Straight Talk

I am a single mother.  My 15 year old daughter tries to embarrass me in public settings. –A letter from Janice B.

Danice Akiyoshi

Danice Akiyoshi

By Danice Akiyoshi N.D.

Q: If I have a drink at a party, BBQ, wedding reception or sports event, she feels like she can question me about how many drinks I’ve had and how stupid I’m acting.  If she sees me dancing with someone she gives me hard looks the whole time.  When I invite friends over to our apartment she scowls and waits for a chance to make a rude remark.  I’ve had it.  I need advice.

A: Your daughter is somehow confused about who’s in charge.  This usually happens when a passive parenting approach is in play.  If your daughter isn’t sure who is in charge, she probably thinks she is.  This is hard for kids and that’s why she seems so upset and unhappy.  Kids don’t have the developmental skills or maturity to be the person in charge.  You need to get things turned around by having her firmly understand that you are the parent and you are in charge.  You might think kids will automatically rebel against this, but they actually often calm down and feel relief.  It causes them great anxiety when they feel like they have to be in charge.

If you have a casual parenting style or are mistakenly trying to treat you daughter like your buddy, I would recommend stopping that now.  Regain control.  Behave in a respectable manner when you’re in the presence of your daughter.  It appears that your choices for having a good time are rubbing her the wrong way.  Develop rules and codes of conduct for public situations and don’t waver.  Kids should be answering to adults not the reverse, but that only works in a healthy way when the adult shows up as a strong, decent, and competent person.  Be that person.