Discipline of 19 Year Old

Updated on March 31, 2009
V.B. asks from Milwaukee, WI
14 answers

I have a 19 year old college student that lives at home.She pays for college herself and has several jobs. She does not have her own vehicle but uses ours as needed for class and work. When she wants to go out, I tell her she can but not if it involves my vehicles. I tell her she doesn't have a curfew but to please come home at a reasonable hour as to not wake up the rest of the household. Tonight, she went out with her younger sister (17) to a concert and was driven by a friend. When I asked what time they would be home the older daughter simply replied "I don't know" I told her that her sister did have a curfew and for them to come home before I fell asleep because she forgot her house key. It is now 1:30am and they are still not home. I called them about a half hour ago and they still were not sure what time because they were not the driver.To make matters worse it is snowing out 5 inches on the ground and still falling. I offered to pick them up but my oldest insisted that they would be home soon. My daughter added that she is 19 years old I told her I was concerned for my other daughter's safety. This is really frustrating because my younger daughter is still out. This doesn't seem to bother my oldest.How can I discipline them both

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Well...they finally walked thru the door at 3am. I made the mistake of going to bed instead of talking to them. I was so furious and didn't want to raise my blood pressure.A few hours later their dad got home from work and told them he was very disappointed in both of them and took the 17 year old 's phone away and she can no longer go to her junior prom.
The 19 year old can no longer use our vehicles for work and school instead I'm making her take the shuttle that is offered thru her school. We are leaving for vacation in two weeks and I wanted to leave them behind but cannot trust the both of them together so I'm thinking of just letting them stay in the house we are renting instead of having fun with the rest of the family...I don't know how long to keep the punishment in force...until I can trust them again

More Answers



answers from Rapid City on

This is just what I would do (have done). I would have asked to speak to the 17-year-old, and offered to come and get her since she was basically unable to get home on time. In the morning, sit the 19-year-old down. Explain to her that no matter how old you get, you still have responsibilities to the people that you live with. One of those responsibilities is to respect their sleep. Another is to let people know where you are, and when you'll be back so they don't worry about you. Those are the house rules, and if she chooses not to follow them, your roof and vehicles will not be available to her at all.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Tell your daughter that she is 19 but still lives in your home and still has to follow your rules. Let her know that it was inappropriate to keep her sister out that late.
Let her know that now you don't trust her to take your sister out again. That if her friend offered both the 19 year old and the 17 year old a ride it was the drivers resposiblilty to get the 17 year old home on time.



answers from Madison on

V. -- I don't see how you can discipline them when you gave them such vague guidelines. Next time your younger daughter is involved, be specific and make sure they understand you. Then you can tell them that there will be unpleasant consequences if they don't adhere to your guidelines.

Good luck!




answers from Minneapolis on


She's 19. She's an adult and can make her own decisions regarding herself. Regarding your 17 year old, if you want her home by a certain time, say she needs to be home by a certain time. If you are ambiguous and say "a reasonable hour" that means a lot of different things to a parent and a child. If the girls don't have a vehicle and don't have a curfew, they don't have a lot of control over when they get home.

To have avoided this situation, you could have said to the 19 year old before they left, "If you want to take your sister out, tell the driver she needs to be back home by 11pm. Normally I would say 12, but it is snowing and it makes me nervous so I want her back early. If the driver says they can't get her back by then, you need to call me by 10:30 so I can pick her up. I am trusting you with your sister. Getting her back by 11 determines whether you two can go out together in the future." Very clear instructions and consequences. You didn't set up either, so it really isn't right to punish them. You said "Come home at a reasonable hour" and in their mind, they are.

My mother tried this same thing with me and it sends a very mixed message. She would say "You are an adult. You don't have a curfew. Be back at a reasonable hour." Then I would be on a date or out with friends until 1 or 1:30 and she would freak out when I came home. Sometimes it would be okay with her to stay out that late and sometimes it wouldn't. It was all about her mood, not about an actual time on the clock. I moved out as quickly as I could and avoided coming back to visit any more than I had to because there was no telling what she was going to get on me about.

