Teenager Wants to Leave

Updated on January 23, 2008
T.R. asks from Independence, MO
4 answers

I have a 16 year old that is part of the Kansas City schools switching to Independence. She is having a hard time as many of her friends are going to be able to graduate early. She is acting out by disrespecting me and her family. She is biracial and is being racist against me and I don't know how to respond to it. Also she is telling me that after she turns 17 she is leaving, the unfortunate thing is it is legal and her best friend is also leaving to move to OK with her older boyfriend..Any ideas to help talk to her about how hard it is out there in this world, I have tried but we always end up hollering at each other..

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answers from Kansas City on

I moved out on my sixteenth birthday. My mother knew I was probably going to move out...but I did it while she was at work. I was a good kid; good grades, never skipped school, no drugs or alcohol. I just needed to get away from my alcoholic father and a mother who wouldn't make him leave. My mother tried to tell me how hard it would be to make it with just me and my boyfriend (he was 2 years older and had an apartment and job). It seemed like the more she tried to talk me out of it the more I was determined to do it and never go back. I moved out; and made it. I worked full-time; dropped out my senior year (even though I had great grades...money was needed more than school). I got married to the boyfriend and 10 years later am still married now with four children. Everything worked out great for me; I am a stay at home mom. But, it could have been a lot different. The boyfriend could have kicked me out; I could have not gotten a good paying job; etc, etc. I would have graduated 10 years ago this coming May and truly wish that I could go back and changed the fact that I quit school. I did get a diploma by finishing my high school credit through a school that let me do it through the mail, but it wasn't the same. I wish I had the answer to make your daughter stay but I don't. I just wanted to let you know that I have been there as a child who moved out early; Even though I am glad I moved out (due to how my home life was). The only advice I have as a mother is to let her know you are always there for her. Try to be the best mom you can; without trying to spoil her just to make her stay. Don't try to buy her love....but do try to do things as mother and daughter. Refuse to fight and yell with her about it. I am sorry you are in this situation. C.



answers from Kansas City on

I think you need to really make her understand how hard it is out on your own, especially when you are young and just starting out. Parents need to start preparing their children to be on their own. You can't treat them like they are five years old until the day they move out. It's not fair to drop the real world on them like an atom bomb. By 17 a person should be making most of their own decisions and be taking most of the responsibility for themselves. They need the opportunity while they are still at home and the consequences of failure are less severe. I would try to get her to stay by asking about her about the reasons she wants to leave and maybe you can come to an agreement that will make you both happy. I would tell her that if she stayed until she was 18 you would work together to make sure she was ready to be on her own. Which might mean giving her more responsibility for her own decisions and more freedom to live her own life but also taking more responsibility for herself and her actions. Have her pay you rent but save the money and when she does leave give it back to her to use for a deposit on her own place or for a car. Let her know that you don't think that you have prepared her well enough to be on her own and that you take responsibility for that. Give her some of what she wants to move out for, whether it's freedom, privacy or what ever it is. Come up with a plan together. Maybe if she feels like she is being treated like an adult she will stay and take more time to prepare.



answers from Kansas City on

Oh my, how I can relate to those teenage girls! I have one that is 18 and she is counting the days until she graduates and always says she is moving out too. I tell her good luck with that! I try and tell her she has no clue how hard it is on your own and how scary it is. I have showed her how much some of our household bills can be and ask her if she thinks she can pay bills like that on her own and does she really think her so called friends will always be there?! I have been on my own since I was 17 and I have told her about how hard it was and I just want a better life for her and to follow her dreams and be what she wants to be but try not to grow up too fast! Good luck!


answers from Kansas City on

There is no doubt that kids are moving out earlier and earlier. We have 2 that have flown the coup and 1 that is leaving this week. She's pulling a little stuff from her move every day after school and has told me this weekend the rest will be taken.

It makes us feel bad when they leave early. It's hard not to feel like we've done something wrong. But I promise you that it's so much nicer to be that person they call when they have an idea or want some advice than to be the big old mean person constantly trying to squash their fun. It may take a little while to feel your way into the new relationship that you need to forge now. But think of it as just another stage. It's really not all that much different than teething and toilet training. Your job is to love her and pray for her.

Not only have all my girls wanted to get out there on their own, but we really can blame ourselves. In our household we have trained them to be independent and self reliant since they were babies. We have modeled good work skills and business skills and they have all moved into management on the job fairly quickly. So why should we be surprised they want to go?

As for how hard it will be, she'll learn that soon enough. Try not to say how much you told her so. :) It's something she must learn on her own.


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