Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - THIS LIFE -

My wife and I di­vorced two years ago when our youngest daugh­ter was 16. The mar­riage had not been good for sev­eral years and we thought it would be bet­ter to split up. Our two el­der chil­dren, who are in their 20s, live with their part­ners. They coped well with the di­vorce but my youngest daugh­ter didn’t. I am liv­ing just around the cor­ner from my ex-wife, so I see a lot of my daugh­ter. She has never been confident and is now even less so. I am wor­ried be­cause her 19-year-old boyfriend is quite con­trol­ling and very crit­i­cal – in fact, sim­i­lar to my ex-wife, which was one of the rea­sons why we split up. Un­for­tu­nately peo­ple tend to re­peat pat­terns from their child­hood. If they have had a dif­fi­cult or con­trol­ling par­ent they may sub­con­sciously seek that out in a part­ner be­cause it seems safe and fa­mil­iar, even though in re­al­ity it is not healthy. As your daugh­ter didn’t cope very well with the di­vorce, ask her gen­tly how she feels about the sit­u­a­tion now and sug­gest that she has some coun­selling as you no­tice that she seems to have lost a lot of con­fi­dence. Teen­line (teen­ could of­fer help and ad­vice. Don’t be too crit­i­cal of her boyfriend as that could make her get even more at­tached to him, but gen­tly men­tion you are con­cerned that he tells her what to do rather too much and if she wants to talk about it, you are there for her. Give her lots of praise to try to build up her self-es­teem and hope­fully, as she is so young, her re­la­tion­ship will end in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture. I am sure you will then give her plenty of sup­port.

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