what would you do - dd aged 15 very upset with dp

(37 Posts)
notreally Wed 07-Nov-12 12:23:52

Dd is aged 15 and in year 10. She is a fabulous person, has strong opinions and a real sense of right and wrong.
Last week she caught dh smoking. He had “given up” two months ago, but found a cigarette in his pocket when he was waiting to collect her from the cinema and decided to smoke it. She came out, caught him and went completely ballistic.
Dd rushed home, stormed into the house, and grabbed dp’s dope from the top of the fridge where he has hidden it for many years, or so he thought. She flung it at him, screamed that he was absolutely disgusting, she knew that it was dope. She was crying and really very very upset. Dh devastated. He does smoke dope but never, ever in front of her, or in the house at all. He has thrown the dope away and will never ever bring any into the house again. By the way, the cigarette she caught him smoking was tobacco only.

Dd has calmed down since then, and as, is typical with her, not mentioned it. However, I know this does not mean that she has forgotten about it or that it hasn’t affected her. Dh has refused to speak to her about it. He says he doesn’t know what to say. I am very clear that he must talk to her, that what he says will impact on her for the rest of her life with regards to drugs. I think he needs to take responsibility and be honest with her. I am annoyed he is trying to avoid this, he often jokes with dd about me liking a few glasses of wine but hasn’t the gumption when it comes down to his life choices to explain them (not excuse them) to dd.
What would you advise? Thank you.

Astelia Tue 13-Nov-12 09:48:13

If he really wants to stop smoking there are things he can do that might help- but he has to be willing to try. As for the illegal drugs, he can get help if he wants to.

If he isn't actively trying to stop then he doesn't want to. And that is what DD is seeing. She is getting the health message from school on both these issues and she will realise money is being spent on it. Of course she will be upset. She might be worried about the police and her DF going to prison. Unlikely I know, but what he is doing is illegal.

notreally Mon 12-Nov-12 12:39:24

I have never asked dh to give up smoking. I would love him to, obviously, as I am and always have been a non-smoker. Dd has always shown her disdain at dp smoking. When dd was tiny, dp used to go outside the flat several times a day to smoke and he asked me not to tell dd where he was and I refused to lie for him. So dd has known he smokes for years, although he has never smoked either in the house or in front of her.

Perhaps he doesn't want to stop. But if that is the case, I wish he would just be honest.

flow4 Mon 12-Nov-12 11:55:37

Actually, it sounds to me like your DH may be in this situation because he is trying to do things he doesn't actually personally want to do. He knows what you want and what is expected of him as a father - in this case not smoking. But he doesn't seem to want this himself, yet doesn't want to disappoint, so he ends up pretending to give up, hiding his dope, etc... hmm

I wonder if he feels he's stuck between being dishonest with himself by giving up, or being dishonest with you/DD by pretending he wants to stop... Maybe for him, the honest behaviour would be continuing to smoke... ?

flow4 Mon 12-Nov-12 11:05:14

Aw notreally, I feel for you. "What I would like from this situation is for dh to talk to dd about his tobacco and drug use in a straight forward way, telling her he knows it is wrong, and why"... But you are not going to get that, are you? Realistically, you know you are not. sad

notreally Mon 12-Nov-12 10:43:06

thank you, Astelia and flow4.

I guess I have been very anxious about dd not understanding the mixed messages she has obviously received re dh and his using dope.

I thought that this did need to be addressed; dd is not the type of person who will ask for further info so that she can make a decision about what she feels is right and wrong.

I had thought if I stayed out of it; this would be me also not taking responsibility.

flow4 - you are right, I will never forget what dh did (or rather didn't do) a while ago, and it is unresolved, mostly because we both think that we are right.

What I would like from this situation is for dh to talk to dd about his tobacco and drug use in a straight forward way, telling her he knows it is wrong, and why. But you know what I think I am flogging a dead horse here.

