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what would you do - dd aged 15 very upset with dp

(37 Posts)
notreally Wed 07-Nov-12 12:23:52

Dd is aged 15 and in year 10. She is a fabulous person, has strong opinions and a real sense of right and wrong.
Last week she caught dh smoking. He had “given up” two months ago, but found a cigarette in his pocket when he was waiting to collect her from the cinema and decided to smoke it. She came out, caught him and went completely ballistic.
Dd rushed home, stormed into the house, and grabbed dp’s dope from the top of the fridge where he has hidden it for many years, or so he thought. She flung it at him, screamed that he was absolutely disgusting, she knew that it was dope. She was crying and really very very upset. Dh devastated. He does smoke dope but never, ever in front of her, or in the house at all. He has thrown the dope away and will never ever bring any into the house again. By the way, the cigarette she caught him smoking was tobacco only.

Dd has calmed down since then, and as, is typical with her, not mentioned it. However, I know this does not mean that she has forgotten about it or that it hasn’t affected her. Dh has refused to speak to her about it. He says he doesn’t know what to say. I am very clear that he must talk to her, that what he says will impact on her for the rest of her life with regards to drugs. I think he needs to take responsibility and be honest with her. I am annoyed he is trying to avoid this, he often jokes with dd about me liking a few glasses of wine but hasn’t the gumption when it comes down to his life choices to explain them (not excuse them) to dd.
What would you advise? Thank you.

Astelia Wed 07-Nov-12 15:51:13

DD has seen right through DH and his charades. He hasn't set a good example and she is right to be disappointed.

Good for her. I hope it shames him into not compromising his health and not wasting family money on legal and illegal drugs.

It is up to DH what he says- but he will have to be very careful as she hasn't any respect for him at the moment. What he should be saying is he won't touch any of it ever again and he is sorry he let her down. Then he will have to earn her trust again through his deeds.

DD sounds fab- you should be very proud. DH sounds like the teenager.

Mrsrobertduvallsaysboo Wed 07-Nov-12 16:04:19

Your husband has behaved like an idiot.
Your poor dd.....

Mrsjay Wed 07-Nov-12 21:48:17

he is a grown up yes he had a sneaky fag your dd is upset with him he could do far worse than have a sneaky fag I am assuming it was tobacco he was smoking he didnt do anything wrong he is allowed to smoke if he wants too,

exoticfruits Wed 07-Nov-12 21:58:04

I'm not surprised that she reacted that way- he is supposed to be the adult. He needs to apologise and be honest.

Astelia Thu 08-Nov-12 00:18:16

Mrsjay there was dope hidden on the fridge. It wasn't just a cigarette.

NatashaBee Thu 08-Nov-12 01:30:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flow4 Thu 08-Nov-12 08:19:51

I think this is something to be resolved - and not - between your DD and your DH, and you would be wise to stay out of it.

Sometime's a teenager's outrage does change a parent's behaviour. Maybe it will now.

But 'going completely ballistic' is never a good way to deal with people. Often, people respond to how they are spoken to, rather than what is said. Maybe your DH is judging it is best not respond to the way your DD behaved - much like ignoring a toddler tantrum - and maybe he's right. Be careful not to undermine DH and/or his relationship with DD. (Incidentally, if it had been the other way round, and your DH had raged at your DD, you would probably have felt he was OTT, and you would not have been surprised if she had been defensive. And someone here would probably have told you the rage was worrying and/or a 'red flag').

I do think it is important to insist teenagers speak to you calmly and respectfully, if they want you to respond calmly and respectfully. Even if your daughter is right, she needs to know that screaming at people doesn't get her results. Sometime's a teenager's outrage can be excessive, manufactured, hysterical and/or manipulative, and you need to beware of encouraging that.

Also - just a thought - presumably you knew your DH sometimes smoked it when you married him, and you knew about the dope hidden in the fridge...? You have tolerated or even respected his choices/behaviour. It seems a bit odd if you now push him to justify himself to your DD when you have never expected him to justify himself to you. If you are still happy with him and the way he lives his life, then I think you should let him deal with this as he sees fit. If you aren't happy , then I think you should challenge him yourself.

