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Thread: "Parental" advice

  1. #1
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    "Parental" advice

    Asking, not giving.

    Tuesday night I got a text from my girlfriend's 18 year old daughter telling me she can't go with my girlfriend and I and her grandmother to my younger nephew's wedding the weekend after next in Iowa. She said she needed to work and pay people back some money she borrowed from them to pay some tickets. A little backstory here: last year my older nephew got married and all four of us were scheduled to go. But she "accidentally" forgot about it when she agreed to house-sit for her aunt and uncle. When I got the text I believed it to be some kind of teen-Emo thing where everyone is lame and not wanting to go to a big event where she barely knows anyone. So I talked to her mom on the phone that night (we live apart but see each other on the weekends) and asked her what the deal was. She told me that they had a huge fight about it and her daughter was insistent on not going even though she had promised not to schedule anything for that weekend like she did last year.

    The next day I talked to her mom and they were trying to work something out. Another one of her objections was that we were planning on renting a SUV since all of us have sedans and fitting four people in a sedan with all our clothes and miscellaneous stuff would be impractical. The girl wanted to take two cars so she wasn't trapped in the hotel or wherever during non-wedding related times. It isn't a big town we're going to but, whatever. Last night I talked to my girlfriend and got an update on the situation. She was basically in tears and more upset than I'd ever heard or seen her. Some more things came to light. The financial situation is worse than I thought. She didn't get an ROTC scholarship she was counting on to go to college in the fall. She'd also got a speeding ticket that she didn't tell her mom about and her aunt and uncle loaned her money to pay for. This was on top of a ticked for her windows being too heavily tinted - which her mom knew about. The girl has been trying to find a job but no luck so far. She's worried that if she does get a job between now and then she can't ask for that weekend off.

    I'm really not very happy about this and while I'm glad my girlfriend has my back, it's caused a huge argument between the two. It's gotten to the point where the girl has threatened to "run away." I believe it's a bluff but even if she were to go through with it, she'd go to her aunt and uncle's who live nearby. However, even though they have been telling her to stand up to her mother, they have no kids and I doubt they would let her stay there for more than a few days. She doesn't like her dad and really doesn't want anything to do with him. Her mom is very worried she's going to lose her like her ex did with her. I'm going over there tonight to pick up my girlfriend (she doesn't have a car) and the girl wants to talk to me about the situation.

    My thoughts are that when someone says to me they are going to do something, they better do it (unless there's an emergency) or else there's going to be a huge problem between us. It's tantamount to lying and since she did basically the same thing last year and she concealed the speeding ticket from her mom I see a pattern of not telling the truth developing. I'm also of the opinion that she has a problem with my family who she met a few years ago when they came here for a weekend. I was assured by her mom that that wasn't the case and that she likes them. However, that's going to be a difficult thing to sell to my family since that happened last year. Various groups of my family have came out to visit me four times in the almost 18 years I've lived here. I'm guessing this will give them less incentive to come out to visit us.

    I'm just not sure what to do or say. The girl and I have had a good relationship. It's not a father-daughter thing it's more of an uncle-niece thing. I've gone to her ballet performances, her Tae-Kwon-Do tournaments, her school plays and the plays/musicals she performs with a local troupe. I've gone to her color guard shows and other school stuff. I've even put together a DVD slideshow for her graduation on Sunday. I want to insist that she comes with us but if I do that, I feel she's going to be a brat all weekend or just go into teenager/sullen mode. If I say it's all right I'm rewarding her mendacious behavior. So I come to you, the parents of RedsZone, for advice. If you have any questions that can illuminate the situation, don't hesitate to ask.
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  3. #2
    A Pleasure to Burn Joseph's Avatar
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    Don't have kids, so I don't have a clue on what works and doesn't on kids that age, but have you told her it's important to you that she go? She may not care, but then again she may like you enough to suck it up and go anyway.

