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Monday, 29 November 2010

Letter from Frustrated Parent to Teen about Expectations

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The Wrong Way

Dear Chloe,
After all I have done for you, I hardly expected that you would be so inconsiderate and ungrateful. I cannot imagine that you would say the things that you said to me. I have done everything I could for you and it is clear that you don't appreciate anything.

You have hurt me more than you know.

You make me wonder if you ever think of anyone but yourself. You just might try thinking about someone else for a change. You are so selfish. So don't bother helping me. I will just do it myself. That way I know it will get done.

You always say that you are just being honest but I know that you are just trying to drive me crazy. And let me tell you, you are doing a very good job of it. If it weren't for you, I would be a happy person. But no, I cannot be happy because whenever I try to feel good about myself, you end up saying something that makes me feel bad.

You need to learn how to be considerate although I doubt that this will ever happen because this is the way you have always been. I have suffered deeply as a result of your remarks. How could you not know? It is only that you don't care.

I hope you are ashamed of yourself for making me feel so bad all the time.

The Write Way

Dear Chloe,
When things get so heated between us, it is sometimes hard to reach a place of understanding.

So I thought I would try to put down some of my thoughts and feelings in a letter.

Last night when I asked you to give me a hand, you really seemed angry with me. You said some things to me that were pretty extreme. For instance, you called me a bitch and said that the reason I care about the house cleaning is because I don't have a life.

I felt hurt when you said that because I thought you were saying you don't respect me or the standards I have maintained in our home.

Juggling all the demands of a busy life is constantly challenging. Now that you are busier with activities at school, you feel less willing or able to participate in our home responsibilities. But when chaos rules in our home, everything else will be chaotic as well. That is the reason for my insisting on certain baselines being maintained.

Each of us must play a part in that.

I am not saying that you and I have to agree on what gets done around here or on how much of that is your share. There are times that we will differ. I am open to negotiation depending on the other pressures in your life.

But no negotiating can go on when our tempers rise and we turn a disagreement about what gets done into a personal attack.

I would like to talk this all through with you but it is necessary to have a basic ground rule before we can do that and it is that we stick to talking about the rules and about our feelings. I will not be willing to work through these issues at hand if you will not respect this ground rule.

If I said anything that hurt you, I hope you will forgive me. And I hope we can give this a fresh start so that we can find a plan that works for both of us.

Love,Mom

Sample letters written by Ms. Patricia Lawrence Pomposello, CSW and psychotherapist.

Use at least several of the following principles when you write your letter:
Don't be heavy handed in your tone.Acknowledge that your teenager is no longer a child.Invite her participation in a dialogue.Suggest a solution; frame it as a request.Address each other respectfully.
Last modified on Monday, 29 November 2010 02:12
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