Advice/Suggestions, Reinforcements, Etc. Appropriate or Not?

Updated on November 23, 2011
L.H. asks from Saint Louis, MO
12 answers

My 18 yr old daughter came home from college yesterday and i have not seen her yet. She visited her boyfriends school for a football game over the weekend. So i texted asking when should I expect her home and she had this to do, was doing that, helping with this, so I said ok, time got later and later and no daughter home yet. I noticed this problem over the summer, visiting her boyfriends house and staying there all day and night, and not thinking anything is wrong with that. I stressed to both of them that I expect Kayla home at a decent hour and she is not to disrespect your mother's home by having her stay all night there. Thought i made myself clear, but apparently not. I don't care if it's 1 nite, and if I never said anything it would be several nites if she thought she could get away with it. Yes, I also spoke with his mother and stressed my concern about it, but not sure what if anything was said to them. So am i being a prude, need to get with this new lifestyle? Nope, I was not raised that way and neither was she, I have told her she is to not disrespect me or his mother, I don't care if she don't have a problem with you being there, not sure if that being there means staying all nite. I talked with the boyfriend again and stressed my concerns, my next step will be a conversation with his mother.

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So What Happened?

I think maybe some are misunderstanding my concern with this, I'm more concerned about the spending the night at the boyfriends mother's house, yes I would appreciate some consideration if she is in town and I have not seen her in months, I would not do that to my mother. Manda F. While I appreciate your very blunt comment, my daughter can't take care of herself, she don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, but at the same time if she wants to be grown I welcome it, take on the real grown up responsibilities of what I'm doing for you, paying your cell phone bill, paying rent for a roof over your head, and all that comes with it. Thanks to all the other moms for sheading some more positive light on this issue, i so understand the growing up, but does the morals and values have to be ignored just for her to feel it's ok to stay all night at the boyfriends house. I'm still sticking to how I was raised and I do think that plays a part in our everyday lives.

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answers from St. Louis on

I would say that you have every right- since you are still paying for her life- to tell her it isn't acceptable to sleep there. If she had taken on the responibilities of her own life- you could give moral suggestions, but that would prob be it.

When I was 18 I had a boy that I thought was it and that I couldn't get enough of and even though I was in college we weren't allowed overnight visits. If we went anywhere that required an overnight (visiting family or something)- we were in seperate beds.

Fast forward 2 yrs and everything was different- but 18 is a little young.

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answers from Redding on

Hate to say it but she is 18 and stretching her wings. If you pressure her she wont even tell you when she's coming to town so that she wont feel obligated to come see you if it's not in her plan.
This will pass when she gets older. You can gently let her know that you can't wait to see her and catch up on things, but other than that I would not throw emotional guilt trips on her, it will only put a wall up between the two of you. I know, it happened with me and my mother. My mom is still like this with me. I don't mind visiting her now and then, but honestly I just don't have that much in common with my mother and would rather hang out with other people when I have a choice.... especially when she pressures me.

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answers from Dover on

Your post was a little hard to follow, I'm going to be honest, but I think I got the gist of it.

You want/expect your college-aged daughter to come back to your house each night while she's home on breaks, yes? OK, so you've already spoken with his mother, correct? You've spoken with your daughter? You've spoken with the boyfriend? None of them cares is what I'm getting out of this since the behavior is still going on.

IMHO short of withholding payment for college &/or telling her she is not welcome to stay in your home any longer, I'm thinking there's pretty much nothing you can do about it if you've already requested the behavior change & it hasn't happened. Technically you're talking to 3 separate people who are all adults, albeit disrespectful adults, but adults none the less. It doesn't matter whether or not any one of us on this site agrees with your reasoning, it's yours & yours alone & you are the only person in charge of how your household is run.

My parents made similar rules for me. I spent the night with my (then) boyfriend pretty much whenever I wanted to. I worked full-time & attended college full-time. I paid for my own college, books, car insurance, clothes, toiletries, etc., etc., etc. I did NOT pay them rent as they did not request it as long as I was a full-time student. They told me not to stay at my boyfriend's house & if I continued to do so I could leave their house. Guess what happened? I left their house. Yes, I went back a year or so later, but only for 3 months while my leg was in a cast due to a shattered ankle. Once that healed, I got married & moved out for good.

My point is this: make your decision & stick with it, but know that if you make ultimatums you need to ensure you're ready to follow through with them & that she may still choose a path you don't like.

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answers from Naples on

She is growing up and is at a time in her life when peers, friends and boyfriends are more of a priority to her than parents and the family home.
I remember going through this when I lived at home during the first two years of college. My parents did not like me spending too much time at my boyfriend's house. Overnights were forbidden. I specifically remember my father yelling at me one night, "You spend so much time at X's place you may as well start paying his mother rent!" (He shared an apartment with his mom, who was actually very glad he had a girlfriend and encouraged me to stay over if I wanted).
I followed their rules, but I didn't like it, and it was a MAJOR factor in me deciding to move out and transfer to a distant school for my remaining two years of college.
What I am getting at is this. It's your house and you make the rules. But if she doesn't like it, she will be spending a lot less time there.
So do you want to let this slide and spend more time with your daughter, or do you want to hold firm which will most likely result in her pulling away.
Neither one is right or wrong, it is all part of the natural and painful process of your daughter becoming more independent.
Good luck!

