.com is one) she might find she had more money to save for when she can afford a flat. There's no need to run a flat alone if she's struggling financially.
I would tell her straight. Tell her that of course you're there for her and she can always text or ring for a chat, and that you'll advise her on any big problems, but that she's an adult and needs to learn to deal with the low level stuff herself. Tell her that you have your own life to lead and you can't be micro managing another adult's life. There's a difference between being a mum and being a nursemaid OP, and you sound fab so try not to let it get you down. Start ignoring the low level whinging texts maybe? If you don't offer an immediate solution or sympathy she'll get on with it/problem solve herself anyway. Please don't feel guilty OP, she has to live her own life and make her own mistakes and sometimes you do have to learn the hard way.
I went to uni at 18 a very clueless and spoilt child. I'm leaving this year, and I'm not perfect, but I've learnt to do things for myself/problem solve and just sort my shit out because there was no one else about to do it for me. I think your dd maybe needs to the same - don't reply to her constant texts and let her get on.
I think 21 is quite young these days im sure we parents protect them longer than our parents did i was a mum at 21
You have to be busy op no sorry Dd i cant drop everything and come running i am busy
From the other side; around that age I was a menace! Went out all the time, took drugs, had short lived jobs and had a shabby flat with a lad I didn't really like & called my mum for loans when my money inevitably ran out every month.
Literally woke up one day & thought 'can't be arsed with this'. Fast forward nearly 10 years I have a management position, completed a uni diploma, own my own home, long term relationship with a loyal & trusting man and new ds.
Your daughter sounds like a normal twentween something to me.
I think you have all pretty much said the same thing, that I have to let her get on with things herself, but just let her know I am always here for her.
I will learn to start saying no, but having carried a burden of guilt/inadequancy for 21 years is going to take some breaking - but I will do it. I know I have to for all our sake's and I am sure she'll thank me one day!
A big thank you to madein1995 - for one so young you have a very wise mind - please don't take that as patronising because that's not how I intended it. (smile)
She's essentially lost two fathers at key developmental stages in her life. A lot of 21-year-olds struggle to stick at things without those kinds of traumatic experiences. It is not surprising that she has issues committing to boyfriends and career options when the rug has been pulled out of her so horrendously in the past. You may have moved on and got a new man but there is still a hole in her life. I can see that the texts etc. might seem frustrating, but she sounds like she's trying to reach out to you. Telling her to go to counselling as a "fix" is a little short-sighted and she might interpret that as you abandoning her or pushing her onto someone else.
I'd say give her a break rather than coming down hard on her. She will find her way eventually. And, to say you hate your daughter based on the contents of that post means YABVVVU. Most twenty-somethings have "tried drugs". I was expecting a list of totally unreasonable behaviours or something that would remotely justify hating your own child. None of that stuff does, even remotely.
I think you're being too hard on yourself op.
Focussing on the positives, she's got a good work ethic but maybe doesn't know what she wants to do with her life yet - the work ethic is a great thing, and to be honest I think a lot of 21 year olds have no idea what they want to with their lives.
She's made moves to live independently - it sounds like she has a bit of spunk about her if she's doing on minimum wage. Alright, she's not getting it quite right and needs to review the situation to find a more manageable solution, but on the whole it's a positive step.
I don't think you've created a monster; I think a lot of people are over reliant on supportive parents in the first few years of leaving home.
I do think you need to stop being 'the solution'. 'Oh dear, that must be tough, what are you going to do about it?'
Does she feel that she's forced to stay with her boyfriend in order to afford the flat?
She's only twenty one though. And a single child so where I had my siblings to confide in and talk to about things she doesn't have that and so comes to you. I don't think not knowing what you want to do at 21 is uncommon. I'm thirty and have a few different jobs and been to uni and college and now don't do either of those things.
Why doesnt she want to do hairdressing? one of my friends quit because she was insecure and didn't feel confident that she was good enough. She practiced on friends and family until she was confident and then started self employed.
She doesn't sound bad just a bit lost which is understandable considering she has been through a break up, a step parent dying and bring spoiled. I think you need to take a deep breath and relax. My parents still help me out. My mum and me message each other multiple times a day (we both do its not one sided) but like wise me and my sister are very close and I confide in her things I may be wouldnt bother my mum with but she's probably telling everything to you. It's good to have a sounding board and if her relationship isn't strong what sort of friends does she have to confide in? I honestly don't think anything you have wrote sounds particularly unusual at her age except the way you are reacting to it and feeling really anxious and worried by it.
