D.R. asks from Salisbury, MD on September 07, 2006
My 16 Year Old Is Leaving?
Hello, I've just recently seemed to have lost my daughter. I have custody of my 2 older children from my first marriage. My ex screwed up and my oldest, the 16 year old, hasn't talked to her dad for 3 years. Now that she feels grown and doesn't like our rules, she's decided, she can go live with him, because he'll let her do more.
I think I gave her a little too much freedom over the summer and when school started again, we told her to be in by 6 on weeknights, unless she's working. And she has to be home by 11 on weekends if she's not staying with her friend for the night. We also want her to be home at least 4 nights a week in the summer, since she has practically lived with her best friend this summer.
I told her she couldn't go to her uncle's funeral. I know that sounds bad but she would miss 4 days of school. She doesn't really know this uncle too well and hasn't seen him in 6 years. She decided she was going anyway. She was told if she did, she would be punished. But she said well amybe I'll go live with dad.
My daughter has a grade point average of at least 3.6 and I worry that will soon dwindle off.
I really don't know what to do. I have lived my life for my children and I'm even mad at her for her selfishness.
M.L. answers from New York on September 07, 2006
I thnk the best advice is to hang on. Like those who have responded prior to me said it best.
But I have to comment on the death of her uncle issue. I was 17 when my uncle passed away from cancer. He was not only my uncle but my god father as well. I had not seen him in about 2 years prior to him getting sick. We lived in CT while he lived in Oklahoma. His cancer spread fast and my father, along with 2 of my cousins, drove out to Oklahoma for a visit during his last days of life. I really wanted to go, because I loved my uncle and wanted my chance to say thank you to him and good bye. But my mother insisted that I not go because I would miss school. I still ache over this and have ill feelings toward my mother for not allowing me to go. I felt it was something I needed to do. Now I am 33 years old and still wish I had the opportunity to hug him and tell him how much he meant to me. I go to the cemetery once a month here in CT where he was buried and chat with him, but it's not the same. Please rethink your decision when it comes down to this. As long as she is not using it as an excuse to just get out of school, you might just want to let her go.
M.M. answers from Boston on September 08, 2006
I have a 17 and 13 yr old. The power struggle is constant. now is the time they are learning to really live independantly from us. I feel as if I HAVE to give my daughter freedom. Freedom to make her own choices, learn about what is right or wrong for herself. She has to be in the house at 9 during the week and off the computer at 10. She has learned the hard way that if she messes up school there are harsh consiquences. She is still learning that lesson, especially now that she is trying to get in college and she won't be able to get in the one she really wants with the grades she got last year.
One thing I have learned that works is, if I approach her with freedoms rather than punishments it works better. For example I will say to her "the more responsible you are for yourself the more freedom you have." If I see you doing your home work and getting good grades then your more then welcome to stay out a little longer. Instead of saying, "if you don't do what you are supposed to do you'll be grounded", etc.... Kids that age want freedom. Use it to your advantage. I have found it works really good.
My daughter is on her own path. God is watching over her as he does me and everyone else. She is at the age now where I have to let her go. It is SO hard, but she will always need me.
By the way, when I was her age I was on my own a lot! I was constantly running off to some one elses house to live. I worked and went to school. I was ok. I had to do what I had to do, there is nothing my parents could have done.
I hope this helps. It is just my experiences.
E.F. answers from New York on September 07, 2006
I don't have children anywhere close to the age of 16, but I did have my nephiew,then 17, living with us two years ago, and it wasn't that long ago that I was a teen myself. I will tell you the reason Danny had been living with us was because he refused to listen to his parents, and it was either he come with me or live on the street. He has many problems, mentally, and I was trying to help him out. He wound up screwing us over pretty badly, when he decided to lie to his friend's mother about us in order to dupe her into letting him stay there. He wanted to go because I had told him that he was to be home by 10:30, since I had spoken with his girlfriend's mother, and she had said that the girl lived about 45 minutes away, and kept getting home late. He decided not to listen to me, and came in at 11:00. I grounded him. Told him to go to bed, because I was sick of him staying up all night long. He had dropped out of school, because he was going to have to repeat the grade, and he needed to get a job in order to stay with us. Well, he didn't like the rules, and when my boyfriend locked DAnny out of the computer, he got mad and left the house. The next day he was living with his "friend", (whom he had told me numerous times he didn't even like, but she gave him money and had a car.)I am glad he left, and he will never be back with me again. As a matter of fact, he tried to cause a lot of problems for us, and he is no longer allowed near my children, and I have nothing more to do with him.