I am wondering whether you are both right and I should leave him to it. Let him deal with the consequences of his lack of honesty.

flow4 Mon 12-Nov-12 10:29:14

I really think you need to stay out of it. Sorry, I know that's not what you want to hear.

What do you really want from this situation...?

If you're worried about damage to the relationship between DD and DH, then (a) it sounds like they have found their own way to deal with this, and (b) their relationship won't be helped by your intervention.

If you want your DD to hear direct from DH that he regrets his smoking (tobacco and weed) and/or promises never to do it again, then it sounds like he isn't able/willing to say those things. Maybe he knows that his honest opinion would be something like "Actually, I really like smoking dope", but he doesn't think that would be a sensible thing to say to your DD, and also doesn't want to lie to her, so is staying quiet. If you push him to have a conversation he clearly doesn't want, you need to be aware that it may not go the way you'd like...

Tbh, it sounds like you have some wider issues with your DH. You say "He has done this before recently, a very different situation, but where something went wrong as a result of his actions or rather non actions instead of accepting he had mucked up he refused to, and we had a huge argument about it" . I wonder whether perhaps you haven't dealt with that incident (whatever it was) - so your 'left-over'/unresolved feelings are now focussed on this...?

I may be reading things wrong of course... But if I'm not, I would suggest you leave DH and DD to sort out this incident and their relationship on their own terms (or not), and focus on sorting out your anger and feelings towards your DH.

Astelia Mon 12-Nov-12 10:14:48

notreally sorry to hear you update however I think you should stay out of it. If DH doesn't want to have a good relationship in the long term with his daughter that is his look out.

notreally Mon 12-Nov-12 09:48:53

I am back to ask for more advice.

Dh has not spoken to dd about this. In spite of him spending quite a lot of time with her this weekend he told me last night he did not have the time to talk to her about this.

I am very, very disappointed. He is (I think?) refusing to take responsibility for his actions and his life style. He has done this before recently, a very different situation, but where something went wrong as a result of his actions or rather non actions instead of accepting he had mucked up he refused to, and we had a huge arguement about it.

It is the same with this. I have been calm and collected and when I asked him last night when he was going to speak to dd he was really quite unpleasant and tried to turn the discussion round to me nagging him about it and he would speak to HIS daughter about this when I wanted to, and I was to stay out of it. I told him, look, she is OUR daughter, this affects us a family but he is refusing to accept this.

I am very very upset. For the first time ever I think dh's actions show him as a crap father. I have never felt this way before. Neither of us have any idea what our dd is thinking about the situation.

I feel as though someone needs to be the parent here and I need to take control and talk to dd about this. It has been a week. If I do though dh will go completely mad at me.

I don't know what to do.

As fedupwithdeployment's story shows, going ballistic at someone won't help the situation - her upset may well have driven her mum to smoke in secret. It was clearly a knee jerk reaction on the part of your dd, but at the same time as your dh is being honest with her, she needs to apologise to him and to understand that her reaction could have exactly the opposite reaction to the one she wants.

Last weekend we had to go and collect ds3 from a night out with friends, because he was absolutely blotto (beer, vodka and buckfast tonic wine is not a good mixture). Dh and I could have gone utterly ballistic about this, but we don't want to drive him to drink in secret or make him feel he cannot turn to us if he does it again - better that he comes home where we can look after him than that he wanders off somewhere.

We have talked to him about it, and he knows that we do not approve, but I think we had to handle the situation carefully so as not to make things worse.

Chandon Thu 08-Nov-12 15:12:58

He does not need to justify or explain to her.

But he should give her a chance to voice her disappointment with him, if that makes sense.

Maybe he can say how bad he felt at her (over?)-reaction.

It is a different culture these days from ours, when I visited a secondary school last week We (visiting parents) joked about the impossibility of smoking behind the bike sheds (as they were seethrough) and the teens that showed us around were Not. Amused.

Go teens!

pollycazalet Thu 08-Nov-12 14:58:05

I think there's a few issues here.

