I miss my daughter

There are some things that are easy to talk about and other thoughts and feelings that I suppress out of necessity. What’s the point of running over the same old ground? It just hurts to think about it.
The child who used to be our sunshine has retreated into herself; a hostile teen who feels that we are mean, irritating, and just plain idiots. I remember being that person towards my own mother. Now I am the mom.
I don’t feel like going into details at this point… maybe some other time. I don’t talk about how I really feel, even with my husband. What’s the point? It’s not like he isn’t in the same boat.
I see other women that have good relationships with their daughters, and I feel jealous. Will that ever be me again? I miss the girl who used to play with my hair. “Let’s play beauty shop, Mom.” She was 12 – an eternity ago.
We called her the other day, just to make sure that she was OK. My mom radar was going off and I had that feeling of unease I get when she’s upset or in trouble. I’m not sure how that works, but it does. One time my husband and I were in Las Vegas and I had a compulsion to call her late one night. “Are you up to no good? I have a funny feeling that something is going on!” She was supposed to be safely at a friend’s house under adult supervision, but was actually in our house, having a party. It shocked the hell out of her to pick up the phone and hear her mother’s voice, asking what was going on. At any rate, our most recent conversation wasn’t good. The most we could get were very disgruntled, monotone answers. Yes. No. Whatever. Uh-huh.
For now, it seems best to leave things alone. We are here if she needs us, and always will be. I didn’t even think it was a big deal, really. Tonight I was listening to music on YouTube and this song came on, and now I can’t stop crying. I can’t stop.www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jek6iP6AuAQ

So sorry, p h…I can’t relate to your specific problem, but I sure can understand the pain that family can cause, even when they’re actually trying not to. Anyway, just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you. Hopefully, in the near future, we’ll have some happier stories to share. Take care of yourself!

As soon as I saw the Cat Stevens link I knew it would be “Father and Son.”

My daughter is 11 now and I can feel her pulling away from Daddy. We used to cuddle in bed at night and read stories and laugh and giggle, and end it all with a good night kiss. Now she won’t even hug me!

Keep the communication lines open. Although my daughter is pulling away from me I still try to do silly things like tickle her for no apparent reason, or while trying to get her up in the morning I’ll climb in bed and start to cuddle, much to her dismay. And I try to always tell her every day that I love her.

Maybe you could try some of these techniques yourself? A silly tickle fight or an awkward moment trying to cuddle in bed together is worth a shot. You’re the authority figure,but lighten up and try to make her laugh. Try to appeal to her on her level without being condescending.

It’s a tough age and I’m just getting into it now with my kids. My thoughts are with you. In a few years hopefully you’ll look back on this stage and realize that it was in fact just a stage. God, every point in a kid’s life seems like just another stage, doesn’t it?

Good luck. Stay positive. Maintain a sense of humour.

Ooo, I thought she was still twelve. I guess I’m wrong. How old is she?

She’s 19 now.

Stick with it.

Mark Twain:

It’s up to you to keep reminding her that you love her and are there for her.

Purple, this makes me very sad, and I hope you and your daughter find a way through to the other side of this. But–and I hope I don’t get pitted for this; this is a sincere reaction–if I got a phone call like this–

–I’m not sure my mom wouldn’t be writing a similar OP. I have a terrible relationship with my mother, and a big part of it is that she always seemed to manage to frame every conversation in a negative, accusational tone. As I (and your daughter) will tell you, that leaves cumulative scar tissue.

It’s too late to go backwards; you’ll never have the relationship you used to have. But if you can find a way to accept her for who she is, rather than who she disappoints you to have turned out like, maybe you can forge a better relationship in the future.

My mom and I will never be close, because she refuses to acknowledge her part in the situation. I hope you two can find a different outcome.

19 should be about the end of it. Once they get off to college for two or three semesters they (and I mean “we” because I was that teen once too) start to understand that the old folks aren’t so much the idiots as experienced in all the errors that could possibly be made. You just caught her being a little naughty on the phone call having a “Risky Business” party.

I was that teen, too. I came back and have a great relationship with my parents, it all changed around age 21. Of course, my early twenties included getting pregnant and going through a bad marriage, maybe needing Mom’s experience and advice helped get things defrosted.

