31 answers

My 16 Year Old Daughter Has Moved Out

After an argument last week, my daughter skipped school, returned home while everyone was at work, packed a bag, left a note and went to her friend's house.
The friend in question has made us uneasy for a while. She has no boundaries at home at all, she comes and goes as she pleases. She is just 17 and has a 3 month old baby, her 16 year old boyfriend also lives with her.
After my daughter left our house, I attempted to talk to her friend's mother but unfortunately she is a dead loss. She says she doesn't want to get involved and takes no responsibility for anything.
I have been married for 22 years to her Dad and our children have grown up in a stable, secure home. I am absolutely devasted and don't know how to cope. She has not attended school regularly since she left, she has got to get a job now as her friend's mother wants rent. I find myself swinging from anger to the depths of despair that she can treat us this way and throw away all her hard work at school so far. We have told her that we want her to come home and we will work it all out, even suggesting family therapy, but it is all falling on deaf ears. I am trying to maintain regular contact with her but it always seems to end up in an argument because I just can't accept what she is doing. I don't want to continue with this pattern but don't know what to do.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

After two weeks out on her own, she is back (thankfully). A little worse for wear but happy to be home and although it was a short foray into the real world, it does seem that she has learned from her experience. Having to budget for rent, food, buses etc from a part time job salary was a real shock for her. She seems to have pulled away from her 'friend' and realised that she does not want to live her life like that. As hard as it was, we took the tough love approach and didn't support her in any way while she was away, we told her daily that we loved her and when she was ready to work things out she could come home, and that's exactly what she did. Thank you to everyone for your advice and support :)

Featured Answers

I think if you can be patient she can find out that supporting herself and real life aren't so much fun. Experience is the best teacher.

I did this same thing when I was her age, though I actually lived in a pretty abusive home. I got tired of it quickly though and it was an extremely bad situation I was living in, ( though I was working and still went to school though it was more difficult) and came home about a year or so later, went to college, later got married, had a good productive life. So all hope is not lost.

Just keep in good contact with her, remain friends, tell her you love her, keep trying to get her home, and once she is there compromise on issues but be firm and have tough love at the same time. The crazier and more upset you get the farther she will go to avoid you.

But also, notify the school and police as well so they will know. In some places the parents can be held liable for runaways behavior and for skipping out in school.

Call CPS and tell them what happened. They will go pick her up. She needs to know that she isn't going to get away with this. CPS can refer you to legal avenues and counselors as well.

More Answers

Hi M.,

I am not even sure why I am responding to this as I have no experience in this situation other than having put my parents through something similar.

When I left, my parents demanded that everything they purchased for me had to be left behind. My car (not because they purchased it but because they paid for gas/insurance), clothes, shoes, etc....

If I didn't go to school the police were notified. If teachers called with failure notices, they were told to fail me. My parents essentially made me responsible for myself and to myself.

After a couple months, I realized that I was not ready to be an adult. My parents and I spoke at a neutral place as adults and we reached an agreement for my return home. It was very tough and not one bit lenient in consideration of the betrayal and disobedience, but the signed contract with my parents, my signed agreement with myself, and signed agreements with the school and police made me accountable for my own actions. Realization took hold pretty quickly.

This seems very tough and I am sure all you want is for your baby girl to come home (I am a parent to a toddler and can only imagine), but maybe something in this response can help you should the need arise.

Good luck and I hope you all can find middle ground very very soon!

4 moms found this helpful

Oh my I'm so sorry! Your post really broke my heart. I can only imagine what you are going through. Is her leaving due to a multitude of arguments?

I really don't have great words of advice but I can tell you about my experience. When I was 16 I did exactly as your daughter did – looooooong story short – I skipped school, packed my bags and left. What I had done was saved up money from babysitting jobs and then proceeded to move in with a friend who like you daughter's friend, had absolutely no boundaries. Her Mom worked 2 jobs and was hardly ever home. My parents encouraged me to come home and believe me, I pretended I didn't care, but it did make a difference that they begged me to come home. What ended up happening after a few days is I ran out of money, called my parents and cried that I needed money for food, they refused to send me any so I moved back home. The day I went back they hugged and kissed me, said we would work it out, go to counseling and become closer as family. We did. One thing I learned – my parents would always be there for me and I vowed never to hurt them like that again. Now I have children of my own and I know I would be devastated if what I did to my parents they did to me!!!

Keep talking to her. It may seem that your words are falling on deaf ears, but maybe not. If you ignored her that would just add fuel to her fire that "my parents don't care about me" when obviously you do. By the way, I graduated highschool and went to a reputable college so not all is lost. Don't give up on her! Tell her to come home!

3 moms found this helpful

As a 16 year old does she have the right to move out? Call the cops and have her declared a runaway. Tell them where she is. Don't think a parent can take your daughter in without your permission.
I have teenagers too.
Good Luck.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm a bit confused as who is controlling this relationship. Your child is only 16, she has another 2 years before she can leave without you dragging her a** home. If you want her to come home then go and get her, or call the cops and they'll get her for you. I really don't see what your issue is. I know that at 16 my father would have come to the house that I was staying in and dragged me out by my hair.

2 moms found this helpful

Man these kind of stories tick me off! Society is teaching these teenagers they have all these "rights" and they are still children. Let me ask you this if she was 12 would you be so placid? Probably not! Get your husband and the cops go get your daughter right now! Tell the other mother if she harbors your kid again you will press charges!! This is YOUR daughter and your responsibility. Not hers. She is doing such a fine job with her own daughter? Is this how you want you daughter to end up?? Stop being a "friend" and turn into a "mean mom". She will thank you in the long run. I'll be praying for you.

2 moms found this helpful

Talk to the police. Report her as a runaway. Might as well kick in the "tough love" theory now...
Sorry you're going through this, I'm sure it's heartbreaking.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not sure about the laws in New York, but in California, a child is either truant, incorrigable, or a runaway.
In California, a child that young can become emancipated, but that takes petitioning of the courts, proving that they are stable and able to provide financially and otherwise for themselves. It's not as fun as it sounds.
Of course the other mother isn't going to get in the middle of it!
At 16, unless your daughter wants to prove that she has a job and she can take care of her own housing, etc, she can't just be wherever she feels like being. That's not how it works.
If she doesn't want to be with you, the juvenille authorities can assign her to a crisis or foster home until she comes of age.
Before you freak out, let her know those are her choices and don't waffle.
If she thinks coming home would be better, great....but there will be rules there too.

Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful

she is a run away. Report her.

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