My daugh­ter is mean and con­trol­ling

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - WHAT’S ON -

Q: We­have two chil­dren, a boy of 6 and a daugh­ter of 14. I’m writ­ing about our daugh­ter.

My­hus­band and I have both no­ticed that she seems to con­trol her friends – who’s cool, who’s shunned.

She is clever and pretty and she has ev­ery­thing she needs. She used to be grate­ful and happy but lately she’s be­come mean. My­hus­band says she’ll grow out of it but I’m not so sure.

If you sus­pect your daugh­ter of be­ing mean, then you’re right to care. Iwouldn’t wait around for her to grow out of it. She is ob­vi­ously a lucky girl but she needs to un­der­stand that peo­ple who have a lot of ad­van­tages need to be able to show hu­mil­ity.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to note that be­ing the cool kid who con­trols the dy­nam­ics at school doesn’t al­ways equate to be­ing the cool adult.

Of­ten the charis­matic but mean kids grow up think­ing life owes them some­thing. They didn’t have to strive as hard as other chil­dren but that can even­tu­ally back­fire and those

A:

chil­dren don’t al­ways do as well as peo­ple ex­pect.

Your daugh­ter is only 14 and your opin­ions and ex­am­ple will hope­fully still mat­ter. You could start by talk­ing to your daugh­ter about what you’ve no­ticed, but also talk about em­pa­thy and how much you value that qual­ity.

Chil­dren are sponges so you’ll need to show em­pa­thy in your own life for her to be able to do the same.

Too of­ten adults are arm­chair crit­ics as they watch peo­ple on the TV news or ob­serve peo­ple from their cars, so you and your hus­band should be care­ful of what you say and how you say it.

Be­ing mean and judg­men­tal can be­come a habit if jokes at an­other per­son’s ex­pense get a laugh.

An­other op­tion is that your daugh­ter’s be­hav­iour is a front. Be­ing a teenager isn’t easy and it may be that your daugh­ter is feel­ing quite small so she’s act­ing quite big. It might be wise to mon­i­tor your daugh­ter’s so­cial me­dia stuff ex­tra care­fully if you sus­pect she’s be­ing mean.

There’s plenty of op­por­tu­nity to wield con­trol and hurt peo­ple on­line and this can es­ca­late quickly if it’s not su­per­vised.

I al­ways think teach­ers get over­looked when par­ents are search­ing for an­swers. They know the be­hav­iours and group dy­nam­ics of their stu­dents and they may be able to ad­vise or re­as­sure you.

Mary-anne Scott has raised four boys and writ­ten three nov­els for young adults, in­clud­ing Stick­ing With Pigs which was re­leased in March 2018. (One Tree House). As one of seven sis­ters, there aren’t many par­ent­ing prob­lems she hasn’t talked over. To send her a ques­tion email life.style@stuff.co.nz with Dear Mary-anne in the sub­ject line. Your anonymity is as­sured.

123RF

If you think your daugh­ter is be­ing mean to oth­ers, then you’re right to care.

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