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 09:26:15

I think it is worthwhile for both your dh and yourself to reflect over what messages you have been giving your dd throughout her childhood- whether in words or subconsciously:

has she by any chance been made to feel that taking drugs is wrong?

that this is something both her parents agree on and expect her to live by?

that her father is an upright man who can be trusted to act on his principles?

If all the above apply, then she will feel betrayed: a little as if you had found that you dh had a mistress despite protesting his commitment to you. It will feel as if her whole world had come crashing down and she can't trust anything he says.

In which case, flow's advice, excellent though it is, may be unrealistic. How many of us could suddenly be faced by the realisation that our dh's had been living a lie and then proceed to discuss the situation calmly and respectfully with a view to changing his behaviour?

Otoh if you have always made it clear to her that you do not share the attitude that drug taking is morally wrong, then it is a simple matter of healthy living and she should indeed discuss it in a respectful manner. But remember that she will automatically have assumed that you share the values she has been taught at school.

In the same way as my friend assumed that her parents were living a normal life of marital commitment and felt horrendously betrayed when she realised her father had been cheating for many years. She did not behave rudely or hysterically towards her father, but she never trusted a man again, either.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 10:49:59

I agree that you would feel let down by the hypocrisy and the double standards. It is all very well him doing both if he is quite happy for his DD to do both, but I suspect that he wouldn't want her to do either.

ancientandmodern Thu 08-Nov-12 10:57:38

I agree it's the hypocrisy and double standards that any 15 year old would find very hard to swallow--can't say I'm surprised at her reaction. Also, your comment that "he often jokes with dd about me liking a few glasses of wine" I find worrying. It suggests that your DH is happy enough to get on side with your DD and highlight that you are doing something which is recognised as not necessarily the best option but not so happy to be open about his own interest in drug taking (interesting that your DD found his stash which he believed was hidden and which is never used in front of her...)

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 11:09:06

I don't have a problem with drinking because it sociable and once a DC gets to 18yrs it is nice to go to the pub with them, serve wine with a meal etc. if the parent isn't going to introduce their DC to their drug dealer when they are 18yrs then it is entirely different.
DCs do what you do and not what you say. Or they react violently against the hypocrisy -as in OP.

notreally Thu 08-Nov-12 12:35:09

Thank you all for your posts.

Just to clarify, dd's was in a complete state when she confronted dp, there was no attempt at manipulation, this was the way she was feeling, very upset, confused and let down.

Dh is going to talk to dd at the weekend, at the moment he is working long hours and he wants to be able to raise the issue in a calm way. I have told him honesty is the best policy.

With regards to dh's smoking dope, I have tolerated it, I have never respected it, and I am happy to tell dd this as I think she needs to know (unfortunately) that the world is not as black and white as we would like it to be. Dp's "drug dealer" has NEVER EVER come to the house, and of course never would. There is no danger of dd being introduced to him.

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 13:05:10

Have you actually told her that both her parents do not agree/do not intend to abide with the message of drugs which she has been given? Because if not, then she will feel you have lied to her.

"The world is not always black and white" is only a useful message if you would also be able to accept that from her.

We have always declared our attitude towards alcohol openly: "We do not believe it is wrong if partaken of in moderation, but you are not allowed to do it yet because your body is not mature enough." This has worked well, because it was a principle we were prepared to stick with.

My parents otoh have always given the intimation that drinking alcohol is undesirable- but that has also worked, because they knew they were prepared to stand by that principle and demonstrate that they believed in what they were saying.

If you try to excuse your dh with "oh, but the world isn't always black and white, people can't be expected to stand by their standards"- then you may confidently expect your dd to use that on you when she wants to try something she has promised not to do.

fedupwithdeployment Thu 08-Nov-12 13:19:37

I went similarly balistic when I found my mum smoking having supposedly given up. I was 10, and I remember (over 30 years later) yelling, "You'll get cancer and die". She secretly smoked for a further 10 years or so until sadly my prediction came true.