Smoking - teenagers who don't smoke can be extremely sanctimonious about it (no bad thing). I suggest your DH deals with this honestly - it's addictive, very hard to give up, and nicotine, like any drug, can be something you go back to when stressed etc. It's expensive and bad for your health and he wishes he'd never started - the reality is he's trying to give up and needs the support and love of his family.

The dope - agree it depends on the family attitude to drugs. Again I think honesty is needed. If he's stopped smoking then presumably the dope should be a thing of the past too? In that case again explain why he smoked it, why he's decided to stop, plus the other issues re: illegal substances including the fact that to get it you come into contact with low life types.

If you have had the line of "no drugs ever' with DD then I think something along the lines of a parent trying their best to stop their child from making bad choices and copying mistakes you have made and this black and white approach was the way you tried to do this. Now she is a bit older you see you should be able to talk to her about the grey areas in life. Try and commit to honest conversations from now on.

I think her behaviour to DH was wrong but this point should be gently made - she obviously feels strongly about this and that's a good thing from your pov. She cares and is probably worried about your DH's health - I know I was with my dad when he smoked.

notreally Thu 08-Nov-12 14:45:58

Cory, what my dd has been told is

"this is something we would really like you not to do, certainly not for a long time, because it is very risky. But we understand that at some point you may want to experiment, but hope very much this won't be for a very long time."

I must admit I do feel a little got at on this thread by some posters. I don't think I have been at all hypocritical about my beliefs / life style in front of my daughter. I do not take illegal drugs of any sort and think that they can ruin lives. I like drinking wine on occasion which, whilst of course can also cause huge problems for some people, is at least legal.

When my dh talks to dd he will not raise the issue of her behaviour; we both completely agree she was in shock and upset. She is a really wonderful young person, and whilst she has the usual teenage strops at time, in general she is amazingly good company.

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:30:45

I think even at school drug taking is often presented as a moral issue

unless the parents have explicitly made it clear that they do not regard it as a moral issue, the dd is very likely to believe they do and that that has been their expectations on her

like most of us with married parents who had not specifically stated that they were in an open relationship would have assumed that our parents held to normal ideas of marital commitment and would have been outraged to find one of them being unfaithful

if you let somebody believe you will hold them to expected norms, when actually you do not believe in those norms, that can also be seen as a form of hypocrisy

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:26:32

In other words, has your dd heard: ]

this is something you must never do even as an adult because it is WRONG

or

this is something we would rather you didn't do because it is risky

Marzipanface Thu 08-Nov-12 14:26:03

Ah ok. So the teens reaction may well be a result of some hypocrisy on the parents side?

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 14:24:36

Marzipan, I think that depends on how they have phrased their own teaching on drugs in the past. If they have presented it as purely a health choice (like eating 5 vegs or not) then you might have expected the dd to accept that adults like children may make unwise choices.

But if they had presented drug taking as a question of morality (as many parents do) and led her to believe that they would be disappointed and outraged if she ever chose to do it, then her reactions are not OTT.

My parents regarded drinking as a moral choice and made it quite clear that they would be deeply disappointed (not just concerned on health grounds) if we ever got drunk. For that reason, I would have been totally outraged if I had found my dad swigging from a secret brandy bottle.

As an adult I regard drinking mainly from a health and safety perspective and have made this clear to dc. If they ever did find me drinking to excess, they might find it a bit yucky or they might worry about whether I was ok, but they wouldn't be dealing with the whole hypocrisy question.

Marzipanface Thu 08-Nov-12 14:04:47

But adults DO smoke and make unhealthy choices. Is 15 not old enough to understand that adults are not infallible?

She is old enough to make her own informed choices and to express her outrage appropriately.

To be fair - I don't have a teenager.

