Involved Parenting

There are hundreds, if not thousands of books and websites that discuss the value of being an involved parent. While I can’t say I have read all, or even many of them, I’m guessing I won’t find solace in their words.

My daughter is the most stubborn, headstrong, and maddening people who have ever graced this world with their presence. She is also caring, strong, and exceptionally vulnerable. Lurking beneath her steely exterior is a scared, fragile, anxious, and emotionally stunted little girl seeking acceptance and validation. It seems like a good idea to be an involved parent for a child like this. Frankly, I am not sure if trying to care and be aware and in tune with her school, social activities, and interests is doing either of us any good.

Her secret keeping, lying, poor friend choices, and self sabotage are maddening. Trying to be involved in her life is like some cat and mouse game of espionage. She instantly distrusts my efforts to help guide her through life and I surely can’t trust her narrative of the drama that seems to follow her everywhere. The easy solution would be to just let her go do her thing and wait for her to come back to me for help. I just can’t bring myself to abandon her to her own choices as she just makes poor choices with no regard for the consequences.

So I’m stuck being characterized as an overbearing nosy drag of a dad. Our father-daughter relationship is a glorified chess game where each piece taken by the opponent results the playing area growing exponentially. Each act of caring by me pushes her further away, but to not care at all is contrary to the very nature of raising a child. Parenthood seems like it could be characterized as a slow voluntary form of mental and emotional torture where the wounds are repeatedly reopened and salt is ground into the raw flesh.

–The Twisted Cripple

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