For those who care for someone with Parkinson's disease
[Home] [Forum] [Help] [Search] [Register] [Login] [Donate]
You are not logged in


Topic Daughter Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By lurkingforacure On 2014.09.13 15:54
I am worried about our teenage daughter. My PD husband hardly ever talks to her, hasn't for years, really, and when he does it is superficial things like "what time is it?" or "have you seen my pills?" or "where is the dog?" or some such. He has no idea what she is involved in or her schedule or when she has a test or anything and makes no effort to find out. He has not gone to any of her activities in years and there have been dozens he could have gone to. This is so embarrassing, but he told her several months ago that he did not feel up to going to a concert she was in, which I had to justify to her on the way there, and then on our way home after the concert we passed him in his car with our other kids going to get Chinese food to take to his mom:( It was horrible and my daughter was so very angry and hurt.

The gist of our situation is that our daughter, a straight-A student and much loved by her teachers, is withdrawing. She told me today that she knows from one of her classes (psychology related) that it is obvious he doesn't like her, probably never did. I have tried to explain PD can make one non-communicative, that his meds seldom work, that he feels so bad so much of the time, etc., but she (correctly) points out that he doesn't have any problem talking with our other kids or other people, even the air conditioner guy who was just here today. She's right and I can't argue with the facts.

I think our reality is that my husband has/had parents who were aloof and withdrawn (I call them "absent" parents) and he doesn't know how to parent, particularly teenagers, and never made any effort to learn. It is outside of his comfort zone, and instead of plowing through the hard part of parenting like we all have to do, he just retreats (literally, he goes to the bedroom, shuts the door, then goes on his computer) and leaves everything to me. It has always been this way and although I didn't like it, and even resented it, I handled it.

But now, well, now our perceptive child is very unhappy and when I try to tell her that parenting is hard and daddy just isn't able to handle hard things on top of PD, she throws his higher functionality with our other kids and even strangers in my face. And again, I can't argue with the facts. He took our youngest this afternoon for a fun outing, leaving her at home after speaking maybe ten words to her all day. We ate lunch with him saying not one word at the table, and he sits right next to our daughter. It is so sad.

I have told my husband that you get out of a relationship what you put into it, and that he has to vest himself in our daughter or she will be lost to him. He takes that to mean asking her superficial questions once every other day which they both know are bullshit. I believe he knows what he needs to do but just won't do it because again, it is scary and outside of his comfort zone and he is probably scared of getting his feelings hurt. Welcome to parenting.

When I suggested my daughter and I and/or her dad go to a counselor, she said no way and went to her room. She has stayed in her room most of yesterday after school and all of today except to eat. Sitting next to her father at lunch, who didn't even speak to her.

Does anyone have any suggestions? I've already been to the young onset groups-they tell one how to talk about PD with your kids and how they may feel but not down-in-the-trenches stuff like this. I've told my kids about PD because my husband wouldn't, and I've told them what it means and how it affects him now and in the future. They know all of that-what we need help with is suggestions for handling the situation we are in now. Anyone gone through something like this? I'm at a total loss and we cannot continue this way. I should mention that my husband has forbidden our daughter to tell any of her friends of his condition, which makes things even worse.

By Witsend On 2014.09.13 18:00
I don't have children, and can't even imagine the level of pain this is causing you, on top of dealing with the PD. My heart breaks for your wonderful daughter, and I hope someone here has something useful to help you with this. Prayers and hugs to you and your daughter.

By jcoff012 On 2014.09.13 18:38
Lurking, we just got home, so let me think about this and I will be back to post a response. As many of you know, I have a mother/daughter problem similar to yours, but in reverse...Our now oldest daughter can be in the same room with us and not even acknowledge we are there...will talk to others in the room, but not us...etc...Let me think about your situation...be back in a bit. Hugs and hang in there, Jane

By jcoff012 On 2014.09.13 20:09
First, make sure you let your daughter know that her Dad DOES love her, and she should not use a high school textbook and class as her only source of information. Each person can interpret research and others' findings in his or her own way, and many, many times we are wrong. Because Mr. X shows signs he doesn't like his child DOES NOT mean that this is true in her case.

She is grasping to understand. Teenagers have a difficult road, even when all the love and attention they crave is met.

Tell her this, from my personal experience with our daughter, who is 42...We had four children who are all, always, treated equally. This daughter doesn't see it that way. To her, we favor the others. She never gets enough, never has what they have. So, she goes out of her way to hurt her Dad and my feelings. She can drive all the way up here from San Diego to San Francisco, but not come see us--an hour and a half away. *she has done this three times we know of* Once we knew she and her husband were coming up, so we cleaned this huge house, made a special dinner *she is vegan* and they came in, talked to her sister and our son in law, then after two hours, drove to our daughter's small duplex and spent another day without a phone call and our daughter lives less than a half hour away...but, never ate the food my PWP spent two hours prepping...he just threw it all away. At that point, he said, she just doesn't like us, does she? Why? And we didn't hear from her again for months...until Christmas when WE called to see if she got the presents and check we sent because she couldn't take off work, but they spent three days in Las Vegas! Should I keep going? No, because we sat down and talked it out...as you are doing...

Tell your daughter, although we all want validation from our parents and those we love, sometimes it just isn't there. That does not make us a lesser person, it just means that the person withholding their love or concern either does not know how to respond or truly has no idea that he or she is causing such hurt. No parent would willingly hurt their child. I think you may have also hit the nail on the head...maybe he cannot relate to your daughter because he lacks something in the way he was treated and cannot apply that to her.

