Should mom ease up on 21-year-old daugh­ter?

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­vice.com DEAR EL­LIE

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.

Boor­ish neigh­bour

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?”

Low self-es­teem

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.

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