DESPERATELY Seeking Advice!

Ok, so this is geared more toward parents but....

I have been going to counseling for a few months over a problem i have with sexting. This incident-- that went on for over a year-- caused my dad to completely lose trust, respect, and honestly, some love for me. However, I completely understand where he is coming from. Anyway, things were just getting better with us and we were all excited for me to start college in a couple of months but he found out tonight that i have been calling a couple of my guy friends that live in another state. He started yelling at me and I was being completely honest with him telling him that they were a couple of my closest friends and that it wasn't like that, nothing was inappropriate about it. However, because of what happened before he doesn't trust me and he said f*** you and told me that he is refusing to pay for my college.

My mom just told me that I have to talk to him to change his mind and I have no idea what to say. For the parents, what would you want to hear? Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Thanks :)

i'm not a parent, but i went through similar situations with my parents. not regarding sexting, but i'm an alcoholic and went through a year of binge drinking.

for my parents, i had to earn their trust back. i recognize your situation isn't exactly like mine, but you might be able to use some of the same principles. in the beginning, whenever i left the house without one of them in attendance, i had to provide them with names, addresses, and phone numbers of those i would be with. i was also subject to interrogation when i arrived back home, as well as intermittent phone calls throughout the night. i had a strict curfew and some very strong rules were laid down. my parents gave me an ultimatum, straighten up (which involved rehab) or get out of the house. being that i had just graduated from college and did not have a job, getting out of the house wasn't really an option.

i realize you don't have much time left before you begin college, but you might be able to find ways to earn your father's trust back. if you want to go the same route i did, you will have to be completely compliant with all their rules, even if they seem ridiculous to you. i worked hard to show them i made positive changes in my life and prove to them i wasn't a "bad" kid. it took awhile, and sometimes i still find they don't trust me, even after 4 years of sobriety and living on my own for 3 years. breaking trust is one of the hardest things to earn back, but if you are willing to put work into it, it's very possible.

i'm sorry to hear you are going through a rough time right now, but i'm also proud of you for making positive changes. these are the best decisions you have made and you will find your parents looking positively upon this. good luck to you and i wish you the best. i hope things turn out well for you.

i'm not a parent, but a similar thing happened to a friend of mine, with the sexting, her parents didn't trust her anymore, etc. But, just explain to them that you are done doing that kind of thing, and you understand there concern, but you would still like some space :)

I'm a parent AND have been in situations where I lost my mom's trust.

I honestly think that if you had told your dad you wanted to call these guys beforehand it would have helped. Maybe try telling him that you realize that was a mistake. Tell him that you wish you had talked to him before calling these guys, but you didn't think to because of the innocence you know is there. Would you go so far as to let him look at your cell phone? Maybe even let him listen to a phone call? Ask him what you can do to prove to him that you haven't done anything wrong. Tell him that you won't call them anymore if that's what he wants and that you will give him a head's up the next time you have contact with another guy.  

I am a parent, and all of us parents were once teens who did things to lose our parents' trust from time to time.  I didn't have the sexting issue (we didn't have cell phones when I was in high school/college), but I did get caught drinking from time to time.  Sadly, we all have to deal with the consequences of our actions, and loss of trust is typically one of those consequences.

You definitely need to talk to your father openly and honestly and without the emotion of the moment.  Clearly if he said F-you, he was in a moment of emotion.  Let him calm down and talk to him calmly.  Tell him you want to set ground rules for the conversation including no yelling, no swearing, no interrupting, etc. Be honest.and let him know that you made poor choices that cost his trust.  Talk to him about the guys that you're friends with, and let him know that these relationships are not sexual. 

It's tough, because as a parent, we tend to hope that we've raised our kids to make the "moral" decisions about sex, you know... waiting for love and treating it special, but we can't make your choices for you.  While I don't know your situation, ultimately, you may have to decide if you are in a position to compromise, such as living at home during your first year of college to gain back his trust.  It may change your college choice and experience, but I can tell you, it's not worth incurring the debt to go away if you don't have to.

I hope this helps.   

[quote user="Trish"]

Would you go so far as to let him look at your cell phone?   

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I do not even have a cell phone for almost six months because of what happened before. And he was really mad that I was using the house phone.

My dad is very strict and hard-headed... it is hard to get through to him which is why I am having such a hard time coming up with the words to say to him. Hopefully refusing to pay for college was something he just said because of the anger of the moment, but I really cannot afford to take that chance. My therapist thinks that it is extremely important for me to get out of the house and everything. But with everything that happened, that option is seemingly impossible at this point. I have taken my consequences from before with grace I would like to say- I never complained or got mad at my parents for taking privleges away from me; I know everything is my fault. But I do not know how long it can last if I do not have a way out

If you're in counseling, why don't you sit down with the therapist and your dad/parents and make a plan together that you can all agree on. You would have to make it clear you're still working hard to earn back his trust, and hopefully he would change his mind about college assuming you stick to your side of the deal.

Based on what you have written so far, I think you need to plan for the event that your dad does not change his mind.  If you know where you will be going to college you might want to contact the financial aid department and see what you need to do to get yourself separated from your parents' info (altering the income information you gave the college, removing parental access to any of your information such as courses and billing).  Regardless of any reasoning behind why the threat was made, going to college is one of the most important steps you can take in terms of personal growth and professional development, and anyone attempting to stop you from going to college does not have your best interests in mind.  While this might all be something he said out of anger, you need to think of yourself.  This has the potential to be the outcome of every major argument while your parents pay for college, and you need to be able to focus on your education.