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    Member Sea Ray's Avatar
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    First of all she's got a lot of issues and a lot of growing up to do. That won't change regardless of whether she goes to this wedding. It's not worth WW III.

    I'd handle it this way:

    "You're 18 and an adult. Whether you decide to go is your call. We can't force you. Bear in mind the folks paying for the wedding are paying for a head count and counted you in when you RSVP'd. (Could cost them $50-100/head). We'd love to have you come with us but if you decide you can't make it, you call them and cancel". Make her contact them. I doubt there's a way she can text her way out of this.

    Whatever she decides, wipe your hands of it. You didn't create the problem and you shouldn't have to solve it.

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    Daffy Duck RedTeamGo!'s Avatar
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    I am a parent, but of a small child, so no relevant experience there, BUT, I was a pain in the neck teenager that went through college tuition problems.

    I understand you are upset and frustrated, but it sounds like she is going through a lot of tough stuff right now. Real life is coming at her fast and she doesn't know how to deal and is lashing out. I'm guessing she was knocked down pretty hard by not getting the ROTC scholarship and is embarrassed, upset, angry, etc and doesn't know what to do. She's watching her friends constantly talk about their first college semester and how excited and happy they are and she is afraid she is going to be left behind. I know we are all grisled veterans of life and it may seem a little petty, but to an 18 year old this kind of situation can feel like your entire life is falling apart.

    I suppose my point is, while you are uoset and see it as she is lying, try to put yourself in her shoes right now, she thinks if she gets a job it will solve some issues. I am not saying it excuses her actions, but man, it sounds like she is having a really hard time with life right now. I would talk to her about everything and try your hardest to be understanding of what's going on in her life and try not to make her feel worse.
    Last edited by RedTeamGo!; 05-26-2017 at 10:34 AM.

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    Redsfaithful (05-26-2017)

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    Re: "Parental" advice

    ....Boy. I raised my daughters. Daughter #1 would run through a brick wall for me. Daughter #2.....Daughter #2 had several unofficial run in's with the police and then when everybody thought her life was straightened out she had an official run in with the police. It turns out Ok. ......Just thought I would give you a bit of perspective.

    Kids make choices. Sometimes those choices are not the choices you would have them make. I say it about my children. My dad said it about me. I'm pretty sure his dad said it about him. ...something about free will.

    18 no job and not sure what she's going to do with herself come the fall? ....That's a world of hurt there.

    Here you go Chip. Are you this girls father? Do you think so? Does she think so? I don't know you (other than that you are a calming influence on the board) and I don't know your relationship with your girlfriend or her daughter.
    Do you have the ability to convince her to go with you?
    Do you have the emotional capital to order her to go with you?
    Do you trust this girl to stay out of trouble while you and her mom are out of town?

    18 year olds are in the process of separating from their parents. That's what they DO. It isn't personal. Part of her being able to leave is for the mom to be able to let go.

    I have a ton of questions, but those will do. I don't know your role as "father" in this. What do you want? What do you care if your relations are upset with this girl?
    "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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  10. #6
    Five Tool Fool jojo's Avatar
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    She's simply being selfish.

    She enjoys the benefits of getting things from the family and your efforts to build a relationship but she does not prioritize or value the actual relationships.

    First step: recognize it for what it is....she controls her own choices and she's clearly showing you her priorities in her choices.... dont buy into the excuses that she's going through alot. So is everyone else. She's making clear choices and it's insight into what she truly values. Literally, she can't spend a few hours with a group of people she doesn't know because she would be uncomfortable? Do the math, and it's easy math. 1) how hard would it be to spend a few hours? 2) How much discomfort/"pain" are we really talking about? 3) How much joy would it give you and your girlfriend if she did spend a few hours? Yep, a little bit of discomfort for her would give you guys great joy. And that tiny bit of discomfort is all it takes to prevent her from giving you guys a great deal of happiness. You need to recognize that reality with great clarity. She's being an ******* who can;t be bothered to show you or your GF a ounce of empathy about something that is very important to you (strong relationships with loved ones).

