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When a parent gives up

Cover1W's picture

DH has been stuggling with some big emotions lately - I thnk he's working through something with his counselor which is good. But I have zero idea what is going on.

I think he's disengaging from YSDstb15.

She's been here since Monday and we've hardly seen her - she's in her room almost all the time. Used to be he'd get her out at some point. Used to be that she'd be out of her room most of the evening. She's not participating in conversations at dinner, even when the conversation directly involves her - things that normally kids/teens would be all over - giving their opinion on stuff.  She's tight as a clam.

Anyway last night DH and I made dinner and he set the table, usually YSDs 'job' that one has to ask her to do every.single.time. I mentioned that YSD hasn't been coming up lately....etc., just convo...DH says, and not at me and not angrily, "Well, my kids are weird." I paused, and said, "What? Did you say both your kids? Weird?" DH, "Yes, they are wierd and I can't do anything about it."  Ok, we move on. YSD is a clam at dinner - and actually she doesn't look well.  We had a big talk about wearing two masks moving forward, YSD didn't say, "hey, i wear two masks on public transit..." (DH told me he found out via BM that she already does this) She likes to one-up people so this is odd. She also failed to mention OSD was very sick last week and they ALL got COVID tested. That is unacceptable and I told DH so.

After dinner, when YSD "goes to bed" at 7:15 again (excuse I think), And after she makes another excuse to not play chess with DH (he got her a chess set for xmas and they haven't played one time yet - she'd be good at it), DH says something like, "I hope that all these skills she's learning serve her well in the job market when she goes out there." Me - "What?" He repeats. My SM senses are now on alert.  Me, "What do you mean?" He explains that he's done all he can and that she's on her own and he can't do any more.  Me, "You know, you can...." (oooooops!) DH, "Like WHAT? It's too late anyway." Me, "Not too late and yes, things should have been done sooner." DH - scoffs. "Really, no, I'd like to know what? I'd like ideas." So at this point he's PO'd at me.  I'm out. "No, I'm not going to talk with you about it now. I've told you in the past what you could do and made suggestions and none of them are ever taken. I'm not going to start again." Then I was done. Because I have tried, and tried - with no changes ever happening.

And this is partly how I see YSD falling into the PAS - I predict she'll be gone this summer, esp. if COVID remains an issue.



JRI's picture

It's hard to let it go when our lives have been so impacted by SKs but if possible, I'd just let it all go with her.  Try not to figure out what DH is going thru, try not to notice what SD does, don't comment on anything.  My only hard boundary would be: no living here after (whatever boundary you have). You're right, it's probably PAS time 

justmakingthebest's picture

I am so sorry. For me, and I know for DH, it is just so hard to come to grips with when you live this life. To watch your kid slip away. For us to watch our spouses helplessly. Then to be the recipient of some of that hostility, just because there is no where else to let it out. It all just sucks. 

advice.only2's picture

Don't fall into the trap, you said your peace years ago and DH refused to listen, in fact he made you feel like you were wrong for trying to help him. So now he gets to sit and stew over his failed children.

ESMOD's picture

14... is hell.. for the parents.. for the child.  

Kids clam up.. they don't share or participate in ways they may have.  They also are moody.. and unhappy.. and it can be for a specific reason.. or for no reason at all really.. it could be due to school, friends... their appearance.. or any number of things.

14 yos can be weird.. she may remain weird.. she may not be weird with her peers.. but with adults more so.

I think her dad to an extent is right in that parents do have an ability to impact... but to an extent.. at some point.. they have a mind and will of their own.. either they will make good choices or bad.. and not much the parent can do to change that as they get older.


Oxforddad's picture

I feel for you.  Did your SO's rejecting his daughter come before or after this behavior?  

You see , I am in a similar boat, but think that my SS has ADHD and a Mother who is too wrapped in herself.  Have you asked your DH to discuss this with his therapist?  Do you think saying that you are going to leave can help?  

Cover1W's picture

DH has been trying. OSD was PASed out years ago. BM has a strong pull on those girls. She can do no wrong. So to fight that DH should have been a less passive parent. He's all about passive parenting and letting kids figure things out...which is fine IF it's balanced with structure, expectations and ramifications. There's none of that here and I'm told my ideas are too strict, authoritarian, hard.

So I stopped. I am not in the verge of leaving at all. I just stay out of it as much as possible because the anger can flare at me....for instance why didn't *I* contact OSD when she left and help get her back (when I think I was a reason she didn't want to be here, you know, expectations). Yeah, no.

I'm pretty sure he is discussing things with his therapist, and I even spoke with her once. But not sure she gets the full picture really.

Mostly I just do my own thing.

Stepmom2020's picture

My SD ran off Christmas day from our house at 15. Moved in with boyfriend and his family, about 7 blocks away. DH and bio mom, made no move to drag her back to either house. We continued to pay child support for a year to bio mom until I made my DH stop. Two years later, we sell our house, find out we have a lien on it and had to pay her two years of back child support. Ten years later, SD (who is now back in our lives), is living with a guy whose two kids are being raised by his mom. He pays child support to the bio mom. SD asks me, "what kind of woman would do that?" I said "your mother". So yes, 15 is a crazy year.