18 Year Old Daughter Still in High School

Updated on January 11, 2011
R.W. asks from Conneaut, OH
21 answers

I have a daughter who is still living at home. She is 18 years old and a senior at High School. We support her financially. She has a Part time job. She feels she can do whatever she wants. She has some chores at home. She started to see an ex boyfriend who does things that we feel is a bad influence and she feels she can spend the night at her Boyfriends any time. He Graduated and is 19yrs. She has been disrespectful to Mom and will argue, slap Mom or deny things. What should I do? She doesnt seem to care what the parents say and is defiant anyways.

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So What Happened?

Thank You to all for the advice. This is not all of a sudden. It has been a few years testing the waters. Yes my daughter does want to Graduate. She turned 18 in the summer and had plans of moving after graduating. She does want to be treated like an adult and we did talk about her responsibilities while living in our home. We did talk to her about what can happen if she didnt graduate and what could happen if she went out into world and being on own. Sometimes when she is argumentative and wants to do things her way she will bump me or on occasion slapped me when out of control with attitude. Not an ongoing thing. She has been told about what will happen if she did it again. I do appreciate the comments because this really is helping me to decide my next course of action. As far as the boyfriend he lives with his parents. He claims he isnt a people person and she is always going to his house. I have no control what she does there. I know that she is an adult and there are house rules. She does follow them most of time. I think she really wants to try. She knows my position on Respecting me and others. I did talk to her about calling Police if she gets out of control and ever hits me again. I do take her things away when needed. She also says if she bought it I cant take it. (IPod, I bought phone she pays her share). We gave the boyfriend a chance before to come to our house he came over 3 times in 8 months. She doesnt have license or car. She does have spending money from her job and tries not to spend a lot. My daughter is always testing the waters and does make good choices most of the time and realizes when she makes mistakes. I do have a son 22 and I havent gone through with him as much as I am with her. Things are ok for now. Thanks again.

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answers from Sioux City on

I doubt this all of a sudden started. 18 year olds don't just all of a sudden begin these behaviors. If she were mine she would get nothing from me. Her phone, ipod, nice clothes, favorite foods, transportation, would all be gone. Her room would not have a door. She would have a sleeping bag on the floor of her empty room. I would take it all. She could earn it back. The locks on the house would be changed and the door would be closed and locked at a set time in the evening. It wouldn't be opened until morning. If she wasn't home at the set time I would report her as a run away. My house, my rules. If she slaps anyone, I'de call the cops.

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answers from Tulsa on

If you kick her out before graduation, she will likely not graduate and she might run to the exboyfriend who will be her hero.
My MIL got hit several times by my SIL. She knew she could get away with it. Also, my MIL ran after her still nagging and yelling when clearly she was done talking. I told MIL that she needs to let people leave when they get done with the drama and she needs to stop chasing after them. When people are calm, they can resolve issues. She drove 90 trying to catch up with a grandchild who she called slut and started attacking. I don't blame her for leaving.

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answers from Seattle on

You know... the BIGGEST thing that got through to me was actually what my BF's parents said:

It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 50... as an adult you have a RESPONSIBILITY to treat those you live with with kindness & respect, and to take extra care with people who love you, because they worry about you being safe, happy, and successful. She had us think about what we would do if a room mate came screaming at us, or was slamming the doors, or was keeping us awake... etc., etc., etc. Things that become "okay" in families, for some reason. And what recourses we'd have (since she expected we'd get at least 1 lousy room mate in our lives, or one abusive boyfriend/girlfriend). From talking about the problem to calling the cops and having the person forcibly evicted/ restraining order, not keeping hard things secret from those who love us, etc.. Ditto she had us start journaling OUR behavior for a month to see how it would "translate" in the real world / what we could legally do to prevent someone treating US the way we were treating others. It REALLY helped to see my parents and family as PEOPLE.

MY parents demanded obedience. SHE demanded understanding. Understanding the reasons behind behaviors was about a zillion times more useful to me.

This is the same mum who when her kids were 16 just "left" for 24 hours without telling any of them, so the kids were *beside* themselves with worry. Her kids had been breaking curfew. When she came home she used the same lines on them that they had been using on her.

Same token, (same year even maybe) at one point she made each child responsible for all grocery shopping and cooking for a week. It worked so well that both children were responsible for 1 week a month. ESP since both kids had activites and stuff so they'd have to work out schedules to make sure the family got fed / aka there was no "out". The could occasionally trade a day IF the other was willing/able, but by and large their week was their week. And if they cheated and served Ramen, they'd get an EARFUL from the others who had to eat it.

I really liked my BF's mum. She had a real "Let the punishment fit the crime" kind of mentality, combined with having her kids "walk a mile in her shoes" when they were being disrespectful/ taking her for granted.

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answers from Kansas City on

My house, my rules. You show me respect or it is time to leave. When she pays the bills, she can make the rules - including being able to come and go as she pleases. Time to push the bird out of the nest. Lovingly. Let her know you will not live like that.

My grandmother used to say "No one can walk on you unless you lie down and let them."

