"Hi Mark, I had emailed you earlier in the year about my 17 year old. I am writing again to seek your advice. I have read the email from the "Sad Mom" under the Empty Nest Syndrome tab linked to your email and I must say I am suffering almost the same fate now as her. My 17 year old daughter has now moved out of home to be with her father whom she hasn’t had much time for in recent times due to them not seeing eye to eye. Now that she has moved in with him it seems that he is giving in to her every demand.
My daughter is now seeing an 18 year old who comes from a broken home, whose father was abusive. This guy jumps from house to house after being kicked out of his fathers house, he moves to his mothers, then he will get kicked out of there so he moves in with his brother who lives with his de facto and newborn child and that’s where he lives at the moment. He just so happens to live just around the corner from where my daughter’s father is living so it is very convenient for her to have sleepovers (which happen regularly). I am fearful of never getting her back home in a stable household where she can be nurtured and gotten back on track.
My and my son's relationship with her is almost non-existent with her as this guy she is seeing is one of the most un-liked (in fact hated) guys in town and he has nothing going for him. He is in debt to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars as he was involved in a car accident where he crashed into a truck (uninsured of course) and because he was at fault is in debt up to his eyeballs. No need to say that he doesn’t work and is extremely unsettled in his life. He is even talking about leaving town now and my daughter is contemplating moving with him (she has only known him for a few months and formed a relationship with him just in the last couple of weeks).
I accept your advice to sad mom about empty nest syndrome but I fail to understand how there is nothing we can do to make them understand that living their life this way will be of no benefit to their future success in life. My daughter likewise has all but removed herself from my side of the family as she knows we do not agree with her behaviour. She has very little if anything to do with her other friends as well. I tried talking to her father about my concerns and he all but suggested that I just let her live her life and she will learn. I just cannot sit back and watch her destroy her and her family's life and for the sake of a trashy guy that will most likely hurt or bludge from her for the rest of her life.
Help me please before I go insane. I have been on antidepressants now for a week and at the moment don’t even feel like seeing my daughter as every time I do she "just makes me sick to the stomach". I struggle to get through each day and am losing weight because I can’t eat. I am not the kind of mum that won’t let go and if this guy had anything going for him I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I am sorry this message is so disjointed but I am just not thinking too straight and am struggling also to keep my working life in order. Regards ~ M.D."
I know how you feel …and when I felt this way as a young parent, I distracted myself.
I distracted myself by focusing on all that was going right rather than on that was going wrong …by focusing on my blessings rather than my “curses” (which there is no such thing) …by regularly talking about my parenting struggles with someone I trusted …by accepting help and support when it was offered …by reminding myself that my responses are normal responses to a stressful situation …by giving myself permission to do whatever I needed to do to take care of myself.
Your body and mind will tell you what you need to do -- your job is to listen to them.
Your daughter will gain experience out in the real world – and experience is a great teacher (a much better teacher than you will be at this point …no offense).
"Mark, Thanks for your response Mark and the comments are very much appreciated. Whilst I understand that it is important to learn from your own experiences my major concern is that at this point in her life, she is not thinking clearly at all and that she will make a mistake that she will have to live with for the rest of her life, ie lose her job because of her behaviour (I am told by her work mates that she is not herself at work), falling pregnant, or being the breadwinner and running around after this no-hoping guy. I know what you are saying is true and that no matter how much I object to her seeing him and the other less than nice friends she is getting about with she will only move further and further away but I struggle to sit back and pretend that everything is OK."