I Told You So
My 13-year-old teenage daughter Nichole is probably my least favorite person in the house, for some reason everything I do gets on her nerves. Simple things like asking her what she wants for dinner becomes an issue. If I don’t give her everything she wants, I am basically this horrible mother that doesn’t love her daughter. When I try to express to my husband Nate that our once little angel has turned into a demon, he totally takes her side and says things like “Babe don’t you think you’re being a little hard on her?”. For example, the other day she wanted to go to hang out at her friend Milly’s house. I said no because she hadn’t cleaned her room, even though I asked her to do that earlier in the week. She says her normal line “You never let me do anything” as she angrily walks away and goes into her room.
Since Nichole was baby, she has had Nate wrapped around her little finger and now that she has gotten older, it has gotten worse. Anything that she asks her father for she gets. His only boundary is that she can’t date unit she’s sixteen, other than that she can have anything she wants. I’ve always told him how dangerous it is for him to give her whatever she wanted. Nate never wanted to be considered as the “mean parent” as he calls it. He felt that his parental role was to be her friend more than her father. When he told me that I never laughed so hard in my life. I could have been the person to tell him that wasn’t going to work but I decided to let his little angel prove that herself.
So, two weeks ago Nichole had asked her father if she could go to the mall after school with her friends and he said yes without asking any specifics. That evening when I arrived home from work, I noticed that both Nichole and Nate weren’t home. Within five minutes the front door opens, and Nichole runs to me crying and hugs me. Nate came in right behind her yelling “Don’t try to butter up to your mother, go to your room now!”. Nichole let me go and runs to her room. I had never seen Nate so upset with Nichole let alone raise his voice at her. I asked him “What happened?”. Still furious he said, “Your daughter lied to me!”. I said OKAY and asked, “What did my daughter lie about?” He paced back and forth for a while and said “Earlier today she asked me could she go to mall with her friends. I trust her so of course I said sure, just be home before dinner. As I am heading home from the office, I get a call from mall security telling me they have her in custody for shoplifting. We are living with a thief! Our daughter is thief!” I so badly wanted to say I told you so, but I decided to use it as a teaching moment instead.
Once Nate calmed down, I decided it was time to have our first family meeting. I ordered some pizza for dinner and the three of us sat at the table to eat together. Nichole sat with her head hanging low avoiding eye contact with her dad. Nate sat in disappointment eating his pizza. I broke the silence asking Nichole why did she steal something from the mall? Tears quickly filled her eyes and she said “Mom I didn’t steal, the girls I was hanging with stole jewelry from Forever 21. I didn’t know until we got stopped by mall security. They searched a couple of the girl’s bags and found the stolen jewel. Since I was with them, I had to go too. I expressed to them that I purchased the items in my bag, but they weren’t listening”. Nate quickly interrupts her and said, “You’re lying, still! They found a stolen bracelet in your bag too!”. Nichole eyes quickly fills with tears, as she tries to defend herself against her father’s statement. She said, “Yeah but I didn’t steal the bracelet”. Nate asked, “Then who stole it?”. She got quiet realizing that her lie had caught up with her. Nate sarcastically asked, “But I thought you weren’t lying?”. He got up from the table and went down to his man cave. Leaving me and Nichole at the table alone. She looked at me and said, “Daddy hates me”. I said, “Your dad doesn’t hate you, he’s just disappointed in you and so am I”. She said, “I know”. I said “Just know that you’re grounded for a month. No cellphone, apple watch, Ipad, video games or laptop”. She took a deep breath and said “Ok”, as she walked away from the table.
Later that night when Nate finally came to bed, I decided it was time to have the talk with him. Now I wasn’t going to telling I’m I told you so, which I wanted to do so bad, but instead I decided to take the mature route. He got in the bed and said, “I think she needs to be punished”. I said, “I agree, I have grounded her for a month with no electronics”. He looked at me confused and asked, “That’s it?”. No! she needs to be grounded for the same amount of lies she told me today. I think a year will suffice and I don’t care if she’s gets mad at me for it”. After he said that I couldn’t do anything but laugh because now he realized he couldn’t be her friend more than her parent. I said “Nate, grounding her for a year is a little unrealistic. At her age you and I made many mistakes that we had to learn from, sometimes the hard way. He said with disappointment “Yeah, I just never thought she would lie to me”. I said, “She’s a teenager, they all lie”. He said, “Maybe I was a little too hard on her today”. I agreed and said, “We are living with a thief probably was a little too much but I understood why you were so angry”. He looked at me, laughed and asked, “You’re enjoying every bit of this aren’t you?”. I quickly leaned over, kissed him on the cheek and said “goodnight” I turned over and went to sleep.
After that day Nichole and Nate’s relationship developed into a healthy father daughter relationship. Nate was able to discipline Nichole without feeling like the bad guy and Nichole learned to take responsibility for her actions and understood that all her actions had consequences. Nate and I have become a parenting team that is unstoppable. Which we are going to need now more than ever because in 9 months we will have two little angels entering to this world, wish us luck.