If your DP want to regain her trust, he has to be very honest with your DD and stick to whatever he says. My relationship with my mum was always very strained, and a lot of that related in my eyes to her smoking. I saw her relationship with cigarettes as being more important to her than me. She was a complicated person, but that was my perspective as a child who didn't understand the full story.

Good luck.

DinosaursOnASpaceship Thu 08-Nov-12 13:30:01

I don't think your dd had any right to go ballistic at finding your Dp smoking a ciggerette. He is an adult, she's a child. I'd have thought she was very rude to be honest and would be really unimpressed with her. Although I appreciate my view will be in the minority.

Regarding the dope, well I don't know. But she shouldn't be losing her temper or throwing stuff or shouting at adults.

ChristineDaae Thu 08-Nov-12 13:34:42

To be honest if I was your DD id have probably gone mad at you too. I assume you've had the talk with her about underage drinking/ doing drugs etc but you, her parents, are doing it/ condoning it. I hate drugs, and I'd I found it that about my parents i would freak. Your poor Dd. I really hope you've thought what you are going to do the first time she comes home stoned or having done a couple of lines on a night out... It's going to be a hard one to tackle. sad

Marzipanface Thu 08-Nov-12 13:38:32

Sometime's a teenager's outrage can be excessive, manufactured, hysterical and/or manipulative, and you need to beware of encouraging that.

Nor do I think your dd should be throwing items and screaming at your DP. As the OP above said, he is an adult and she is a child.

You should be encouraging her to talk to him calmly and let her feelings be known. This is an hysterical over reaction. I am not saying her feelings are not valid but she needs to learn how to display her outrage appropriately!

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 13:39:27

* Dp's "drug dealer" has NEVER EVER come to the house, and of course never would. There is no danger of dd being introduced to him.*

There lies the problem-why on earth is he doing something that he doesn't want DD to do when she is old enough? You have to lead by example-the only time you can get away with it is to say, 'you are too young, but you can do it when you are an adult' -it isn't acceptable to say 'I choose to do it but I don't want you to choose to do it when you are an adult'. I suppose it is acceptable by some people, but they can't complain when they copy.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 13:41:28

* But she shouldn't be losing her temper or throwing stuff or shouting at adults.*

But she ought to be able to rely on the adults in her life behaving like adults!

Marzipanface Thu 08-Nov-12 14:04:47

But adults DO smoke and make unhealthy choices. Is 15 not old enough to understand that adults are not infallible?

She is old enough to make her own informed choices and to express her outrage appropriately.

To be fair - I don't have a teenager.

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:24:36

Marzipan, I think that depends on how they have phrased their own teaching on drugs in the past. If they have presented it as purely a health choice (like eating 5 vegs or not) then you might have expected the dd to accept that adults like children may make unwise choices.

But if they had presented drug taking as a question of morality (as many parents do) and led her to believe that they would be disappointed and outraged if she ever chose to do it, then her reactions are not OTT.

My parents regarded drinking as a moral choice and made it quite clear that they would be deeply disappointed (not just concerned on health grounds) if we ever got drunk. For that reason, I would have been totally outraged if I had found my dad swigging from a secret brandy bottle.

As an adult I regard drinking mainly from a health and safety perspective and have made this clear to dc. If they ever did find me drinking to excess, they might find it a bit yucky or they might worry about whether I was ok, but they wouldn't be dealing with the whole hypocrisy question.

Marzipanface Thu 08-Nov-12 14:26:03

Ah ok. So the teens reaction may well be a result of some hypocrisy on the parents side?

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:26:32

In other words, has your dd heard: ]

this is something you must never do even as an adult because it is WRONG


this is something we would rather you didn't do because it is risky

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:30:45

I think even at school drug taking is often presented as a moral issue

unless the parents have explicitly made it clear that they do not regard it as a moral issue, the dd is very likely to believe they do and that that has been their expectations on her

like most of us with married parents who had not specifically stated that they were in an open relationship would have assumed that our parents held to normal ideas of marital commitment and would have been outraged to find one of them being unfaithful

if you let somebody believe you will hold them to expected norms, when actually you do not believe in those norms, that can also be seen as a form of hypocrisy

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