My 18 Year Old Step Daughter Is Out of Control

Updated on October 10, 2014
S.K. asks from Milwaukee, WI
22 answers

My 18 year old step daughter thinks she can do whatever she wants since she turned 18 2 weeks ago and got a car with her trust fund money. She stays out on school nights (still a senior in high school) all night till 4 in the morning and doesnt want to go to school shortly after. We tried telling her she can only use her car for school and work for a week since she cant follow our rules. Well she pretty much said F you its my car and my money and Im 18 you cant tell me what I can do. I think she should move out ,but my husband doesn't seem very big on this idea. I don't think she should be running our household just because she is 18 now and I think she should respect the one rule we have which is be home by 11 on school nights which isn't asking a lot. Please help me.Am I wrong? or should she leave if she cant follow rules? PS she hasn't been home for three days now and wont answer our calls and if she does text us back she is very disrespectful. .... I guess I have to add the fact that since she got her money she pays her own phone bill and car insurance with it. She has a very part time job and I know that money will run out soon. My husband just informed me now she hasn't been going to school either and demanding the rest of her trust money my husband put in his name. We have to give it to her since its her money and she's 18. I am just so upset with how ungrateful and disrespectful she's being.And will all add I have taken care of her since her mom chose her boyfriend over her kids years ago.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Hi, thanks everyone. Yes this is a real post. I apologize for not making paragraphs, I just signed up and was so upset and overwhelmed I hurried through I hoping she would not come home while I am writing this about her.
She finally responded to my husband and he is agreeing to give her the rest of her money and letting her leave. It is not what I want , but she is his daughter.she said she will get her things tonight as she is not in town.
She now doesn't want much to do with us so all we can do is tell her we love her and when the money runs out let her move back only under our conditions.
Thank you every one for your advise and understanding.If anything should happen I will keep you advised.

More Answers


answers from Columbia on

Change the locks, shut off her phone, cancel her car insurance if it's under your name. It sounds to me that if she's been gone for 3 days, she's made her decision. Let her know when she's ready to act like an adult instead of a spoiled brat, she can come home and live by the rules and go to school.

There's a reason most trust funds don't mature until after graduation.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

You've got a huge problem because you and your husband disagree. She was probably working on being out of control before she turned 18, and he didn't clamp down on her. No one should be getting trust fund money when they are in high school and just 18 - most trusts hold off until 25 or 30 for that very reason.

Your only option now, if he gives her the money and she moves out, is to cut the cord entirely. Do not pay one single bill, no insurance, no medical coverage, nothing. Don't give her housewares, don't co-sign a lease on an apartment, don't pay for her cell phone. Change the locks to your house so she cannot come and go at will. If your husband wants to see her (or if you do), then meet for dinner at a restaurant (and split the bill) or take a walk in the local nature area or browse at the mall - public places, not in your home.

Put all her possessions in cartons and suitcases, and move everything out into the garage or a storage unit (pay 1 month fee to get everything out of your house and give her the key to the storage unit). Get her name off everything, from bank accounts to safety deposit boxes to everything else related to her trust fund.

She wants to make all her own decisions? Fine. She's 18. She can try to rent an apartment with only a part-time job to list on the "income" part of the form, she can pay all her own insurance and utilities, she can transfer the cell phone bill to her own name and new address. She can shop for furniture or go to yard sales like every other adult. Put in a forwarding order with the post office so all her mail and bills and everything else go to her new address.

She can change her address with the high school so her grades go to her address, not yours. Your husband will have no say over her grades/achievements, and no responsibility for anything like college.

Here's what will happen - she will not be able to get a decent place to live, and even if she does, she will blow through all the money and be broke by graduation. She will be having parties with her friends and getting them all in trouble, which will affect her reputation as well as everyone's study habits. That will incur the anger of the other kids' parents toward her, but she wants to be a grown-up so she can find a way to handle this. Meantime she will not know how to handle some things that come in (insurance forms, for example) and she will either let things slide or she will call her father for help - at which point he should say, "You're an adult, I don't want to tell you what to do. Call your doctor or call your insurance agent or speak to your landlord directly." That's tough love.