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 13:41:28

* But she shouldn't be losing her temper or throwing stuff or shouting at adults.*

But she ought to be able to rely on the adults in her life behaving like adults!

exoticfruits Thu 08-Nov-12 13:39:27

* Dp's "drug dealer" has NEVER EVER come to the house, and of course never would. There is no danger of dd being introduced to him.*

There lies the problem-why on earth is he doing something that he doesn't want DD to do when she is old enough? You have to lead by example-the only time you can get away with it is to say, 'you are too young, but you can do it when you are an adult' -it isn't acceptable to say 'I choose to do it but I don't want you to choose to do it when you are an adult'. I suppose it is acceptable by some people, but they can't complain when they copy.

Marzipanface Thu 08-Nov-12 13:38:32

Sometime's a teenager's outrage can be excessive, manufactured, hysterical and/or manipulative, and you need to beware of encouraging that.

Nor do I think your dd should be throwing items and screaming at your DP. As the OP above said, he is an adult and she is a child.

You should be encouraging her to talk to him calmly and let her feelings be known. This is an hysterical over reaction. I am not saying her feelings are not valid but she needs to learn how to display her outrage appropriately!

ChristineDaae Thu 08-Nov-12 13:34:42

To be honest if I was your DD id have probably gone mad at you too. I assume you've had the talk with her about underage drinking/ doing drugs etc but you, her parents, are doing it/ condoning it. I hate drugs, and I'd I found it that about my parents i would freak. Your poor Dd. I really hope you've thought what you are going to do the first time she comes home stoned or having done a couple of lines on a night out... It's going to be a hard one to tackle. sad

DinosaursOnASpaceship Thu 08-Nov-12 13:30:01

I don't think your dd had any right to go ballistic at finding your Dp smoking a ciggerette. He is an adult, she's a child. I'd have thought she was very rude to be honest and would be really unimpressed with her. Although I appreciate my view will be in the minority.

Regarding the dope, well I don't know. But she shouldn't be losing her temper or throwing stuff or shouting at adults.

I went similarly balistic when I found my mum smoking having supposedly given up. I was 10, and I remember (over 30 years later) yelling, "You'll get cancer and die". She secretly smoked for a further 10 years or so until sadly my prediction came true.

If your DP want to regain her trust, he has to be very honest with your DD and stick to whatever he says. My relationship with my mum was always very strained, and a lot of that related in my eyes to her smoking. I saw her relationship with cigarettes as being more important to her than me. She was a complicated person, but that was my perspective as a child who didn't understand the full story.

Good luck.

cory Thu 08-Nov-12 13:05:10

Have you actually told her that both her parents do not agree/do not intend to abide with the message of drugs which she has been given? Because if not, then she will feel you have lied to her.

"The world is not always black and white" is only a useful message if you would also be able to accept that from her.

We have always declared our attitude towards alcohol openly: "We do not believe it is wrong if partaken of in moderation, but you are not allowed to do it yet because your body is not mature enough." This has worked well, because it was a principle we were prepared to stick with.

My parents otoh have always given the intimation that drinking alcohol is undesirable- but that has also worked, because they knew they were prepared to stand by that principle and demonstrate that they believed in what they were saying.

If you try to excuse your dh with "oh, but the world isn't always black and white, people can't be expected to stand by their standards"- then you may confidently expect your dd to use that on you when she wants to try something she has promised not to do.

notreally Thu 08-Nov-12 12:35:09

Thank you all for your posts.

Just to clarify, dd's was in a complete state when she confronted dp, there was no attempt at manipulation, this was the way she was feeling, very upset, confused and let down.

Dh is going to talk to dd at the weekend, at the moment he is working long hours and he wants to be able to raise the issue in a calm way. I have told him honesty is the best policy.

With regards to dh's smoking dope, I have tolerated it, I have never respected it, and I am happy to tell dd this as I think she needs to know (unfortunately) that the world is not as black and white as we would like it to be. Dp's "drug dealer" has NEVER EVER come to the house, and of course never would. There is no danger of dd being introduced to him.

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