Author Topic: how did i do?  (Read 3946 times)

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SheryllJane

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how did i do?
« on: July 10, 2013, 01:58:02 AM »
By:    I have one son just out of college working and on his own and one daughter, married and in school supported by her husband.  Daughter is 3 years older than son.

To make a long story short my husband and  I probably did show favoritism to DS some years back but have pretty much made things fairly equal in the past few years.  DD still has chip on her shoulder though, so because of a recent event I asked her to take a fresh objective look at the situation now to see if that was still the case and recited a few facts to back me up.  She responded well and said she would.  Do you think this was the right approach?

aiki

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2013, 02:51:40 AM »
Using phrases like "has a chip on her shoulder" makes it sound as if you feel entitled to a specific type of response or relationship from someone you admit that you have wronged.   

Have you ever explicitly acknowledged and apologized for your favoritism and the hurt that it has no doubt caused? Or have you just evened out your material contribution with the expectation that that will make things all right?
"A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude."  - Oscar Wilde

Bluenomi

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 03:07:33 AM »
No amount of making things even now are going to make up for favoritism in the past. Asking her to take a fresh look at things just ignores her rightfuly hurt feelings on the issue. I suspect until you apologise for previous hurts and stop telling her she has a chip on her shoulder, she will still be upset about the issue.

SheryllJane

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 03:20:14 AM »
These are good points.....thank you.

Pen^2

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2013, 03:21:33 AM »
Have you directly addressed the issue and apologised unconditionally? If not, you need to. And you need to realise, if you haven't already, that no amount of apologising and fairness will change the past, or ever fully make up for it. It's still the right thing to do, but don't put unfair expectations on your daughter. She has a right to feel upset, as does anyone, and the best you can do is make it clear that you are sorry and are trying hard to ensure that you'll be fairer in the present and future.

Telling her to have a fresh look at the situation does carry the expectation that if you're doing okay now, then she should get over it somewhat. That's not fair on her. Don't come across as urging her to move on.

Do the right thing because you feel you were wrong and you want to change yourself into a better person, not because you want to change the person your daughter is. You can never force someone to feel the way you think they should, no matter how reasonable it is or isn't.

aussie_chick

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2013, 03:33:56 AM »
Op firstly kudos to you for a reply that acknowledged the points that were made. No justifying, or arguing just a simple "thank you these are good points". I sometimes read responses and wonder how I would feel if it was my post, even if the points are valid and reasonable like they are in this thread.

I'm a second child and I carry elements of "my older sister had it better." Interestingly enough, as we've discussed as adults, my sister feels as though I had it better. Perception is everything!

Having said that, you acknowledge some favouritism in the past. I agree with other posters who suggest apologising unconditionally to your daughter. She's the oldest of your two children. There are different levels of experience with each child and things you learn. Parenting is not an exact science. From what I can understand, it's a learn as you go situation. I'm not suggesting you use the "learn as you go" argument for justifying the favouritism but just simply for your own peace of mind.

I go with apologise unconditionally - perhaps with some examples so you can show your daughter you know what she's talking about, not just saying you do, and then move on from there. Nothing that is done now will completely erase the past but you can move forward. Another suggestion if possible is to make special time with your daughter, doing things she likes to do now, one on one or you and your husband with your daughter. Not in a 'forced festive' way but in a way that shows genuine desire to want to.

Your daughter may never get past this (I don't know the level of favouritism we're talking!) but you can by first apologising, then rectifying so it doesn't happen again, and then you knowing you have done what you can.

Best of luck!

donsbon

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2013, 06:37:35 AM »
as someone in almost exactly the same position you describe your daughter in, im not sure what kind of response you want from her? do you want to be absolved from your unfair treatment towards your daughter? its also interesting that you say that your daughter still "has a chip on her shoulder". to me that is saying that you feel she is wrong to have the feelings she does over your past favoritism- it doesnt work that way. i will unfortunately always think of my younger brother as the "golden child" over myself, and that is to me a case of my parents "reaping what they sow" in regards to my family dynamics with them. i cant help how i feel, because it was ingrained into me by them to feel this way.

Cami

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2013, 08:42:00 AM »
Apologies are not magic words that wipe the slate clean and memories blank. The person still remembers what you did and knows that you broke her trust. That "chip" you say she has on her shoulder is the weight of the trust you broke. Once trust is broken, it's almost impossible to heal completely and it's definitely impossible to heal quickly.

As the old saying goes, "Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time."  In other words, apologies are merely the first step in what can be a long process of reconciliation and it's your job to wait out the time necessary for the broken trust to heal. Saying things like she has a "chip on her shoulder" do not sound to me like you have taken full responsibility for your actions in terms of what it's going to take to rectify the situation.

