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Needing to Vent about Family Stuff - Long Post

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I just need to do some venting here...

Last weekend, my 17 year old daughter gathered her things and took off to live with a friend and her friend's father because she can no longer handle having rules. We are not strict but she had a reasonable curfew, was expected to keep up her grades, do chores and be a respectable, decent individual. That was pretty much all we asked.

We have always been supportive of her. We supported her when she came out to us last summer. We supported her when she then started dating boys again. We have supported her in her sports, in her music, in school. Then she met this group of friends and it has all changed. These kids can do what they want, when they want and no one cares. She doesn't know who she is, what she wants or where she is going. Her ambition right now seems to just be playing beer pong and smoking weed and running around.

She thinks she can make it on her own with her $400 a month job wages and can pay for her own phone (prepaid cell), school clothes, personal items, haircuts, makeup, etc.

I spoke to a councilor who said she needs see she cannot support herself and she needs to learn a lesson (so we are not to help her out with anything monetarily). We know where she is, we know she is safe and let her try to make it on her own. He said she needs to see what it is like to go from a loving environment where people care for her ad give her things to having to deal with everything by herself both emotionally and financially. She will eventually realize what she took for granted and ask to come back. He said if she doesn't learn this on her own and comes back, she will just take off again next time she is told no.

I am just beside myself. I cannot go into her room without breaking into tears. Her brother cries himself to sleep. She hasn't even talked to him. She doesn't care how much this is hurting all of us. Just as long as she can go out and have "fun" now whenever she wants. I am trying to just go on with my days as if they are like any other day because what else am I to do. I just can't help but feel like I have somehow failed.

This is not how things were supposed to go...

I just needed to do some venting. Sometimes you just need to say things to people that are not close to the situation or having to hear it or deal with it.
 

klreese

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Dreaming- i'm so sorry that you are so upset over this situation. it is never fun to have your kids upset with you. especially to the point of them leaving. However, i think you should stick to what the counselor suggested. She's 17, she'll soon realize.
Stay strong. Be there for your son. Snuggle with him at night so he isn't sad. it isn't going to be easy, but you can't give in or she'll think it's ok- just as he said. next time you tell her no, she'll run off again.
i commend you for being so accepting of her lifestyle. You and your family sound like very loving people. she'll miss your home, love, and support. she'll be back.
stay strong.
 

susi794

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She sounds as though you hit it right on the head about not knowing who she is. Having identity (sexual or otherwise) problems makes an already difficult time in life seem all the worse. She will eventually wake up and smell the coffee--until she does, there's not much you can do that won't bring you even bigger heartaches down the road. You've done all you can do--now she will have to figure it out and find her way. Just be there when she falls--if you can. I'll remember you both in my prayers.
Hang in there,
Susi and the gang
 
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Thank you all! I appreciate the words of support and wisdom.

You know, other than this, we have never had any issues with her. All of a sudden this...

I have always been supportive of her attempts to express herself, her creativity, her style and her opinions. She just seems to think she should be allowed to do whatever she wants in all areas and not answer to anyone because she has friends that don't answer to anyone.

She seems to be trying to fit in anywhere right now. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that she is confused with who she is and who she wants to be. Even though we are trying to give her all of the love and support we can, as well as offering to get her any outside support she would like, she is turning to this group of "friends" and it is helping nothing.

She goes to camp in a little over a week (hopefully she still goes) and one of the things they have to do is spend one night in the woods in their own tent alone (not as a group) and journal and reflect on their life and future. I am hoping this time of reflection will do her some good.

I will be here if she needs me and I will be here when she falls and will help her pick up the pieces. It is just hard in the meantime.
 

Gadzukz

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Dreaming~ I have a 12 yr old daughter. My husband and I were talking today about the way she wants to dress and style her hair, and we just don't know where to allow her to express herself and where to set the boundaries. It's so hard being a parent, we raise these little people and in the end we have to release them and allow them to make their mistakes, hoping that none are too detrimental and praying that we have instilled enough values to make a difference. You just never know.

Someone told me once that you can't have growth without conflict, and I believe that to be true. It takes conflict for our children to be ready to grow and prepare themselves for adulthood. It doesn't make it easier on us who love them.

I wish I had advice for you, but I do not, my 12 year old is my oldest and I am learning as I go. I send you (((HUGS))) , empathy from one mom to another, and prayers for your family through this difficult time.
 
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And this is why I love it here! You guys are wonderful!

Sometimes you just need to hear things from people that are not close to the situation. My family is supportive but it is hard. I get everything from my old-school grandparents who "Would just go over to that house and snatch her home by her ear and lock her in her room until she smartens up!" to others that are saying "To just put her things on the porch." and others that have a bit softer opinions on how to deal with it. My husband is just plain hurt. And when he is hurt, he gets quiet. So, he does't really talk about it a lot but he is being my rock right now.

Again you all, I am so glad I can just vent here. Like MissMySphynxBoys said, Sphynx Lair is indeed my happy place as well.

Great big hugs to all of you!
 

MissMySphynxBoys

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Thank goodness we have a happy place. Life is rough but things that make our hearts heavy feel a lot lighter when we share the burden and cry together.