PS And then after I moved away, I did exactly what Grandma T said - I would come back home just to see my boyfriend (who still lived there) and NOT tell my parents I would be in town. hehe This post is really bringing back memories.

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answers from Phoenix on

I remember being that age.

If you want to spend what little time you have with your daughter, attempting to control her & treating her like a child, then that's up to you. What you are doing is pushing her further away than she already is. The more you push, the more she will not want to spend time with you. My opinion is that she is 18, technically an adult, and I think you may need to retool your method of trying to do things. Right now, you are going to alienate her & drive her her away.

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answers from Phoenix on

You have every right to be concerned. I'd be concerned and upset too. I've taught my kids to wait until marriage and about what's appropriate and not appropriate when dating etc. But if I was in this situation, I'd express my concern to my daughter and leave her to make her decision. Even if it's the wrong decision. Sometimes they need to learn the hard way. And she may be just sleeping on the couch or in the guest room to spend more time with her boyfriend. Give her space and she'll probably show up on your door step. Good luck!

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answers from Williamsport on

Nope. This is one reason I left home at 17, and mine will probably be gone by 18. NOT ALLOWED. I was raised that if you want to act like an adult and have sleepovers with boys, you need to be completely supporting yourself as an adult. If you need to be home for help with college etc, you live by house rules. You can't have your cake and eat it too, which is a very valuable and recurring lesson in life. I would put my foot down and start cutting her off from privileges (and kicking her out) if she's treating you like this. It doesn't look like the dude's mom really minds it, so it's really only you she's disrespecting.

Also, if she IS totally out on her own, self sufficient, and paying for everything for herself, she does not have to come visit you, but she should still be courteous enough to follow basic visiting etiquette and be clear about when she'll be home.

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answers from Providence on

Oh lord. I remember when I was 18. I drove my own mother nuts. I also didn't have a cell phone back then, just a pager( which I never answered her calls). It's the age. However, I never was allowed to stay at my boyfriends home for the night at that age. I knew if I did , I would get it the next day. I also wanted to prove to my mother that I was responsible and could be on my own. You aren't a prude, I don't think I would want my son out , and staying with his girlfriend all night. They say they are 18, however, their is a big difference in maturity from one person to the other. It all depends on your level of trust, and their being responsible that would make a difference to me.

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answers from Sacramento on


Is your issue that you miss your daughter and feel upset that she's been home and you haven't seen her? Or is it that she's staying over at her boyfriend's house? Or maybe both?

You said you stressed to them both that they shouldn't spend the night at his mother's house and disrespect her house. Does his mother have an issue with it? I'm having a little trouble extracting what the real issue is... Is part of it that you worry about what the mother thinks?

I think that whether you're being a "prude" or not, you have expectations for your daughter's behavior and you're disappointed that she's not respecting your feelings. I'd sit down and have a talk with her.

You could got the route of withholding funds for college if you're paying for it... in some weird way parents often hold this over their kids' head and then wonder why the kids rebel. If you decide to do that I doubt that you'll get the results you're looking for.

My take on it is that she's 18, she's wanting to be on her own and have freer experiences. At 18 she things she's a grown up and and do things that she may or may not be ready for. She'll come around if you keep the communication open with her. I think you might have to let her go a little if you want to maintain a good relationship with her.

Good luck

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answers from Champaign on

When I was in college and home for breaks my parents always asked what time I thought I would be home (ie, 10:00, midnight, whatever) and then asked me to call if that would change. Now, I was a pretty boring kid. If I was out later than that, I was probably at a friends house playing pictionary or watching a movie. And I would not have stayed the night at my boyfriend's house. I was much too prudish at the time.

You could try talking to her about it and let her know that it has less to do with controlling her and more to do with a mom knowing her little girl is safe. You might not be able to tell her that she can't stay overnight at his house, but it's not unreasonable for her to communicate with you. That's really just common courtesy.

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answers from St. Louis on

Are you by any chance, the same mom who was upset that her college-age 18 yr old daughter wanted to take a few days off of college to travel somewhere?
From your comments, it seems as though you are a very over-protective mother. But your daughter is 18, an adult, and away at college. You no longer have the right to tell her what to do, how to behave, and when to be home. You can request that she be "home" at a certain time, but since she's on her own, and VISITING, she really doesn't have to be home at the time you set, or visit you at all.
My mother was a very overbearing, over-protective mother, as well. I couldn't WAIT to move out as soon as I graduated from high school. And I did, 3 months after graduation, I moved in with some room mates. I visited occasionally, and my mom tried to lay the ground rules with me: "Come see me", "don't visit your boyfriend", be home by 10:00pm." She forgot that I was no longer a 17 yr old kid, living under her roof. Guess what happened? I stopped visiting her. I was 18, I was an adult, and she no longer had the right to tell me how to live my life. It got to the point where I chose spending the holidays with my room mates and boyfriend, over spending it with her.
I know it's hard letting go, but it's time to cut the apron strings. The harder you push her to follow the same house rules she had at 17, the more she's going to think you're treating her like a child, and not the adult she is. Eventually she's going to resent you for it, and stop coming around at all.



answers from Joplin on

My mom and dad did not raise me like that either, but when I was young I would say I was spending the night with friends and stay with my boyfriend. So if you look back she has been doing this for a long time. I would stress to her that if she wants to be an adult it is time for her to act like one. She needs to pay her own way. All or nothin.

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