Anyway, I tell you this for one reason. You may be upset that you daughter is pulling the "I will just go live with my dad!" card, but you can't cave to her. You have a household that has rules. Since you stated she is the oldest, I will assume that the other three chilren are younger than she is. You have a responsibility to them to enforce the rules, equally and fairly, every time to every child. If you cave for her, you are showing the other three that your word is meaningless, and they will take advantage of you, or else they will feel like you are favoring your daughter. If they feel that way, your relationship and influence on them will be severely compromised. STICK TO YOUR GUNS!!!!!
If your daughter wants to go, let her. Tell her you love her, she will always have a home with you, but you have rules that will be followed. If she doesn't want to follow them she can try to live with dear old Daddy, who hadn't had anything to do with her for three years, and see how it works out. Maybe she will go, maybe she will stay. If she goes, and she is not happy, let her come home, underthe condition that she follow the rules. It will hurt like hell to see her go, but if she thinks the grass is greener there, let her try it out. After all, he is her father, it isn't like she is moving in with her boyfriend. I would also suggest speaking wiht your ex first, to see about setting rules, together, for her. One being that she need to keep up her grades. If she goes there and there are rules right away, then she may just decide to come home. Or, she will be more respectful of his rules and do really well.
Just remember, the bottom line is that you have four children, and need to do what is best for all of them. If she does go, always let her feel welcome at your home, and don't make her feel like you are resentful, or that you don't want her around. Your relationship wiht her will be preserved in the long run.
C.B. answers from Hartford on September 08, 2006
Do you have a open relationship with your first husband? Can you call him an tell him what's going on. I had a similiar situation with my girl. A while back. I called her father, spoke with him at length. Then told my daughter go ahead an call your dad. He told his daughter that there was no room for her where he lived. That she needed to cool her jets. Stay home and stay in school and not to hurry growing up. This happen I think because of our relationship there was three of us raising the girl. We divorced but stayed friends.
A.L. answers from Boston on September 11, 2006
I am the aunt of a 16 year old who has been living with me for the past 7 months. It sounds very familiar to your situation. In short, she lived with her mom and her mom moved in with a new boyfriend. My niece did not like him or his rules and begged to move in with her dad. Her Dad agreed to let her move in with him, who is single and has not raised her since she was 2. Upon moving in with her Dad, she spent a year with him and cried every day because of his rules and parenting style. She was threatening to run away so my husband and I agreed to let her move in with us. I have 3 other children, 3yrs, 4yrs, and 9 yrs old. When she came to us, she was a typical 16 yr old who thinks she knows all the answeres and still does. She does not like our rules either, but she is finally realizing that they are there for a reason. We take a lot of time expaining everything to her and why. And of course always telling her we are coming from a place of Love. She also has to be in by 11 on the weekends and can only go out 1 of the 2 nights. The rest of the week she is at cheerleading practice until 7:30pm and must come right home to do her work.
I don't think you are being to hard on her. She needs structure and rules. That is how the 'real" world works. My only suggestion to you, if possible is to speak with your ex husband and if you can convince him to set the exact same rules at his house, she will realize that she is going to have to follow them.
My niece knows that there is no-where else for her to go if she does not follow the rules. She knows she will have to go back to her mom which she does not want, so she puts up with our rules and we just shower her with love and laughter, even when she is mad at the world.
I don't know if I helped at all, but hang in there. She will grow up to realize that every rule you have placed for her is out of love and concern. Good luck.