Reply To: I asked my daughter on Thanksgiving why she didn’t tell me she’s no longer vegan

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November 26, 2023 at 3:18 am #1126825

I have two young adult daughters who have made some choices which would not have been my personal preference in matters that are personally meaningful to me.

But I totally respect their right to make those choices…AND discuss them with me or not. I don’t see that same respect in your letter or further comments for her right as an adult to following the path that you laid out for her as a child…or not. Because they are autonomous adults.

You say, “I took the opportunity to ask her why she wasn’t transparent about telling me.” Why, with the sheer fact that she didn’t tell you then begging your wife not to tell you, means she is uncomfortable doing so, because she had a sense of how you would react that seems accurate from all these comments. Then you say she “should learn to be strong and tell people her decisions anyway.” She SHOULD? Sorry, that’s not your call to make.

“The lack of transparency around not telling me is what was stuck in my craw”. Again why? No other adult, even your child, owes you transparency about their choices and whether or not they tell you about them and why they tell you about them or not. Instead this should tell you loud and clear that for whatever reason, you are NOT a safe space to speak openly in her mind. Her not meeting your gaze in the call says the same thing.

“My daughter likes to say, “You wouldn’t understand!/You would overreact!”, but that has never been proven true, and if she told me sooner instead of hiding it for a year, all would have happened is what happened today: me calmly asking her questions about it.” Clearly she thinks it was proven true. Gosh, all that would have happened was you “calmly” interrogating her about it earlier? Can’t imagine why she wouldn’t have signed right up for that.

You didn’t accept her explanation that moving out on her own, a major life-changing event for any young adult, was good enough to explain her delay on her project for the family business. You decided that your take on her schedule and adjustment was more accurate than hers, and again, she wasn’t being “transparent” enough to suit you and you count it as “flippant” that she’s not all about the family “us” stuff that’s important to you. But her apparently not so much.

“My daughter’s lack of honesty with me seems to be a running problem.” It’s not dishonest for an adult not to share every detail up their life and the reasoning behind all their choices with their parents until their parents are satisfied. Not doing so is not a “problem” to be fixed.

Your idea of transparency seems to be that daughter ought to live in a glass house where you get to examine all actions and then get to ask questions about anything you find not congruent with your personal choices, to which she owes you all the answers, as long as you ask calmly, until you’re satisfied. “There are things you are clearly feeling and not communicating with me.” Yeah, and…? That’s a human right. “You won’t admit”, you say twice, as if this admitting all of her thoughts and feelings was something she owed you.

As others have said, if you keep this up you are going to lose her even further. As others have said, it’s not normal,the family sitting around crying, heartbroken about the fact that an adult who is now out on their own is “pulling away,” “takes days to return calls. Goes weeks without calling us, seeing us…distancing herself”.

“This is not normal for her”. It’s perfectly normal for a young adult leaving the nest. Even more so in these conditions. It’s going to get more and more and more normal for her the more you insist on being the transparency police, insisting and the whole truth about every aspect of her life and feeling you are owed full explanations for everything, tagging her as dishonest if she doesn’t.

I agree with others that have said that you and your wife should look into counseling to help you accept your daughter as now a free and independent adult, no longer an extension of you, not some subsidiary of you who owes you all, no longer obligated in any way by things she told you as a child she planned to do all her life.