Reminds me of a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

*Edit* I just thought of something else that may be a factor in your daughter's behavior: drugs. Any kind of illegal (or legal, for that matter) substance can mess with her moods, make her violent, and hinder judgement. You might consider making her test for anything from misused perscriptions (popping pills) to alcohol to inhalants to illegal (street) drugs. Alcohol and inhalants are going to be hardest to detect. Best of luck to you! (HUGS)

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answers from Chicago on

I would continue to provide food and shelter. But would take away the following
and each and ever time she hits you the cops should be called. Get her thru school if you can and like a previous poster said make an exit plan so that she is out the door at graduation day. and make sure she understands that when she chooses to move out she is on her own and if she needs to move back in she will be working and paying rent. good luck this is a hard situation for all involved.

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answers from Topeka on

There is a lot of background to this story that we will never know...and it is impossible to tell you what to do...it is such a personal and individual issue. I would start encouraging her to know that it is going to be time for her to head out on her own after she graduates. You really want her to get that diploma...so I would be hesitant to push her out of the nest until after graduation. But I would also not allow her to be disrespectful or violent towards you!!!
Is there other disrespect and violence in the house? Is this where she is learning this type of behavior? Unfortunately this type of behavior is VERY easy to learn and VERY hard to "unlearn".
Keep telling your self that graduation is not that far away...and try to hang on until she has that diploma in hand!!! Good luck to you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

She doesn't show respect because she's 18 and an "adult". Then let her be an adult. Pack up a few of her clothes and send her on her merry way. Anything she may have purchased w/ her own money from her job, pack that too.

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answers from Washington DC on

Your house - your rules.
If she doesn't like it and wants to leave, she leaves with nothing but her clothing. No car. No ipod. No phone... nothing. She obviously has a case of 18"itis" with a side of senior"itis".
You need to sit down with her and remind her of the house rules. Tell her that if she can't abide by them that she is welcome to leave -- without all the goodies she is used to having at her disposal.
Make sure that the family is all on the same page. Your spouse needs to be on the same page and has to be willing to have the conversation - you need to present a united front. This will not be easy. If she can suck up to daddy later and get what she wants, it won't work.

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answers from Norfolk on

Plan for her graduation and help her form her exit plan. I'm sure there are quite a few recruiters who would have plenty of good ideas for her future.

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answers from Cincinnati on

Yes, she is legally an adult. BUT ... she is living in YOUR house and YOU are supporting her financially. So there ARE things you can do.

My house. My rules. Plain and simple. I would lay it out for her. If she wants to continue to live in your house and have you pay for her stuff ... then she needs to follow the rules you lay out. Otherwise... don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

If she isn't going to college, then once she graduates have her get a full time job and start paying rent. Hitting mom, disrespecting mom ... not ok at all.

I think it's time for a little tough love.

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answers from Amarillo on

We all enter adulthood differently some ease into it and others go blindly into it.

Yes she is an "adult" but she is also still in high school and living in your home. So I guess that trumps the real "adult" because she is totally dependent upon you (part time job is spending money). Please have a sit down family meeting with the rules of the house and what she must do until she graduates high school. If see cannot abide by those rules, there is the door and she will leave only with what she can put in a suitcase - no cell phone or car.

As for the hitting she is lucky as she would probably be getting up off the floor not knowing how she got down there. A police report would be put on file so that the system is aware of what she has started.

No background other than the ex-boyfriend was mentioned so we have no way of knowing if this was an isolated incident or one that continues on.

My wishes that the two of you manage to make it until June and graduation. As others have said prepare an exit plan the night of graduation where she is gone and can be an adult.

When living with my aunt she said her home was mine as long as I lived there but once I moved it was no longer my home. I could possible come and visit but I could not live there again. I know TOUGH love but sometimes we have to do it to make people think and prepare for the rest of their lives.

I will be thinking of you and her. It hurts when mom and daughter butt heads and don't see eye to eye for many years if ever.

The other S.

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answers from Columbus on

I'm sorry you and your family are struggling with this. It sounds like she wants to be treated as adult, but doesn't really have a clue about what being an adult means.

I agree 100% with Kelly M.: If you try to force her, like a child, to obey rules, she will probably leave (or it will escalate to you kicking her out) and she'll probably live with the boyfriend; best case here would be that she does graduate but your relationship with her is ruined for years or perhaps forever. Worse case is that the bad influences take over, and she doesn't graduate, and it's a tailspin from here into a really really hard life, perhaps crime/drugs involved.

So, I think the best thing to do is call a truce, and call a family meeting. Start by talking (use "I" phrases, and I fell--definitely read up on non-violent communication before the meeting). Let her know that you and she both want to see her go on to a good and fun and successful adult life, but she's not quite there yet (be careful how you phrase this). Tell her that if she wants to be treated as an adult, that is all well and good, and that you want to respect her choices, but that there are still house rules. #1--Physical or verbal violence is completely unacceptable; if it happens again, esp the physical, as an adult, you will have to call the police and/or kick her out because true adults do not resort to violence to try solve their problems. Then, sit down and ask her what she wants--hear her and don't judge. If she wants more time with the bf, then provide it--supervised--at your home (and talk to her about the safe sex--offer condoms or pay for the pill bec. it's better than pregnancy at this point).

