Our Two Cents | In dispute, mom’s boyfriend aligns with teen daughterby the ufberg/sclamberg family
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I am very distressed and hope you can shed some light on my current dilemma. My teenage daughter recently complained to my new boyfriend about my behavior to a salesperson while we were shopping. She was embarrassed when I got upset while at the store and expressed my anger about the bad service we were getting. My dilemma is that my boyfriend not only did not defend me, but instead commiserated with my daughter and shared with her another time when I also exhibited anger publicly. My daughter tried to use this story against me when we argued about the whole ordeal later that day. Shouldn’t he be sticking up for me and be my ally? Help! I feel totally ganged up on by the two of them. H.P., Oakland
Sharon: I would be very disappointed, too. Instead of helping your daughter be more understanding and offering loving support, your boyfriend fueled teenage emotions that usually need tempering. You should discuss your expectations with your boyfriend and your daughter and express your dismay. I would also sit back and think about the incidents they shared with one another and reassess your behavior that caused them so much discomfort.
Alexis: This is completely unacceptable. While it strikes me that your boyfriend’s intention may be good — to get on your daughter’s good side, play friend and commiserate — his behavior was entirely inappropriate. You need to have a serious conversation with him about the kind of behavior that is appropriate. Explain that while it’s great that your daughter feels comfortable talking to him about what’s bothering her, and wonderful that he offers a supportive ear, it’s important that he facilitate understanding between the two of you rather than stoke the flames of conflict. Your daughter should never be the recipient of your boyfriend’s complaints about you and your behavior. With all that said, I agree with my mom: Take some time to reflect on the incidents that your daughter and boyfriend are complaining about. Is there something here that you should work on? Perhaps they’re both seeing something you’re not.
Jessica: It sounds like there are two important issues here: one, your behavior in public, and two, your boyfriend and daughter ganging up on you. First, I think you need to take a look at yourself and your actions and evaluate whether you should change your behavior so it does not cause any embarrassment or issues with your boyfriend and daughter. Are you really causing a scene? As for the second issue: It is totally disrespectful of your boyfriend and frankly sets the wrong tone for their relationship. I would make sure you are clear with both of them about what is appropriate and what is not.
Saul: It’s always trouble any time an unrelated person gets between family members on sensitive issues. Your boyfriend should realize that no matter what happens, being supportive of you is his best bet.
Dr. Sharon Ufberg is a Napa-based radio host, journalist, consultant and integrative health practitioner. Her daughters live in San Francisco: Lawyer-turned-writer Alexis Sclamberg, 28 and married; and hair colorist Jessica Sclamberg, 26 and single. Saul Sclamberg, 24 and single, studies chiropractic in Los Angeles. Read more at http://r-2-cents.com.
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