18-Year Old Living at Home Who Drinks Too Much and Not Obeying Curfew

Updated on March 03, 2011
L.G. asks from Redwood City, CA
6 answers

Hello Moms,

I'm asking you wonderful moms for advice as I value your thoughts very much. I have an 18-year old daughter who lives at home, goes to junior college and has been earning good grades, and who also has a steady part-time job. My problem is this...She likes to go out every weekend, like most people her age, but she likes to drink alcohol a lot. I know for a fact that she does not drink and drive. I am very concerned about her drinking. My husband and I do not approve of this behavior since she is underage and the fact that she does this too often on the weekends. She will drink alcohol behind our back knowing we don't approve. I am very concerned she might become addicted to the alcohol because of the frequency. We have advised her to not drink, but she has a mind of her own and does what she wants. Once she leaves the house for the evening we have no control on what she is doing.

Another issue is that she is not obeying curfew. Her curfew is 1 a.m. on the weekends, and for the past several weeks, she has been ignoring this and coming home some time between 1:15 and 1:45 a.m. Last night she came home at 3 a.m.!!! My husband and i were so worried that something happened to her. I kept calling her on her cell, but she wouldn't pick up the phone. I called the friend she was with, and she too would not pick up the phone. I was ready to call the police when she walked in. She was drunk and had walked home by herself from a party!!! She said she walked so that she wouldn't drink and drive. I've told her many times that if she is ever in a situation where she cannot drive home, to always call me no matter what time so I can pick her up. My concern is her safety, but she did not listen to me and walked home! My husband and I did not speak to her at that moment since she was drunk and in no condition to speak to, but my husband and I will be talking to her today about her behavior. I was frighten to learn that she walked home alone at that hour of the night and drunk!! She so desperately wants her freedom and does not like the 1 a.m. curfew because she says her friends have a later curfew. My husband and I say that the 1 a.m. curfew is reasonable for young 18 year old living at home. In addition she needs to have respect and consideration for us. The rules we enforce on her at home are the curfew and a few chores. That's it. She doesn't realize how well she has it at home.

Please help me with advice as to:
1) How do I help her to stop drinking so much, and
2) How do I enforce that she obey curfew without being looked
so authoritarian (she already views me this way)and
3) I feel that if I give her a consequence/punishment for
whenever she does not obey curfew is treating her like a
child, so I need advice as to how to best handle this
situation whenever she disobeys curfew. Or maybe I should
give a punishment even though she is 18. Let me know your

I only have her as my only child, so I would love to have her living at home until she is ready to transfer out (in two years) to the 4-yr university.

I really need guidance I don't know what to do. Thank you so much!! You moms are so great!

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answers from San Francisco on

I am going to be very frank with you with all of the love from my heart.

Watching and allowing your daughter to drink underage is unacceptable and irresponsible. Knowing that she is drinking while out and coming home drunk is allowing your daughter this freedom. It is time for you to have your daughter arrested. I'm sure you find this harsh but your daughter needs to understand that you are serious about her underage drinking.

I can tell that you love your daughter very much and are concerned about her health, well being and safety. I promise you, at this point, your empty threats will mean NOTHING to her. You allow her to live in your home with no consequences to her actions.

1. You cannot keep her from drinking so much when she is out. She is eighteen and believes she knows everything.

2. Why do you care so much about being authoritarian? You are the parent and she is the child; no matter how old she is.

3. She IS still a child. If she is living in your household, she needs to obey your rules.

I'm sure she is a great kid -- she knows you'll accept her - drunk or not. Lay down the law and get a backbone.

I am completely coming off very harsh; I know. I only want the best for you and your family and going through this myself - I can tell you that wishy-washy parenting will not suffice. Hopefully your daughter has a lot of great things to fall back after she gets through this, but for now - tough love, counseling and new friends are the most helful solutions.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi L.,


"Senseless death stuns friends of TEEN girl" (This happened in Gilroy---this time).

The teen in this case was 15, so I'm sure your 18 year old drunk thinks she's a much better drinker. I would make her follow this story all week including attending any public memorial and hopefully having the opportunity to view the body of a teenager who thought she was just having a good time and could handle alcohol.

You can bet this girls family and the families of her friends who partied with her aren't going to have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Your daughter needs to be scared straight!



Time To Get Tough

Walking home alone late at night is dangerous. Walking home drunk
Late at night or anytime for that matter is setting one’s self up for the possibilities of all kinds of harm, including death.

Find out where she is drinking and notify the police.

Who is supporting your daughter? Does she have a job? If not she needs a job, she’s got too much time on her hands. Whose car does she drive? Who pays the insurance? One drunk driving charge at best will raise her rates at worst will get her or someone else injured or killed.

If she thinks she is old enough to do what she wants to do, she is old enough to start paying her own way.

If she’s driving your car, restrict the use of the car to school and work.

She should also be helping around the house.

