December 08, 2010,
S.H. asks from Washington, DC on November 29, 2010
My 18 Year Old Daughter Moved in with Her Boyfriend
.Our daughter moved in with her boyfriend. She was still going to college - not sure if she will finish this semester. We helped buy a car for her with the agreement that she would pay us back. Her cell phone is on our plan and we pay the monthly bill.
She is without a job at the present time but says she is looking.
My husband told her that we will be taking the car back after the holidays - the money she put into it will be held for college tuition. We will be turning off her phone after the holidays.
What do other moms feel about this. Are we doing the correct thing? My heart plays into this too much and it is hard for me to make a decision
So What Happened?™
I want to thank all of you for your responses. They give me good ideas to think about.
Our agreement with her was that she would make monthly payments on the car and we would continue insurance and phone while she was in college. We are disappointed in her moving in with her boyfriend - I did tell her - there is a whole world out there to see and so much to do - why settle down now when you can do so much
We know that if she had continued her original plans of moving in with her girlfriends then we would continue providing more financial support. Because we know that she would have continued in college and working.
It may be spite but we did inform her that we were not happy with her choice of moving in with the boyfriend. We like him but he also is 21 and working minimun wage at Sonic with no college expectations. He also does not have a vehicle - he keeps saying his parents are going to buy him one - but that has not happened as of yet. They are probably tired of having to help support a 21 year old.
I will let you know what ends up happening in the future. Happy holidays to all of you and keep hanging in there. Live is definitely a challenge.
.Our daughter moved in with her boyfriend. She was still going to college - not sure if she will finish this semester. We helped buy a car for her with the agreement that she would
R.F. answers from Washington DC on November 30, 2010
If she is still going to school why take these things away. I think as long as she continues to go to school and looks for a job there is no reason to take things away from her. That will make it more difficult to continue to go to school and then she may drop out. Is he a bad guy, does he treat her bad? If not I think you may be a bit harsh on taking all these things from her.
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K.M. answers from Oklahoma City on November 29, 2010
I was 22 and in college, and had a boyfriend move in with me. My dad and stepmom had been sending me some money about once a month, but when they learned that my boyfriend had moved in, the money stopped coming with no explanation. I knew why it happened, and I was okay with it. I enjoyed the money while they sent it, but if they felt my decision to live with my boyfriend was wrong and didn't want to support it, so be it.
That being said, if what you really want is for her to reconsider her living arrangement, why not talk to her about it? Tell her why you think it's not a good idea, maybe offer her some alternatives if you can. She may or may not listen; but at least you'll be able to say you tried.
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J.K. answers from Phoenix on November 29, 2010
Sounds good to me. You had an agreement. I'd let her buy her own car and pay for her own college. My son is 17 and my husband has expectations on him. I felt it was too much with trying to finish HS but my son is doing great! Good luck!
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A.S. answers from Boca Raton on November 29, 2010
Living with a boyfriend is a very "grown-up" thing to do. Grown-ups pay their own bills.
It's tough, Mom, but you have to honor her decision since she's an adult. You don't have to like it, and if she asks your opinion you can tell her why you are very concerned for her.
Bottom line, though, is that she has decided to be an adult with all the perks AND responsibilities that go along with adulthood. Let her be.
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S.T. answers from New York on November 29, 2010
My kids are not yet this age - but the oldest is a teen and I can see the tricky stuff is already coming up and I don't think there's ever a perfect way to deal with all this stuff.
BUT - I really believe that if they are living with you and following the household rules than it's OK to subsidize their education if you can afford to do so. But once they decided to become independent and stop their education - then they should be truly independent. Tell her you love her, that you'll always be there for her - but she's clearly ready to take a step of independence and you're all for that. Independent means financially independent. Make sure she realizes that this about financial independence - that you want to encourage it. But when/if she is ready to continue her education and wants to plan long-term for the future you'll be there financially to assist her. Make sure she feels welcome to bring the "young man" to your home for dinner, family gatherings, etc - but if you have guidelines for overnight visitors make sure she knows what they are ahead of time. You can easily say "you know we're old fashioned" or "conservative christians, jews, etc." so "when 'Tom' comes for the holiday weekend we'll have the spare bedroom ready for him to stay in."
