Q. I have an adult son, a college-age son, and a teenage daughter.
I have been divorced for the last 11 years. I’m finding that, although my daughter still has three years of high school left, I am worn out with parenting!
Although it’s not an option, I feel like I could just skip this last stage completely.
What can I do to reignite my passion for parenting? It doesn’t help that my daughter is going through a mouthy teenage stage and can be very difficult.
A. I don’t know if you can realistically reignite your passion for parenting. You get parenting props for merely hanging in there and not giving up. Passion might be a little much to expect. But please do not give up. Your teen daughter needs as much parenting as a toddler — it’s just a different kind.
I’m going to assume that parenting your sons through this stage was different for you. You were younger, for one thing. And sons typically (though not always) experience their teen years with their parents as a discreet pulling back, where daughters tend to charge forward.
Please try to see this as a young woman finding her voice, even when you know she is just being obnoxious.
My experience with girls (five of them) is that they seem to want to describe their own lives and experiences, while pushing back and/or outright rejecting parental response or counsel. You will do a lot of listening. She will seem to do very little.
Your older sons might be of some help to you now. You should urge them to keep in touch with their sister. They can help to translate some of your decisions for her. She might be less mouthy toward you if she feels supported by them.
You should also seek the help, support, and counsel of other mothers — perhaps the moms of daughters in your teen’s peer group. Commiseration and a glass of wine have helped many mothers of teens live to fight another day.
And here I will quote my own (wise) mother, who saw her own three daughters through many stages, sometimes with a sigh, saying, “This too shall pass.”
Q. I work in a government job. I am hard-working, detail-oriented, and a perfectionist. I take my job seriously and always try to do my best. My work is solitary and independent. I spend most of my time at my desk, by myself, quietly editing documents, preparing mailings, etc. I am definitely an introvert.
The boss in my workplace wants everyone to get to know one another and to socialize. This involves lunchtime potlucks (off the clock), and get-to-know-you activities at meetings that would make any introvert want to crawl into a hole .
My question is this: to what extent do we HAVE to participate in these things, if at all? They are NOT a part of my work program, whatsoever. Any advice would be appreciated.
A. You should disclose your discomfort to your supervisor and very honestly ask if you can be exempted from some of these get-togethers. Your boss’s motives are to provide a more positive professional experience. Social interactions at work can help to create cohesion, and — for many — might enhance their experience, communication, and work performance. Other people find these forced social interactions fake, unnecessary, or boring.
But for you — these gatherings may throw you off your game and impede your performance at work.
You will probably have to find ways to tolerate some of these team-building exercises if they are folded into meetings. But yes, you should not have to attend a potluck if you don’t want to.
If you haven’t already, read the groundbreaking book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain (2013, Broadway Books). Your boss should read it, too.
Q. Thank you for your response to “Knows Too Much,” who faced an awkward situation when a friend’s wife complained bitterly about her husband behind his back.
Wow, this sounds like my parents. My father was Mr. Wonderful to the outside world. The fact is — at home, privately — he was a monster. He completely hid this to the outside world. Friends did not believe my mother’s account of the abuse because he was “so nice!” She became more open about the abuse to others, hoping that someone would listen. Survivor
A. I hope someone finally heard (and believed) her.