    Second step: accept it for what it is. It is what it is. It sucks and is frustrating that she is selfish and doesn't value having a strong, deep, and meaningful relationship with you, your family, or really your girlfriend (what she is doing is abusing your girlfriends unconditional love and support because she can). That's not a mutually beneficial relationship. It's a one-sided one. Again, accept it for what it is in reality and accept that it is what it is and don't give the emotions it causes in you power.

    Third step: dont invest in one-sided relationships like they are strong, deep, and meaningful ones. Invest in the ones that give return and are between equal partners (people willing to work to build/maintain a strong relationship).

    IMHO, she's got a lot of work to do in order to deserve the effort you've invested in her. You should make her work and earn your investment. You do the things that a good human would do aka, treat her with loving-kindness while making sure she's not starving etc, because you love your GF and it's important to her that she's not dead or starving and because well, a good human would do that anyway. But literally, use all of this other energy and time (the resources you're pouring into a money pit/bad investment) to invest in other things rather than being frustrated that your GF's daughter doesn't value making you or her mother happy.
    Last edited by jojo; 05-26-2017 at 11:10 AM.
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    Member BernieCarbo's Avatar
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    I've had six kids, and I know enough about kids to know that going to my mom's boyfriend's nephews wedding in Iowa would be about 1,000,000th on the list of priorities this summer. Is it really that important to you? Really, this isn't even her family. I would pick another hill to die on and not waste another minute on it. She's at the age where she is figuring things out and exploring independence, which is a good thing.

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    Waitin til next year bucksfan2's Avatar
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Asking, not giving.

    I'm just not sure what to do or say. The girl and I have had a good relationship. It's not a father-daughter thing it's more of an uncle-niece thing. I've gone to her ballet performances, her Tae-Kwon-Do tournaments, her school plays and the plays/musicals she performs with a local troupe. I've gone to her color guard shows and other school stuff. I've even put together a DVD slideshow for her graduation on Sunday. I want to insist that she comes with us but if I do that, I feel she's going to be a brat all weekend or just go into teenager/sullen mode. If I say it's all right I'm rewarding her mendacious behavior. So I come to you, the parents of RedsZone, for advice. If you have any questions that can illuminate the situation, don't hesitate to ask.
    You are in a tough spot here. Just from a complete outsiders perspective, and a little devils advocate thrown in here. I also don't mean to say anything hurtful, just trying to think out loud as to what this kid is doing.

    The first thing that comes to my mind is simple, you are not her father, its your nephew not her's, and the wedding is in Iowa, a long car ride away.

    If you consider that you have an 18 year old who just graduated (or is close to graduating) spending a weekend away from their friends and grad parties isn't exactly a fun thing to do. Also she may be thinking that with her mom away she will have the house to herself.

    I have always thought about family vacations this way, you love them when you are young, when you are in your teenage years to early 20's the seem to be a drag because they take you away from your friends, the older you get the more fun they become, especially when your parents foot a lot of the bill!

    IMO this is up to your GF to make the decision. Fortunately no plane ticket was bought, it doesn't sound like a separate room was booked, basically there may be some ancillary expenses but that is about it. As for her RSVP'ing to the wedding, stuff like this comes up in every wedding. Last minute people can't make it, some can make it to the ceremony but that is it, some come to the reception late because of prior engagements. The bride and groom won't know a difference, and the head count is pretty much official.

    Just one final thought, if she doesn't want to go, it may not be worth having a pouting 18 year old with you all weekend.

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    Re: "Parental" advice

    Quote Originally Posted by BernieCarbo View Post
    I've had six kids, and I know enough about kids to know that going to my mom's boyfriend's nephews wedding in Iowa would be about 1,000,000th on the list of priorities this summer.
    +1. Sounds brutal. If she gets a job and wants to work, fantastic. Sounds like she needs the money.

