PLEASE HELP Controlling Father!!!! - FamilyEducation
PLEASE HELP Controlling Father!!!!
03/18/2010 at 00:00 AM

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???

It's time to pack up and move home to mother's.

I have a relative who was very overbearing with her child. This young girl was not allowed to go anywhere without being in constant contact. She was not allowed to go hang out with friends. Within a few months of turning 18 she was still being taken to work and picked up by her parents. I tried to talk with her mother hoping to get her to realize that her actions, while they might keep her daughter on a short leash, will eventually backfire. When this young girl turned 18, she left to live with friends that very week. She is young, beautiful, and has been so sheltered that she does not understand the real outside world. After living 18 years of harsh critisim she seem's almost lost. Her parents have stopped talking with her, which in turn makes her feel even more rejected. Naturally this young girl will seek the acceptance from strangers that she could never find at home. She found that acceptance by getting a job at a strip club. She tells me she is not stripping, just serving drinks. I can tell that she feels better about herself eventhough her only affirmation come from complete strangers who want nothing more than to satisfy their selfish needs. I have known this girl since she was very young and it is hard to watch her go down such a self destructive path. I know she trusts me, and I hope that trust will open further conversation between her and I that will give her a better idea of the direction she needs to go. I fear too much "serious" talk will send her running, so I keep it lite for now. The reason I am telling you this is because it will be much harder to try and fix these problems when she leaves home. You have about a year and a half to gain some trust, make her feel good about herself, and to give her that acceptance that she craves. If she does not find it in you, she will find it where she can. This is also a good time to allow her some extra freedom with guidelines. Guidelines to help keep her safe, and extra freedom to allow her to experience the outside world. Dad can not be too angry that his daughter lies to him, he has created the situation that makes it necessary to lie in order to have some enjoyment in life.

You should really talk to your husband and do some more family counseling if possible. Think of what this is doing to your daughter's self-esteem, and how it will impact her adult relationships with men.

That is exactly what I am afraid of, that self destrutive path that this can lead to. I totally agree with what you say SnglDad.

And that's the problem, do I try and counsel more, because he won't go to the counseling sessions. I feel like I have explored every avenue and there comes a time when you have just done everything you can and you have to let go. She doesn't have any self-esteem, none at all because of the mental abuse that she has had to suffer. And I think by keeping my husband in the house that it is only making it worse.

like I said.

Have you told your husband you feel this way? Sometimes we don't see ourselves clearly, or fully understand the impact our actions have on our families. Even if your busband won't go to counseling, you can take your daughter. It will definitely be useful for her if she has self-esteem issues. Also, the two of you could go together.

Yes he knows it is a HUGE issue that we face on a daily basis. The counsler said that I have to take full control of all discipline at this point which is what I have done and that causes more problems between my husband and I. But in order to protect my daughter that is the way it has to be.

Lostmom, I completely agree.