As the above poster expressed, focus on her positives. You haven't created a monster, she works, has a flat etc. she's not a drug addict (lots of youngsters 'experiment' with substances) or engaging in criminal acts. Cut yourself some slack, perhaps you need counselling more than she does. Have you come to terms with all that's happened to you? Parenting is not easy and doesn't stop when dc's turn 18, it's on going and transient. I have 4 dc's, and even though the eldest is 24, I will always be her mum, just as much as the youngest one
Continuously fixing all your dd's problems means that she has had no opportunity to learn how to solve problems for herself. It's more that she can't rather than won't. She needs to learn coping skills and, in order for that to happen, you need to learn to stop jumping into the breach every time there is a problem. It won't be easy for either of you to change deeply ingrained habits but it is neccessary. You can support her by discussing the issues and possible strategies that she could employ, however, fundamentally DD needs to know that she must and can do things for herself.
My Dd did 4 years in college did a complete you turn in career and is nearly 23 can still be a complete
brat pain at times
On the money side. My perspective as a 25yr old: Offer to help her work out her budgeting rather than bail her out financially. Of all my friends its the ones whose parents help work out the practicalities, rather than just fixing it with money etc that grow up sooner and do better/become happier overall. The ones whose parents give money to help them, never get anywhere, its just a constant cycle of money, spend, oh crap need bailing out, money, spend, oh crap need bailing out again, and so on.
I have a 19yo who is working in a low paid job and living at home whilst applying to HE for the second year running. She has struggled with MH issues (anxiety and depression) as well as poor physical health over many years.
What we are mainly working at is a gradual move towards more independence: she is encouraged to expect less and less when it comes to actual physical support. So when she has a panic attack on her way home from work she knows she can ring me, but what will happen is I will talk her down so she can then book a taxi (which she will pay for).
No, it is not the same level of independence that I had at her age (was working abroad with very limited telephone access and certainly could not have expected any direct help from parents). But given her problems, it is definitely moving in the right direction, and I have to be proud of that.
Your dd has a good work ethic (as does mine). Something to be proud of for both of us. The rest of us- how much support, financial or otherwise, to give at any one moment is something that has to be re-evaluated all the time.
allpheasant - there are obviously things which I haven't gone into yet but there are many many reasons why I have felt seriously negative feelings towards DD. (I will say that I have never ever told her I think these things though, just FYI). Like, she has her horse which costs over £300 a month to keep and which she refuses to sell. Like, she persuaded me to be guarantor for her new flat against my better judgement and which she knows is causing me worry in case she just leaves her current job and I have to pay the rent and bills until she gets another job. Like, asking me to sell a house I rent out and give her the money to buy a small holding in Wales where she can look after horses and told me I was selfish when I said no. Like, in the past year we have moved her from home to flat, to new place, to storage and to new flat again with barely a word of thanks. Despite all this, I seriously cannot do right for doing wrong. She knows I had very bad PND and have had several courses of counselling over the years, she knows I feel inadequate almost all the time, she knows how much I have done for her and spent on her but it's not enough apparently and I just don't know how much more I can take.
She is a very bright girl so it's not as if she isn't aware of how her actions make me feel but she still does it. THIS is why I feel the way I do - not just for no reason. She left hairdressing as she didn't like the bitchiness and I said to her it's fine, you may go through several jobs until you find the one you like, but that doesn't mean she can float through life with no responsibilities and expect me to pick up the pieces.
I lay awake at night worrying myself sick about her but it's not doing me any good.
Pleese stop renting her houses serioysly just stop do you pay for the hirse sell it if she isnt up kerping it you had PND 21 years ago you lovey were ill you have nothing to make up for
Ah this last post changes things a bit. She has no right to expect you to keep on paying her some kind of compensation for the fact that you were ill. You have to stop acting as if you are somehow guilty here.
My general rule of thumb is not to give dc more than I can give without resentment. If it is wearing me down or making me seethe with resentment (for more than the odd minute when I am tired and in a bad mood), then it is too much. That horse definitely sounds too much.
she sounds like me when i was 20, I wouldnt say you hate her you probably just dislike as i suspect my mum disliked me.
What i always wanted my mum to do was be there for me, I dont know the ins and outs of your relationship but that is what i wanted, i felt like she wasn't there for me and because of that i acted negatively towards her.
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