Wanting to have your cake and eat it...(31 Posts)
17YO DD went to her (nice) boyfriend's yesterday afternoon. She phoned home in the early evening. DH, her father answered then put her on to me at DD's request. She asked if it was ok to spend the night there. I said she had no clean clothes, make-up which she never goes out without etc, with her and things to do but she was adamant that didn't matter. (She has stayed over previously.) Recently I've told her she doesn't need to ask if she can do things as she just goes ahead and does them if I advise against it anyway, so she should take responsibility for her choices and just tell her DF and me where she is etc - she's pretty sensible.
An hour later DH remembered that a private pupil of DD had called round expecting a session with DD that DD had obviously forgotten about so I called, pupil's phone number in hand to let DD know to ring her and offered to drive DD and BF home so she'd have clean undies etc today. DD declined the offer and asked me to text her her pupil's number as that would be easier for her than her taking a note of it apparently . When I texted with the number I included a quite long message about how it's fine for her to require her BF to be as considerate with her as she is with him and stick to living the way she prefers to (ie say no to staying over if he hasn't asked her before she left home)
Just before this I'd been on DD's FB page - she added me as a friend recently for convenience when she was abroad - and looked at a photo of her BF wearing face paints (for a jokey thing). Stupidly I clicked on his name and got on to his page, on which was a very recent jokey status about him disappointing DD by telling her he was gay. Clearly a 'joke'. Even more stupidly though, when DD then texted again, to tell me she'd rearranged the tutoring session I joked about this status, thinking I was being funny.
When she got home DD said she was furious I'd been looking at BF's FB - the joke status was put up by her as a frape, 'facebook rape'and BF was offended when she showed him my texts "accusing him of not respecting her". I apologised for offending her BF and accepted her assertion that she was genuinely happy to be at BF's home without her make-up etc and attempted to explain what I'd meant in my long message (which ended 'love from mum'). DD claimed I hadn't meant my message kindly, wouldn't accept my apology and was unrepentant about showing my texts to her BF - apparently they each know the other's phone passwords.
She has previous history of stirring - reporting any uncomplimentary remarks about DH and me made by her friends/BF and once a teacher back to me and enjoying me stupidly taking the bait and giving her a reaction. When DH and I told her off for letting BF see my ill-judged texts that weren't meant for him she continued to do her drama queen bit. She unfriended me and instructed her friend who yesterday made a friend request to me (!) to withdraw it! Although I'm secretly disappointed, I told DD that the unfriending was a good idea as I hadn't enjoyed seeing her drinking-game video and similar. It actually probably is a good idea - she was 'annoyed' when I failed to like their 'In a relationship' status, annoyed when I liked photos of her ....
Now DD and I are furious with each other - I want to cancel her phone contract and she apparently doesn't give two hoots for the fact I've let her Bf spend nights here (from the very first time he came over when we didn't know they were dating) been kind and welcoming, cooked nice meals, followed her instructions about not asking him any questions.... All because I looked at his FB and dared to make a joke. She also said that if I'd said it wasn't ok to stop over at the BF's she'd have been annoyed, but she'd have come home! That would have been a first and I said I'd drive them both back anyway.
Where to go from here? - I'm fed up of her stirring and expecting me to know exactly what to say/what not to say at all times.
Sorry this is so long and ridiculous but I feel so stupid, frustrated and disappointed.
Apologies aside ...
Regardless of your good intentions, at 17 she is not going to interpret your actions the way your believe they should be
In all honestly I think you are way too involved - back off and get off Facebook - let her live her life and come to you willingly rather than feel criticized watched and judged at every step (even tho you don't mean to)
I can empathise with your DD. I see it's well meant but I think from her perspective all she sees is you interfering and constantly thinking about / monitoring what she's doing. For example:
She says she's staying over at BF's, you point out about clean pants etc, she says it doesn't matter. You are both apparently in agreement that this is her decision.
You then called with the phone no and repeated the offer to bring her home. She declined.
You then texted with the number and wrote all about how she should come home if she wants plus some hypothesising about whether her BF was pressuring her not to come back for her clothes. She still doesn't want to come home.
You then (from her perspective) went on FB and checked out her BF's profile and presumably were still thinking about the whole staying overnight thing.
If I were your DD that would be an absolute recipe for pushing my buttons. She makes a decision which in the grand scheme of things matters not one jot anyway, and you have then spent the rest of the day analysing it/ her relationship with her BF. I would have wanted you to just let it go- and would have HATED the sense that you were thinking about it that much. There's something very intrusive about knowing someone is thinking about you that much, it feels like being watched.
The FB thing was pretty badly timed I fear- probably your DD perceived that as after a day of analysing her harmless decision (stress again her decision), the two of you had finished the text exchange but although she thought you'd finally let it go, you still hadn't and instead were reading about her BF on Facebook.
