Dear Prudence

Dear Prudence Uncensored: The Daughter’s Therapy

Every week, Danny Ortberg and Nicole Cliffe discuss a Prudie letter. This week: the daughter’s therapy.

Nicole: I don’t think there’s anything unreasonable about telling her that she needs to start paying for her own therapy: I do think you need to give her as much notice as possible, i.e. now.

Also you do not seem to like your daughter very much as a person, and I would encourage you to work on that relationship.

Danny: yes, if I were to do a deep-dive here I’d ask the LW if maybe they’ve been paying for therapy because they’re having a hard time connecting with their daughter


so it’s like “here, have some money, now I don’t feel bad for finding you such a pill”


Nicole: Do not do things for other people that will create resentment in you toward them, generally.

Danny: but yeah, you don’t have to come up with a big explanation or anything! She has three months to figure out how she’ll manage the handoff

Nicole: The LW recognizes she and her husband should have insisted on an in-network therapist, but I imagine there are other grievances.


Danny: and she can talk to HR of her new job if she has questions about health insurance

Nicole: Absolutely! Adulthood.

She may be more motivated to make progress in therapy if she has to budget for it.


Danny: I think the worry that you haven’t prepared her for the “real world” enough will keep you from letting her make her own mistakes if you’re not careful

Nicole: Right!!

Danny: like, “Oh, we didn’t prepare her more at 16/17, now she’s helpless at 22”

she can learn now!

she’s not in crisis, she’ll have advance warning, if she’s capable of successfully interviewing for and landing a job she is definitely capable of doing the research and legwork necessary to either keep her current therapist or to start lining up a new in-network one a few months from now


Nicole: Absolutely.

Danny: and if you see her treat her younger sister cruelly in front of you, please intervene


Nicole: Think about this less, in general. Let her do her thing. And 100% agreement re: sister

Danny: that doesn’t fall under the category of “she’s an adult, let her make her own choices” quite so much - it sounds like your other daughter is still at home and you absolutely have grounds to say something if she’s harsh or unkind

Nicole: Yes


Danny: yes! if she finds this process difficult or frustrating and wants to complain about it, all you have to say is “I’m sorry you’re having a tough time! Good luck”

I imagine it’s hard, as a parent of a young adult you’ve maybe done too much for in the past, to suddenly start hearing complaints as “not my problem”


but it’s not cold or unsupportive to say “good luck figuring this one out”

Nicole: It really isn’t

You’re showing you trust her, even if you do not

Danny: the first time my parents had me practice driving, I felt that I had not been given SUFFICIENT NOTICE and I sulked the whole way through it


“how DARE I be asked to do this without 24 hours advance warning”

Nicole: Hahahahaha

Danny: and they were just like “too bad, kid, this is the brake and this is the gas”

I drove into a curb at roughly 4 mph

it was like that scene from Austin Powers where he squashes the guy with the steamroller

my dad just kept shouting “the CURB watch out for the CURB”


we were in the parking lot of the local library

Nicole: I wish this was a short film

Danny: I sort of hoped that kind of “failure to thrive” would get me out of future driving lessons

it did not!

to be clear it wasn’t 100% on purpose that I drove into the curb

Nicole: I understand.

Danny: it was more like “unless someone TELLS me exactly what to do, I refuse to use any of my common sense to GUESS”

Nicole: And also I see the relevance to our LW’s plight!

Danny: right! I would not be surprised if she throws a little ‘learned helplessness’ your way at first

Nicole: Throw all she wants! It’s not your problem.

And just be kind and vaguely supportive and also change the subject when you’re over it

Danny: yes!!

I get it, I also hate making appointments and checking with insurance and shit

Nicole: Heck yes

Danny: but she WILL figure it out, even if she gets mad first

you do not need her permission to take this step back

enjoy having an extra $750 a month!

buy a hat or something

Nicole: INDEED