A Balcony View: Struggling with emancipation

Limits. We all have them. For instance, this weekend we all got to see what our own personal tolerance for heat was. I already knew mine. Let's just say I prefer a more "polar ice cap" climate.

And even though it was interesting to see what it feels like to live on the surface of the sun for a few days, I prefer days where my flip-flops don't melt to the pavement.

When it comes to smoking in public, I have a greater tolerance than our local ordinances, I suppose. No, I don't endorse smoking, and I have not yet been offered any money by the big tobacco lobbyists to do so in this column. I don't think smoking in public buildings ought to be allowed, but outside? I don't care. Light up. Rock that cancer stick if you want. They're your lungs. If you don't need them, that's not my problem.

So what's the point here? I've exceeded the threshold on an issue in my life, and I'm looking for the court of public opinion (you readers) to weigh in and let me know if I'm being rational or lacking patience. I'd really like to hear from you. Yes, I'd even like to hear from my haters on this one.

The issue: I've hit the ceiling on how much leeway to give my 15-year-old daughter. A couple of months ago, I refused to take her on a family vacation because in my opinion, her behavior didn't warrant it. My daughter's response was to shut me out of her life. I haven't seen or heard from her since late July.

She has been staying with my ex-wife, who has informed me that, on my custodial time, she does not have to make my daughter accessible to me, even for a discussion. I have remained optimistic that my daughter's temper tantrum would eventually subside and we could have a rational father-daughter discussion.

But the situation with my daughter has not improved, and a few weeks ago my ex-wife informed me that my daughter intended to become emancipated. Hoping to flush her out of the woods, I obliged my daughter with a bevy of information I obtained from the L.A. County Superior Court on the matter. Using my ex-wife as interpreter, I let her know that the best shot at legal emancipation would be to prove she could support herself.

I also informed her that Taco Bell was hiring and, as long as both parents agreed, she could be emancipated immediately without the court's approval.

This weekend, I found out that my daughter intends to file a petition with the court to legally change her name so that she doesn't have to carry the burden of my last name. And that's when I reached my limit on this ridiculous teenage tantrum.

And so I'm asking everyone what they think. And that is why I want the opinions of my readers and not just my friends. My friends are partial; they are going to side with me because they know the players. But you readers have a fresh mind.

So I ask: Was I wrong in overindulging my daughter's teenage tantrum in the first place? Did I make a mistake in not insisting that my daughter meet with me to resolve the matter?

Bear in mind that when I requested only to speak with my daughter, my ex-wife refused to facilitate the meeting and told me I would need the police and a court order for her to cooperatively bring me my daughter during my custodial time.

Should I have sought court or police intervention, even though that would have been more disruptive to my other kids?

Should I go to court, plead my case and make my daughter sit down and discuss her feelings rationally?

Or do I bite the bullet, let this play out for all it's worth and hope that in time, my daughter will come to realize that acting out of resentment will only prove to create more of the same?

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is senior manager of communications for DIRECTV and a copywriting professor at Pasadena Art Center College of Design. Gary may be reached at garyrhuerta@gmail.com.

Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World