Strange behavior of parent

Avatar for jupiterfit
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Registered: 05-12-2003
Strange behavior of parent
5
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 3:12pm
Hello,

My daughter has been friends with a girl for 3 years. Over the past year, though, I have noticed the friend has become quite negative, sad, and needing attention. She has talked about how her life sucks, then it became "I hate myself", then she befriended a troubled girl with a nasty homelife who introduced her to cutting herself. She did that for about 2 months. My daughter has been trying to be a good friend and listen to her. I guess the girls parents are gone alot. They work a couple of jobs each because I think they are in over their heads financially. Two weeks ago, my daughter asked if she could stay overnight at her friend's. I guess I should have asked a few more questions. I didn't know there would not be any parental supervision. The friend invited the troubled girl over and they hauled out the booze. They made a drink for my daughter and she said she doesn't drink. One of them said "drink it." She did take a couple of sips and left it. One of them told someone at school the following Monday, and it spread around. I got a call from the principal (parent to parent). The friends' mom called me to apologize and I said, "do you think your daughter might benefit from some counseling? She seems to be having a hard time right now." I also said I would pray for them. She said her daughter didn't need counseling, she was fine! When she hung up she yelled to her family "I don't need her prayers!! and that she hated me. Her daughter told my daughter that.

I was hurt and very surprised!! Now our daughter has been invited to the friend's birthday. How should I handle this??
Debbie
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Registered: 05-12-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 4:26pm
Here's a little more info. The three girls are in 8th grade. The other two girls got really drunk that night of the sleepover. Now the mom says she prefers to have no contact with me. Maybe because I disapproved of her bad judgement??? I wouldn't have left three teens alone for the whole evening. Shoot the messenger. Let me know if you have any helpful tips. Meanwhile, my daughter is mad at me because she has been told she can't go to the birthday party. I told her I don't feel comfortable with it and why would she want to go someplace where the parents don't want anything to do with our family?? Oh, but "she doesn't hate our daughter." Our daughter is stuck in the middle and this is difficult for us to handle. Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Debbie
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Registered: 03-20-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 4:37pm
I'd go with your instincts and not let your dd go to the party. Sounds like this girl doesn't have much supervision and who know what will happen at the party? And if the mom doesn't want anything to do with you that's another red flag. Your dd will get over being mad at you - most teenagers spend half their time being mad at their parents for one reason or another! I'd encourage other, healthier friendships for your dd.

Pam



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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 6:58pm
If I've followed this correctly, there are two friends of your dds who are both troubled.

Why the mom would react the way she did when she called to apologize would be for this reason, I think: I'm assuming nothing has been said to the friend's mom about what the friend has been doing over the last year ... so when the mom called you to apologize for them drinking when she wasn't home, she's going to think you asked if she thought her dd could benefit from counselling and that she was going thru a hard time right now based on this one drinking episode. Now, especially parents who aren't home a lot, who have their own issues and aren't apparently that aware of their kid's feelings and actions overall, is not going to think 'one' drinking episode is going to warrant a counsellor necessarily.

Parenting is one of *THE* areas in life that people are most defensive about. If you had said something like, 'thanks for calling ... I've been thinking of calling you. Not so much to make a huge issue over this one situation but because I've been hearing a lot of things for the last while that has caused me concern regarding your dd and wasn't sure quite how to approach you about it. Would you be open to talking about some of it?" Then just sticking to the facts as you know them, not sounding like you're making a 'judgement call' on how they are or aren't parenting, or making suggestions how to parent 'better' - but even this is a kind of call that, in my experience, most parents are not going to be open to unfortunately. Even one mom I knew who was a GREAT mom - very involved, very good marriage with a dad who was equally involved, there for everything, etc etc - when she was confronted with something that her dd was not even likely responsible for, she refused to even believe her dd could have been fooled and this was a pretty big issue. And she further refused to believe that she, herself, had been fooled - and accepting what was told to her would have, at the very least, indicated that she and her dd had both been duped.

So, you asking the mom that without her knowing the stuff her dd has been doing over the last year, would definitely set off a defensive response, right or wrong, unfortunately.

Add to that that you'll pray for them - that would, in her mind, make it seem that you are (a) over-reacting to this drinking episode and (b) even some Christians I know do not always appreciate someone saying they'll pray for them if they don't think the situation is warranted. Again - right or wrong. And I speak as a committed Christian. I will often pray for someone but not always tell them that's what I'm doing; people who are not believers would take that very much as an indication that those who are praying for them think they are 'better' or know better than they do ... so, I'd still pray for them because their dd is definitely going through a hard time. God doesn't need us to tell people that's what we're doing in order for Him to still work :-)

I understand that you were responding to her with caring and I commend you for that. But to see it from *her* perspective, which is what I think you were asking, this is what I'm pretty sure would be how SHE sees it - right or wrong.

What to do about the upcoming b-day party? I think I'd likely call the mom and tell her you're sorry if you appeared to come from left field with your comments in the earlier call and that you'd like to share WHY if she would like to hear. Just say your comments came from this and you just kind of 'jumped the gun'. No matter how you try to handle such a call, telling a parent stuff like this about their kid is not going to be very well received unfortunately.

Or you can skip such a call and handle this like you would handle any other invitation - if you think you should have called to ensure that there was supervision before, then just make sure you do that from now on. Just call and say that you wanted to know what the plans for the party were. If she reacts funny, just explain that this is your NORMAL route to take with invitations. If she doesn't handle that then i just wouldn't let my dd go ... a parent at LEAST has to be able to handle a parent calling to ask what the plans are. Even tho she will likely think you calling *now*, and not before, has more to do with you thinking that there's an additional need because of the last circumstance.

Ok. In summary, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place. So ... do what you would NORMALLY do and don't worry about what her response is or isn't. You still have the primary responsibility of ensuring where your child is & what is going to go on, is acceptable to YOU, irregardless of whether or not *how* you do it or *why* you do it is received well. Why and how are YOUR business only. Good luck!

Avatar for jupiterfit
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Registered: 05-12-2003
Mon, 05-12-2003 - 10:53pm
kkiana, I think you hit the nail on the head. I think the mom did think my saying I would pray for her, made me sound like I was better than her. Thanks for that perspective. When she called, I started out with the approach you suggested. But maybe the comment about praying didn't sit well. I have a little time to let this all settle. The party is a couple of weeks away. The mom does know about the cutting that went on for a couple of months. She also knows her daughter has been depressed. I'm thinking she must know that her daughter's other troubled friend is rather risky to be around (she has some bizarre comments).... but I could be wrong. She still allows her daughter to hang out with her. The kids somehow think this troubled girl is "cool." I don't mind my daughter being with her in school, but I think I will find other things for her to do if she calls our daughter to do anything. She will be at the birthday party. The last birthday party they attended, "trouble" said she was bringing alcohol... maybe to see what their reaction would be... but then didn't. I'm uneasy that she will be at the party. But I guess if there is adult supervision, nothing can happen. I will take your advice on getting the details of the party.
Debbie
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 05-13-2003 - 12:15am
Well, if the mom already knows all the things her dd has been doing over the last year, then yes, the 'praying for you' comment will definitely be what set her off.

As for assuming nothing will go on if there are parents in the house, don't ever believe that. If the parents are people you know well, the kids are ALL whom you know well, and you KNOW the kids aren't interested in activities you don't approve of, then it's likely fine. Otherwise, I have heard literally countless stories from teens over my dd's entire teen life that prove otherwise.

Good luck. I hope it all works out.