L.N. asks from Anchorage, AK on January 01, 2012
Curfew and Consequence for 18 Year Old High School Girl
My daughter just turned 18 on 12/20, and since, she has stayed overnight twice at her boyfriends house even though I have given her a 1am curfew. And she has yet to come home this evening. She has a part-time job, and paid her portion of car car insurance to me prior to the due date, and she knows she needs to do this by the first of each month. She is responsible in a lot of ways, but not with this boyfriend. I know she is sexually active too, and has not made an appt with planned parenthood to get onto birth control as i have encouraged her to do. One time, I gave her an ultimatum that if she's going to be making adult decisions such as this, she will need to get her own auto insurance policy, and also start paying rent - since she thinks she can just come and go as she pleases. Her response to this was that she'd just live with her boyfriend and his mom, where she can live for free.
She has 4 more months before her high school graduation. Once she is out of high school, if she wants to choose to live with her boyfriend, so be it. Even though she is 18, and therefore I have no legal hold or even legal obligation to house her, I want her home with all my heart and might. Why can't she just wait until she has graduated from high school? What "consequence" can I give to an 18 year old who has never lived with anyone other than her mom (and little brother), and who is still in high school, who chooses to just not come home? She never came home last night, she spent the night at her boyfriends. She was scheduled to work today from 11am to 4pm, it is now 7pm and she has not contacted me or responded to me. What do I do when she finally decides to come strolling through the front door?
J.S. answers from Seattle on January 03, 2012
Stop with the ultimatums and start talking to her... remind her that you have to GIVE respect to GET respect and that you can discuss the house rules together if she feels like they're unfair, but that she has to abide by any decisions you make until she is out on her own. Speak calmly and show your sadness/disappointment, and she just might pay attention.
You should also talk with the boyfriends mother and devise a plan together before you do anything drastic. If she's already threatened to move in with him then both of these kids are playing you, and you and his mother need a united front. Is she even aware that your daughter is suggesting she move in? See if his mother can agree that if your daughter goes to live with the boyfriend, she has to pay rent, pay for her share of food and utilities, do her own laundry, follow the house rules, etc.
As for leverage, I would be careful how hard you push or she might run away, but you should at least have a conversation with her outlining all the things she "gets" by staying at home and following the rules. Explain that if she wants to live like an adult making her own rules, you'll start charging her for all the things she takes for granted. Do you pay for her cell phone, the internet connection, cable tv, food. You can start charging for laundry and housecleaning. Did you buy her car? You could take it away until she's being respectful of your rules.
And lastly, be certain that she gets on some form of birth control. There are plenty of statistics out there about the problems resulting from teen and unplanned pregnancies: http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/ Talk with her about her own hopes for the future and what she hopes for own children someday, then show her the consequences of unplanned pregnancy: such as nearly 80% of fathers do not marry the mothers, two thirds of families begun by an unmarried mother are poor, etc.
Chances are things may get worse before they get better, but if you maintain communication, tell her you love her no matter what, and keep respecting one another, hopefully you'll navigate this difficult time together.
1 mom found this helpful
L.G. answers from Eugene on January 03, 2012
Tell her to call you when she is going to stay overnight at her boyfriend's house. She is 18 and if you push her she might just drop out of school and go to live with him. From your own description I'd say she is a very responsible person. You have raised her well and now she is taking the reigns of her own life.
1 mom found this helpful
H.R. answers from Anchorage on January 03, 2012
Change the locks !
Don't let her come and go as she pleases. That is part of the problem here, she has control of the house and thinks she will do as she pleases with no consequences....
You need to change the way you have been dealing with her. Do not let her treat you with such disrespect as she is (breaking the rules of the home). What kind of example is she being to her sibling (he will do the same if you don't lay down the law firmly now). Box up her stuff leave it on the front porch. Change the locks, do not let her stay with you. Tell her that since she is disrespecting you and what you have asked of her, she must leave now. So, let her learn the hard way once she is living with her boyfriend, knocked up at 18 - he will dump her and she will have her life go down the toilet. It seems that she has a mind of her own and will do just that anyways. Eventually - hopefully down the road she will straighten up her act, it might take a decade, but in the meantime do not be a doormat for her to come and go. She probably doesn't take you seriously as you have not been following through on the consequences. This time take immediate action. Don't even let her pay rent at your place, let her get her own place and pay rent to some landlord - she can blow you off or make excuses for the $$ not showing up if you let her stay at home. Let her also get her own auto insurance, let her be the legal adult she so wants to be. She will soon realize how stupid her actions are when her life is crumbling from beneath her....this is tough love, but in this case you must do it.
