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How can I help my daughter?

Q: My 17 years old daughter is in contact with a boy for 1.5 years who is 4.5 years senior to her. He has just finished his BDS. The boy is smart, intelligent and has a middle class upbringing. They both became emotionally close, as he was depressed at that time. His parents had separated when he was 15 and he had a break up from a steady relationship of four and a half years when his girl friend left him for another person. He started sharing his feelings/pain with my daughter. For the past 6 months he has started behaving strangely towards my daughter. He said that he doesn’t want to share his feelings with her anymore. He becomes cold, distant and rude and they often fight. Then they stopped talking and it was a unilateral decision on his part. After two and a half months he came back and said sorry. The reason he gave was that he didn’t trust anyone, didn’t want anyone to come close to him and would never commit again as it causes hurt. He has registered himself on dating sites and has started flirting with other girls, He talks to them for some time and then leaves them. Earlier he used to disapprove of these things and was 100% commited. My daughter is really upset about all this as she is a sensitive girl and cares about him. They both admit to liking each other. She is not ready to give up on him as she feels that it is her duty to be by his side as a friend. She is in an emotional turmoil and her studies are getting affected. This boy is playing with her emotions and comes and goes at his own convenience. He refuses any professional help nor does he want to open up with her any more. Please suggest what should I do?

A:When you care for someone but it is not appreciated or forgotten, the result is obvious hurt and pain. Your daughters grief is understandable. It is tough to see someone behaving in a manner which is contradictory to his basic nature, at least the one that has always been known to us. One tends to feel confused and worried. However, we must realize that we cant change anyone but ourselves. We, as friends or well wishers, can guide someone but not take charge of changing them or their personality. Right now, your daughter's focus seems to be more directed on that guy than herself. Due to this, she feels more disturbed and because she is unable to control him or the situation, she feels more helpless. She needs to understand that we can help people only to a certain extent and only if the person is willing to take that help. It cant be forced onto someone. It is important that she first focuses on herself. Running after someone who is not even respecting you and your feelings is an unhealthy exercise as the only person who gets hurt in the process is only you. Remember, that as friends we can only do so much and not break our backs for it. She needs to be strong and not lose her self - respect.

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