Tag Archives: Middle Child

“Jaw With John” – Teenagers Scare The Living Shit Out Of Me

My middle daughter (I have three children) is 18 years old and a senior in high school. She has been a challenge to me, as she has always been very private about her emotions and what is going on in her daily life.

Over the last several months, I have noticed her withdrawing from friends and activities, and spending large amounts of time in her room watching movies on her computer. She will not talk to me and in fact gave me a 10-day silent treatment when she was caught trying to skip classes. (I turned her in when I learned she had falsified an email from me to get out of going to class.)

She occasionally talks to her dad, but when he has expressed concern about her apparent depression, she just says she is sad and doesn’t see the point in reliving the problems with a therapist, as they will just make her feel bad all over again. She is refusing this option.

She still goes to school, makes good grades, goes to a part-time job, and is now shopping for a prom dress — so she is not entirely hopeless in her outlook. However, she wants to attend college out of state, and I am concerned about the effect of such a transition on her mental status. I tried to talk to her pediatrician, but there can be no discussion without my daughter’s consent, because she is 18. My daughter won’t give the OK.

Any ideas? — Mom who Cares

Dear Mom:

You’ve given her enough space to let her try and work things out on her own but that clearly hasn’t worked. It’s now time to get positively involved and see what is at the root of this funk. Part of this might be the dreaded “Middle Child Syndrome” where your daughter feels as if she has been mistreated since she is smack dab in the middle of the first child and the “baby” in the family.

Maybe that transition into college is exactly what she needs. She could find the support and guidance she needs in a new place because there isn’t that fear that Mom & Dad are lingering and she can finally be her own woman. But if that doesn’t seem worth the risk, then you need to sit her down and talk with her. Not to her. Listen and respond. Don’t try and force her do anything she doesn’t want to because that could drive her further away. If talking with her doesn’t work then you should seek a professional with whom you can talk to and get some actual insight into your daughter’s life and how to proceed.

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“Jaw With John” – Sounds Like Middle Child Syndrome To Me

When do parents quit paying for their children? We live frugally and put all three of our children through expensive schools so they could graduate debt-free. My son is 33 and getting married for the first time. His fiancee was married before.

They decided to get married at an expensive all-inclusive resort. Our son thinks we should pay for his rehearsal dinner for all 35 wedding guests. He says if we don’t do this, it won’t be fair to him.

We paid for the rehearsal dinner for my eldest son 10 years ago. We gave my daughter $5,000 for her wedding. We both had well-paying jobs at the time. We also spent $18,000 for attorneys for our eldest son’s divorce (he risked losing custody of his kids).

We are both retired now and living off Social Security and savings. My son has a well-paying job and his fiancee is interviewing for jobs. When will this stop? — Strapped Parents

Dear Strapped:

“When will this stop?” When you’re dead.

As far as the rehearsal dinner goes, I feel that he’s old enough – and you said he has a “well-paying job” – that he can fit the bill for the dinner. He’s already put the event at an expensive resort so why must you now pay. Isn’t the Father of the Bride supposed to pay for these things? Or was Steve Martin leading me on for all these years? I don’t know wedding protocol so this goes beyond my expertise, but I do know when someone is being taken advantage of, and that someone is you and your husband.

He knows you’re retired and on limited funds and yet still asks for moolah. Is he a middle child? This sounds very middle childish to me. He’s the last one married, wants the same that his brother and sister had, wants to make up for it by getting what he wants, blah blah blah.

Tell your son how you feel and maybe you guys can compromise. If not, order pizza or something and see how it goes.

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