I’ve got my hands full sometimes with a ginormous 16 year old boy here. Mostly still interested in us, as long as we’re not pointing out anything he’s doing wrong, of course. Coming from a family of girls, this testosterone thing is rather novel. More anger than the crying and the sighing and the drama I remember my sisters and I going through, gets exciting sometimes.

I’m sure it’ll get better for you, sooner than me since I’m a few years later with it, but one day we’ll look back and…well maybe not laugh but we’ll be incredibly happy that phase has ended at least.

I am a father of 3 daughters. It almost killed me when my oldest daughter pulled away, spending all her time with her boyfriend’s parents, leaving me to hear how cool his father was, how successful he was, how he let her drive his Saab, etc. I felt pretty worthless, uncool, unsuccessful. (I get teared up as I type this - it hurt a lot).

She spent the first 2 years of college at home. There were fights between my wife & her as they both struggled for “alpha” status. She moved out & went away to college on the other side of the state after that.

Although we paid for a lot of her expenses, she did discover what it was like to be on her own - no parents immediately available, but far from really being a poor, struggling college student. She is now a senior and will be graduating in a couple months. She has come around pretty well in the past 2 years. She understands a lot more. Suddenly, I am a source of information on life, career, etc again. It is nice to have her back.

I guess my message is that as others here have said, you will probably see the daughter you raised come back around again. Hang in there & know that you are not alone in this experience.

As someone who has had an immensely strained relationship with his mother for [del]years,[/del] decades, my two cents…

  1. Let her grow up. Your relationship with her will change, as all parent-child relationships do. Remember when she was a baby and you held her in your arms, caring for her completely? That gave way to toddling…and first day at school…and so on. So it isn’t that the relationship is ending, but it is morphing into something different and not necessarily for the worse. If you allow it, you can become more like peers. Eventually maybe she’ll have kids of her own and it will come full-circle when she calls for advice.

  2. Develop the other areas of your life. Back in the day maybe you couldn’t do other things because you were raising her…now is the time to reclaim those things. The problem I have with my mom is that she tries to define herself through me (and my sibs). If she were working or making new friends or trying new hobbies etc., she wouldn’t glom on us so much, try to order our lives for us, etc. She’d be happier, more independent, less needy and clingy. As I said, I think you’re moving toward becoming peers—what peer pulls a mom, checking up on them, nagging them, second-guessing all their choices and so on? True you can’t shed that role entirely but I advise picking your battles very carefully.

This helped me during the transition:

Some children are so close to their parents, that the only way they can work up the courage to leave is to get angry and brutally cut the emotional ties. Otherwise, they just wouldn’t leave. Some can slowly untie the apron strings, others have to slash and burn. It has to be done one way or the other. If you can, acknowledge to them that you support them in the process, that you know it has to get done, and then (and it’s hard) let them get on with it.

I think this means (for you) that you have to restrain your “momming” urges. Don’t call her at midnight. Let her know that she can call you any time for any reason. You might over react, but then you’ll help. The cold shoulder you get will probably stop once she perceives that you aren’t “interferring.”

Hugs. It does end.

You know, the hospital’s full of babies who need cuddling. Just sayin’. There were preemies and sick full term babies in the room with my daughter whose parents lived hundreds of miles away and couldn’t come see them everyday. (Can you imagine how awful that must have been for the parents?) A weekend of training, and women would be “Kangaroo Kuddlers” or something silly - just come in and hold and sometimes feed and provide Kangaroo Care to the wee ones. If you need a nurturing fix, there are far worse ways to fulfill it.

I feel you. My son is turning 16 in two days, and much more interested in staying at his friend’s house than at home. He’s never been very open with his thoughts and feelings, so that’s not too much of a change, but I miss those cuddle moments most of all. I wish a mom cuddling her teenage son wasn’t gross and weird.

Ah yes, the Mighty Mommy Marsupials…

My sister wanted to do something like this in South Carolina. She said they required a reference from a doctor and have all sorts of other obstacles. She gave up on it.

