DEAR HARRIETTE: My mom is older than she likes to admit. Despite her having back and hip pain, arthritis and high cholesterol, she still tries to keep up with the younger crowd. Just last week I went to see her, and she had dyed her hair blue, bought a new set of clothes and tried to go to the club. My mother's apartment manager keeps calling me to complain about her playing Future's music at maximum volume all day and night. I just don't understand it.
When I asked her why she was acting the way she was, she didn't have a real reason. She said that before she dies, she wants to live. I was confused by what she meant. I'm still confused. She went from being this sweet, quiet mom to acting like an unruly teenager. How can I get her to see that "living" doesn't mean you have to change yourself? To me, she was great the way she was. Now she wants to get tattoos, attend music festivals like Coachella and hang out all night long.
I don't think my mom is being who she really is. She's trying to imitate what she sees younger women and girls doing, and it doesn't look good on her. It's causing a lot of her neighborhood friends to become annoyed with her, too. I need help breaking through to her because talking to her isn't working. I'm the daughter, not the other way around. I don't know what else to do with her. -- Save My Mommy, Greenwood, Indiana
DEAR SAVE MY MOMMY: Guess what? Your mother is an adult, and you cannot control her actions. This may be a kooky phase that she has to experience and others have to endure. Rather than judging her for her actions, try listening to her. What is she talking about these days? What made her choose to dye her hair blue? Learn about her choices, as this may lead to you learning about the root cause of this dramatic change in behavior.
For practical purposes, you can recommend that she turn her music down and be mindful of her neighbors. Other than that, you are going to have to ride it out.