I've been caught in the middle between my 16 yo daughter and her dad far too often lately. I have been trying to stay neutral, but not very successful at getting them to stay cool and listen to one another. Besides, in this situation the peacemaker role frankly sucks. They both still end up angry and neither one really thinks I'm being neutral (kind of like having two kids). :-\
They have been butting head probably since she turned 13, but eventually work things out peacefully. Lately they can't seem to talk AT ALL without getting angry.
The most recent incident stemmed from daughter getting her license and wanting to use the car. (FYI, I am a SAHM and we do have two vehicles) She tried very hard to get a summer job but the competition is fierce. So...no money, no car of her own...no freedom. She's also been feeling pretty isolated from her friends (due to jobs, moves, transportation) and desperate for some autonomy. Car use would be for social reasons only. She has been using public transportation (buses) lately, but it is often inconvenient, inconsistent, and slow.
Dad feels daughter is acting entitled, as if she should be able to take the car whenever she wants despite having no means of paying for gas, insurance, etc. Like many teens, she does come across as a bit self absorbed, although she's honestly fairly sensitive to other people. We live in an affluent little town, and it's amazing how many kids automatically get a (brand new!) car when they get their license - no questions, no job, no problem! While we do have the means to pay for things, he and I both agree that daughter should find a way to contribute in lieu of paying a portion of the added expense. Also, she needs to realize that this is a process of baby steps - start small, prove you can be responsible, earn more driving privileges.
Now Dad has read the last two months of her Twitter feed (which admittedly includes a lot of bitching and complaining, but hey, she's a teenager) and taking it all way too personally. All of that venting has him thinking that his daughter doesn't respect him and "hates" him and pretty much the rest of her extended family. He is a very kind, hardworking, and loyal person, but because he is so upset he's not taking this well. And truthfully, he's forgotten what it is like to be a teenager.
Daughter is really a good girl; kindhearted, deep thinking, caring, socially aware. Her grades are very good, she makes good decisions (i.e. not "perfect" but no destructive choices), has been committed to several long-term creative projects outside of school, is loyal and true to her friends, and believes in the importance of making a difference in the world.
How can I get these two to sit down and talk?