She’s 19, which means that although she’s probably still financially dependent, she’s an adult now. Granted, a very inexperienced adult, but probably not wanting parents hovering over her. That’s a difficult stage, and I remember some battles with my mom until she finally recognized me as an adult. And no, I didn’t feel particularly close to her during those times. I needed her to let go of me.

That didn’t mean I didn’t love her, and I see that stage as a good thing (I’m 40 now). She raised me to be independent and able to take care of myself, and it’s a dang good thing. I went through some hard times in my 30s that would have been much more devestating without my ability to stand on my own two feet and take responsibility for my own welfare. Nobody else could have gotten me through those times if I hadn’t.

The thing is, those hard times brought her and I closer together. She had long since stopped treating me as a child, but when things got tough, I discovered that being too independent from family is not a good thing. We overcame some mutual distance left over from our earlier conflicts, and now my mom is my best friend. And I mean we truly are friends now–she doesn’t try to tell me what to do, but I seek her advice as a trusted companion, and vice versa.

All I wanted in my twenties was for my mom to trust me, and to understand that she’d accomplished what I see as the most critical role as a parent–raising a child who can take care of themselves and sort things out, even if things go wrong sometimes. I know my mom never stops worrying about me. I’m not sure it’s possible for a parent to stop worrying about a child. But she doesn’t saddle me with that worry, and the more she let go and the more we learned to see each other as people, the more I wanted to be around her.

So I’m sure it’s tough to feel your daughter taking those final steps into adulthood, but I think it’s part of the natural order of things and a sign of having a healthy child. And it doesn’t mean you’re losing her forever. Just that the nature of the relationship is changing.

I can easily agree with this. It’s 3 years now since my mum and step father divorced, and I was 16 I’d just started working, spending more time away from home with friends and stuff like that. After the divorce, my mum started re-developing a peer group, as it had been virtually non-existent while she was married. Immediately I wasn’t the focus of having to do so well at EVERYTHING.

(I’m the kind of person that will settle for a B if i need a B, rather than studying hard for that A (which i don’t NEED) I could spend time making myself happy, which is far more important to me.
My mums the reverse, so there’s always been pressure on me to strive, and it did cause a fair few arguments.)

Once mum started focusing on herself and the pressure was off, she wasn’t living vicariously through me anymore, and the relationship was immediately better!

Now I’ve been living on my own at University for the past year and a half, the relationship is even better. I think I just needed room to grow on my own, without her breathing down my neck and checking up on me.

/life story.

Just give your daughter a bit more room. Wait for her to call you, if it goes too long without her calling, call her.
But be careful when you call. If she’s grunting at and monosyllabic you, it probably means she doesn’t want to talk and is trying to get you off the phone ASAP, because you’re interrupting whatever she was doing.

Considering that they’re handling other people’s babies, I’m kind of glad there are obstacles in place. I’m sorry your sister found it too difficult, though.

Of course. I’d expect a criminal background check and a bill of clean health from a doctor.

Looking back, I meant to type “referral” but I typed “reference.” I got the impression that it was supply and demand…lots of women might like to do it but they don’t need that many, so they can be pretty selective.

I was probably in my mid-twenties before I came around. Looking back, I was unbelievably mean to my parents. I didn’t think they noticed since there were so many other kids around, but maybe they did. But at some point I guess I felt confident enough on my own to listen to what they had to say. I also felt like my father, particularly, was never satisfied with me, and it’s hard to maintain a relationship with someone you believe does nothing but criticize you. But things are better now (even though he’s still pretty critical of me), mainly because I’ve got more perspective.

So hang in there – it may take a few years, but odds are she’ll come around.

I can’t say much from experience since my daughter is only nine months but if you honestly did call her and immediately say "“Are you up to no good? I have a funny feeling that something is going on!” then yes, I can see where that might cause some friction. Just from an outsider’s point of view, starting any conversation off in such an accusatory tone is going to instantly put the other person on the defense. And if you say things like this often enough, she’s going to start to resent you. It really gives the signal that you automatically assume she’s doing something bad and can’t be trusted. To hear that from a parent is really harsh. Maybe try changing how you talk to her? It might be too late to fix the past but it’s never too late to work on the future.