Is it coddling to help my adult daughter get her passport?
Oct 11, 2022, 2:42 PM
(Photo by Mark Boster/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
On the Gee and Ursula Show, hosts Ursula Reutin and Gee Scott solve other people’s problems in a segment called … Scenarios.
Guest host Spike O’Neill brings his scenario to the show.
Scenario: I was writing this yesterday to send into this show because I had a problem come up in our life. I’ve got my youngest child who is going to be 19 this month, and she has an opportunity to travel internationally as a gift from a family member for a trip to Europe in December. We let her know about a month and a half ago, and my daughter hadn’t gotten her passport squared away yet. The time is just ticking away. My daughter started college this fall and she has a busy class schedule. I work every shift I can get my hands on, and there’s only so much time that I can help coordinate this effort to get her the passport. So I stepped in last Friday and spent literally six hours going to the passport office. Then we had a piece of ID that was expired, so I had to go to the DMV and get a new ID made. I took her back to the passport office, but then the birth certificate we brought is a copy, not the original. Then, I had to go to the public health records office and pick up a brand new copy of her registered birth certificate. We get back to the passport office, and turn it in on time to get an expedited passport. And my wife asked, ‘why are you solving all her problems? She’ll never learn.’ While I agree with that, here’s my scenario. I coddled my older daughter way too much, and the second daughter, (who we almost named Mulligan, because we got a chance to do it right the second time) we have let her fall and learn the hard way more often. But do I let my kid miss a chance to go on a trip to Europe she would never get a chance to do again? All for a lesson? What’s too big of a cost to not step in and help your kid?
Ursula Reutin: You said she’s turning 19? Yeah. And you talked about how you stayed in line for six hours?
Spike O’Neill: She was with me the whole time. Okay, every step of the way. After weeks of saying, ‘hey, you’re running out of time, you’re running out of time.’ And it was honestly a scheduling conflict. It wasn’t that she didn’t care, but things just weren’t falling into place, but we were against a hard time deadline.
Ursula: I agree with your wife on this situation that this is her trip. She’s an adult. And if she always has that safety net, the consequence of not getting her passport is you don’t get to go. Now if she says ‘okay, I’m going to get everything done, but Dad, can you help me out?’ – that’s okay.
Spike: She didn’t really understand the time constraints and steps and hurdles to go through to get an international passport issued for the very first time. Meanwhile, my sister has spent a lot of money on this trip as a graduation present from high school. Do I let all that just go to waste because my kid can’t get her timing right?
Ursula: I say this, even though I know that I probably would be pushing along one of my kids as well. I have one who tends to be someone who needs a little more prodding. But I understand your wife’s sentiments. I’m actually going to be [experiencing] this very same thing. My oldest son and I are going to the Philippines in December, and he doesn’t have his passport. So we’re gonna go through the exact same thing.
Andrew “Chef” Lanier: I don’t think you’re coddling at all because two reasons. One, you’re not only helping your daughter who said that she needs some help, but you’re also helping out a family member and honoring their gift to make sure that it is actually fulfilled because they invested a lot of money into this. Some of us have a very difficult time navigating bureaucratic systems, whether it is our health insurance, or if you’re older getting through the Medicaid process. I have a primary care doctor for the first time now at 39. The last time I tried to get one was at the beginning of the pandemic and I tried calling a bunch of places in January and they’re like, ‘look, we can get you in September.’ It took my wife getting me a doctor because these kinds of bureaucratic hurdles are so defeating to me as someone who has been diagnosed with ADD. I need help with those things. I asked my wife for that. It’s okay for people to need help. Helping out others is not coddling them especially since you’re guiding her through the process. So she sees exactly what she needs to do. Some kids can handle it, some can’t, no big deal.
Ursula: So there you go. I think as long as you’re not doing all of it. She has some skin in the game as well. I think that’s important.
Spike: It did come with a double bucket size load of guilt I dumped on her head for making me wait until the last minute. I just couldn’t let the opportunity go to waste and maybe that’s selfish on my part. I wanted this to happen for her. I wanted my sister’s gift – which was quite an investment that they made on behalf of my daughter – to not just go to nothing.
Nick Creasia: I’m just gonna say bring out the Father of the Year trophy now because you take the cake. I know my folks wouldn’t do that even for Europe but if there’s one lesson from all your efforts towards your daughter, it’s don’t wait till the last minute.
Ursula: That’s gonna be a fun trip though. I love how you talk about your daughters so proudly.
Spike: The most amazing accomplishment, the greatest gift I’ve ever been given.
Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here. Listen to Spike O’Neill on KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.