1) How do I help her to stop drinking so much

Unless she wants to help herself, you can’t do anything.

2) She lives at home, but is not obeying curfew. How do I
enforce that she obey curfew?

Tell her if she can’t respect your house rules, she will have to MOVE. give her 4 - weeks to straighten up and/or find a job. If she doesn't, ask her to leave. She can go live with her drinking buddies. (See how long that lasts).

3) Since she is 18 years should I give a consequence for not
obeying curfew? I don't want to treat her like a child, so I need advice as to how to best handle this situation.

Review suggestion # 2


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi L.,

My heart goes out to you. I hope you have a good support system so you are able to get through this rough time. I have a daughter that is now 40 years old and at 18 was going to a community college and had a boyfriend. She wanted to stay out all hours of the night, even all night, and not call or anything. She wasn't drinking but did not want to obey any curfew. I was a single mom so the decision I made was devastating but had a good outcome.

I told her if she couldn't live with the rules of my house she needed to move out which she did. Broke my heart and I thought I would never recover from it but I didn't let her know it. Three years later she came back home and to this day she says it was a huge mistake moving out. She thought she was in love and was doing things that she assumed I would not approve of.

She and I are best friends and are very close. I absolutely love her to death and have never regretted my decision. I think you have to have house rules for anyone living in your home (family or otherwise). It is only common courtesy. If she were living with a roommate(s), there would probably be some kind of house rules. If you are supplying her car, then she will need to pay for her insurance, maintenance, etc. and her own living expenses if she moves out.

I would try to compromise and meet her half way so she still feels like she has some independence. You can't stop the drinking but you can insist that she not drive or walk home or be anywhere in public if she is drunk. You can be arrested for being drunk in public not just driving. Again, you can't stop the drinking but hopefully you can try to compromise with her in the name of her safety and welfare. As far as curfew, there is no compromise on this. She either obeys or she is out.

I know this sounds harsh but it is the only way to deal with this problem. Hope this helps and things work out.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi L.,
I am a family therapist specializing in teens, and this in-between time, when the kids are no longer 'children' but aren't quite adults yet can be the toughest part of all! To take your questions in order I would say:
1. She's the only one who can stop drinking, but some sort of heavy consequences could help her move that way, such as an even earlier curfew, a monetary punishment (if you have any control over her money), extra chores, etc.
2. See above-- plus I'll add, you must enforce the rules, heavy or no, cause it doesn'

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Your daughter is 18 and as you have stated, gets good grades, does not drink and drive, and is attending community college. Unless you have supplied false information she sounds like a good girl that likes to go out just like any person in college. If your daughter were attending college out of State or even living on campus these behaviors would be happening you just wouldn't have first hand knowlegde of it. I am sorry to say this but by being an overbearing parent to an 18 year old that can choose to live on her own is not a very good idea. Of course you care about the safety and well being of your child but you are going to push a good kid away.
To answer your questions, 1) You aren't going to stop her from drinking. 2) You can't give an 18 year old a curfew, if it upsets you so much tell her to move out. 3) It is absolutely ludicrous for you to even mention punishing an 18 year old.
Seems to me you are spending to much time trying to live your daughters life maybe you should spend more time with your husband enjoying life!



answers from Roanoke on

My heart goes out to you as well. My husband and I are going through the same situation as we speak. My daughter has moved out to her grandmothers house. She spent the night out one night with her boyfriend when she was supposed to be home watching her brother. We came home early from our romantic getaway to find my sister watching our 3 year old son and our 18 year old daughter was no where to be found. My sister let her go spend the night with her boyfriend, which is a whole nother issue. Then we found her and she came home. When she came home we immediately took her cell phone away and her keys. Both of which we pay for. Then she proceeded to take some pills and fake suicide, so she was in the hospital for a couple of days after that. She is now living with her grandparents and going to counseling once a week. We have gone to counseling with her and she states that she wants her freedom. She just does not want to have to pay for college, car, car insurance or health insurance. Basically if she is out of the house we do not have a financial obligation to pay for any of those items. So now she is cut off completely and she is not happy. The funny thing is that at her nana's house she has a curfew and she has a car and now they are paying for her car insurance. We feel like no matter what we do, we can't win with her. Her curfew was 1:00 am and then it was going to be 12:00 midnight now, until May when we get her grades from College. Well now her curfew is still 12 midnight and she can see her boyfriend all she wants. We just are not going to pay for college next semester or for anything else for that matter. I am not sure how we get ourselves into being such co-dependents, we have enabled our 18 year olds to live free as we fit the bill. When I was 18 I moved out and had to pay for everything myself and found myself pregnant at the age of 21. I had hoped my daughter would not make the same mistakes I have made, however it looks like we can not stop them from making any mistakes. They will have to make them on their own and hopefully, they will come out unscaved. My thoughts and prayers are with you and with every parent out there raising/letting go of their 18 year old treasurers.

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