H.G. answers from Portland on January 03, 2012
If she wants to act like a stranger treat her like one, pack her stuff in boxes & put it outside & change your locks. I agree with H.R. Write a note & put it with the clothes that as soon as this month’s car insurance is over she must go get her own & will no longer be allowed on your car insurance. You consider her staying overnight at her boyfriends her notice to vacate the premises. Since she wants to be a grown up let her be one, all alone without you. She will learn from it. If the car is yours include in the note it must be surrender by when the insurance runs out or your will report it stolen. Her younger sibling is learning from this & what you do now will not only affect your daughter, it will affect your son. Let them know, if they believe they do not have to follow your rules while they live in your home, then they can not live there. If the cell phone is yours take it back & if she won't give it back report it stolen too & stop paying for it, stop paying for all her monthly bills, separate everything you can. Have a garage sale & sell all the "stuff" you now have taking up your valuable room. Down size to a smaller apartment & pay less rent if you can.
Take it from someone who when nuts, when she turned 18 in March before she graduated High school & just wanted her "freedom". Freedom isn't free weather it's money for rent or a life for a country privileges such as freedom have a price tag. Let her learn that in the college of hard knocks since that is the way she has chosen. I did graduate & went on to college.
M.P. answers from Portland on January 02, 2012
You've tried talking, lecturing, consequences and they haven't worked. I suggest that the more you try to make her conform the more she will rebel. I suggest trying to not react in any way to what she does. Accept her as she is.
Do talk with her about common courtesies. She should call you when she's going to be at her boyfriends for the night. Call when she's late. That sort of thing. Of course you do that too.
I suggest this because she's responsible in many ways.
I would, tho, make getting birth control a priority. Talk with her calmly and offer to make the appointment for her. Be non judgemental, focusing on the importance of not having a baby before she finishes her schooling. One step, one issue at a time.
Yes, you worry. Yes, you want her home. I'm suggesting that she may come around if she feels accepted as a responsible adult/teen. Let her make decisions and if you can't support them then at least do not fight them. Let her suffer the natural consequences of her choices.
S.G. answers from Seattle on January 03, 2012
Your house, your rules.
R.J. answers from Seattle on January 02, 2012
Something that worked OUTSTANDINGLY well in my mum's house (when we were teens and were flouncing about and disrespecting *common courtesy* of letting those who loved us know where we were at...
She left for several days.
Just up and left.
We got home, and the house was empty. No note. No phonecalls. By the time she finally showed up a few days later we were FRANTIC. It's the first time in my iife I "sounded like my mother" when she walked in the door.
"Where have you been? We were worried sick!" etc. so forth and so on.
At which point she said the rules of the house were for all of us, or none of us.
Now... I left home at 17 (military), and quickly found out she was right. The "rules" I was so keen on breaking arent' "control" rules, but common decency rules, that EVERYONE follows, unless they're a jerkoff. My bothers and sisters, though... all stayed at home until halfway through college at the earliest, others through their master's programs.
S.W. answers from Amarillo on January 02, 2012
There musts be something in the air about 18 this year. Several of my friends have relatives that feel the same way and have done the same thing. I guess it is called the first line of separation from family to self.
Many people take this relatively slow and others rebel and do it quickly. Whatever you do or say is going to go in one ear and out the other. Ultimatums are not good because they can backfire on you and you have to live with the consequence they choose. Try talking as rational adult women and see if this will help you two. Express that you would like for her to stay at home until graduation and complete high school. After that the sky is the limit for whatever she would like to do.
Since she feels like and adult she should probably find her own place to live. This could be a real eye opening experience because of the price. But she wants to do her own thing let it be outside of your home especially if you have younger kids.
Stop calling her and nagging her to come back because this will drive her further away. Do you recall how you were at 18? Think on how you felt about the rules and regs at home. Maybe you two can come up with a compromise and work things out.
Good luck to the two of you this year. The teen/adult and the adult woman.
The other S.
PS The boyfriend is a novelty and this may wear off as well.