Hi, I’ve lurked here off and on for years but have just finally joined because I’ve been having some issues with my daughter this summer and need advice.
I’ve always had the typical problems with her that any single mother would have --- dating the wrong kind of boy, wanting to stay out too late, wanting to wear inappropriate clothing, etc. But this summer she’s really gotten out of hand and I feel it is because of my ex and his wife. They are pretty unsavory characters IMHO, but they weren’t able to interfere in how I raised her until recently. They lived in California and therefore weren’t able to have any direct contact with her. But this past May they moved back here to central Ohio, not too far from where I live, and I feel that they have been a very negative influence on her. The problem is that she stays with them on the weekends now, and I can’t prevent that legally. And they seem to undo everything I’ve tried to instill in her.
For example, I’ve tried to teach her financial responsibility, and I was making good progress with her until they moved out here. She’s 17 and just started her senior year in high school, and she had a part time job and was fairly thrifty with what little money she made there. But my ex has lots of money and since they’ve been here they have spoiled her literally rotten. IMHO, I think they are trying to buy her love. Right after they got here they bought her a brand new sports car, I think it cost around $80,000, and they’ve given her a credit card with no restraints on the spending whatsoever. She will go to the mall with her friends and routinely will spend hundreds a day, sometimes over $1000, mostly on clothing, jewelry, and other trinkets. She has no financial discipline anymore at all, and of course she has quit her job. And she tells me she has no plans now to work until after she’s done with college, which won’t be until she’s at least 25 or so as she plans on becoming an attorney. In addition to this, they will let her have big parties at their house on the weekends, with scores of kids coming over, and if she goes out, they have no problem with her coming home well after 2am on a Friday or Saturday night. And then I have to hear my daughter tell me how ‘cool’ they are and how strict I am, when all I’m trying to do is teach her to be responsible.
But the worst change I’ve noticed in her is how she dresses. She’s always wanted to dress a bit girly like any other teenager, but her wardrobe had never been too big a problem for me. This was mainly because I had the power of the purse, I simply wouldn’t buy her anything too risque, but even with her own money she wouldn’t buy anything too slutty. This is because she’s always been very active in our church and has always been a committed Christian. She is a virgin and is saving herself for marriage, and she even brags about this to everyone. So we always saw eye to eye on the difference between a bit ‘sexy’ and ‘slutty’. She might have worn a bikini down at the pool and miniskirts to school, but they were always appropriate. The bikini was full coverage and her skirts came to at least mid thigh. But even though my ex and his wife claim to be Christians and are now attending our church, apparently her stepmom’s philosophy is ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’ and ‘it’s ok for boys to look as long as they don’t touch’. I mean, seriously, that’s what she tells me, and now my daughter is telling me the same thing when I complain about how she’s dressing. She has totally brainwashed my daughter and now both of them say I’m a ‘prude’, and that being a Christian doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy, as long as you don’t actually have sex. My daughter has even been using this line on me recently when I complain to her that she learned from her stepmom, ‘There is nothing dirty about being a little flirty.’
Now, while I can understand that point of view to a very small extent, I certainly think she’s taking it way too far. I mean, it’s embarrassing! I’m actually embarrassed to be out in public with her now! Her skirts this summer are so short they’re more like wide belts, if she raises her arms above her head you can almost see her underwear. And her tops are all very sexy as well --- crop tops, side slits, etc. I’ll go to the mall with her and it’s so embarrassing, everyone stares at her. But she doesn’t care. In fact, she brags about it. She says she likes teasing boys and watching them drool. When I ask her why, her only reply is ‘I don’t know. It’s just fun.’ She also bought this new sexy one piece swimsuit which she wears to the community pool. It’s basically two straps of cloth which barely cover her and it’s white and you can see right through it when it gets wet. I refuse to even go to the pool with her anymore because of it. I don’t even know how she gets away with wearing it, as it’s a family environment. The same is true for her school clothes. I would think they’d make her go home and change, but apparently things are more liberal now than when I was in school. The skirts she’s wearing to school are so short that I’m sure the boys are getting lots of ‘panty shots’ when it’s windy out. She even told me this is the case, but she’s happy about it. She’ll brag to me about all the boys that are constantly staring at her, she even tells me that some of the male teachers look at her. Last Friday, she even brought two boys over our house (I wasn’t home of course) and let them takes pictures and video of her in this short skirt and at one point she even gave them a ‘panty shot’. The one boy even posted the video to Flickr, but not only does she not care, she’s happy about it. She will brag to me that all the boys tell her she’s the sexiest girl at school, and that all the girls are jealous of her. She even showed up at church this past Sunday wearing this skirt, albeit with a more conservative top. I was so embarrassed! But my ex and his wife said I should just be happy that she wants to go to church in the first place.
The video was the last straw for me. Inviting boys over after school and letting them take inappropriate video and pictures of her to me reveals someone who is totally out of control. I even think she might get raped or something, I mean, you know how teen boys are. But when I complained to my ex’s wife about it she told me I was a ‘prude’ and that she saw nothing wrong with it, that I was making a big deal about nothing. And my brainwashed daughter basically parroted her remarks. She said they were ‘friends’ and she trusted them. But she won’t allow me to meet any of them. Here is the video this creep posted, so you can see what I’m talking about, and so you can see the kind of skirts she’s wearing to school.
Am I missing something here? Am I a ‘prude’? I just feel that this is inappropriate behavior and attire for a 17yo girl, particularly to wear to school. And yes, I think it’s rather slutty to let boys take pictures like this. But the more I complain the more she threatens to move in with them, and I feel I will totally lose her if that happens. Legally, I have joint custody but I’m not sure what I can do in that area. I have little money for an attorney, but surely there’s something I can do.
Or do you think I’m overreacting like my daughter and my ex’s wife say? Am I really a ‘prude’? I don’t think so, but maybe I’m behind the times or something? I don’t know. All I know is that I feel like I’m losing my daughter and I don’t have their kind of money, so I feel so helpless and powerless right now.