A.B. asks from West Milton, OH on May 17, 2009
Advice on How to Deal with an 18 Yr Old Living at Home
My oldest daughter is 18 and will be graduating high school in a couple weeks. My husband and I feel she should still have to follow the house rules if she's going to live at home. Once she's finished with school we are not sure exactly how to modify the rules for her. We have an impressionable 12 yr old in our home as well (a daughter).
We feel setting a midnight curfew is reasonable, she's 18, there's nothing really going on after 12 or 1. She's not old enough to be in the bars. She's not working or paying rent so continuing to do chores wouldn't be too much to ask.
She's not always up front & truthful about what she's really doing. She'll tell us she's staying with a friend (even gives us the friends name) when actually she's staying with her 19 yr old boyfriend (who lives with his grandparents). She's been lying about smoking, making it out like she's not doing it, my husband caught her. I think she's been smoking in the house, in one of the bathrooms. I have asthma and so does our 12 yr old, we're non-smokers, have a smoke-free home and that's not going to change. Both my husband & I tried smoking when we were younger so we've been there. We're upset that she's lying to us. She keeps pulling "the 18 card", telling us "well I am 18" when she gets a response she doesn't like. We had an incident on a Friday night where she sent a text message to see if it'd be ok to stay overnight with a friend. I suggested she & the friend stay at our house instead. I did this because she had told me when she was over there some friends of the mother showed up and they got pot out & was smoking it while she was there. I didn't feel that was the best place for her but she didn't see it that way. The response I got was the 18 card and she had already made up her mind that she was staying. I just felt like if you already had your mind made up and you were going to do whatever you wanted anyway then why bother asking me if you could then. Most days she gets up and leaves for school and she won't return until her curfew. One of our concerns is that after graduation she won't show up at home unless she needs necessities/essentials, to wash her clothes and to sleep/eat. Right now we pay for the cell phone and anything else she needs.
She wants us to treat her like an adult when at time she's not behaving as an adult. She's told us she doesn't like it when teachers, other adults and the parents tell her what to do. She has the "I'm 18 and I'll do whatever I want" attitude, she thinks she knows it all and doesn't need anybody telling her anything.
Any advice or suggestions?
L.G. answers from Lima on May 18, 2009
The same rules should apply, but maybe add to them that she get a job and pay a small rent. Give her a month or two to find a job, but then maybe a token $25 a week. If she gets a job right away and seems to be doing well with it, then maybe you could forget the "rent" so she could save up to get her own place.
If she goes to live with her boyfriend, you may not like it (I wouldn't either) but she is old enough and you have to let go. Then all you can do is be there for her if things go bad.
If she were to move back home, KEEP THE SAME RULES!!!!!
L. answers from Cleveland on May 17, 2009
My 18 year old pulled the same stuff. She made my life miserable for several years. Finally I told her: my house, my rules, so she moved out. Now she is having to find out the hard way that mom was right.
My kids pay for their cell phones by doing a certain amount of chores around the house, then if they need money there are more chores they may do to earn it.
Right now my 14 year old has decided that chores are boring, so he no longer has access to the television, cell phone, play station ect. This week he seems a little more interested in doing his share of the work in order to earn them back. We will see...
Set clear limits and write them down. Then let her know the gravy train has a stopping point. Jobs are hard to find right now but she should be looking, and then contributing to the household bills, as well as her own needs . If she is not working she should contribute to the household by doing her chores.
Mine pulled the "I hate it here, I'm moving out" card. I told her we could not stop her from moving out but she would be wise to give it some thought and planning, rather than storming out and finding herself in the big bad world all alone. She did not take my advice. Now she wants to come home, but I'm not ready to resume the battle.
K.W. answers from Indianapolis on May 18, 2009
We have daughters the same age as you. My 18 yr old will be graduating next year. While there might be some leniency for her on some things...smoking and staying out late, etc are things that I would stick to my guns about. Like you said at the end, she isn't acting much like an adult! If she refuses to follow the rules, then perhaps she should find somewhere else to live.