[quote user="Eric_Carpenter"]

Based on what you have written so far, I think you need to plan for the event that your dad does not change his mind.  If you know where you will be going to college you might want to contact the financial aid department and see what you need to do to get yourself separated from your parents' info (altering the income information you gave the college, removing parental access to any of your information such as courses and billing).  Regardless of any reasoning behind why the threat was made, going to college is one of the most important steps you can take in terms of personal growth and professional development, and anyone attempting to stop you from going to college does not have your best interests in mind.  While this might all be something he said out of anger, you need to think of yourself.  This has the potential to be the outcome of every major argument while your parents pay for college, and you need to be able to focus on your education.

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Your response was so helpful, thank you. I am just concerned that I cannot eliminate my parents income, etc. because I am still a dependent for health care insurance purposes. Much to my father's chagrin, he is still paying for insulin and supplies

even if your parents claim you as a dependent for tax purposes, you can claim independence for financial aid. i can't remember exactly how you do it, but if you speak with the financial aid officers at your college of choice, they will be able to help you.

That is such a relief to hear C, Thanks! :)

I am hard headed and well stubborn. I tend to fight fire with fire. I would have informed him that he cant hold that against you forever you made a mistake not one you plan on repeating and not for his sake but your own. You know it was dumb and could have gotten you into trouble and not just from him tho his opinion of you does matter to him your own self respect means more. You will have to live with the fact that this could come back and haunt you (well if pics were involved) Show him you really get the errors of your ways then tell him you are sorry but you are not going to live the rest of your life saying it to him. He  has to let it go move on and realize you are not going to be doing that again!

Now he is trying to get me kicked of off his family health insurance plan and I do not have a source of income, I cannot independently pay for insurance and co-payments. I used to have a job that could have paid for it but he made me quit my job in January :/

Abigail,

I understand your frustration with your parents, and understand where both sides are coming from. I believe you should try to sit down with both your parents, and like above set ground rules before hand no cussing, when someone is talking no interruptions, ect. It sounds like your mother maybe more level headed and I would suggest sitting down and having a conversation with her in private prior to the family meeting. Explain your side, and find out her opinions.

You need to explain to both of them that the two incidents are unrelated. You have best friends who are female and male, just because they are male does not mean that you have a sexual relationship with them. I don't know how to relate this to your parents, maybe ask your dad how many females he would call friends yet none of them are his wife. I am sure he has females he is friends with from work current and past that he stays in touch with. He needs to understand that you are becoming older, and more independent, but at the same time you are still being claimed as a dependent on his taxes. Unless he would like to cut you a check for the deduction amount he needs to calm down and become a parent and not a pissed off at the world person. 

Growing up is about making mistakes and learning from them. It seems you have learned from your previous mistake and are still dealing with the consequences from that. 

I believe it should be difficult for him to drop you from his health insurance as open enrollment is only available at the first of the year. He shouldn't save any money on his premium payment, unless his company offers a single +1 plan to cover him and your mom. My previous employer had this option along with single and family coverage, but I believe it is rather rare in the marketplace. 

Abigail -

Kind of two parts to this - one is dealing with the broken trust, the other is taking control of your future.  From the trust perspective I would try to get your parents and possibly another person ( pastor, therapist, parent's friend) to sit down and restate your efforts on overcoming the sexting.  ( remember you might see this as being OVER but they are still unsure)  Apologize again for the hurt that it caused, tell them how much you value their trust and ask what you can do to start gaining it back.  Listen - take notes if you have to, committ to doing what they ask and then DO IT.  Gaining back their trust and respect  is worth the effort.

At one point my FIL was threatening to remove us from the will due to a disagreement.  I looked him right in the eye and told him that regardless of what he did with the will I was more interested in  resolving the conflict because I knew money was something I could get for myself BUT his love and respect was only available FROM HIM.   As you grow up your parents have less and less control - pulling out the financial support is one ( easy) way to attempt to gain back control.  By finding a way to accomplish your goals of going to school and staying healthy ( tuition and insurance) without expecting him to contribute in any way will hopefully help him see your responsibility and committment - it may take longer and alot more work on your part but worth the effort if it helps your family see you as the young adult that you are.   Talk with a school admissions person or school guidance counselor to help you understand all of the options for yourself. 

Good Luck with everything - Keep us posted on how things are going

FINALLY some good news :)

I talked to my mom today and although my dad still won't speak to me, she assured me that I will be attending my college of choice in the fall! And I will be living in the dorms as well :) She thinks I really need some time on my own away from my parents so we will see how it goes... I am so excited :D

Im glad things are looking brighter. Ive been through alot of trust issues with my parents for about 8 years. Then I moved to college and got into the most trouble. My words of advise to you goig away to college is be very careful who you become friends with and allow into your apartment and never get drunk and send an email to your parents instead of your friend saying what happened that night. Dont get into any trouble. I wish someone scared be before I went to college. Study hard cause it will pay off in the end. I didnt think so but now Im 4 years out of college and it does matter. Figure out what you think you wanna do and make sure that happens. Its a rough world and you need a good plan. Your good grades will show your parents youre being responsibe.

Glad to hear it. Sounds like your dad is going more than overboard with his behavior.

There are some serious control issues here. Making you quit a job, threatening to take you off health insurance are unreasonable. Imagine if you were his wife and he did this it would be considered abusive. I hope he isn't violent to you.If you are an adult then I think you need to get out of that house before it gets worse. Seek out a social worker immediately. 

Humans are sexual beings. Sexting is a bad way to express it due to privacy issues but you can't get an STD or pregnant from it. 

 


 

Terry-- Thank goodness I am not abused by my family, but yes, my dad is a very controlling person.

And I know that once I can show good grades, my dad's childish behavior will go away.