Ok there is a lot to this, so please bear with me.
My daughter is 16-and-a-half years old and seems to be an ok kid despite the fact that she has a very controlling father. We have sought counseling for several years. Her issues, including self-esteem and depression seem to stem from her father being too controlling. Of course the depression is also hereditary but a controlling father does not help. Well, to try and keep things short, he won’t allow any boys to come to our house, unless they are approved and they sit in the living room (which has never happened by the way). Every boy she is ever interested in, almost, he has an issue with and he can always find something wrong with them. And she is not allowed to really ever just leave the house with a friend that can drive to “hang out”. My husband has also been mentally abusive to her in the past and has called her names and is constantly picking at her for every little thing she does. She can be standing at the sink doing dishes or some other chore and he will find something else bad to say to her about something else, instead of telling her what a good job she is doing with the chores. Now mind you I have not ALWAYS been the greatest parent, I too have had parenting issues. I was a huge supporter of corporal punishment and the only punishment she received most of her life were spankings. I was also a very big yeller, I yelled at her for everything. And everything had to be perfect if it wasn’t exactly how I wanted it done then it was wrong and I’d let her know that it was wrong. And I thought that she had to respect me just because I was her “elder”. Well, that’s what the counseling was for; I realized there was something wrong and wanted to know what I could do as a parent to fix things if I could. And that’s when my husband and I were put under the microscope and I chose to change for the better while he still spins he’s wheels in what seems to be reverse. Now, not saying I am perfect, but I have come a long way. Another problem I have and an advantage he has over me is I was home schooled for most of my life while he was not. So, I feel he has some very valuable skills that I do not posses about just knowing what it’s like to be at a high school. And I have nothing to compare her to because I never lived it.
So just recently she went to stay the night at a friend’s and they went to the movie and to eat. And when she came home he said that she had snuck out of the friend’s house and also did a lot of stuff with a boy at the theater (who really knows what and she has tried to be sexually active for quite some time, a few years I think). So now he wants to punish her for her actions and to make her suffer a consequence for what she did wrong. Well he won’t tell me how he knows any of the stuff he does, I’m assuming he is spying on her friends on myspace, not sure though and frankly that makes me question his honesty, because if you can’t tell me who said what, then how do I know it came from a credible source or from someone who just wants to get her in trouble. My thoughts are, well if she is going to be sexually active and if she is going to put herself at risk then we need to school her on STDs and put her on birth control. He thinks that birth control advocates sex (which I have a tendency to think as well) and that we should limit what she does, where she goes, and who she goes with. I just don’t think she can be put in a cage or a bubble because I went through that and I had her when I was 17. That is not the path I want for her. And given the depression in the family it is so easy to want to start to self medicate even though she does take anti-depressants.
So what do I do? I know what I think feels right, but because of the things he says to me, I start to doubt myself. Can anyone help???