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Thread: Family drama help

  1. #1
    Member powersackers's Avatar
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    Family drama help

    Looking for some help with my wife and daughter's current situation.

    My 20 yr old step daughter who just returned Tuesday from a month long trip to Alaska which we paid for to stay with her boyfriend and his family wanted to drive to Pittsburgh for her boyfriends cousins wedding today. Her boyfriend and his parents are not attending as they are in Alaska.

    My stepdaughter plays NCAA soccer on scholarship but otherwise lives with us and has no income. She drives a jeep i finance in my name and has every thing a nice middle class family can afford her. She's a good young lady.

    My wife did not want her go away again 4 days after returning from being away a month and so close to the date of going back out of state for college. So they argued about it yet my stepdaughter drove there anyway Friday while we were at work.

    My wife disconnected her iPhone and is close to reporting she took the car without permission to the police. I don't think she'll do that. But she's mad so I don't know.

    I can't get through to either of these stubborn women to figure this out win-win. I fear what might happen next.

    Is there anything I can do or say short term to help them get through this?

    Mike
    Attended 1976 World Series in my Mother's Womb. Attended 1990 World Series Game 2 as a 13 year old. Want to take my son to a a World Series Game in Cincinnati in my lifetime.

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  3. #2
    One and a half men Patrick Bateman's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    Hard to deal with mad people. They aren't going to want to agree.

    But for a resolution to happen, they need to understand the other's point of view. Not agree with it, but understand.

    Your daughter presumably wants the freedom of an adult and that a 20 year old has the right to.

    Your wife wants to see her daughter before she goes away, and maybe seems to think your daughter is coming across a bit "entitled", doing what she wants, but only has that ability because of what you have afforded her.

    Seems like both sides have a degree of being right, but simply have different priorities. Discussing those priorities together, understanding them, and coming towards a mutual resolution is the answer. No quick fixes. Both sound look good, reasonable people, just a matter of putting themselves in each other's shoes.

    And if your daughter doesn't like it, tell her to get a damn job, and her own car, and then she can do what she wants without respecting you if that's what she wants to do. She's an adult and should understand the value of the great things you have afforded her.

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  5. #3
    A Little to the Left Redsfaithful's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    I am not going to comment on the rest, but it is hard to see getting the police involved as having a good outcome, ever. An arrest could potentially affect her scholarship I imagine.
    We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
    --Oscar Wilde

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  7. #4
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    I have two daughters, 20 and 24, who depend on us financially so this kind of thing comes up, but fortunately without much conflict.

    Basically, you and your wife have given your (step) daughter freedom and the financial means to enjoy that freedom. Presumably because you trust her to make rational decisions. Now, she makes a decision you don't agree with (and frankly its not such a terrible decision...going away for the weekend instead of hanging out with her parents at home and doing what?) and your wife is looking to change the terms of that covenant. I wouldn't do that, especially if there hasn't been a clear conversation beforehand of what would be the consequences of contradicting your wishes.

    Frankly, I would.
    1) Turn back on the iPhone. She cannot and should not be without communications. She will be on the road and emergencies can happen (yeah, I know she can still dial 911, but no...she needs to be able to reach YOU if necessary).
    2) When she gets back home be prepared to talk about what the terms of your deal are. What are your expectations from her (school, social behavior, life choices, etc.) and what the carrot and stick are. Keep in mind that the financial card is a very heavy one, and you can't overplay it, since it can backfire.
    3) Take the drama out of these things. People LOVE to go all soap opera about those things. The side who doesn't, gets the upper hand in the negotiations.

    just my $60,000
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

    http://dalmady.blogspot.com

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  9. #5
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    Re: Family drama help

    Quote Originally Posted by powersackers View Post
    My wife did not want her go away again 4 days after returning from being away a month and so close to the date of going back out of state for college. So they argued about it yet my stepdaughter drove there anyway Friday while we were at work.
    Here is the crux if your immediate concern.

    We could delve into the minutia of who said exactly what, but let's go meta instead.....

