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Ask Rene: My Daughter’s Throwing Her Life Away With This LOSER!

 

Hi Rene:

 HELP! My daughter started seeing a guy (her first boyfriend) when she was 17 against our wishes. We tried to make them break up but she said she’d kill herself or runaway if we called the law on him. So we just hoped it would play out.

I felt like something was wrong with him so ran background check, found out he is 28, has no job, no phone, no car, no money and lives with grandmother. His background check says he’s been in prison two times for drugs and bad checks. The day our daughter turned 18, she got mouthy and hateful, packed her bags and moved in with my parents, against our wishes.

Now, my parents talk down about her dad and me and tell her she doesn’t have to even listen to us because she is grown.  We took away her car because he was driving it on our insurance and our dime but ended up giving it back for her safety; she’s in college and was walking at night. When we took her car, her boyfriend got mad and tried to press charges on me for “harassing” my daughter when I was only calling her on the phone to make sure she was okay. I’ve already canceled her insurance but my parents added her on their policy. I am not going to give her any more money ever. I will only pay for her orthodontist and that’s it.

She is planning on marrying and supporting him. He is a lazy, no good bum and I think he is on drugs. My daughter is a good girl; she works and goes to college but lets him brainwash her into hating her dad and me. She has changed her cell number and refuses to talk to or even look at us. I want her to come home but if she won’t, then I at least want a relationship with her.

I am just about crazy. What do we do? Let her marry him and say nothing? I think me always telling her how it is as I see it is what ran her off to begin with. I am scared for her safety.

Panicked in Pittsburgh

 

Dear PiP:

I wish I had a dollar for every letter I got from a mother, worried that her daughter was getting involved with a bad seed. If I did, I’d be able to put my kids through college and then some, I kid you not. But all the stories are a little bit different and each one involves someone’s kid. I know you are losing sleep over this, I know you are anguished and I know you’ve come to me for some straight talk;  I hope you’re ready because the gloves are coming off.  The way I see it, you’ve got to deal with this issue on a number of fronts.

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YOUR PARENTS

I’m not really sure what to say here. Not only are your parents not on your side, they are  actively undermining your authority. But since your daughter is 18 and not living under your roof, your authority is not what it once was. However, I  would think they would side with you, given that they know first hand, the difficulties of parenting. For whatever reason they choose not to do that. You can ask them why but their actions seem to indicate that the relationship between you and them is more convoluted than can be addressed in this space. So your other option (and the one I would go with) is to ignore their behavior. If they want to take on your mercurial daughter and the no-good boyfriend, let them. I predict that act will wear thin really, REALLY fast.

THE BOYFRIEND

 Clearly there’s no love lost between  you and this guy and I can’t say that I blame you. Nearly twice her age, a couple of prison stints, I can see where he’s not top of mind when you think of someone who will love and cherish your little girl. But she’s an adult now and this is her decision, even if it’s not the one you would choose for her or yourself. So how do you deal with him? In very small doses.  Even though you don’t like him, I would back off. The more you antagonize him, the more he’s going to bend her ear, which will feed their collective paranoia.

EXCEPTION! All bets are off  in the case of physical violence. If you suspect or have proof of that, then you have to do what you can to get her out of there.

YOUR DAUGHTER

Forgive me for being so blunt but lady, your daughter is a spoiled BRAT! You did not “run off” this emotional extortionist by telling her the truth about her deadbeat boyfriend. She left of her own accord because she didn’t want to obey the rules that you, the homeowner (who happens to be her mother), put in place. And in what alternate universe is it okay for a teenager to date someone nearly twice her age?  Sorry but that is the definition of creepy in my book.

What could you have done? Well, it’s too late now in this case,  but parents need to understand the power they have. I’m sure you had things she wanted/needed (cell phone and freedom immediately come to mind). Crack down on those things. You could have devised a plan if she in fact did  run away and if she continued to threaten suicide, have taken her to a doctor.

WHAT TO DO NOW?

 Now, this is where the rubber meets the road. People are going to do what they have always done until they are motivated to change. That means your daughter is going to stay with this loser until she looks up one day, maybe after a couple of convictions and kids with this guy, and realizes that this SUCKS! Then and only then, will she decide to do something about it. I know it will  be painful to stand by and watch but you really have no other choice. Let her know that while you disapprove of the guy, you are her mother and will always be there for her.

Now, this is where it gets confusing. What does “be there for her” really mean? It means you will provide moral support but that’s it. No giving her a car (there are a lot of people who get to and from college without them), no paying the insurance (you won’t need to since you’ll have the vehicle), no giving her money when she’s short on rent, no paying the cell phone bill and so on.  It’s time for you to lay down some ground rules that include how you will be treated because the current conditions are unacceptable. And they will not get better if you are nicer to her or give her more stuff, in fact, just the opposite. If your daughter wants to act like an adult, then she does it 24 and 7, not just when it’s convenient.

I’m a big believer in learning from all of our experiences. You telling your daughter this is a bad guy is not going to be nearly as eye-opening as when she comes to that conclusion herself.

Good luck mom.

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More from GEM:

Ask Rene: My Friend Double-Crossed Me; What Should I Do?

Ask Rene: How Do We Help Our Screw-Off Friend?

Ask Rene: What Do I Do About My Daughter And Her Deadbeat Boyfriend?

