Single parent needs advice!

<p>I feel like I just keep messing up here. Daughter has been caught with alcohol x2, wrecked the family car and got several tickets -- all in the span of 1 1/2 years. We have a no alcohol until of legal age rule, which she lied to me about her use. She goes to clubs, which I hate, but feel like I cannot stop her. She's 19. Last night she went out with some good friends, and I really didn't like the way she was dressed and she blew up saying I looked at her like she was a *****. She left and I got on the internet and her Facebook page was up. Yeah, that's right, I looked at it. I saw photos of her with a drink in her hand, and another with a beer in her hand. Another with a very revealing top on. I am worried. Where did I go wrong? I am afraid she will get in trouble or hurt. I asked her casually today if she had even had a beer and she said no. I told her about the photo and she said she was holding it for someone who was dancing so no one would put anything in the drink. She became furious at me for looking at her Facebook and now won't talk to me. I just feel like I have no voice, no power or no influence. Experienced, seasoned parents of older children especially -- please, any advice?</p>

<p>This is a really tough one. On the one hand she's 19 and to a great extent an adult though not fully in the eyes of the law. On the other you certainly don't want to see her get hurt physically or emotionally. Plus there is the matter of respect.</p>

<p>I really don't have any concrete answers for you. Have you held her responsible financially for the costs of her various escapades, i.e. paying for the damage to the car, paying for her own tickets, etc.</p>

<p>Was it you who caught her with alcohol or the police? There certainly is the "my house, my rules" approach. I would suggest trying to have a conversation with her once you both have cooled down some. I would express my concerns. Try using "I" statements when you do. Things like "I feel...when you...because..." That way it doesn't put 100% of the responsibility on her. Doing it this way helps prevent putting your daughter on the defensive. </p>

<p>The thing is there are two different factors at play here. There are her actions, and how you feel about them. If they didn't bother you (and I'm not saying they shouldn't) there wouldn't be a problem.</p>

<p>Let me also say, that sometimes I have a really difficult time reminding myself to use this approach so I know it isn't easy.</p>

<p>At this point, you want to make sure communication is open.....I would guess she is only telling you what she thinks you want to hear, and she is angry that she feels like she has to fib to you. </p>

<p>Kids make the decision to drink, and while it is illegal, it is almost impossible to convince them of all the dangers and consequences. Is she living at home? Is she in college closeby? Does she have a car? Who pays the insurance? If she has these offenses on her record, the costs are prohibitive, and you can stop that privilege if you are financing it. The main thing is you want to keep her safe, protect her from herself until she matures enough to make wiser decisions. You may have to inconvenience yourself majorly in the process and risk great anger. </p>

<p>Our son is 21, finally, and we have preached and preached about the consequences of any driving under the influence. He has told us about how he has planned for parties, arrangements he has made for transportation, etc. The zero tolerance for under 21 drivers in our state helped establish the rules...he did not want to risk losing his license for a year. Now he does not want to risk losing his car. We hope he will continue to weigh the risks and the consequences and choose wisely.</p>

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I would guess she is only telling you what she thinks you want to hear, and she is angry that she feels like she has to fib to you

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<p>I think that if you do decide to have a conversation with your daughter it's important to discuss your concerns with her, not talk at her. I think that by asking her about drinking based on a picture in facebook makes it kind of a loaded question (no pun intended). She knows that you already know what the answer is so why ask it? Your daughter is kind of painted into a corner.
If she says yes, she's in trouble for breaking your rules about drinking underage. If she says no, she's in trouble for lying. </p>

<p>As a teacher, one of the really important things you have to do with kids is leave them an honorable way out. When they don't perceive that there is one, they'll do what anything will do when cornered, try to fight their way out.</p>

<p>That's why the "I" statement approach works so well. It gives her the opportunity to express what she's feeling. "You" statements put the onus of responsibility 100% on the other person. Don't get discouraged if she doesn't open up at first, especially if this isn't the way the two of you normally interact.</p>

<p>Did you make her accountable for the tickets (ie: did she pay for them out of her funds)? Was the car accident her inexperience, another driver's/person's fault, or reckless driving? I wrecked a car at 17. It was partially my fault, and partially the fault of another driver, and in my case it was inexperience that really caused it (I had my license for 3 months). Nobody was injured, btw!</p>