    #1 your daughter is of an age and station where one of her primary life goals is to separate from her family unit, to figure out the boundaries of where she begins. It looks to me like she's doing fine.

    #2 your wife has issues with #1. You need to help her with this, I'm guessing she has two separate problems. "The kid doesn't respect me" and "my baby is grown."

    While in the meta sense your kid is in the right. You probably want to keep living with your wife.

    This means you need go take your wife's side and diluted her anger at her daughter. The two of you need to present a clear front on exactly what you expect of your daughter. advise that you do not attach consequences to her not following your expectations at this point, but just make those expectations known.


    Yeah mind are 22 and 20, I've seen this too.
    "Even a bad day at the ballpark beats the snot out of most other good days. I'll take my scorecard and pencil and beer and hot dog and rage at the dips and cheer at the highs, but I'm not ever going to stop loving this game and this team and nobody will ever take that away from me." Roy Tucker October 2010

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  11. #6
    Member CTA513's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    I don't have any kids, but if you guys really want the car back I would probably tell her she has X amount of days to bring the car back before just reporting it to the police.
    Lots of things could go wrong when the police are looking for a car that will probably be listed as stolen.

  12. #7
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    I am not going to comment on the rest, but it is hard to see getting the police involved as having a good outcome, ever. An arrest could potentially affect her scholarship I imagine.
    One should always think long and hard about calling the police in these kind of family matters. Understand that if the police get called, criminal charges may very well follow, and once criminal charges get filed, it may be difficult to get charges dropped if your wife changes her mind later. One thing police and prosecutors don't really care for is when parents file charges against their kids and then try to say they don't really want their kid to be convicted, they just want the kid to be taught a lesson. It's called "parenting by cop" and really ticks off just about everyone in the criminal justice system because it's a waste of resources.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

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  14. #8
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs View Post

    While in the meta sense your kid is in the right. You probably want to keep living with your wife.

    This means you need go take your wife's side and diluted her anger at her daughter. The two of you need to present a clear front on exactly what you expect of your daughter. advise that you do not attach consequences to her not following your expectations at this point, but just make those expectations known.
    I don't necessarily agree here. Granted, I'm not married, but supporting irrational reasoning on something serious is not a way to go about things.

  15. #9
    Hisssssssss Yachtzee's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    Another thing to think of: if your step-daughter gets charged, the charges may carry potential jail time. The judge may well insist that she be represented by counsel because of the potential for jail time. In those cases, guess who usually ends up paying for an attorney.
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

  16. #10
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I don't necessarily agree here. Granted, I'm not married, but supporting irrational reasoning on something serious is not a way to go about things.
    I agree- I think there are ways to support your spouse and disagree.
    I'm interested in jobs and you won't create jobs by forcing employers to pay their employees $9/hr- Sea Ray
    I'd say min wage should be about $9/hr - Sea Ray

  17. #11
    One and a half men Patrick Bateman's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    Quote Originally Posted by Yachtzee View Post
    Another thing to think of: if your step-daughter gets charged, the charges may carry potential jail time. The judge may well insist that she be represented by counsel because of the potential for jail time. In those cases, guess who usually ends up paying for an attorney.
    And draw a greater line between mother and daughter.

    Rational people. Discuss what you want and expect from relationship.

  18. #12
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    Re: Family drama help

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I don't necessarily agree here. Granted, I'm not married, but supporting irrational reasoning on something serious is not a way to go about things.
    Not entirely sure which part you disagree with.

    I've been married some time now and I'm pretty sure that declaring my wife's reasoning as irrational would have negative consequences even, no especially, when it's true that her reasoning is irrational.

    If you disagree with separating consequences from expectations, that is very much taking the daughters side. As several folks have pointed out calling the police on your daughter is not a good place to be. Given the information powersackers has presented, I'm not confident the daughter has actually done anything wrong. She's a 20 year old who has made a decision that her mother doesn't like. Frankly I suspect MOST of us have at least been in that neighborhood.