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Savannah DuBois

    September 1, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I totally agree! The time to set the standards of what type of guys were accepted was when she was first starting to talk to boys. My mom’s standard: no C’s on a report card; can’t get in trouble in school; she had to talk to them; meet his parents, if possible. And this was when I was 13. Those type of guys usually don’t end up in jail. My ex-boyfriends are now accountants, city engineers, & hospital administrators. Too, the high school riff raff who did like me were afraid to talk to me because of my dad. As a adult, I employ similar criteria when dating. “Train up a child…(s)he will not depart from it.” Proverbs

  2. Alexa

    September 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Good advice.

    Sadly, I’m getting the feeling her father never sat her down to talk about guys. I say this because mine never did, but being a terrible father I vowed to never go this route *because* of how terrible he is/was.

    Also, if she’s walking at night taking away her car would be an EXCELLENT opportunity to further prove how much of a loser this guy is. I didn’t have my own car (paid and insured by myself) until I was freshly 23. I’ll be 25 in about a month. Anyway, she would see very quickly how much her do nothing boyfriend feels about her when I he refusing to walk her home at night.

    I was going back and forth with myself about revealing my age since I’m a youngin, but I have a younger sister everyone spoiled and now wonder why she’s gone off the deep end. I emphahize.

  3. Crystal

    September 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

    The bigger issue for me here is the disrespect and ungratefulness! I wouldn’t frame not helping her as an issue with who she choses to date but because of her disrespectful and ungrateful attitude. When someone adult or child acts unappreciative you don’t continue to give what you’ve been giving. She’s 18, your OBLIGATION to provide for her is done. Now any provision you offer her is a PRIVILEGE. You’re daughter is in college. I would encourage her and continue to praise her when it came to that. Don’t just focus on what she’s doing “wrong” in her life. Make your conversations about college and her future, not him. I’d offer maybe limited support but no frills. No car, no cell phone, no apartment. Maybe half on her classes and half on books because those things have nothing to do with him. And I’d wouldn’t give her the money, I’d pay for it directly. But most importantly this mother needs to pray…pray that God reveals who this guy is to her daughter without irreversible repercussions and that she sees it and is strong enough to act on it. Remember it’s HER lesson to learn when it comes to being in that relationship. And this mother needs to ask what lesson am I suppose to learn from this. Everything our children do or go through isn’t always just about them. Finally she has to LET GO. The hard reality of parenting is that our kids choices are THEIR choices, especially once they become adults. All we can control is our reaction to them and pray and trust that what we’ve instilled in them will rear it’s head in the midst of bad decisions. And I’d pay for birth control and condoms

  4. Kellie

    September 1, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    The hardest part about my daughter is she used to be so sweet and laid back. When she met this freak she was 17 and lonely and had neve had a boyfriend. He found her on Facebook and lives here in town. I had no idea he was 28 and had no idea he had been in prison. When we found these things out,I flipped out and her Dad wanted to make him go missng ! Our first teen andwe didn’t know how to handle it. We did the best we knew how to do and when we tried to stop it,she was refusing to go to school and said she would kill herself. We just hope and prayed things would fizzle out and he would move on as well as she would do the same. Now,6 months later she has paid for herself a wedding ring and is working as a waitress and taking her tip money and buying his cigs and whatever else he wants. I am just heart broken. I don’t mind her moving out so much although I wish she were home in her room and being how it used to be. It is the fact that she refuses to talk to us and has a bad attitude. She is willing to not have anything to do with us her family the ones who truly love her.Thats what hurts so bad and to see him take advantage of her and no be able to do anything about it. The thing is she has severe asthma and he smokes around her and she has arthritis and auto immune hemolytic anemia. I have spoiled her I guess. We bought her a car,paid for the gas and insurance. A cell phone,nice clothes from the mall and ortho for her teeth. We always paid for extras like hair and getting her nails and toes done up for special things like prom and graduation. Always told her everyday how much she means to us all and how much we love her so very much. Her Dad always did te best he knew but he never knows what to say to her. Her dad and I have been married for almost 19 years and have always did our best. I don’t really know where we went so wrong with her. Her dad said we gave her too much and everything when she wanted . I just don’t see how that would have ruined her so badly but somehow we did I guess. She started saying when she was 16 she wanted her own place and a car that we wouldn’t have a say in what she does with what. She has long wante her freedom and now she has it. I did sign the title of her car ove but she will have to pay her own insurance ,gas,cell phone and whatever else. I will however continue to pay for her ortho which she has 9 months on. I have decided I am not going to contact her anymore,at least for a while . For one she had her cell # changed and I have to go through my Mom who tells her we are trying to control her. I hope and pray she doesn’t marry him and I hope and pray she will come home and see the light. I do pray everyday for her and my family. I know I have to leave it in God’s hands now. Thanks for the advice yall.

  5. Rene Syler

    September 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    @Kellie: Thanks for writing in. Listen, I do think this is going to resolve itself; I truly do. But it may take a while. I like your plan of not contacting her. I predict she comes around, I really do. Let us know how it goes and hang in there!

  6. Bettyboop

    September 3, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Hi Kellie, can you give us an update on the situation with your daughter? Im going thru the same thing right now with mine and I’m trying to see light at the end of the road. I read your letter and it looks like I wrote it… please let me know so I can know what to expect. thanks,

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Combing the aisles at Target in search of the best deal on Cheerios, it hit Rene Syler like the stench of a dirty diaper on a hot summer’s day. Not only is perfection overrated its utterly impossible! Suddenly empowered, she figuratively donned her cape, scooped up another taco kit for dinner and Good Enough Mother was born.

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