I really think we encourage our kids to stay child-like for way too long - paying for off campus apartments and furniture, etc. giving them free reign when they come home as if we're running a hotel - but not charging for it. You'll do your duaghter a huge favor if you allow her to be truly independent and learn financial responsibility. Hopefully she'll learn how tough it is to have a nice standard of living based on a hourly wage paid to a HS graduate without a college degree and she'll change her mind in a few months. She need to learn how to delay gratification - like we all hed to once upon a time. This shouldn't hurt her long term - but expect that it will cause a temporary rift. But I really think that it's the right thing to do - if communicated properly, in love.
Goodluck mama - it's not easy this parenting stuff is it?
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T.C. answers from Washington DC on November 30, 2010
My answer is not to you so much (I think you're doing the right thing) but to those responders who say they "don't get it." Maybe this makes it clearer:
Moving in with a boyfriend is a statement that "I am an adult." A real adult does not depend on Mommy and Daddy to pay their bills. A real adult is in a financial position to deal with the prospect of a child, which is a real possibility when two heterosexual adults are sharing the same bed, no matter how careful they say they are about birth control. A real adult has a job OR the maturity to put fun things on hold until they get a job.
There are times when parents, out of love, chip in to help an adult child with a major purchase, like a house or a car. These are one-time things, they are gifts, and that's not the same as footing the car payment or a cellphone bill.
Anybody still not get it?
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B.M. answers from Chicago on November 29, 2010
It's hard to tell if you are doing the correct thing... we are missing some important information.
1. What communication have you had about where she would live before she moved in with her boyfriend?
2. Did she know that you were helping her out financially, but there were controlling strings and if she made a decision that you didn't like you would no longer help her out?
3. You said you 'helped' buy a car - how much $ did she invest in the car? If you take the car back, you would technically 'owe' her the money she put in or she would need to 'buy' out your share and keep the car. I'm not sure you can tell her the money she put into it will be held for college tuition if that was not the deal up front - that's not fair...
Also - you said it was with the agreement she would pay you back - did you set up terms for how the payback would go - how much by what date? You should give her the chance to meet the original terms before you take it back and keep her money.
4. Why don't you know if she will finish this semester? the semester is over within a couple weeks at most colleges - why would she not finish a couple more weeks.... what else is going on?
5. Would she have the same consequences if she moved in with 'roommates'.... is it just the guy? Or is it that she wants to move out.
I guess my question would be.... is this a big enough deal that you are willing to risk losing your daughter? When you become 'offensive' they become 'defensive' - it's the nature of how it works with kids.
So you have made a move to 'cut her off'. What that does is make her stick it out with this guy, because you have put her in 'defensive mode'. If he's not the right guy you have put her in a position where she has to back him or she looks like a goof. yep, she's 18, but that's not really all that old. I'm not saying you should be taken for a ride, but it's not clear what your relationship is with her boyfriend and/or if there was any communication about all this stuff ahead of time.
If this is the lesson you want to teach her then I say you are doing the correct thing. But what will taking back her car and cutting off her phone teach her? It sounds almost like it's out of spite, not that you are saying - if you want to be an adult, you have to act like an adult which means you are responsible for yourself. That's a whole different message.
But I don't know the story, so that's just my $0.02.
