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Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm Angry with my Daughter

Dear A. B.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my last question, especially in light of your back pain. 

My question today is: Should just my husband and I attend our daughter's college graduation or should we bring the whole family? 

Background: Our reasons for it just being us is it is expensive to take this trip with everyone because we'd need to take 2 cars & 2 hotel rooms, etc. It is 7 hours away We are just getting by financially as it is.  Our daughter wants all of us b/c "everyone else has more people coming."  Yet last year she went didn't come home for her brother's high school graduation, and instead took time off of work to road trip with her boyfriend. My experience was that only my parents came to my grad, I didn't go to my siblings graduations and same w/ my husband and his family.

I am annoyed, if not angry with this daughter, and don't necessarily want that to cloud a decision I might later regret. Her plans to drive home w/her boyfriend after graduation and they would then take a road trip together. I told her she needs to take immediate steps to get a job and become financially independent.   She took a cruise w/ friends over spring break "because she was never on a cruise". She did this w/ her own money, but I think she should have saved it as a cushion for after she graduates. We have no money to give her.   

Thanks,  L

Dear L,

I would do what is financially responsible for you to do. Your daughter probably won't even notice if you keep complimenting her on her accomplishments and bring flowers and balloons.

Your daughter should be on her own now. I think your relationship would be better if you stopped trying to run her life about getting a job and let her make her own mistakes. You can tell her the facts of life that you have no money to give her and she needs to not count on you to bail her out and that you are glad and happy for her that she has graduated from collge. Not everyone has that opportunity.

But your communication will remain stronger if it is more loving, if you are more positive, that you know she will do well, and find a good job, instead of always lecturing as to what she should do in order to allay your own fear. She will call you more often for encouragement and affirmation, she will avoid calling you to get your lectures. 

And congratulate yourself that you have gotten a child through college. Not so easy these days.
A. B. Curtiss

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