Meantime, invite her for Thanksgiving and maybe MAYBE give her some leftover tupperware or placemats to show your "support" for her independent lifestyle, and wish her well. But do not write one check or bail her out of anything.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

well, there's no fixing her until you fix your husband and yourself. you can't parent her effectively when you're not on the same page. it's unlikely that this behavior just kicked in when she turned 18 and got her trust fund money (and i wonder why that wasn't set up for her to get at 21 or 25? 18 is just too young.)
i wouldn't have a young person living in my home and treating me with disrespect, but since you and your husband are so far apart, i'm not quite sure how that can work.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

This is why a lot of trust funds pay out at 25 or 30 instead of 18.
Well, how 'well off' is she?
Sounds like she's chomping at the bit to be an adult so get out of her way and let her.
Your Hubby has got his head buried in the sand and he needs to wake up.
Cancel paying any of her bills (for phone, car, data plans, car insurance, etc).
Cancel any credit cards/bank cards - any access she has to your money or bans accounts.
Talk to a lawyer and make sure you evict her all nice and legal.
Change the locks and security codes.
Don't give her anything except for a bag of groceries every now and then.
When her money runs out (and it will), if she wants to move back in, have her sign a rental agreement which outlines the conditions under which she may live with you and what will cause her to be evicted - be sure you specify for how long the time period is for - this won't be something that is for forever - consider making the term for every 6 months and it must be renegotiated every time it expires.
If she's been gone for 3 days, how sure are you that she hasn't moved out already?

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I'm on your side here. 18 or not, still living at home and being in high school means you have rules to follow. However, since she has full control of her money and apparently won't listen to you or her father, you don't have many options.

She may be 18 but she certainly isn't behaving like an adult, nor does she understand the concept that when you're staying in someone else's home, you follow their house rules. This applies at 48 as much as 18.

It is very unfortunate that whoever set up this trust put age 18 as the release date. This is a pretty typical and predictable outcome. If there is any way at all to be able to retain the money for her own good, get a lawyer on it. If the trust is clear on the matter, then he has no choice. Given her age and the money, she can legally do what she wants and stay moved out.

You do NOT have to put up with it in your home though, so it might be time to stand firm and not let her move back in once she blows through all the cash.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I love the Bible Luke 15:11-32 Tells of the story of a young man who asked for his inheritance and received it.

Your husband is right in giving her the money. It is hers. Yes she will probably squander it and be used by her "friends" but that is life. She will learn some valuable lessons along the way.

Pray for her and continue to love her by not allowing her to break the rules in your home. When she returns because she may you will need to see some humility in her attitude, let her know your house rules, and set some goals for her such as finishing highschool or showing you evidence that she has acquired her GED.

She is lucky to have someone in her life who cares enough to say, "NO".

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

If this is a real post. The use of PS in the middle of this post sent up a possible troll alert. Not many 41 year old women write as as you did with no paragraphs.

If this is all true,
I concur you need to decide if you are going to be able to agree with what your husband has decided he feels is ok behavior from his daughter.

Before she was given this trust, her father should have explained the expectations of her behavior.

If she cannot follow the basic rules of attending school and maintaining her grades, and respecting house rules, then she would no longer have access to her car and would need to start paying for ALL of her expenses and she would need to find somewhere else to live.

A trust is a responsibility and she is not mature enough to handle this.

Let her attempt to find her own place. Let her pay for her own college. Wait until you tell her you are going to drop her from her health and dental insurance, cell phone, car insurance and her food, clothing etc.. Let her experience all of this responsibility.

Even adults that are old enough have rules and expectations from each other. My husband and I tell each other where we are when to expect each other home etc.. It is a matter of safety and respect.

When our daughter comes home for a visit, she also lets us know where she will be and when to expect her home. She will even update us in case her plans change. It is just common sense and safety, heck at college the kids do this with each other all of the time. No one freaks out about it, they WANT people to know where they are going to be so that if they do not show up, people will send out a search party.,

This is your husbands daughter, so he needs to decide how he is going to handle this. He is not doing her any favors by allowing her to run through this money, wasting it. She will ruin her chances of college and then what does she have as a plan?

A drop out? A GED and a full time job? He needs to ask her.

I am sending you strength. This girl is out of control. Someone she respects needs to sit her down and give a real dose of reality.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My heart goes out to you, how sad. I know you love her very much and so does her dad. You both know this is not what's best for her and some day she will too. I like Kimberly's response, haven't read anyone else yet.

Stay strong, and stay strong with your husband. The hardest thing for a parent to do is watch their child fall, but it is a teachable moment that can last a lifetime with that child.

I think if you also have kids at home, stay strong to your rules and don't bend them for her at all, they will remember what is happening too.

Praying for all!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

Wow! That is way too young to trust someone with that kind of money. Our will states that our kids have no access to their inheritance until they're 30!!! An 18 year old is clueless. I have to agree with everyone else. Tough love all the way.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

You might approach this when talking with her. When people live together even when adults they have certain responsibilities to make the home pleasant for all of the occupants. Until she is paying her share of the rent/mortgage she needs to follow the house rules. I suggest you might be able to conserve some of that money by charging her rent. Include her share of utilities, insurance, and taxes. Write it all down so this is a way for her to learn the responsibilities of adults. If she chooses not to pay rent than it's reasonable for her to find her own place. She is saying she is an adult. This is adult responsibility,

I would not say anything about school if she pays rent. That is her responsibility alone. You are in the midst of a power struggle. No one wins and everyone is unhappy. However, you could offer to not require rent if shewill agree to live as a student in your home. This would mean she goes to school, keep up her work, is home by 11.

make what happens the result of her choices. Never argue or raise your voice. Treat her as you would treat any adult because she is insisting she's an adult.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It's really hard when husband disagrees. If he continues to disagree, you don't really have a choice. She will just have to learn everything the hard way.