First off I want to say, why do you feel like you failed? From what I can see you raised a strong willed, independent young lady who wants to take responsibility for her own actions and decisions, and support herself financially. Not to mention it sounds as if you and your husband filled her childhood with loving support, realistic guidelines, and positive life experiences involving sports, music, and camping.

Isn't this what all parents strive for?

These attributes are reasons to be proud of yourself. No one ever promised that parenthood was going to be easy or that we would be rewarded for our efforts Just because things are not fun doesn't mean anything is wrong. Maybe this rough patch is exactly what is supposed to happen. Personal growth is never easy. Your daughter needs to grow beyond the young lady that thinks life is all about beer pong, weed, and doing whatever the hell you want to just because you can. Try to take a little evil comfort in the thought that someday her 57 year old menopausal self will look back and wish she could have throttled her 17 year old ungrateful ass.

As parents it's hard to let our children get hurt. Whether its learning to walk, riding bike or navigating Middle School all we can do is give them the tools, cheer them on, hope they don't take a big hit, then dust them off and encourage them to try again when they fail. Just like when she was a toddler she had to learn for herself. Will she make poor choices, sure she will, but they will be her own poor choices and she will learn from them just like when she was little. This stage is no different.

You have raised her now all you are supposed to do is love her. You know she is relatively safe so cheer her on, shower her with patience, understanding, and unconditional love, and open your arms when she needs a hug. Cause at some point she is going to need her Mom and Dad.

Now as for you, your husband, and son, I know you are all hurting. I can hear your heart aching in your posts. Unfortunately your daughter will never see exactly how much her personal issues hurt you. Her hurt is hers, don't let it become yours. I know this is easier said than done. Don't let your daughter's problems erode your family's foundation. In times of trouble love and hope will get you through. The 3 of you need to keep loving each other, and forge ahead with strengthening your relationships and marriage.

Thinking of you all and wishing for the best.
 

sydkat7

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Very well said, MissMySphynxBoys!

I've never been a parent either so I'm not the best one to make any comments about your situation, but I know what my sister went through with her teenaged son and how frustrating it was for her to see her son making the same stupid mistakes over and over again. The best thing to do is to allow your daughter to fall on her own and learn from her own mistakes, but be supportive of her (emotionally, not financially) when she needs it. I'll certainly be keeping you and your family in my prayers.
 

MikkiJean

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I am not a parent, but I did grow up with a brother who was quite difficult. I think you need to go with what the counselor says. She definitely needs to learn on her own.

My step brother was continuously allowed to do whatever he wanted with no consequences and never learned that he couldn't be completely reliant upon himself. He started smoking and drinking at 13, and he's still a mess at 21. He went to live with our aunt and uncle and they let him just walk all over him and support him financially. They definitely didn't help the cause. In situations like these it is extremely important that the child learns that you really are just looking out for their best interest and not being mean.

Hang in there dreaming... it sounds like you've got a smart daughter whom you have raised right, she is just confused. I have faith that she will turn around and realize what she needs in her life.
 

Candys

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Oh wow - this IS a hard one. And it takes some tough love. I left home at 17 and lived across the street from my parents, with a slutty girl. I ate instant mashed potatoes for a week. I thought I was a grown up. I had parties, drank and other naughty stuff. I ended up lonely, kicked the room mate out and ended up with only a couple of real friends. I learned that people will use you and they only care about their own gains. I moved back home and realized that family WAS important. :Pudently:
 

Fester

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My 2 cents:

First, I'm not a parent.

I remember my teenage years well, I emotionally and intellectually left home probably around 16 -- I slept at my parents place, but that was it -- either I was at work(40 hours/week) or at school.

I know it was rough on my folks -- 'cause from their viewpoint, it looked like I was doing everything in my power to stay away from them. I was, basically.

What they didn't get until much later, was that they had been successful in raising me. I was independent, I made the same mistakes any young adult does (I don't want to pay that bill, I want to eat something other than beans and rice) .

Unlike my brother, who got along with my folks during his late teens, I never needed to move back in, I didn't need to ask for $, or end up with his slew of problems.


What I didn't remember until about 25 yrs old or so, was that my parents actually missed me. Now I'm in contact weekly/monthly-- folks are happy, I'm happy.



What I'm saying is, be confident you raised her right. It just might take a couple of years before her head is screwed on straight again (18-25 was the near-decade of dumb*** for me)!
 
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Thank you all! It really helps to hear other's personal experiences. You all seem to be echoing what my head says. However we all know intellect and emotions do not always go hand in hand.

We have raised her right. We have raised her to be independent. I am always telling my kids to question things. Do not take anything at face value. Investigate, ask, come to your own conclusions. Do not follow for the sake of following and make the right choices for yourself even when they are not popular and look beyond being part of the status quo.

I guess right now she is trying to exert those values that we have instilled in her, though the choices she is making are not in her best interest, she needs to learn that for herself. And just like MMSB said, I need to look at this as another time in her life that I need to let go right now, and let her do this, and be there when she falls.