    Now, PowerSackers can't simply take his daughter's side. He's married and a bit caught in the middle. In my opinion what he needs to do is help his wife to see and accept their daughters' growing sense of independence ...(cause frankly....cutting off cell phones and car access is just going to accelerate that independence.) ....If PowerSacker goes about this by trying to convince his wife that she is irrational....well, I know in my household sparks would most certainly fly and I would be a very unhappy dfs. The kid is going to be gone in a couple of weeks, and the wife is hopefully going to be around much longer.

    If it were my wife I would try and focus her feelings on how much we love our daughter and will miss her once school starts with an extra dose of pride at how independent the daughter is becoming and how great it is to have a kid who can finance her own schooling by playing a competitive sport. I would make a show of anger that the daughter left w/out telling you where she was going and then show her I was glad she was safe.

    At least that's my reading. I'm sure PowerSacker will chime in if I've got it way wrong.
    Last edited by dfs; 07-26-2014 at 10:09 PM. Reason: tapatalk drives me nuts sometimes.
    "Even a bad day at the ballpark beats the snot out of most other good days. I'll take my scorecard and pencil and beer and hot dog and rage at the dips and cheer at the highs, but I'm not ever going to stop loving this game and this team and nobody will ever take that away from me." Roy Tucker October 2010

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  20. #13
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    Re: Family drama help

    Your wife's angry. Your stepdaughter is stubborn. That's a pretty big difference. Or so it sounds. Not much you can do about the stepdaughter. I agree with dfs. Try to make your wife see it for what it is.

  21. #14
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    Re: Family drama help

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs View Post
    Not entirely sure which part you disagree with.

    I've been married some time now and I'm pretty sure that declaring my wife's reasoning as irrational would have negative consequences even, no especially, when it's true that her reasoning is irrational.

    If you disagree with separating consequences from expectations, that is very much taking the daughters side. As several folks have pointed out calling the police on your daughter is not a good place to be. Given the information powersackers has presented, I'm not confident the daughter has actually done anything wrong. She's a 20 year old who has made a decision that her mother doesn't like. Frankly I suspect MOST of us have at least been in that neighborhood.

    Now, PowerSackers can't simply take his daughter's side. He's married and a bit caught in the middle. In my opinion what he needs to do is help his wife to see and accept their daughters' growing sense of independence ...(cause frankly....cutting off cell phones and car access is just going to accelerate that independence.) ....If PowerSacker goes about this by trying to convince his wife that she is irrational....well, I know in my household sparks would most certainly fly and I would be a very unhappy dfs. The kid is going to be gone in a couple of weeks, and the wife is hopefully going to be around much longer.

    If it were my wife I would try and focus her feelings on how much we love our daughter and will miss her once school starts with an extra dose of pride at how independent the daughter is becoming and how great it is to have a kid who can finance her own schooling by playing a competitive sport. I would make a show of anger that the daughter left w/out telling you where she was going and then show her I was glad she was safe.

    At least that's my reading. I'm sure PowerSacker will chime in if I've got it way wrong.
    I'm sorry, I disagree with most of this.

    The daughter just sounds like she needs a dose of reality and a proverbial 'kick in the butt.' How hard is it to take away her iPhone and Jeep? (Now, I wouldn't take away her phone until she gets back for emergency purposes and I wouldn't call the police, but something substantial needs to be done.) She's 20 and living in her mother's house. If that speeds up the independence process, then great. It sounds like she needs it. The daughter will realize one day why it's happened and feelings will cool. That's part of growing up.

    It's way past 'talking about feelings.' She's going to a wedding of her BOYFRIEND's relation in which HE'S not even going to be there. The mother is absolutely in the right on this one. She paid for the trip, her jeep, and her phone. My parents paid for a lot of my crap, but they would've put their foot down if something like that would've happened.

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  23. #15
    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Family drama help

    Mom wants her 20 year old daughter to do as she says. And if she doesn't, by God, she's taking stuff away.

    That's petty.

    When you support someone, you aren't blackmailing them.
    I'm interested in jobs and you won't create jobs by forcing employers to pay their employees $9/hr- Sea Ray
    I'd say min wage should be about $9/hr - Sea Ray

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