If you want to fix the situation at this point, wait until everyone has had a good night's sleep and call a meeting with the two of them in the morning. Don't do this when tempers are high and people are tired. Remember that you contributed to the problem, so you can't blame them or punish them. Explain calmly your concerns and brainstorm ideas together that will solve the problem for all of you in the future.

Good luck,


answers from Rapid City on

I think if this situation ever comes up again that she is going to be taking her younger sister to a concert, tell her that you will take them and pick them up by the curfew hour or as soon as the concert is over. Even at 19, if she lives in your home, she needs to follow your rules and make it clear that she can pay for her own apartment or stay in the dorm if she wants to be totally independant of your rules. Sometimes when they have their own bills to pay and have to rely completely on themselves to support themselves they learn to be more responsible and respectful of the ones who supported them all their lives. I remember when my daughter turned 18 and moved into a place with a couple friends. She ended up getting broncitis and called me crying that she wasn't feeling good. I said "you need to get into the doctor right away... you certainly don't want to wait until you end up in the hospital and have to pay that big of a bill" She said "What?? I have to pay MY own doctor bills now?" I said "yes, that is what it is being an adult" She moved back home until she was ready to actually be out on her own and respected the rules a bit more. She will be 26 in April and very self relient and does great (even with her doctor bills)

So make sure your older daughter knows that you have rules and that as the older sister she needs to show you enough respect to make sure her sister follows the rules while with her, just as she would if she were babysitting someone elses children.


answers from La Crosse on

Yes she is 19.. an adult. But she is still living with you and she should have to go by your rules or she does have concequences. You can ground her.. yes you can make her stay home on the weekends, not give her the car and make her do extra chores around the house. You are still the parents and its your house. If she doesn't want to follow the rules then she needs to make that choice and move out.

I would set the ground rules and make it clear... it's either my rules or get your own place and have your own rules. I would completely disapline her for keeping your 17yr old out past her curfew! Both of them need to be in trouble because you called and the 17 yr old should have made the choice on her own for you to come and get her. You gave her that choice and she turned it down. Next time they will make sure they can get home when its time. The will either do it or make sure they have a driver that will be responsible enough to bring them home when its time. I never had a car growing up and it was my responsiblity to have a driver that would bring me home on time or if something happened I needed to call as soon as I knew I was going to be late (even 5 mins) and let my parents know what was going on and sometimes they would give me a few mins lee way and sometimes not. They always talked to the driver and told them the curfew so that way it was clear all ways. You can still do that with the 19 yr old also!

I know it hard because she is considered an adult by law and yes she can do what she pleases... but that is outside of your house. Honestly she has rules everywhere she goes.. at school, at work, in the town and state she has to follow or pay the price... why should your house be any different?

Myself and my brother lived with our parents until I was 19 and he was 21. We still had chores to do at the house since we didn't pay rent. We had a curfew we both had to be in the house before 1 and we had to wake my parents when we got in the house so they knew we were home. At times we would agrue about it, but the first time my dad packed my stuff and had it sitting outside and changed the locks I got it real quick that I still had to follow his rules or get out.

Tough love is hard but you need to stand your ground and let her know where the line is and she will not cross it again. She isn't going to like it but in the long run when she is older and looks back she will respect you so much more for it! Atleast I did with my parents, we had our bumps that I caused and they stood thier ground and I love and respect my parents to much more for it!

Good luck and it is possible!



answers from Omaha on

It sounds like a matter of respect. Sure your daughter is 19 and legally considered an adult, but still she lives under your roof and depends on some things from you (such as the car)so there should be more of a give and take.
I would sit her down and tell her that you were really concerned because of the weather conditions and their overall safety. She should have been more respectful of giving you a more specific time frame of when they would return home and respecting the fact that her younger sister has a curfew.
Yes, she is entitled to go out with friends, but still she should meet you half way so you aren't up all hours of the night worrying about your children.



answers from La Crosse on

You can remind your 19 year old of the legal consequences there are for her in regards to "contributing to the delinquency of a minor". It doesn't mean you have to call the cops on your oldest, it just means to let her know she is actually an adult and despite the fact she's living with her parent she still needs to behave unlike a child.



answers from Minneapolis on

My dad always told me to be home at a certain time. He said it was MY job to make sure the driver got me home or that circumstances didn't make me late. If I couldn't have the driver bring me home on time I shouldn't go out then. If I was late it was MY fault not my brothers, or the driver etc. and I was in trouble usually grounded.