Also, being honest is very important in our family. That alone would probably cause us to have a sit down with our daughter and put some consequences to her actions. Yes, she old enough to smoke, but if that is not allowed in your house, then she needs to move out. Give her a time limit to find a place..maybe even offer to help. But, you are right...your other daughter is very impressionable and needs to see that your rules have to be followed by everyone.
Eighteen year olds do want to push the envelope because they want to be adults. But, even adults have rules to follow. If she really wants to do whatever she wants, then living on her own is about the only way she'll learn the tough reality of that. I know I may sound harsh, but we've discussed this with my daughter, and she understands that there isn't a free pass just because she had a birthday. Sometimes they have to learn lessons the hard way!
Good luck, Mom. Hang in there!!!
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J.F. answers from Cleveland on May 18, 2009
I have 4 kids - 3 are grown and out on their own and the youngest is 17. My oldest 2 turned 18 while still at home and in school and weren't a problem as far as abiding by the house rules but my son was a different story. He did the same as your daughter, continually pulling that 18 card. I had to get firm ..... "you will follow the house rules or you can leave." Of course my threat didn't hold water either. That is until, he decided to call the police!! He told them about my threat, one officer talked to me, the other to him, and the bottom line was that the Officers told him that he most certainly DID have to follow the house rules as long as he lived here. Not only did they tell him that but they were very stern about it. It worked, and I didn't have a problem with him from that day forward. It included curfews, cleaning his room, etc etc. Normally I wouldn't suggest getting the police involved but it does seems like maybe someone in authority like that would have an impact on your daughter. 18 or not, adults have rules. She will have rules if she rents an apartment, works at a job, whatever. Just because you are 18 doesn't give you a license to do anything you want.
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D.T. answers from Muncie on May 18, 2009
I suggest if she wants to use the "I'm 18" card the you get to use it too. She wants to be treated like an adult, the by all means start treating her like one. Make her work for her room and board. Just like any boarding house in any state there are house rules, if the tenet refuses to obey then they have to leave. If shes going to treat your home like some boarding house then you might have to start treating her like a common boarder. It's going to hurt, but it looks like you're going to have to play hard with her. You have to think about your younger girl.
Good luck to you.
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D.G. answers from Columbus on May 18, 2009
As long as your daughter lives under your roof she needs to obey HOUSE RULES. If she doesn't have a job or means of supporting herself she needs to keep doing chores to earn her right to keep her cell phone and other luxuries you provide. Most 18 year olds today have no idea what it takes to be out on thier own and are too immature to focus on paying bills etc.They still have the I wants and I needs all of the time.Don't make it easy on her but don't make it rough either. I got married to my high school sweetheart at 18, We both worked and had lots of money saved up.When we decided to move to California we did it and we did very well for ourselfs.I was raised on a farm and was responsible for taking care of the animals and helping with the household chores as well as being a good student in school.Home and family came first, then I got to go be with my friends and have fun.Young Adults today are not wise enough to handle the big world they think they can. Your daughter still has a lot of growing up to do so help her along the way but don't make it easy.
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R.S. answers from Terre Haute on May 18, 2009
Tell her that she has from now until graduation to decide if she will obey house rules or get her own place.
she is so manipulating you and will continue to do so as long as you allow her to set the rules.
establish your house rules. there is no need to change as she is still under your roof regardless of her age.
If she chooses not to obey. LEt her get her own home with her own rules.
DO NOT PAY FOR THE APARTMENT EITHER.
change the locks on your house and let her in only during the times you have agreed upon (provided she chooses to get her own place)
Keep in mind she may move in with the boyfriend, but she is going to sleep with him either way. Show your younger child she is important to you and you must keep her safe even if it means from her older sisters influence.
BEST WISHES it will be difficult!
