Hi Annie

My daughter has been in a relationship with this guy for over four years now. She is 23 years old. She is my only child.

She is working and he is still studying, being a year or so younger than she is. He was very caring and always by her side since her mother passed away almost two years ago.

I donâ??t know what changed his mind, but he told her that he needs to â??experience lifeâ?? and that he needs â??spaceâ??.

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They broke up due to some arguments and now he does not want to meet her although he chats to her on the phone.

She cries and has thrown tantrums almost every day for the past two weeks

I am a single parent now since my wife passed on about two years back. I can only comfort her as I always do: however it has become a worry for me. I have a responsible job and am almost due for retirement. This is too much to handle at my age (over 60!)

Please help with some suggestions.
Stressed dad

Dear Dad

Thank you for your letter. Being a single parent is challenging no matter how old the child is!

When a two-year-old throws a tantrum parents are advised to ignore them. Should the child get attention as a result of throwing a tantrum, she will learn that tantrums get her the attention that she wants and so this negative behaviour will be reinforced.

This applies to two- and three-year-olds as well as to 23-year-olds. No parent wants to be held emotionally hostage by a raging child.

Having said that, it is important for your daughter to be able to give expression to her feelings in an appropriate way.
Having experienced such a significant loss of her mother only two years ago is bound to compound this new loss of a very significant relationship.

Although I am yet to receive a letter from a wolf, I have often received letters from woman who have been in relationships with wolves. If the wolf from the three little pigs had a wife and she wrote to me, after he was thwarted a third time, I am sure that she would tell me that when he huffed and puffed and blew the house down he was really angry enough to do so.

This anger was built with bricks of frustration and probably a sense of injustice at his empty stomach.

Anger is like the top cover of a bed. That cover needs to be lifted to see what the real emotions are

Experiencing the loss of a romantic relationship is devastating and as a parent your heart breaks to see your daughter in such pain.

You are clearly being supportive of her and have even been brave enough to write to an advice column for help. You seem to feel that your support alone is not enough and rightly so. That fact is that your daughter would do well to talk to a counsellor.

Processing the loss of her mother and now her boyfriend is a huge challenge and she needs all the support that she can get

Processing the loss of her mother and now her boyfriend is a huge challenge and she needs all the support that she can get.

Perhaps a clean break from her ex-boyfriend would be helpful for your daughter to accept the loss and move on with her life. Short of you accidentally misplacing the phone, she would probably not receive this advice from you. She is more likely to see the wisdom in that if she hears it from a counsellor.

While you canâ??t make this better for her, you can help her find the support that she needs. Keep loving her as you have been and hopefully she will meet a man as great as her dad when the time is right.

You are doing a good job!

Love and blessings
Annie