I'm sure I'm not getting her side of things spot on but I'm trying to present a possibility of why she's so pissed... For me it would be like a nice day with my BF interrupted by the constant need to justify what I was doing, the implication that my decision was a poor one, the consequent implication that my minor decisions still have to be able to stand up to scrutiny... And to cap it all would be your feeling that I was overreacting to a joke about FB when in fact that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
As I say, I do see that you intentions were loving and I am quite sure that your DD wouldn't tell the story exactly like I've just told it. But hopefully this helps give an alternative perspective.
Sorry but I think you need to back off, she's 17 not 12.
You are being way to -over bearing-- involved.
Sorry, I know it's not nice to hear.
Why should your dd have been 'repentant' at showing her texts to her boyfriend? That seems to me a totally normal thing to do, I really don't understand why you are angry about that.
Also why did you send her the long text? Do you think her boyfriend is pressuring her to do things she does want to do? If so a text really doesn't seem the best place to have what might be a very sensitive conversation.
If I were your dd I would think that on the one hand you are telling her to make her own decisions, but then you are not accepting the decision she has made (to stay over) but repeatedly questioning it.
That's not to say that there may be lots of reasons why your dd is annoying you and why your relationship is so difficult, but your expectations do seem on the face of it slightly unreasonable.
You say she is a sensible girl and her boyfriend is nice. Perhaps you need to back off a little?
Gosh back off and let her get on with it. When she texts you her intentions, the correct response is "Ok have fun" because she's been considerate to let you know, she's not looking for your input.Think back to when you were that age, no mobiles then, but would you have wanted your mother interfering if you had plans for spending the night with your bf?
Leave her be, she's seventeen!
She was decent enough to tell you her plans. The correct response to that is "sure, have fun, let me know if you need picking up tomorrow!", not what you said, which no doubt came across as disapproving and critical, especially when you carried on mentioning it in subsequent calls and messages.
Nosing on her boyfriend's Facebook (if you have genuine access to it) is one thing, but commenting on it to her and criticising his posts is quite another. It's her relationship, let her get on with it. It's really not advisable to criticise your children's choice of boyfriend/girlfriend. It'll just push them further away.
I think you are trying to have you cake and eat it. Otoh you recognise that she is old enough to make plans about staying over at her boyfriend's, otoh you want to be mummy and hover round her with clean undies. It really has to be one or the other.
Thank you for your reading my long post and replying. I suppose I know I'm over-involved. And probably jealous of the mums of her friends who are FB friends with their DDs and my DD. And frequently comment on their and my DD's photos etc.
cory - you're right. She's at an in-between stage of wanting to be independent but still wanting my approval. I should have told her it was fine instead of worrying about her BF's parents will think of her. What really annoys me is the way she asks for my permission even after I've told her that she doesn't have to - she doesn't seem to want to take responsibility for her choices despite looking forward to moving out later this year when she starts uni.
the doctor - I do like her BF - he's a lovely boy. That's why I'm frustrated that they're offended. It's probably undone all the times I've shared DD's happiness/smiled and nodded at appropriate times/turned a blind eye to the alcohol he's bought with fake ID.
I feel like I've got my parenting horribly wrong and she just makes a fool of me/give an inch and she takes a mile. She has plenty of friends with parents much stricter than DH and me who (somehow) manage to put their DC under pressure to work hard at school and would have a fit at the very thought of their DC staying over at a BFs.
DD never ever takes advice and seems to have no concept of the fact that compared to the other parents we know we are very liberal. Eg she pestered us to get her a second tutor last year - she was doing almost no studying for that subject and we can barely afford tutors. When we got her one she didn't use the material he gave her and did the bare minimum of work set by him. Even the tutor's patience was wearing thin.
I am kicking myself at joking about the joke status she posted on her BF's wall. However DD 'hacked' into his account, but complained when I looked at a page he has chosen to make public. She herself has form for annoying her friends and me by posting photos of them and me on social networking sites after being asked not to. Eg once when we were shopping we were being silly with the largest bras , DD pestered me to take photos of both of us then put one online and laughingly told me about all the people who had 'liked' it after I'd told her not to put the photos online.
Perhaps because she's fairly sensible on the whole and hasn't given us any serious worries I expect too much from her. On the other hand I often feel I don't ask enough of her - she does almost nothing round the house and gets a lift to school at the very last minute most mornings - she was on the verge of being kicked out of school for her persistent lateness. I'm stopping doing as much for her.
I feel awful now - naïve, stupid and a useless mum. I want to cancel her phone contract but I think she'll tell her BF that I don't approve of him and blame me when they break up.
giraffes - I've just re-read your kind post. Thank you for offering some perspective. She must feel criticised indeed. But I am still annoyed with her refusing to be contrite about showing my texts to her BF and rejecting my apology.
choco You have my sympathy - I have a 17yo DD (who has a BF) and it is really hard at times to get it right.
You say she is going to uni this autumn?. Then she is going to need to be independent but it sounds as though she too is finding the adjustment hard - hence why she still asks your permission. It is so hard to back off when you have been closely involved in their lives - but they have different standards to us. If we were going away for the night we would want clean pants as the minimum, but now I try and look at it that if DD doesn't have clean pants, or make-up or her books for the next day then that will teach her that she needs to organise these things in advance, and I make a conscious decision to try and let her get on with it. Then when things go wrong (they usually do!) she will sometimes tell me, and has usually worked out what she will do next time.