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C.L. answers from Cleveland on May 18, 2009
Hi A.! I know what you are going through. I have two daughters also. They are right when they say that they are "18". That means that the state treats they like an adult whether they act like it or not. It also means that you are no longer responsible for their actions. I highly recommend that you sit down with your daughter and have an "adult" discussion with her. She says that she is an adult, it is time for some adult rules. You should make it clear that since she is an adult and wants the adult living arrangements that she will start paying you rent. She will also be responsible for her own clothing (purchases and Cleaning) and vehicle expenses. She should pay for her own insurance, gas, car repairs, etc. She will need a job. Also, as her landlord, you have the right to inspect her room at any time and if you find anything that is illegal in her possession, you will call the police. (Whether you do this or not, threaten it) If she thinks it is so easy to be an adult and that she thinks she is one, treat her like one. No money handed to her, if she is driving your car, take it away (she should buy her own), make sure that she understands what being a real adult is all about. Good Luck! C.
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K.O. answers from Indianapolis on May 18, 2009
A. b, its time to start treating your 18 year old as an adult. Sit her down & say "as of the day of graduation, no cell phone paid by us [the folks]; you pay rent by the week for the use of your room [this includes the use of the kitchen, bath & laundry facilities = $75.oo is the average].you do not use our phones for any calls whatsoever! No overnight guests in your room. No smoking in the house. And the big, one - you need to get a job & learn to support yourself." oh, one more thing, if you haven't given her a car, tell her no more car privielges as of the day of graduation. She should earn the money for her own transporation! If she starts to splutter over this, just let her know that you are granting her wish to be recongized as an adult. & as an adult, she cannot expect the parents to take care of her anymore, now can she? Yes, its hard to let go; but it's a part of growing up. I just wish that my folks would have let me make more mistakes from the age of 16 to 18 years of age. By protecting me, i did not know how to handle being out on my own very well. You can be there for her no matter what; but some things she just has to learn on her own. No one can help her. I hope this help some.
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B.B. answers from Indianapolis on May 18, 2009
She's 18 year old. Nobody's arguing that she isn't. BUT you're still the parents, and it's still your house. Whenever we used the "I'm 18 and I'll do whatever I want" thing, my parents told us, "There's the door." As long as we were living under their roof, we lived by their rules. I know it sounds cliche' but it's true. If we didn't like it, then we were welcome to go find our own job, our own place to live, and pay our own way.
New Rule: She isn't allowed to smoke in or near the house because you and your other child have asthma.
Another new rule: she's not to spend time with those whose parents are doing pot. That includes spending the night over there. My parents always taught us that "You are who you spend time with". If she's spending time with them, and it's okay for them to smoke, where do you think she got it? Not rocket science.
Let her know that just because she's turned 18, the other rules haven't changed. She is expected to contribute to the household by cleaning her room, doing her laundry, etc. or whatever chores she's been assigned will continue to be expected of her. Curfew will not change because, like you said, there's no reason for it TO change.
If she pulls the "18 card" then you've got 2 choices: 1) show her the door, or 2) work it out so that she pays rent, a portion of the utilities, for all of her "essentials" like make-up, clothes, cell phones, gas and insurance for the car, etc. etc. etc., BUT, it's still your house, and still has to be in by midnight. She balks at any of the fundamental house rules that don't change (and SHOULDN't change), then "There's the door."
If she ends up moving out, let her, and then change the locks. Once she realizes that all these things require effort, time, money, job, etc., and that sometimes the grass isn't always greener and/or for smoking either. If she's smart, she'll realize that maybe following your rules are not as hard as living on your own in this economy. If she comes back, then *maybe* renegotiate on *some* things like curfew time.
You've probably got about 3-4 years left before she realizes that you and your husband aren't the idiots that she thinks you are, and she realizes that you guys really aren't as stupid as she thought. I was about 22 when I realized that.
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