Help with daughter
August 19, 2006 11:24 AM   Subscribe

I want to help my daughter but in the best way (kind of long).

Hope I can explain our situation clearly enough. My 20-year-old daughter lives at home with us and is halfway through nursing (R.N.) school, which we pay for. She's an excellent student and has good judgment and good friends. She's volunteering part-time with two community service organizations and pays her own cell phone, car insurance, and personal expenses from her part-time job, which at this time is carhopping at a local drive-in fast food restaurant (good tips). Her boss is 17 years old, though, and apparently has lousy supervisory skills, so she really hates the job which isn't helping her battle with depression. She's applied for other jobs (hospital, home health care, etc.) but hasn't gotten any responses.

Out of a sense of responsibility she'll stay with the carhop job but my gut feeling is to tell her to quit and let us help her for what I think will be a short time until a better part-time job comes through. (When she graduates next year, her starting salary will be more than what I make now!) We could provide her with some work to do around the house.

She left for her job this morning crying, but I don't want to "come to the rescue" if it's not in her best interests ("don't quit when the going gets rough," etc.). Any and all opinions are very much appreciated.
posted by davcoo to Human Relations (23 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
if you can afford to help her, do it. maybe she will find another part-time job before school starts. once it does start, might be harder to look for a job.

good luck! i think it's great of you to consider helping her--i am certain it wont ruin her. she shows a lot of fortitude already.

i say this because i have a 22 yr old in a similar position. your daughter--like my son--may decline your help, but it will mean a lot to her knowing you are willing to offer it, given your means.
posted by subatomiczoo at 11:34 AM on August 19, 2006

If the job is impacting her health, she should leave.

Sometimes it's as valuable to know when to quit as it is to know when to stick it out.

(On the other hand, it might be good for her to ask her therapist for advice on this; I wouldn't want to recommend avoidant behavior that might make things worse for your daughter.)

You sound like a good parent just for being there for your daughter and offering to help her in whatever way you can. You may also want to ask her what help you could offer her and see what she asks for. Maybe she really wants/needs to quit but can't see herself asking for that kind of financial help.
posted by brina at 11:35 AM on August 19, 2006

I think you should pay her to clean the house, do the laundry, etc. My parents did this for me when I was about her age. That way she will still have a job and something she feels responsible for, but she can get away from that bad situation.
posted by sugarfish at 11:42 AM on August 19, 2006

I think it would be fine to offer to help her if you can afford to. Lots of people's parents help them out while they're in school with the expectation on everyone's part that they will have to be more self-sufficient once they are through with school.

But if you feel to uncomfortable just giving her the money, and she's going to have such a good job eventually, you could also consider it an interest-free loan until she gets that job, if that would be better for her than working at the job she has now.
posted by lgyre at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2006

"Don't quit when the going gets rough." is a great lesson to teach your children, and seeing that she hasn't quit yet probably means she's learned it well enough.

It isn't a black or white kind of rule though -- and I'd wager it's time she learns the gray area between when to quit because you just don't want to follow through with something vs. when to quit because what your doing isn't the best thing for you.
posted by 10ch at 11:47 AM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Be as generous as you possibly can. It will enrich both of your lives.
posted by lois1950 at 11:47 AM on August 19, 2006

Knowing she has a loving, understanding family to go home to is well enough. She needs this most of all and you are providing that essential.
posted by rinkjustice at 11:49 AM on August 19, 2006

What a great parent.

I agree with above--check with the therapist first. And then, assuming the therapist gives it the go-ahead, hire her as your housekeeper. Frees up time for you and the other parent (if there is one), and gives her a specific job to keep doing. Bonus, it's something she can very easily fit around school obligations.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:50 AM on August 19, 2006

You sound like a terrific parent, and you clearly care about your child. You say "my gut feeling is to tell her to quit and let us help her", and you're not far from the mark.

Even better would be to present her with the option of quitting. Perhaps offer some perspective that a 20-year-old might not have, explaining that work-life balance is as important as succeeding at a career, and then ask her to make her own decision, with the obvious statement being that you'll support her either way.

She'll make good choices; You've clearly raised her that way.
posted by anildash at 11:56 AM on August 19, 2006

Give her a loan. When I was trying to make it on my own, the last thing that I wanted was my loving parents to bail me out (even though they could afford it.) I was far too proud, and they knew it. After watching me suffer, they offered me a loan, payable once I was able, with interest. With interest, I felt less like I was given a hand-out by my mummy and daddy. I kept my pride, and my parents could help me!

Learning to accept help when you need it, is as equally valuable lesson as not quitting when the going gets rough.
posted by typewriter at 12:09 PM on August 19, 2006

Life is a balance. That's the lesson here.

The lesson is in emotional stress vs. reward (in this case financial).

You should sit down and ask if she'd like your input (or not).
Your input ought to present the facts:
1) Low paying Job.
2) Easy to obtain a different low paying job.
3) Large amounts of distress from the people at a job.

As long as this is the case. (#2 is the only questionable item).