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    goreds2 (05-30-2017)

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    Re: "Parental" advice

    I would be on her side here. I would get it if it were your wedding, or her sisters wedding or something. But, making her go to your nephews wedding seems silly to me. Hell, I'm over 30 and wouldn't want to go.

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    Quote Originally Posted by dfs View Post
    Here you go Chip. Are you this girls father? Do you think so? Does she think so? I don't know you (other than that you are a calming influence on the board) and I don't know your relationship with your girlfriend or her daughter.
    Do you have the ability to convince her to go with you?
    Do you have the emotional capital to order her to go with you?
    Do you trust this girl to stay out of trouble while you and her mom are out of town?
    No, I'm not her father. She doesn't believe so either however she has told her mother that when/if she gets married she would want her uncle or me to give her away rather than her dad.
    I believe I can convince her to go but one of the issues my girlfriend has been having with her is the girl believes she is being/has been emotionally manipulated by her mom. I don't want to order her to go. I don't have that authority. Nor do I want to guilt her into it. When we made these plans, I didn't hear any protests from her or from her via her mom.
    We do trust her to stay out of trouble when we go out of town.

    Even though I am not her father or really even a father figure, I consider her and her grandmother a part of my family. I organized a whole weekend about 4 years ago when my family came into town to see a Bengals game and to watch me play vintage base ball. My GF's daughter was a part of it. Everyone seemed to love her and she bonded with my younger niece. Last year when she bailed may have been an accident but this year it wasn't. I would like to celebrate this important event with the western and eastern branches of my family. I also fear that if my relations deteriorate with the girl, it could have a negative effect on the relationship between me and my GF. When push comes to shove, people usually choose blood.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
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  20. #12
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    You can't really drag an 18 year old around like you can a child. They can walk, have access to transportation, and have discovered the secret of their agency as a human being. Unless I missed it in your post, is there a strong reason why she needs to be at your nephew's wedding? If it is just to showcase her as an extension of you and your girlfriend ("Look, everyone. We are a family. A family attending this wedding all together. This is the daughter, here, at our table."), I would echo what others have said and not start WW2 over it. I know that at 18, especially if I was stressed over how I was going to afford school, I'd want to spend the weekend either working, planning out my next steps, or having some quality time with friends to alleviate the stress.
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    Re: "Parental" advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    No, I'm not her father. She doesn't believe so either however she has told her mother that when/if she gets married she would want her uncle or me to give her away rather than her dad.
    I believe I can convince her to go but one of the issues my girlfriend has been having with her is the girl believes she is being/has been emotionally manipulated by her mom. I don't want to order her to go. I don't have that authority. Nor do I want to guilt her into it. When we made these plans, I didn't hear any protests from her or from her via her mom.
    We do trust her to stay out of trouble when we go out of town.
    In reverse order.
    Hurrah for you and your girlfriend that you can trust her daughter to keep her nose clean when you are out of town. Really. That's huge. (Just for what it's worth...I would still ask aunt and uncle to look in on her and I would let her know to expect aunt and uncle to look in on her. Hosting a party is far....far worse than attending a party and with social media things can get out of hand quickly)

    Yeah, teenage girls don't always communicate their plans in straightforward ways. Surprise!

    Lots of good stuff healthy stuff here. And then..."the girl believes she is being/has been emotionally manipulated by her mom." Well duh. Of course parents emotionally manipulate their kids. You have to decide if the girl has an honest complaint or not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Even though I am not her father or really even a father figure, I consider her and her grandmother a part of my family. I organized a whole weekend about 4 years ago when my family came into town to see a Bengals game and to watch me play vintage base ball. My GF's daughter was a part of it. Everyone seemed to love her and she bonded with my younger niece. Last year when she bailed may have been an accident but this year it wasn't. I would like to celebrate this important event with the western and eastern branches of my family. I also fear that if my relations deteriorate with the girl, it could have a negative effect on the relationship between me and my GF. When push comes to shove, people usually choose blood.
    And choosing blood isn't always the best choice, but that's a story for another time.

