A Cautionary Tale for Permissive Parents
Been a while since I posted, but to recap, I am dating a woman who is a permissive "friend parent" to her daughter. My girlfiend is a very nice woman, intelligent, pretty and kind. We get along well and do have a lot of fun together. That said, while she has some challenges in other areas of her life, my girlfriend's biggest issue is her daughter.
As I've mentioned before, this girl is just about to turn 18, and is a complete trainwreck. My girlfriend and her ex spoiled this girl from the day she was born, which is not all that unusual. However, they also, for lack of a better work, "enfebiled" this girl, to the point that she has missed major development milestones. This is not so common.
Some of the biggest issues with the daughter: Afraid of the dark, so she can't sleep by herself. A complete slob, leaves messes EVERYWHERE. She is capable of cooking but never does the dishes, and leaves big messes in the kitchen too. Doesn't know the value of money, so she wastes food, breaks items and doesn't care since "she'll just get another one." Has a loser boyfriend who mooches of my the daughter AND my girlfriend. The daughter used her supposed "Anxiety Disorder" as leverage to compel my girlfriend into letting the daughter's boyfriend stay overnight, because my girlfriend is afraid "she'll lose her daughter" if she says no.
Personally, I think the "Anxiety Disorder" is bullshit. I think it is more a reflection of the daughter's dissatisfaction with the lifestyle downgrade after the divorce. My girlfriend has a decent job, but not enough to comfortably support herself and the daughter (she doesn't get child support - long story for another post). I don't see an "Anxious" teen when I'm around her, just a spoiled, lazy, enititled, and exceptionally arrogant brat. For example, there was an important event for her a few months ago, and she took forever to get ready. When I saw the look on her face, I didn't see a girl that was panicked and "anxious." I saw a girl who relished in making other people wait on her. Of course you can't say anything to her without triggering an "anxiety attack." She is without a doubt the most selfish teenager I've ever met.
She is also obsessed with this loser boyfriend, and sticks up for him no matter what. This guy has worked a total of 3 weeks over the last 4 months, and was "too good" to work a food service or retail job. My girlfriend's family hates this guy, and has banned him from all family events. This, of course, means that the daughter doesn't go, because she has to "protest the injustice." The daugther's boyfriend has some leverage over my girlfriend which could get her in trouble with her landlord, and has made not-so-subtle threats about sharing this information with the landlord. He's physcially violent and has broken things around the house. However, he's a "bad boy," so the daughter is completely, utterly devoted to him. It's sickening.
There is more, but you get the idea. My girlfriend will never admit it, but I think she "enfebiled" her daughter in order to keep her from ever launching. She makes no bones about being great "friends" with the daughter, and treats her as an equal. She gets mad at the daughter and fights with her, but she never lays down any consequences becaues she is afradi that will compel the daughter to move out. So she let's her get away with everyhing, while simultaneosuly resenting the daughter for being a feral shithead who trashes her house.
So, before the obvious is thrown at me by the group: NO, we don't live together. NO, I don't plan on living arrangments where the daughter is a free-loading, permanent adult "guest" in my home. NO, we are not getting married any time soon, if ever. NO, I do not engage with the daugther beyond the cursory "Hello" or "How are you doing."
I do care about my girlfriend, and want to have a life together. I feel like we are in a kind of limbo thought. I know it will be very tough to be together if the daughter doesn't launch in the next couple of years. She is a selfish troublemaker, and I could not handle her being in my house long-term. I'm willing to stay in a holding pattern for now, and see what happens. There is at least a chance that the daughter moves in with the boyfriend, but of course she could boomerang back when he decies to move on to someone else. I also realize that she may be the type that NEVER launches, and freeloads for the rest of her life.
Not really looking for specific advice, just wanted to vent, and to stress this point, which most of the people on here know so well: Do not be a friend parent! It doesn't work, and you will end up with a kid like my girlfriend's daughter. Kids need boundries, rules, and consequences in order to develop properly. Absent that, you have chaos. I think kids can become "friends" with their parents once they themselves reach adulthood, but they should respect their parents as, you know, ACTUAL PARENTS while they are still young. Say no to Friend Parenting!