Parenting --Teens/21 year old daughter

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Question
I recently read another parent's entry with a similar concern regarding her 21 year old son and your response to her.  I believe her name is Godette. The situation she described is similar to mine except that I have a daughter and I have to add to my issue the mother/daughter relationship troubles.  My daughter is a good kid, she's in her last year of college, she has a relatively good head on her shoulders and in general a likeable kid.  The problem is that she is in my opinion extremely inmature and self centered for her age.  I feel that she is also very selfish and there lies the root of her troubles.  She does not have any "true" friends because she always ends up getting into fights with them.  She does not see this, she thinks she has good friends but in the end, the have all abandoned her.  She does not see how she has had something to do with this.  Once thing that she does is that she sees a problem with someone and she gathers people around her to try and get them to see that person's faults, then she feels it necessary to be the one to voice her opinion saying it's everyones opinion as well.  So, she ends up being the one with the big mouth and the big opinions to "tell it like it is", then everyone else backs down, leaving her all alone.  She has recently done this to express her displeasure of a house guest we have in our home.  She feels the house guest is an inconvenience for everyone (although she really is not at all) so she has gotten her siblings to say that she is and that her dad and I "favor" the guest therefore neglecting everyone else.  In my opinion this is her selfish behavior peeking through because I do pay attention to the guest as I should being a good hostess.  Another example: we share the same clothes size and often similar taste in clothes.  She often enters my closet take my things without asking or without regard for my property although it has repeatedly been a topic of argument.  
I tried to give you specific examples but there are many many more.  I tried to pinpoint it and I do feel it has to do with immaturity but also complete selfishness.  Her siblings, a boy and another girl, are completely different.
My husband and I are at wits end.  We feel all these troubles stem from her immaturity and selfishness. She is also very difficult to talk to as she doesn't recognize what she does and I have trouble communicating with her.  I often chose to write my feelings down for her to see instead of talking through it since it always turns into a crying and yelling match.  Please help me help my daughter.

Answer
Hello Martha,
I don't get the feeling from your email that your daughter is asking you to help her. In fact, you point out that the two of you are unable to talk about important issues related to her. So, you want to help someone who doesn't really want your help.
This puts you in a very difficult position in terms of trying to help her. Any efforts you make to offer insight or advice are likely to result in conflict or rejection.
So, what can you do?
My suggestion is that you wait until she asks for your help or advice. If she complains, for instance, about not having any friends, you could ask her if she would like some advice. If she says, "No, thank you," that would be the end of it. If she said, "Yes, I need to know what I'm doing wrong with other people," then you can ask if she really wants you to tell her how you see things. If she says yes, then you can point out what you think she should do differently.
However, you would have to be very tactful in order to avoid her getting defensive or her tuning you out.
In general, it is very difficult to give advice to our children. They have to be ready to listen to and accept our wise counsel.

Any questions?

James Windell  

Parenting --Teens

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James Windell

Expertise

I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.

Experience

I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at Jimwindell.com

Education/Credentials
I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

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