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A.B. answers from Washington DC on November 30, 2010
I was always taught that when I wanted to be "grown" that I would have to make choices and deal with those consequences without the aid of my parents. As long as I was being responsible and moving in an upward direction, my parents would be more than happy to help. As an adult, I now appreciate their advice and the wisdom they used in raising me. It doesn't mean I couldn't rely on them if I made mistakes. It just meant they were not going to facilitate my empty-headed dreams. I am now a parent, and it would break my heart if my children made choices that went against what we've taught them, or we believed were huge mistakes. But, it is their life to live and learn by. I believe we parents can only teach, provide, guide and correct. Once they are adults, they have choices to make, but we can make sure we don't become codependents or enablers to their negative choices. And, who knows? The mistake could turn out to be a benefit in the end, but there might be a lot of pain along the way. Offer love, but not an open wallet because that would be to your detriment, not hers. Grieve her choice, but then let it go. Be a shoulder when she needs to cry, but not an open wallet. Continue to give her advice, but not the benefits. You're making the best decision. That's what we grownups have to deal with, right?
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A.C. answers from Washington DC on November 30, 2010
I say Bravo and that is great parenting! My sister-in-law gave me the best parenting advice I think I have ever heard and what she told me was that usually the hardest decision is the right one. You are 100% doing the right thing.
Had to edit this after reading some other posts and I must say that I astounded. If your daughter wants to go and live on her own and do something it sounds like you don't agree with or want her to do then yes, you need to treat her as though she is this independent girl that she seems to want to be. I saw kudos for raising an "independent" daughter and yet how independent can she be when everything she has is from mommy and daddy? It's absurd. She has the allusion of independence.
I should say that I am NOT the parent of an 18-yr-old, but am more coming from the perspective of someone whose parents would have done the same exact thing that you are doing right now. I hated every minute of it, but even when I was going through things like you are talking about I knew that they were doing the right thing and I respected them because I knew where they stood. Eventually, I came around and I am a better person for it. My parents truly cut me off (in the financial sense) and it was the best thing they ever did for me. Guess what? I didn't die and I love them all the more for it.
You're instilling values in your daughter and who would you be if you let her do something that doesn't jive with what you actually value and still gave her financial support. Even if the living with the boyfriend isn't the issue and it is just the issue of her not going to school and living up to your end of the bargain. You are the parent. That is life. If she had a job and they told her to be to work at 9 every day to get paid and she came in at 10 do you think that they are going to show any leniency? Absolutely not. Consequences hurt and if you don't teach her that she is going to have one great big shock when she gets out into the real world and finds that when an employer or a landlord or a bank that loaned her money for a car doesn't have any mercy when she doesn't live up to her end of the deal.
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J.M. answers from Boston on November 29, 2010
I too wonder your rationale.
You said that you would help her buy the car. She said that she would pay you back. Why does living with her boyfriend alter that agreement?
If you agreed to pay her cell phone bill, why would living with her boyfriend alter that agreement?
I am assuming that you are angry that she's living with someone so young, or living with someone before she's married. That's okay. It's your perogative to be upset about that. But unless you specifically told her that the car and the phone were deals subject to her going to college and/or "playing by your rules" I think it's really unfair of you to change the game without letting her have some input. I think it's totally reasonable to set new/different expectations, but it isn't reasonable to expect it to be "your way or the highway" for the rest of her life.
She's not "playing grown-up" at this point, she is a grown-up. But she's still one that needs guidance and help. Personally, I would much rather compromise with my kids than be right and risk our relationship. Figure out what your end goal is and if there's a way you can meet it together.
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A.G. answers from Pocatello on November 29, 2010
Well I agree with you. If she feels old enough to live with her boyfriend then she needs to take on ALL the goes with living on her own. No more free ride from Mommy and Daddy. My parents were like that. I mean if I was in a jam they would help out no problem. I got married pretty young (at 20) so to have a cell phone and a car me and my hubby paid for it. We both worked and went to school and held off having kids for a few years until we had a more stable income. I actually new couples that were still having their parents make their car payments and cell phone bill and I always thought that was crazy! I mean if your going to start living on your own then do that! Don't just play house while mom and dad foot the bill. So again I agree. This is a good way to teach her how to be independent.
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