Friday, October 12, 2012

Dear Maxy ,
My husband and I have a 20-year-old daughter , "Brianna" . We pay for her private college tuition , as well as all her expenses .
In August , Brianna was invited for a weekend long trip to Hawii with her boyfriend's family . She decideded to go without discussing it with us . We had made plans to get her a new apartment that week so she could move prior to classes starting , and she totally blew it off .
I am hurt by this . It seems disrespectful to us and to the commitment she has as a daughter . I have communicated  very little her since she left for school . How can I let her know this behavior is unacceptable ? I am also disappointed in her boyfriend , who has known us long enough to be more sensitive to our family .
What should I do ?
A Mom

Dear Mom ,
Yes , it was rude  that Brianna did not discuss the change in plans with you , but she is trying to assert her independence , and I recommend you let her . That means she should make more of her own decisions and you need to stop paying for them . If Brianna recieves a free trip to Hawii and blows off apartment hunting , let her handle her own living arrangements . Don't do it for her or fret that she won't have a place to live . She'll manage . Let her find a part-time job to pay for things you don't want to finance .
let her become a responsible , Mature adult instead of a dependent child .

Dear Maxy ,
I witnessed my classmate shoplift yesterday . She had invited me to go with her to the mall , and I went . Hey , that's what we teens do after school . I like this girl , but I don't know her very well .
I was shocked to see that she put something in her purse and walked out . . I wasn't sure what to do .
I called her on it , and she said it was "light stuff." I'm upset . At the least , I want to step away from her , but she has a big personality . How should I handle this so I don't lose all my friends ?

Dear Angry ,
It's good that you already addressed this situation with her . Broach the subject one more time , and tell her that her shoplifting is a deal-breaker for you . You like her, but you do not condone it, that you don't intend to broadcast what she did to your group of friends, but you hope she will get the help that she needs to start making different decisions .
As far as the other friends go, you have to make a decision . You can choose too keep the theft secret and let the cards play out as they will . Or you can privately speak to your closest friends and let them know that you and the other girl have experienced a rift and that you hope it will not affect your friendship . No need to describe the rift .

Dear Maxy ,
My husband and I have been going to a therapist for about a year , and I'm not sure what to think of it . She has been helpful , in that now we argue less and are more civil to each other . That's a blessing . But I don't think we like each other that much . We hardly do anything together . I don't think that's how life is suppose to be .
We have two kids who have noticed the strain in our relationship , although they probably think things are better beccause we are not arguing. I don't know what to do . Therapy is helpful, but I'm left with tons of questions . Should I give up now ? And if so, how do I walk away when I have kids ?

Dear Sinking ,
Do you think you can have a civil conversation with your husband and talk about how you are feeling ? If you are considering leaving your marriage, you can tell him that, and why ? Even if you decide to break up , you need to talk it through because you have children .
Tell your husband you want to have an honest dialogue about your future . To the best of your ability , stay calm . Ask him what he's thinking , share whats's in your heart , and be direct with each other . Being honest about your raw emotions could open up a discussion that allows the truth to be heard . This may be the way to open the door to whatever is next .

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