I wish she knew how special she is. Keep telling her over and over. Also, please tell her Parkinson's does affect personality and emotions...She is the sad recipient of some of the worst trials for a PWP's family members. She is young and will survive. None of us wants to be hurt, or to hurt someone's feelings.

Also, tell her that some dads are not like Bill Cosby...they have a hard time seeing their "little girl" growing up. Sometimes it is hard to relate to older children, to young adults, because we see them still as a child. To me, I see a the big problem as she sees it...she sees him wanting to be with and have fun with the younger kids...I get that...Tell her she is a proud young woman, not a child, and be proud of that...Her Dad has more control over the younger ones because they don't have opinions, like a teenager does! Some Dads just cannot handle the changes in their daughters...they are women now, not little girls.

It is easier for us as adults to tell her to not get her feelings hurt, to ignore it...I have a very difficult time ignoring our daughter and I am 66! Life has taught me that I am a valuable person and I want to see your daughter have that validation, too...

PD and a distant father is a bad mix. We cannot reason with someone who cannot understand...BUT, I chose to believe that if PD had not entered our lives, then things would be back to "normal"...Until someone can cure PD, we all suffer...but children need extra love and support...the kind you are giving her.

Give her a hug from me...and tell her life does get better. Tell her we are all proud of her great grades under trying circumstances and tell her we all want to see her thrive and look forward to happier times...Trust me, they will come. If she can pull herself up and find a purpose for her life from now on, she WILL survive...and thrive. Also tell her that this is the anniversary of our oldest daughter's sudden death...Not a day goes by that we don't miss her and wish things were different...But, again, we all have to face life as it is, not as we wish it were...A big task for her, but she can do it! Hugs, good luck, and a kiss from me...Also, remember to take opinions, but do as your heart tells you..you sound amazing..Jane

By VioletV On 2014.09.13 21:43
Lurking -- how painful. I can hardly imagine the anguish your teen is experiencing--the self-doubt and anxiety.

We have a 15 year old - my 79 year old husband's daughter by his late wife. He is similar in not knowing how to be a parent to her, but is different in that he wants desperately to have a connection to her. I work hard to manage their connection so that she feels that he is there for her and he feels that she values and respects him. It's very challenging, and not nearly as difficult as what you and your daughter are going through.

I am reminded of an online campaign for another group of excluded and marginalized children called "It Gets Better." Even though your daughter's issues are very different, I think the message is the same -- yes this is unspeakably hard; no, this is not because of something bad about you; your dad is hurting you for reasons neither I (your Mom, his wife) nor you can explain. You are a teen, but you will grow up and it WILL get better.

I believe that to say to her, against all the evidence, that he does love her makes you run the risk of telling her not to believe her own experience. Maybe he loves her, maybe not, but you can't really tell based on how he treats her.

I worry that telling her that a person can love you but ignore, disrespect and hurt you, may make it harder for her to detect and reject harmful behavior in people she encounters in her future life (Disclaimer -- I have been a domestic violence consultant and trainer for more than 30 years, so my worldview is a little slanted in this regard.)

Would it help to say instead: "yes it hurts." "no, it's not right." "I wish I could fix it, but I can't, and you probably can't either." "I am here for you no matter what your Dad says or does." and "let's plan for how you can have a happy and loving life -- and if your Dad can't participate in that, it is HIS loss."

VV

By jcoff012 On 2014.09.13 22:54
Violet, you are amazing...we all bring to this PD table our own thoughts and experiences...yours are wonderfully insightful.

As I said before, Lurking, take any advice that is offered that helps, or ignore it all...None of us are walking your walk. We would never presume to know it all.

Again, to brighter days ahead..I, too, thought of the bullying campaign...It DOES get better..Hugs again, Jane

By lurkingforacure On 2014.09.14 09:33
Thank you Jane and Violet, great advice. You are right: while I worry about the here and now (grades, happiness factor, etc.), I worry more about her future: will she select a husband or tolerate one to treat her less than she deserves (stay in a relationship she shouldn't) because she thinks that is normal? She has no interest in boys, and while I'm not in any hurry to have my daughter enter that realm before she's ready, I do wonder if our situation has anything to do with that.

My sister in law has complained frequently about her mom (my husband's mother too of course), and I will never forget one thing she told me: "I try to be the mother I wanted and needed growing up, not the mother I had." She is a wonderful mother and could not be more different from her own mom. I hope and pray my daughter can overcome these challenges like her aunt overcame hers.

Thanks so much for the advice, and Jane, I hope you and Carl have a wonderful time with your family. I am learning that sometimes it is best to have low expectations, and then if things go as you expect, you are not disappointed... and if they go better, you get a pleasant surprise:)

By ResistanceFutil On 2014.09.14 09:35
My uneducated opinion is that Violet is on the right track. For whatever reason Dad just can't connect, but that's due to his issues, not your daughter. Some men have issues with their teenaged daughters that they don't even understand. The more you try to excuse your husband's behaviour to your daughter, the more she may feel disconnected from you. You and she may never get to the root of your husband's indifference, but she sounds like a great girl who can really use some strong acknowledgement from other family members regarding her accomplishments, her future possibilities, etc. it may be useful for your daughter to learn now, as painful as it may be, that there are some relationships that aren't going to work out, through no fault of her own. She can be kind to someone who is not very responsive to her, and she can learn not to spend too much energy trying to fix that type of relationship. There will be many other people & family members wanting to be involved with a girl with her talents and accomplishments, rather than focusing too much on the one who just isn't able to be involved.


© 2003-2017 MyParkinsons.org · Privacy Policy & Terms of Use
Published by jAess Media. This website and Forum is sponsorsed by people like you