My daughter criticises me for being too supportive — how can I start to back off?
DEAR DEIDRE: MY 13-year-old daughter criticises me for being too supportive and I don’t know how to hold back.
I am a mum with three children. My other two are 21 and 18, and neither of them have complained about being smothered.
My daughter is my youngest and wasn’t even expected to go full term.
She has had several medical and learning challenges growing up and I’m very proud of her.
I have dedicated my life to all my children, supporting everything they do, and only my youngest has ever complained.
I’m really trying to let her make her own decisions.
For example, instead of dishing out all the medicine she has to take before bedtime, I simply ask her to confirm she’s taken it.
How can I back off without withdrawing?
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DEIDRE SAYS: You are clearly a very loving parent. Now she is starting to assert herself, which is typical teenage behaviour, you both need to redefine the family boundaries.
Ask her what she means by “you are too supportive”, don’t assume you understand what she is talking about.
If she can clarify what areas she is talking about you can discuss those specifically and find compromises you both agree on.
Of course you don’t have to agree to everything.
Remind her that growing up is a gradual process and you can relax certain boundaries when you both feel she is ready.
I’m sending you my support pack Troubled Teens for more information.
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