I am really glad that so many people have shared. It helps put things in perspective for me. You all are awesome!
 

ckutkuhn7

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I had a older brother that made many mistakes and my parents tried to control him and punish him etc. It never worked. We are 10 yrs apart. He moved out when he was 17, or kicked out, I can't remember which. Anyhow, he turned out very successful!
I learned how to do what he did without being caught! By the time I was 17 I was seeing a boy I was forbiddened to see and was pregnant by him. We ended up marrying and having 3 kids. It was a hell of a marriage. Filled with violence. Took me 6 years to leave him and we've been fighting for custody back and forth now for 4 years now I guess.
I'm finally in a happy and healthy relationship, I've been financially successful many times over and I've hit rock bottom many times over.
My parents let me make the mistakes I made and I'm so greatful they did. I've learned what not to do and how to handle things that life can throw at you. They have been there when I needed them and thats all I expect from them.
Your doing the right thing. I'm sure every parent wants their kids to stay on the straight and arrow but we all have to make our own mistakes or we won't know what to do when something bad happens.
Your doing the right thing. I dread the day I have to face this reality but we all go through some sort of rough patch at some time or another. As long as she knows she is loved no matter what, then thats all that matters. Some things she just has to sort out for herself.
Goodluck to your family and hopefully everyone can come through this without too many scars. My prayers are with you.
 

marlene

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Sometimes the hardest love is the toughest. I never had children but I know how it hurt to watch my parents as my brother was determined to do everything in his power to ruin his life. He finally ended up with a three-year stint in prison in Huntsville Texas. This may sound trite but it did fix him. He learned that there were consequences for his actions, he learned that mommy and daddy couldn't fix all his problems, and he learned that if he didn't want to have a miserable-assed life then he'd better grow up and get his act together.

My husband and I moved to Texas so he'd have a place to stay when he got out on parole (my family is all in Ohio). He lived with us for almost two years then moved on. After all this he ended up being an honest productive member of society and has been a great son/father/brother. That was 30 years ago and my parents still say that his going to prison hurt worse than anything in their lives, but they also say it was the best thing that ever happened to him.

Just keep your chin up and do what you can to pick up the pieces if that time comes. **hugs**
 

AmazonGoddess

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Dreaming ... wish I could give you a hug. I can't imagine trying to stay strong, let your daughter grow and learn who she is without wanting to lock her in her room until she comes to her senses. Parenting has to be the hardest job in the world. I could never do it. That's why I have cats.

You sound like you're doing the right thing. She'll need to fall down a few times before she realizes that home (with you) is where she needs to be.

Don't be ashamed of your tears ... you are allowed to cry for those you love.

I hope your girl realizes what a gift her family is sooner rather than later.

Hang in there, my dear.
 

holly_savage

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Dreaming...sorry to hear you are going through this. I was reading your original post and got goose bumps... it is very similar to how things were between me and my mom!

Similar situation..., made new friends in highschool, they had less boundries than I did and were raised in a 'speak your mind' household, where we were more of a 'be respectful' kinda family. They helped me to figure out who I was, and who I wanted to be...friends , even the not-so-greatests ones, highlight things we like and don't like in others and shapes us, helps us define the way we want to be seen by others.

After 2 years of arguments, she finally banned my friends from coming onto the property to pick me up to go places! And apart from her opinion of them, not a one was ever impolite or rude to her...she tells me that it's because they changed me, but as I have told her, I was only 15, I wasn't fully 'formed' yet! lol

I am still friends with that whole group...We don't get to spend nearly as much time together, but when we do, it is a flashback to being 15 again.

It all turned out ok in the end for me, but it did cause a huge rift between my mother and I, mostly because, to this day (20 years later) my mother still hates my best friend, and will vocalize it everytime she can. It makes it difficult to spend time together.

Don't get me wrong, I love my mom, but we are not as close as a mother-daughter is expected to be. I do think that kids should have boundries...and chores...and learn that you don't get anything in life unless you work for it, it's how I was raised and it has served me well.

So to make a long story longer...lol

Give her space but keep an eye out (in the background), she has to learn her own lessons, in her own time, and on $400/month, it sure as heck shouldn't take her long to learn that that won't get you anywhere.
And let her know that you love her and are there when she needs the emotional support.

Keep your chin up...hugs.
 
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So she has informed me today that she is getting a tattoo tomorrow. Her friend did the artwork. Script that says "Carpe Diem" and she is getting it on her ribcage.

*sigh* I can't say anything to stop her. Plus I have one, so I would be a hypocrite. Same person doing it that did her girlfriend's and I wasn't too impressed with the quality of the artwork. I hope they don't muck it up. lettering is easy to screw up and look bad.

I just hope that the are using new needle, all of that good stuff.

Since she is getting it on her ribcage, it is going to hurt. I secretly hope it hurts like an SOB....Is that wrong??? :LOL::LOL:
 

Bella07

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I had to google Carpe Diem and it means "Seize the Day." This is such a tricky one....:Sweat: I wish I could offer some even better ideas and help compared to the ones already given...But, if it helps, I'll be hoping along with you that the tattoo hurts like h-e-double hockey sticks! :Wink:
 
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