It sounds like she works hard (school + jobs.) This isn't a measure of her ability to "stand." There are some jobs you ought to quit. Number one with a bullet, is a job where the people treat you like shit.

While in school, to some degree, as family/friend/parent, your job is to help be supportive (I dislike the loan idea.) You're a great parent.

If When she decides to quit, she ought to do so professionally. She ought to contact the owner, explain that she's resigning due to stress/interpersonal problems, particularly with some detail in regards to how the 17 yo kid has handled her as an employee. She should possibly sit down and review the last month or so to help document this.

The following is a key state ment for me: "She volunteers with two community organizations." She already works hard. As far as making enough money...*unless these are for school or future employment*, she could leave these, if another job didn't pay enough (and have more working hours).
posted by filmgeek at 12:23 PM on August 19, 2006

Learning to accept help when you need it, is as equally valuable lesson as not quitting when the going gets rough.

Truer words I've not read in months. At 36 I'm just now learning this lesson.
posted by FlamingBore at 12:30 PM on August 19, 2006

Just one word of caution in the form of a personal anecdote.

I had a really hard time finding a good job when I got out of college. To pay bills best I could, I worked a bunch of very low-paying jobs, mostly in retail. My parents constantly demeaned these "stopgap" jobs as being "below" me. Well, I knew that, but I still intended to do a good job on principle. They seemed to think that if they paid my bills for a few months, I'd then have time to find a "real" job, but they weren't very realistic or knowledgeable about the job market where I lived. I appreciated their offer of help, but it was all delivered in a pretty condescending way. I was proud of working hard even for stupid, frustrating people, and wound up learning a lot from those crappy jobs.

So, yes, offer. Leave the offer on the table, and make sure she knows that you are happy to provide this safety net. But let her come to a decision for her own reasons.
posted by desuetude at 2:27 PM on August 19, 2006 [1 favorite]

Learning to stand up for your own dignity and quit an intolerable job is third important life lesson. Tell her you think she should quit and you are willing to help her out financially.
posted by LarryC at 2:58 PM on August 19, 2006

Sounds like a great kid who needs rescuing.
posted by Neiltupper at 2:59 PM on August 19, 2006

One of the best things my parents ever did for me was give me the "emotional permission" to quit a really horrible job / living situation that I'd gotten myself into -- at 23/24, I was afraid that if I cut bait I'd look stupid / like a quitter. It's important to know that sometimes the best answer is to just say, "fuck this, I'm out of here."
posted by mimi at 3:51 PM on August 19, 2006

I would start by having a frank discussion with her about your thoughts on her current job - primarily the emotional toll it is taking on her. Offer to cover specific expenses while she looks for another part-time job, preferably something that is somewhat related to her future field (a "resume builder" if you will). Give her concrete numbers and a specific time-frame.

If she wants to take your offer, she will. If she wants to stick it out on her own, I'd respect that choice and never bring it up again.

Also, it never hurts to tell her what you've told us, that you are proud of how well she's done so far.
posted by MrZero at 4:29 PM on August 19, 2006

I would let her know that she has a backstop (your help) in case she wants to quit her current job.

With that in mind, I think that she needs to be a bit more assertive and now is a good time to practice -- given this carhop job will be of no interest to anyone hiring her as a R.N.

IMHO she needs to tell this 17 year old to get off her ass and the like. Put him in his place. Now. Stop the crying and stand up for herself.

If she can't deal with a seventeen year old, how will she maintain her dignity when dealing with doctors and interns and such.
posted by bim at 4:40 PM on August 19, 2006

Just wanted to say that I'm exactly in desuetude's situation and very much agree. In the end it's her decision, and please respect it.
posted by casarkos at 4:44 PM on August 19, 2006

Your daughter sounds terrific. The job is miserable. If it were me, I'd tell her how proud I was of her terrific performance at school, volunteering, and being a wonderful daughter, and ask if she'd like her folks to help her cover expenses if she wants to quit and find a job that doesn't make her miserable. Let her choose.

Either way, if the 17 year old shift leader is making her miserable, she should demand respect and fair treatment. She might not get it, but requiring it is where you start. She should go over his head if she honestly feels she's being treated badly.

She could be over-extended. Nursing school is hard, requires tons of study time and clinical work. A break is not unreasonable.
posted by theora55 at 6:39 PM on August 19, 2006

I'd print this thread and put it on her pillow.
posted by Izzmeister at 10:15 PM on August 19, 2006

Going over the head of the 17-year-old supervisor is a bad idea for someone who is so upset that she cried before a work shift. This is just a part-time, fast food job, not part of her soughtafter nursing career. She sounds overloaded. Tell her she can quit the job and you'll help her out finanancially.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:20 AM on August 20, 2006

If anything, it's a lesson in human nature. Managers of fastfood places aren't generally the best and the brightest, although at 17 it's a little too early to really judge. He's probably just being a dick because he's 17 and in charge of people. You could talk with her, find out what the guy is like, and give her some tips on how to put him in his place artfully, which may or may not involve telling him to shove anything, and probably won't involve telling him to stick anything anywhere.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 11:25 AM on August 20, 2006

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