Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email

My relationship with my daughter is becoming increasingly fraught

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 23 April 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,
My 17 year old daughter and I have always been close, but lately our relationship has become increasingly fraught. Just recently, her father offered to pay for her gym membership so she could lose weight, and I agreed it was a good idea. Now she's so upset and wants nothing to do with us. She has changed so much in the last few months since her close friend died in a car accident, which she refuses to talk about, has stopped socialising, and spends most of the time in her bedroom eating sweets, hence her rapid weight gain. She seems to get pleasure from giving me as much stress as possible and is causing such an atmosphere in what has always been a happy household. The main issue is, that five years ago, I put £10,000 pounds in premium bonds in her name, which will become hers when she's 18. Not only is she being difficult, but I think she'd spend the money, instead of using it for university as I intended. I'm happy to give it to her when she's older and wiser, but am I breaking both a legal and emotional law by withholding it from her?

Patricia Marie says.....

If the bonds are in your daughter's name, you would be acting illegally if you spent the money yourself, and behaving unethically if you promised them to her when she turned 18. I feel the more important issue here is the problem between you, your husband and your daughter. If you love someone, you should do so unconditionally, not only if they are slim or otherwise.

It sounds as if she found her father's offer a sign of criticism and rejection, especially at a time when she is grieving for the loss of her friend. Your daughter is clearly overwhelmed with emotion, hence the comfort eating, and in much need of some tender loving care. What you should have done is asked her if she had any concerns about herself and if there was anything you could do to help.

You need to separate the issue of the money from the issue of her hurt and embarrassment.

Tell her that she will get the money, as promised, on her 18th birthday. However, remind her it was intended as a support for university, and that you would be happy if it was used in that way. Also, tell her you're sorry if you said the wrong thing and that you are wanting to get your relationship with her back on track. Do urge your daughter to contact Cruse, an excellent organisation who could offer her the professional help and support she needs and very much deserves in coming to terms with the tragic loss of her friend.

Cruse Bereavement Counselling: 0844 477 9400
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