See if you can come to some compromise (and hopefully encourage her to get counseling/anger management help). But let her know that you will not tolerate the violence and she is out the door, cut off, if it happens again.

I would also suggest perhaps talking to her counselor at school to see if they see anything or if there's any suggestion they have (no doubt they have seen this kind of thing before and might have more tools in their toolbox for this).

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answers from Richmond on

I was that kid. I hate to admit it, but I was. Not only that, I was PREGNANT at 18. The only difference was, I was out of my parents house at 16. I have a really good head on my shoulders now, total soccer mom, 3 smart, beautiful kids, and planning a wedding... but at that age, I was a little b!tch!! So I've been there... and honestly, the best thing you can probably do is to stop supporting her financially and make her get her own place. Kudos to her for being 18 and staying in school... there's a lot of social stigma there and it's HARD. But if she's not following your rules under your roof, she's got to go. Eventually (and this is what happened with me) she'll realize the error of her ways, most likely when she's broke, her BF leaves her, and she realizes that you have been right all along. Please feel free to message me, there is so much more to say... but the bottom line is, you have to cut her off. She is an adult, and needs to start acting like it. You WILL have a much better relationship if you let her make her own mistakes.Then you'll be able to say 'I told you so!'... she's got a lot of thinking to do about the poor choices she's making. Once I became a mother myself, I realized what a crappy kid I was (and yes, even at 18, I acted like a kid)... now, I have a pretty decent relationship with my parents, but it took a LOT of humbling on my part!! Best wishes :) Please message me if you need to talk :)

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answers from New York on

She wants to do whatever she wants, let her as long as it's not in your home.

It's your house, give her the rules. If she doesn't want to live by them, show her the door. Remind her that's shes always welcome to come back as long as she's willing to live by the household rules and show you respect.



answers from Columbus on

I am in the same situation, only with a boy, and his girlfriend is in college. We allow him to go visit her, but never spend the night. He has gotten very upset about this, but realizes we are not budging on this topic.
He knows these are our values and we have had long talks about how it's not about trust it's about respecting us as parents. He knows if he lives in our house, he lives by our rules.
He has been reminded that the car he drives is not "His". We pay for the insurance for that car and the gasoline. We pay for his cell phone usage. All of these things can be taken away or have restrictions. He works part time as well but he is saving for college.



answers from San Francisco on

See her through the end of this year and then it's time for her to get a place with some roommates.

I think at 18, you can't control her choice of boyfriends, or whether she sleeps at his house some nights, because she is technically an "adult" (ha!), but she should definitely not be slapping you!!! Did I understand you correctly? She is slapping you? If my daughter slapped me, I'd take her down.

So for me, the arguing and disrespect and slapping means when high school ends, you're on your own.



answers from Columbus on

If she hits you, you need to call the police and charge her. I'm not sure about laws in ohio, but where I grew up once you were 18 your parents could kick you out. Check with your schools guidence counselor they should be able to provide you with help.



answers from Indianapolis on

It's easier said than done, but if she assaults you again, call the police - first let her know that's what you will do, and the consequences of being arrested. Not just the immediate consequences, but that she will have to put it on EVERY job application she ever fills out, and it will be nearly impossible for her to find employment. And if she doesn't want to live by your rules, she doesn't have to live in your house. It's all well and good for me to say these things, since I have two kids under 3 and don't have to deal with this yet. But it sounds like she needs a big dose of reality and fast!



answers from Cleveland on

Well, a family friend was in this situation, but one, she is a legal adult, so remember you can't do much. Two, though, is our friend chose to not allow her to live with them anymore if she cavorted with this boy.... It was hard on the relationship bc she moved out. But now the boy is gone and she moved back with her parents. These people also had 3 other kids, one older 2 younger, so a lot of experience, and great people overall... She will keep running over you if you allow this to go on. But remember she is an adult and can legally be on her own.


answers from Modesto on

Just because she turned 18 doesnt mean a thing. Her circumstances are still the same. When she graduates that's when you renegotiate house rules to YOUR liking, not hers. Right now nothing new should have changed.



answers from Indianapolis on

Your house, your rules. CLEARLY disrepect is the key here. There is a book called RAISING RESPECTFUL CHILDREN. She's already 18, but it's NEVER too late to learn respect.

If she thinks she can do what she wants, then let her get her own place. STOP supporting her financially. She thinks she can have her cake and eat it too. Are you enabling her to continue in bad behavior by the choices you make, which fosters continual disrespect or are you teaching her to be a strong, independent woman who can make good decisions on her own and behave in a mature manner?

There needs to be SERIOUS consequences for slapping a parent! If she thinks it's rough at home, let her try being on her own........and DON'T bail her out!! TOUGH LOVE WORKS!!

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