Should mom ease up on 21-year-old daughter?
Q. My 21-year-old daughter and I have always been very close. We’ve spent lots of time doing different activities together.
She never had very close friends and I enjoyed being with her rather than with friends. She’s in her third year of University and likes a guy, 31, whom she met online. The age-gap really bothers my husband and me, but she says it doesn’t matter.
She’s been with him a couple of months, only went to his place twice. Recently, she stayed all night and didn’t tell us where she was until the next afternoon.
She says they only slept together without any sex and wants to do this more often but will let me know ahead. I find it very hard to agree with this. She’s never been with a guy sexually or had a boyfriend. She says they just want to sleep beside each other but we know what’ll happen soon.
She’s living at home and has only just gotten a part-time job.
Are we wrong to be upset? Because of her age, do I need to accept it?
We’ve had several arguments over this. I don’t want to lose her. She’s entering her final year at University and mentioning she’d like her own place. I know it’d help if I had some close friends, but I find it hard to meet new people I like.
She compromised, saying that she won’t stay all night for a month, but will then want to, and feels she should be able to make her own decisions.
A. You can’t be best friends with your daughter and also issue parental orders and restrictions without expecting some give and take.
Now is the time to be clear (though not harsh or over-anxious) in your mother role about the responsibilities between you two. While still living at home, she must let parents know if she’ll be out all night or home exceptionally late. It’s a safety factor for her, and a necessary courtesy so you and your husband don’t worry.
While still financially dependent on you, moving out isn’t taken for granted. It needs to be discussed, with clear understanding of costs, who’s paying what, and whether it’s a loan to be repaid, etc.
As for the boyfriend, get to know him rather than judge/reject him because of his age.
It’s time for a different type of friendship with her — as a loving adviser, asking her only the leading questions that she must start to answer for herself.
Relying on her for your main companionship is no longer helpful to her or to your relationship.
Q. Our same-age neighbour addresses my wife inappropriately: “Hi, Sweetie, Babe!” In front of me once too! She hates it but we both feel awkward to confront it. A. Response: “I’m not your Babe, and only my husband’s Sweetie. How are you otherwise?”
Q. After 20-plus years, I decided for my mental health that it was best to leave my difficult work environment.
I’m seeking employment until I can retire financially. I’ve sent out many resumes (advised how by an employment help office) and applied for jobs.
I’ve had no positive responses, no interviews. I’m beginning to feel like a failure. I’d previously had therapy to deal with my former workplace issues. The recommendation was to find another job. How can I boost my self-esteem and keep plugging away in the job market?
A. You’re not alone; many jobseekers say it’s not uncommon to take a year to get hired. Keep active; don’t just stay at home seeking jobs online. Knock on doors wherever possible. Take any course that can boost your skills. See a career counsellor. Employers like confidence and persistence, so show it. Keep past workplace difficulties in the past.