Wednesday, September 29, 2010

18 year old driving parents crazy!

Subject: 18 yr independence

Question: My daugnter is 18 and graduated last May, struggling through 12th grade, but did it. She is now living at home, working part time, pays her own cell phone and car insurance, and other expenses. She states she would like to start college in the spring. Our problem is her independence.

She is away from the house more than she is home. Her friends are mostly male, and are considered her "best freinds" and not dating anyone at this time.
 She quite often will not come home at all (several times during the week)stating she was at a friends and fell asleep, or may be visiting someone and spending the night. Sometimes she states she'll be back in awhile, and thats the last I hear of her till the next morning. In discussing this with her she has an attitude that we are freeking out and she is fine because she lets us know where she is, or getting better at it, so she thinks.

This is driving my husband nuts- wakes in the early am pacing the floor. We would like to help her get on her feet before we end up kicking her out - but I dont know how long we can put up with the behavior. any suggestions would be helpful.

Answer: Dear Kathy, Remember now you did ask me this question. You are probably not going to like my answer. Your daughter pays her own bills except for living at home. She keeps hours you don't agree with however you don't mention any real problematic behavior for an adult child living at home. If she was disrespecting you or living like a slob and expecting you to pick up after her or in some manner violating your boundaries I would have a different response.

Sooo just going on what you have put here in this posting I would say you and your husband are the ones having the problem. It sounds like denial that your "baby" is all grown up. It would be nice if she called at 10:00 p.m. and said I won't be home tonight don't wait up for me however, remember you are the ones "choosing" to wait up and why?

Also remember if she had her own apartment you wouldn't know if she came home and she wouldn't have anyone else to call if she did decide to stay over at a friends house. I wouldn't suggest kicking her out unless you are ready to ruin your relationship with her. I would suggest figuring out if you want her to live with you or not as she is and then making a decision based upon what is happening right now. If you decide she needs her own place then tell her you and your husband want more privacy or you want her to have more privacy however own your own problem of not being able to sleep when she is not home.

NOW having said this, YES, I know this is easier said than done. Having raised three children of my own I discovered they can live 2000 miles away and I am just fine. Let them visit and stay under my roof and the mommy sleeplessness sets in, however, my sleep patterns are my problem and not theirs. If there is something deeper here that you did not share then feel free to ask for follow up my response is based soley upon what you wrote here.

She is acting like a normal 18 year old woman. I am not a fan of allowing adult children to live at home without contributing rent however many families do just that and it is not unreasonable to say if you want total freedom then how about paying rent you would if you were on your own. Most likely the idea of paying rent will be all it will take to get a phone call telling you she won't be home. (However then let go of her decisions and don't let them go to the next level of arguing about what time she comes home, you got your call be okay with that). And you thought parenting teens was tough! :) LOL Sincerely,

M Kay Keller