Sounds like your girls are taking advantage of you and the situation. Maybe they shouldn't go out together anymore.

Your older daughter lives in your house, your rules give her a curfew as well if she doesn't like it she can move out. She's not respecting you right now.



answers from Appleton on

I didn't have time to read everyone else's responses but here are my two cents. When I was 19 I transferred back to my home college and moved back in with my parents. I had previously had no boundaries or curfews because I was away at school. When I did live at home prior to college I had very strict curfews/rules/etc. When I moved back I did not think I would have a curfew but I was wrong. I had weekly chores, curfews, everything. I remember not liking it at all but my parents told me it was their house, their rules. They didn't want me out all night and then coming home at all hours of the night! I eventually got tired of the rules and found a place of my own. Now that I am a bit older and a parent myself, I think what they did was completely right and they should give me rules and curfews. I was after all, in their house, using their cable/water/washer/dryer/etc. and not having to pay any bills. I had it pretty good. I would try that with your daughter. If you don't set boundaries soon, she will walk all over you and cause you more problems in the end. Also, she is a HUGE example on your younger daughter and you want the best for them. If you want the best if you have to set them up for success which involves setting limits and boundaries, even if they are legally and "adult".



answers from Minneapolis on

I would say the 19 year old had the majority of the responsibility in this. It's hard for a 17 year old to make an opposing decision in front of older kids that will cause the others an inconvenience. I would say whether she wanted to head home on time or not, there was a lot of pressure on her from the older kids to go with whatever their decision was.

I have three grown kids. These situations were so stressful to me as a "single" parent. I think taking something major, like a prom, away from the 17 year old may be too much...depending on what her attitude was. She she give you her perspective on how it all went down and do you believe her?

I would be looking to the older sister for the biggest consequence...and take into consideration any vagueness in your instructions.



answers from Madison on

I think the first thing to do going forwad is to set a curfew so that the kids know what to expect. Then, it is easy to tell whether they have followed the rules. When there is not a curfew in place, it is much easier to push the limits. As long as the girls aren't fully self sufficient, they need to abide by the house rules. When they have their own place paying all their own bills, they can make the decisions. With responsibility comes more privelege.

As far as not having a ride, your daughter does have influence over her friends. If they are trustworthy enough to be driving together, especially in the snow, then they should be wiling to help your daughter follow the family's rules by bringing her home by her curfew.

Good luck!



answers from Duluth on

When I was 19 (8 years ago)I was going to college, had a job, lived at home with my parents AND had a baby, and my parents STILL gave me a curfew. She needs to understand (and I hated this at the time but looking back it makes sense) the fact is that it is your house, she is out with your other daughter, and she needs to respect all aspects of you and your house and your rules.



answers from Milwaukee on


Sometimes we have to trust our kids.

I have two children that will be 19 & 22 this April & May.

They have their own vehicles and they bought them and paid for them. They've been doing things on their own since they were 17. I trust my kids.

Yes, we had our times where we didn't agree on curfews.

But when you have someone else driving, and you have a bunch of kids going to a concert, either don't let them go to the concert, or just know that coming home on time isn't an option. That is totally up to the driver.

We all need to talk to our kids more. They are at that age when they are trying to find themselves. In between child and adult. It's a difficult time. But what I found is that talking to them, taking them out for lunch and just being mom and daughter, really kind of smooths things over.

If it were my kids and they said they were going to a concert and they weren't driving, I guess I wouldn't expect them to be on time. I know, when I was a kid, that happened to me. I couldn't get a ride home. And back then , we didn't have cell phones.!! So if you talked to her and she said it would be a little bit longer. As long as they came home safely and had a good time, I guess I wouldn't worry.

But that's just my opinion.

I trust my daughter & my son. They are little adults. :-)

Believe in your kids. You seem to be a wonderful mom. Just know in your heart that you are a good parent and trust in your children.

Trust in your girls. Trust YOU DID A GREAT JOB!

Best wishes,


Next question: Curfew for Teenagers...what Time Do You Have in Your Home?