As far as FB is concerned, try and put it behind you. In the world of FB, there is bound to be another huge drama that they will be focussing on, probably later today, so you commenting will be quickly forgotten. I am FB friends with my DD but never comment on anything as I am much too old to be included in her and her friends' 'banter'. A close friend of mine is FB friends with her DD and her DD's BF and the three of them (plus others) often comment on things on the wall - visible to everyone, and from my point of view, my friend just looks so undignified joining in with them. You say you feel jealous of other mums commenting - I wouldn't be, as it is possible that the DDs in question do not welcome this involvement either.
You sound like a lovely mum who has made every effort to be friendly and welcoming to the BF. You say he is a nice boy - my DD's BF is a nice boy and I am very fond of him, so I do understand. I expect that deep-down your DD and the BF know that you and your DH have been good to him - not every parent would permit sleeping over and I am sure they are both aware of that.
Thank you for your kindness monikar
To clarify - I didn't comment on FB. I joked about it in a text to DD. Do you think I'm being unreasonably annoyed at her showing her BF my texts?
choco No I don't think you are being unreasonable because you are annoyed that DD showed her BF your texts - I would prefer my text-exchange with my DD to be between me and her too. In fact, I always thought it was, until I texted something about my weak bladder when she was late back one evening, and DD told me later that her and BF had laughed about that on the train. I was cross about that.
I think they are of an age where they will naturally confide in the BF over us as they are approaching adult-hood, but it is hard.
Oh monikar - that was unkind of your DD. Thank you for sharing.
I suppose I'm torn between thinking DD should be grateful for me being patient with her and letting her BF spend days and nights in our small house and feeling stupid that I expect her to be mature when I remember how I was as a teenager.
choco I expect DD to be mature because she is always telling me she is 'nearly 18' and so is 'nearly an adult'. Then she will go and do something that makes me think that she is not very old at all. It doesn't help me that DD is small and so looks a lot younger than she is, so in my head I sometimes think of her as still being younger.
I expect that your DD is grateful for your patience with her and the fact that you allow her BF to stay over - many parents at my DD's school do not permit this, so it is likely to be the same at your DD's school.
I think also, at this age, it is 'all about them' - you mentioned a tutor, so you have done your absolute best to help your DD as much as you can, and you also said that she doesn't do much at home. I know it is a little way off, but I expect when your DD is away at uni, she will see that in retrospect, she had a pretty good life with plenty of privileges and advantages.
(Specialist) uni in our close-by city staying in a student flat.
What's a specialist uni? I think if she's on target to get her required grades (presumably she's just had mocks) then you need to let a lot of stuff go at this point and take a step back in preparation for next year when you won't know what she's doing with whom. As it should be.
Bit of distance, stop dancing to her tune. The BF FB page has inadequate security on it if friends of friends can see his full page.
You are not useless, nor have you done anything wrong, she's being a thin-skinned PITA which is par for the course at 17.
So, less active involvement in the minutia of her daily life, and less worrying about her not having clean knickers and make-up.
Be the liberal parent you are and do things for yourself and OH now, rather than being on tap for her every whim. She will value you more if you aren't there every minute. Or at least appreciate what was done for her when it's less available. Like the transport. She has legs and there is public transport.
She has an unconditional offer (we're in Scotland) of a place on a very competitive course at an institution similar to an art school. I don't want to out myself by explaining further.
Believe it or not I am trying to step back! And I'm genuinely glad that she's having a safe experience of
hundreds of parties and a reduced school timetable before she starts uni.
I think it works both ways though - she can't expect us to cater for her and her (new) BF, fund her phone etc without us ever commenting, especially when she phones to ask permission.
Mothra - thank you so much. at "thin-skinned PITA which is par for the course*. Giving me perspective and making me feel better. Do you have any advice for what I should say/do about her showing my texts to her BF when they were clearly not meant for her?
Thank you for everyone's patience on this thread. It is very helpful.
I feel so much better about the clean pants etc thing. Generational differences indeed.
However if DS ever brings a girl home who does the same I probably will judge....
'Do you have any advice for what I should say/do about her showing my texts to her BF when they were clearly not meant for her?'
Only from what I'd do, but I have very broad shoulders. If I send someone a message or a text, unless it is something very private that I have told them is 'eyes only' then they might well show it to others. That's the risk.
So I'd do nothing, he now knows that you expect him to respect your DD, and she knows that you want her to make choices without pressure from him affecting her. That's enough advice and involvement.
Step away, make yourself some hot chocolate and remember that at 17 she is still very egocentric and inexperienced, and that can lead to occasionally selfish and hurtful behaviour.
When I was 17, I had a belt pouch with a pair of clean knickers, travel toothbrush and deodorant. For those unexpected stay overs and spontaneous parties.
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