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Difficulties with young adult DD(16 Posts)
I have never posted on this part of MN, indeed rarely start threads. I'm a long-time MNer but have name changed for this in case identifying details emerge.I have no wish to drip feed.
For a long time, DD's response to my criticisms about habits/behaviour, e.g. not locking doors when leaving the house, leaving heating on when house is empty, leaving shit stains in the lavatory, has been to say I am angry ( annoyed from my point of view) or shouting (never) and that I scare her. It all becomes about my manner and never about what she's actually done/not done. It's me being stressed. Every time.This has been the case since her early teens. When I point this out, this is me being scary again.
I should say that as a teacher, I am accustomed to me being the problem, me being the scary one, and yes, I do have a stone face when being manipulated, one I acquired in the years of being brought up by a DM with mental health issues.
DD is 21, lives at home as a student, and in the current economic climate, unlikely to move out, nor would I wish it as a solution.
For background, she works for her pocket money but is otherwise supported by me.
DH died a few weeks ago, but this is not related to the attitude, which long precedes his death.
I felt so exhausted by the last bout: they are not frequent, but intense.
She should be working at that age not relying on you for pocket money (I know not point of post)
Maybe try not talking about it but leaving notes instead. Saying will be discussed if not rectified.
She is also old enough to know better on everything you mentioned.
I was going to suggest texting her. Trying to keep emotion out of it and just levelling with her, adult to adult.
If you slip into bossy mum mode, she'll slip into moody kid mode.
I would suggest if she can't have the basic courtesy of looking after the house as you would wish then she should seriously think about moving. I would be angry too at her attitude.
She needs to see you as a person not just her mum.
She is deflecting the focus from her behaviour, onto you. It may be just a way to avoid admitting her mistakes, so try not to take it to heart.
I would ask her in writing as a PP suggests, so she can't use deflection as a tactic. Any discussion in person - if she tries to divert the focus onto you, reinforce that you're discussing her behaviour not yours. If she wants to talk about you, it will be done separately and at a different time.
Even though she's been behaving like this for some time I'd be inclined to cut her some slack following your DH (her father?)'s death. Not for longer than about three months though.
Having said that, the examples you describe mean that no-one is ever going to want to share living space with her in the future! If you raise this point with her and she says that she'll modify her behaviour if she moves in with someone else you have to address the issue that she's affording less courtesy to you than to anyone else - not acceptable.
Pesumably you've explained to her the reason for your annoyance (unlocked door is providing easy access for burglars and simultaneously voiding your contents insurance cover, etc etc)? At 21 she should be understanding the mechanics of adult life.
Going back to what I said about cutting her some slack, it might be a good idea to tell her that's what you're doing and that from the start of next term
for example it'll be business as usual. Even a saint would be stoney-faced when encountering a shitty toilet bowl!
Given the examples your response to her emotional manipulation is:
Yes, I am angry. You left the house insecure, we could have lost everything : you left the heating on in an empty house, that costs a bloody fortune : you left shit stains in the toilet and expect me to clean it up after you. What part of that is it unreasonable for me to be angry over?
Quickly followed by You need to grow up and start acting like a responsible adult rather than a child. If I scare you because I am angry do the bloody obvious, stop doing stupid, inconsiderate things!
You too have been bereaved, she doesn't necessarily warrant a continued get of of jail free card. If you need her to grow up and show you and the family home some respect, say so... calmly and repeatedly, over and through any of her repeated excuses.
Give yourself a break, you don't need to pander to her inner 5 year old. She needs to be supporting you as much as you have been supporting her.
Ugh. You poor thing. The only thing that might work is mentioning the shitty bits and pieces in front of her friends. She knows she's a dirty girl, but she may not want them to.
Thank you for your responses, everyone. My OP was written directly after such a confrontation, and when DD came home the same evening, she left the screen door and front door unlocked!! I think she got it this time.
Thanks for the suggestions about texts from a number of posters, I'll try that.
I should say about her pocket money, I do not give her any.
How is your relationship otherwise? Do ye chat? Do ye watch movies or go shopping together? I'm thinking about the unlocked door. Does she have attention difficulties or any learning difficulties like dyspraxia or dyslexia as attention difficulties with these can lead people to forget stuff lose stuff etc.. The toilet is another story.
DD has no learning difficulties and the toilet stuff is pure carelessness rather than anything profound. And that's it; careless.
We talk a lot, love the movies, and I would say our relationship is very good except for the persistent tactic of blaming the messenger, not the message. This has been a feature since her early teens, and it's this that pisses me off, as I've told her.
When DH was alive, we were both acutely aware that she has had a sheltered life; by her age we'd both been living independently at university while here in Australia, staying at home is the norm, and not through idleness. I feel for her that she hasn't had the independence we had at her age, the necessary growing up. She works hard at her paid work, always punctual, never pulling a sickie; it's at home she slacks, becomes the child.
My DD (14 ) does this. It is always that I'm angry or shouting (I dont shout easily or often but she says I do anyway) never what she could have done differently. Drives me to dispare.
Though you mention one or two odd habits like not cleaning the toilet after her or not turning the heating off, its hard to get a real impression of the problem. You don't mention how housework is shared or cooking or who does the washing up, so its actually quite hard to get a sense of how you live together. Or what she is like generally as a person, since you say you get on well otherwise. Do you do everything in the home cleaning, cooking, shopping etc? Is she quite independent? Does she socialise generally?
It may be that she is not hearing you. You may need to lay a few rules on the line. And stick to it. Get angry if they're not adhered to. And consequences. But it really depends what the general picture is and as I said I think its a bit hard to see from the couple of examples you give. Not locking the door just seems very odd more than anything else.
Sorry for your bereavement. This is an awful time for you both, so maybe things are looming larger than they might otherwise.
Tbh, I think that phrasing these things as 'criticisms' might have the reverse effect and just put her back up.
Try other approaches - show her the gas bill? Tell her a story about a girl whose housemates/boyfriend left her due to her poor loo-cleaning? Leave the door wide open just before she comes home with a gadget of hers in view? Arrange for a crime prevention person to come around and give a chat about security?
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