Needing support for being a single parent of 18 year old girl

by Anonymous

I have been widowed 5 years and have an 18 year old daughter. She is wonderful in many ways but also very very challenging...always been her nature. We have made it through a lot. She has been accepted into college, is very talented and hopes to study Art Therapy.

I really do not have any family members who have any time to help me out. I do have a few friends, but no one who will get terribly involved; and as time has passed people assume we are doing better......I have been dating one man the past few years, and he frequently tells me I need to be doing a better job parenting. I don't give my daughter enough responsibilities, etc. etc. I am not saying he is incorrect.

My daughter works and has her own car. Her mouth with me at times is terrible. I really feel I need support not criticism and judgement. My daughter has been more challenging since losing her Dad. We both have attended counseling together and separately, for a long time. My daughter refuses to go anymore.

I have worked two jobs to stay afloat.....not easy. I feel so tired and overwhelmed at times, and honestly hate being a single parent. I realize it is hard for anyone to watch me and my daughter and in time not tell me what I'm doing do I not let this feel like judgement?

Comments for Needing support for being a single parent of 18 year old girl

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When it feels like judgement
by: Ask Sara


Ahhh...the "J" word. It is certainly easy during tough times to feel you are failing, and to internalize comments.

I can see a few things off the bat here:

1. How long has it been since she lost her dad? Is she just going through the mourning process, or is there something more?

2. You are tired. Nothing works right when you are tired. Do you need to continue with 2 jobs? Can you take some time off from at least 1 job (ideally both) to rest a bit?

3. What does your counselor think about this? Has he or she provided any insights or instruction?

4. What DO you ask your daughter to do versus what SHOULD you ask your daughter to do? I am guessing you know the answer to this. Your daughter should be taking care of all her own needs at this point. Laundry, room, etc. She should also be contributing to the good of the family. This can include specific household chores, lawn mowing, meal prep, etc.

5. Disrespect is not acceptable.

Sit down with her and identify your expectations, present options where possible and of course, identify the plan if she does not adhere to her part of the deal. You will know better than I how much to present to her at a time.

You want her to be prepared to step into the adult world. At this point, it doesn't sound as though she is prepared to do this. When it gets tough and you want to give in because you are tired, remember that she has only a short time left with you to learn to be an adult. You have to stick with it so that she is prepared.

When you feel judged, brush off those feelings. Raising your child is your job. You have to do your job. If this feeling is coming from her because she says rude things, remind yourself that she is saying whatever she needs to say to avoid your expectations. Don't give her that option.

Good luck!

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