<p>As far as the alcohol, I don't have the answers. My son claims that he doesn't know too many people who have never tried any alcohol at one time or another. He claims that only about 15% (don't know how he arrived at that percentage) only drink occasionally at a party. He is 19. Frankly, the kind of dress that your describe is what I see daily. I don't find it appropriate either, but it seems to be very typical of many teens, and young adults. That does not mean that you can't be upset, and it does not mean that you "messed up", and it does not mean that it is proper dress within the value system she grew up with. You can discuss why you are upset, and worried. Perhaps you can come to an agreement (a compromise).</p>

<p>I think you need to pick your battles. The one about the clothing is not one to pick. The one about alcohol may be, depending on your household. The one about driving certainly is - make her pay the tickets she gets.</p>

<p>Overall, though, do as much as you can without doing too much and closing communications with her, because that would be the worst outcome.</p>

<p>Do you think it is wrong for a parent who has concerns about drinking to go on facebook to check out things? Was my mistake in telling her I did it?</p>

<p>Well, it does show a lack of trust, and it is snooping. You can tell her that you did it because you love her and that you are worried. You aren't the first parent to do it, and you won't be the last. You can apologize to her if you want to. More importantly, is she drinking and driving? Was she held accountable for her tickets? Is she binge drinking? Those are the issues that you want to focus on, IMO.</p>

<p>This may sound rough...but I think a message board for college parents is perhaps not going to give you all you need to move forward with your daughter. I would suggest that you speak to someone who can work with the two of you to come to a better place for both of you. Being a single parent is not easy, and getting some help is nothing to be ashamed of. BUT in person help where both you and your daughter can forge a plan is better than even the best suggestions on a message board.</p>

<p>Perhaps there is another adult you both know and trust...a clergyman perhaps. Or maybe a counselor of some type who knows how to deal with family relationships would be some help. </p>

<p>This is a very tough situation and some professional help might be very beneficial.</p>

<p>You have to earn trust, so no its not snooping as your D has already proven she can't be trusted...it would be foolish to not check up on her</p>

<p>I wouldn't apologize for looking, myspace etc is all public no matter what people think...anyone of your ds friends can take her pictures and send them to anyone else, etc.</p>

<p>Is she in school, working, etc?</p>

<p>So, tell her what you found, and if she goes, You had no right, tell her hogwash, and don't let her deflect the issue back to you, you have every right to be worried, and she has proven that</p>

<p>SHe is playing a power game by not talking to you...that is not unusual...she is old enough to go play, she is old enough to be held accountable and that is what she needs to hear</p>

<p>I agree with thumper1, it sounds to me as though family therapy would be worth considering.</p>

<p>I am on facebook. My kids know I'm on there, and choose my level of ability to see the details of their lives. I think knowledge is power, and I want details. And to see the photos, as they're far away this year, and I miss them. But...I told them I have no right to harass or challenge them about anything I see on facebook, as it is their world, and viewing it is a privilege. I do want them to think about the public nature of anything posted. I was young too, and know all is not sweetness and light at age 19. </p>

<p>I'd love for my Ds and S to not drink till legal age. For them to not drink, in this current youth culture would require them to have a strong sense of moral conviction that it is wrong, inappropriate for them personally or both. I don't see that conviction, and am not going to get into that discussion, though I certainly discuss the many reasons I rarely drink. Their peer group drinks, though moderately in our home town. I hope that carries over to college, but can't imagine it does. Tight and revealing clothing certainly seems prevalent. I cringe, and try to bite my tongue, though snarky comments slip out on occasion. </p>

<p>19 can be a hard age. The toddlerhood of emerging adults, full of the joy of independence, but at least in some cases, not quite ready for the responsibility. Our influence is much diminished. My S is now far past that, and each year after 19 got easier. Accentuate what is fun and loveable, find ways to keep good humor between the two of you, as you want to maintain that bond. And practice slow deep breathing during the hard times.</p>

<p>Personally, when it comes to Facebook, it's variable for me. My mother and stepfather have Facebook and friend requested me - my sisters are just getting into Facebook and are at that stage where having parents on it is comforting - and I gave them both limited profile access that allows them to see basically nothing I don't directly show them (that's how I've set it up). They don't seem to have a problem with it; if they do, tough luck - they're not my peers, and I see no compelling reason to allow them access in the same way I do my peers. Since my privacy options are strong anyways, some future employer (for example) seeing my profile is unlikely to be a problem, or anything like that.</p>

<p>When H revealed to S he had seen his Facebook page, S went "private", invitation only. There had been no criticism in the conversation, just a question about who a girl in a picture was, but S really minded a lot.</p>