am I being selfish??

Lindsey - posted on 07/13/2014 ( 1 mom has responded )

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For the past 3 years I have been raising my teenage daughters now aged 20 and 17 on my own since leaving their father.


I have had to struggle financially in order to put a roof over our heads and food in our stomach.

My daughters had nothing to do with their father for the first two Years after I left him due to his alcoholism and behaviour.

I have always tried my best for my kids, I've not been perfect and have had a couple of disastrous relationships where my daughter's have seen me upset and heartbroken.

I have always supported my girls, praised and encouraged them in all they do. I've been their taxi driver and always put them first.

My youngest daughter has picked up a relationship with her father over the past year or so which I'm more than happy for her and supportive. However when she returns home from spending time with him she's a different girl. Moody, distant,feisty and omg attitude is unbelievable. She speaks and behaves like her dad.

I have finally met a decent man who in the short time we have been together has been the most supportive,caring,considerate man who makes me happy and secure.

At the start of our relationship my youngest daughter got on with him like a house on fire. He would even invite her along with us on our dates if she was going to be home alone. He made her laugh, comforted her when she was upset and gave her advice when she asked for it.

However, after spending some time with her dad and returning home she all of a sudden distanced herself, becoming quiet rude to my bf, giving me even more attitude and just generally causing an atmosphere when my bf is around.

They had a big argument at the weekend when my bf stepped in when my daughter was giving me attitude. Anyway she says she doesn't want to be around him anymore and my bf doesn't want her coming out with us anymore unless she sorts her attitude out.

My friends and family have noticed the difference in her and say they have seen how rude and feisty she has become. They have said that my daughter will never be happy with any man I choose to be I. A relationship with because he's a threat to her.

I am going to be between homes for two weeks, my eldest daughter will be moving into her own home and my youngest is going to stay with her dad. My daughter had told me that if my bf ever moves in she I won't see much of her.

It breaks my heart but I don't want her to come back to live with me, not just because of my bf but because I have just had enough of her attitude, she makes me unhappy with the way that she is.

I guess my question is am I being selfish by wanting my daughter to stay living with her dad so that I can begin my new life with possibly a happy future with my boyfriend?

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Chet - posted on 07/14/2014

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It really depends on what your daughter needs. If your daughter needs you, and you're putting your wants ahead of her needs, then yes, that would qualify as being selfish. If your daughter is very honestly better off with her dad, and you know that she would suffer in your care, then maybe not. The key is wanting what is best for your daughter.

I will say, in general, it's beneficial for teens and young adults to have a safe home base. Having the security of a consistent, supportive home / family makes it easier for teens to become independent in a healthy way. Think of it as a strong foundation to push off from, and as a safety net below when you're out testing your wings. The teenage years are a time of very rapid change and upheaval, and often family is the only real stability a teenager has.

You say that your boyfriend is a supportive, caring and considerate man, but you haven't given any real evidence of that. A teen who has been reasonable for 16 or 17 years and suddenly becomes distant, rude, etc is a teen who is most likely going through a difficult time. There is an expression that the kids who are most difficult to love need love the most, and it concerns me that your boyfriend isn't so much interested in brainstorming how to make progress with your daughter. He's just shutting her out.

I feel like a supportive, caring, considerate man would say, "let's look into counselling" or "let's try to figure out what's really bothering Suzy" or "I don't think a can move in until we either get this sorted out, or until your daughter is fully independent". I think that a supportive, caring, considerate man would never want to be a sticking point between a mother and her minor child.

I don't have teenage children, but I worked with first year university students for years and I lived in university residence for a very long time. It's terrible to be 17, 18 or 19 and not feel like you're welcome in the home of one of your parents, especially the parent who has been the primary caregiver. A lot of teens and young adults stay in very bad situations because they feel like they can't go home because a parent has chosen a boyfriend or girlfriend over them.

I feel a lot of sympathy for your 17 year old daughter. Her sister is growing up and moving out on her own. Her mother has another new boyfriend, and there is clearly some tension there. She is working to establish a relationship with her father after having been estranged. And of course she has all of the regular stress and drama of just growing up and being in high school.

I'm not suggesting that your daughter be allowed to behave poorly. and be as rude as she likes to you and your boyfriend. There are clearly issues that need to be worked on. The tone of your post (and this may not have been your intended tone at all) is that you've given your daughter enough, she's being really rotten, and you should be able to move on with your life now... but she's not 27, she's only 17.

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