Since you really have minimal control at this point, since dad isn't making her move out, the best and probably only thing you can do is charge her for things. If she thinks she's an adult, then she has the full responsibility of being an adult. Make her pay for whatever she uses.

But if dad disagrees, you will probably just have to endure it for another year.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

18 year olds go to war, they work, they go to school and many live on their own. If she pays her own phone but is on your plan, drop her. If your husband won't get on board with you then you can look the other way and not worry about her, or worry and make yourself sick.That is about the most anxiety producing lifestyle I can think of.
Here eighteen is old enough to move out. And you have done your job, law says to care for them until they are eighteen. If you give her the trust money I'd say expect it to be gone pretty quickly. You deserve some respect from hubby and his daughter. Personally I'd let her know I mean business. She is trying to say she is an adult to you guys and since she doesn't want to be a grown up roomate at your house she really needs to move on. And you really need to get your husband on board with you. You are right,too, she can move back on your conditions.We went through that ourselves.
A little education on trust funds for the few who didn't understand: a trust fund is usually put in an executor of an estate or guardian until they are old enough to receive and make correct decisions with it (in this case 'dad'). Oftentimes even after that they do not give it in a huge lump sum such as twenty million dollars but pay in increments. That issue might be something else that is examined.Sometimes even the guardian doesn't know the rules to the trust. And a trust is assigned to a particular person under certain conditions, such as finishing highschool. It might be beneficial for you folks to read this thoroughly or have a lawyer look it over because oftentimes there is a lot of fine points we don't see.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

I'm a little confused. Help me out here...

She turned 18 so she got a trust fund disbursement? Soo.. why (and how) does your husband have ANY of the money in his name? Does he have some sort of control over it by virtue of the trust itself? If not, why is it in his name and not the recipient's?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

If she can't respect the rules then kick her out, she thinks she is an adult, let her make her own mistakes. But if there is any legal way he can keep the rest of the money from her until she turns 21 that will help her out, because she will run through it all otherwise.

If she continues to live there I would change the locks and keep the house locked during certain hours, like at night right at 11, so she can not just come and go as she pleases.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I agree that while she may be 18 and have her own car and her own money, she still lives under your roof and needs to follow your rules.
However, if your husband does not agree with that philosophy, nothing's going to change. In that case, if look for ways to minimize impact on the rest of the family~cause it's going to be a bumpy ride.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Out the door and change the locks.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

This is a tough one. She is a young adult still in high school. I am guessing you and your husband will get truancy letters if she misses school even though she is an adult. It is awful for the parents/step parents to have to deal with the 'I'm and adult I can do what i want, yet you are still responsible for my mistakes.'

I totally agree with the 'Our house our rules' but I'm guessing easier said than enforced. Could you have a heart to heart and let her know what you need from her (on a path to becoming an self sufficient adult and ask her what you and her father can do to help her achieve this)? Give her some power/responsibility. She needs to think of ideas too.

I agree that the person who left her a trust fund should have thought about her maturity and not just her birthdate. It will be sad when she is ready to by a house and realize her down payment is now gone because it was spent on wasteful things.

Is her mother involved?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Follow my rules or get out. It's that simple.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

She's an adult. It's time for you to alter your thinking.

Perhaps her parents can sit her down and tell her that if she doesn't go to school full days at least 4 days per week and make passing grades she had to move out. This is an option.

But do understand, she's not mentally capable of being an adult yet. She's supposed to be making mistakes while she still has her family there to help and support her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Interesting first question.

I guess you made your profile before you made up this question? "41 year old mother of 2 teenage girls and step mom of 3 adult girls." Or you actually claiming an 18 year old is an adult "girl"?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Is the car in her name or yours? If it's in hers, you can't do much about when and where she goes. If it's in yours, you can take the keys. If the insurance is in your name, you can cancel it and turn the plates in to DMV.

That said, I would not try to impose a curfew on a legal adult, nor would I be willing to support one.
If she wants to be grown, she needs to be grown. That means having a job, and paying rent and utilities where you live. Tell her that if she wants to be "independent" and still live under your roof, she needs to pay you rent and pay her share of the monthly bills. Otherwise, she needs to move out and pay all of her own bills.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I suppose I wouldn't throw her out but I wouldn't be providing her with gas/insurance, internet, cell phone, etc. either.
Though if her dad wants to keep supporting her with that kind of attitude what can you do?

1 mom found this helpful
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