    Four years to a teenager is ....well, they change a LOT in that time.

    Again....outside perspective...the job of kids after the age of 16 is to separate from the family unit in a healthy way. The job of parents is to let them go. I'm guessing this is your/her first at this age? It's messy.

    "I would like to celebrate this important event with the western and eastern branches of my family." Ok. Can you tell her that? And in the act of telling her that do you have anything that you can trade with her that might make her be willing to give up one of her first post graduation weekends? Would letting her drive most of the way have any pull? You might let her know that sometimes when we have a change in scenery we see things from a different perspective and our problems may not look smaller, but they look different.....I'm just typing out loud here.
    "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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    Re: "Parental" advice

    I would not push her and just tell your GF that you will go stag to the wedding. Just say it is not a big deal and have a good time with your family. If you force things with the daughter, it will just be tense and the weekend is not about you guys but the happy couple. Hate to say it but the daughter probably wants the empty house without mom even if it isn't to have a big party. No reason to make this something big and tense but let the GF keep an eye on the daughter and for them to just be okay

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    Re: "Parental" advice

    Gee, I can't understand why an 18 yr old wouldn't want to go to IOWA!! I'd rather do 30 days at hard labor (LOL).

    All kidding aside Chip - and I know you, and your GF. You're both good, reasonable people - I'll throw in my two cents as a parent who has raised three kids to adulthood - and - the fact all of us in this discussion were 18 once..... Can you tell an 18 yr old anything?

    Gray hairs comes from 18 yr olds. My brothers and I are probably the reason my Dad went bald (LOL). And I will also say this, from personal experience (my daughter Rachel) ... 18 yr old GIRLS can be far more "difficult", present more issues (for parents), then 18 yr old boys. Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. And a mother-daughter relationship can even be more tenuous. Especially when she reaches 18. It just seems mothers expect more, press more, from their daughters.

    you spend your entire "youth", being raised, growing up, living with, having to listen to, being told what to do, by your parents. And yes, your parents are simply trying to fulfill their "role" and do what is right when it comes to raising their kids. But when you reach those "teenage years", that's when that seed of "rebellion", wanting to live your own life, make your own decisions, starts to set in and grow. You can't wait till you turn 18 because somehow, in the mind of that teen - and wasn't it that way with all of us? - that's when those "prison doors" swing wind open and you're now FREE! Free to live your own life!

    It's like that scene from Shawshank Redemption when Robbins comes crawling out of that sewer pipe (LOL) ....




    I'm really not clear of her reasoning as to why she doesn't want to go. Have you and your GF sat down with her and asked her exactly why?

    But the bottom-line is simply this - no matter what her line of reasoning for not wanting to go may be - and you and your GF may disagree with that reasoning, even think it's selfish, unreasonable, etc - you're still dealing with a KID (as far as maturity level goes) who, even though they're of adult age (18) is not going to see things your way, no matter how much you try to reason with her, and is only concerned about HER WAY. Yeah, that may seem selfish. Most 18 yr olds are. They're very protective of their new-found independence, and want to make their own decisions.

    I wouldn't push her too much on this. Yeah, you (and GF) can let her know how much you want her to attend, how important it is to YOU, and that may/may not persuade her. If she sticks to her guns and doesn't want to go, then maintain your cool, let her know that you love (care) for her, RESPECT her decision, yet also let her know you're disappointed in her decision.

    Forcing an issue, putting your foot down - referring to her Mom - is not going to gain anything. It'll also probably result in a lousy drive, and visit, to Iowa. Dragging a disgruntled 18 yr old anywhere is not fun (LOL).
    Last edited by GAC; 05-27-2017 at 04:17 AM.
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