The onus is not on the victim of bad behavior to reconcile at all or according to the perpetrator's timetable. The onus is on the perpetrator of the bad behavior to apologize, promise to do better, wait it out and most importantly, demonstrate a long-term pattern of acceptable behavior.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2013, 08:45:12 AM by Cami »

bopper

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2013, 09:09:44 AM »
As you go forward, if she ask you about things, own your action.  So don't say we "probably" showed favoritism, but that you  did do this and that and that for son but not for daughter. Do you know why you treated them that way?  "At the time, it seemed like son needed x while you seemed to have everything going okay.    Do you know what changed so that now you are treating each equal?   And I do think it is okay to have her look objectively at things now.  "After son graduated high school, we wanted him to be able to do things for himself and we tried to do things equally for you.  "

Eden

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2013, 09:15:16 AM »
Op firstly kudos to you for a reply that acknowledged the points that were made. No justifying, or arguing just a simple "thank you these are good points". I sometimes read responses and wonder how I would feel if it was my post, even if the points are valid and reasonable like they are in this thread.

Wholeheartedly agree.

I do think it's fine and appropriate, OP, to suggest to your DD now that a reaction to a situation may be colored by the past and to please reevaluate. But, as other posters said, it really is only appropriate if you've acknowledged the past slights and both agreed to move on. Otherwise, it's a little bit insensitive.

cwm

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2013, 09:52:07 AM »
I still have "a chip on my shoulder" when I think about the unfairness of my childhood. My older half sister got all the freedom of an older child, until she squandered it and made some terrible life decisions. My parents came down hard on me and my younger sister to keep that from happening again. We were somewhat sheltered because of it, not allowed to do a lot of things.

Then when I went to college, my younger sister got preferential treatment, getting more and better things than I had ever had while at home, and not having to work for them as I had.

Am I still upset over it looking back? Yes. Will I ever forget it? No. Have I ever been apologized to? No. But I've gotten over it and have moved on. It's over a decade in the past at this point.

OP, what do you want from your daughter? Do you want her to forget the whole situation happened? That's not likely to happen. I don't agree with a lot of the PPs who say that you need to unconditionally apologize. I never got one, and I have a perfect relationship with my mother. The reason I cut off my dad had absolutely nothing to do with the favoritism, I've forgiven him for that without an apology as well. More telling, in my opinion, than an apology so far after the fact is an honest acknowledgement that it happened and a discussion about what you're doing going forward to keep it from happening again. Don't offer to overcompensate, or "make up" for the favoritism you showed your DS. It's in the past. It's time to let go of the past and move forward.

Winterlight

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2013, 10:11:10 AM »
Have you actually acknowledged that it happened? Not "probably did" and "we've made it up since."
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delabela

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2013, 10:28:39 AM »
Op firstly kudos to you for a reply that acknowledged the points that were made. No justifying, or arguing just a simple "thank you these are good points". I sometimes read responses and wonder how I would feel if it was my post, even if the points are valid and reasonable like they are in this thread.

Wholeheartedly agree.

I do think it's fine and appropriate, OP, to suggest to your DD now that a reaction to a situation may be colored by the past and to please reevaluate. But, as other posters said, it really is only appropriate if you've acknowledged the past slights and both agreed to move on. Otherwise, it's a little bit insensitive.

I agree with this. While mistakes of the past can certainly affect people for a lifetime, if there is to be a continuing relationship both sides have to find some way to move past it.  Not forget or ignore, but contextualize.

EllenS

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2013, 12:43:05 PM »
I also think it makes a big difference whether you are talking about one event- or a short period of time- where there was an issue of favoritism, or whether you are talking about a long-term pattern.

I know, for example, I felt terribly left out and hurt because my high-school graduation was completely overshadowed by my older brother's return from college that summer.  The family definitely focused on and favored him to my exclusion during that period.  I brought it up a few years later, they acknowledged it and apologized, and we moved on quite well in our relationship.

However, that period was in a context of a family that was, overall, very warm, evenhanded, and unconditional in its love.  If this had been a pervasive pattern for my entire childhood, it would have taken a lot more than one discussion & apology to get past.

snowdragon

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Re: how did i do?
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2013, 01:16:49 PM »
   As the unfavored daughter and middle child in my family...your DS has my total sympathy. She does not owe you her forgiveness and your wording here tells me that you expect her to drop her feelings because you want her to ( "She still has a chip on her shoulder" and "Look at things in light of recent events", ect"
    Did you really mean to come off that way?
  She does not have to accept your apology and apologizing does not wipe away the feelings that your favoritism towards her sibling inspired. Nor will it automatically fix the damaged relationship. YOU need to do the work to fix the damaged relationship and rebuild her trust. But telling her to "take a fresh objective look at the situation now to see if that was still the case and recited a few facts to back me up" just sends a message that you think she has no right to her feelings, and that she needs to change her feelings on your time table. And while she might have outwardly agreed to do as you ask...I have to wonder how she FELT about it.
  She does not have to let go of what you call a chip on her shoulder just because you want it. For many people your tactic would have damaged the relationship even more.