Sunday, September 5, 2010

My 19 year old daughter is not behaving!

Questioner: Janet

Subject: 19 year old teenager

Question: My 19 year old has been spending the night at her boyfriend parent's home. I don't like it, she refuses to stay at her own house. I moved her bed into the garage to give her sibling more room for sleep overs. She's so mad, she moved out. What can I do to get our relationship back. Did I make a mistake. I am at my wits end with her disrespect with me.

Answer: Dear Janet, You may not like my answer either. She is 19. She is legally an adult and your not liking her staying over at her boyfriends house is about you not her. If you want a relationship with her I suggest starting with an apology.

Tell her that her growing up and becoming adult snuck up on you and that you realize she is capable of making her own decisions. That you would like an adult relationship with her and that although you will try to not make judgements about the choices she makes it may take lots of work because you were not ready to let her go yet. In otherwords take responsibility for the loss you are feeling as your child has become an adult and accept that you will need to respond to her differently if you truly want a long term relationship with your adult daughter.

Now also realize that even though we grant children adult status at the age of 18 their brain is not done forming until they are 25. You probably won't agree with her choices for sometime and she will probably not always act like an adult until she ages and gets some experience under her belt. Be patient. Be the person she can talk to without judgement and lecturing her.

You don't have to AGREE with her to just LISTEN.

Transitions to being parent of an adult child are tricky. It's not easy. Be kind to her and be kind to yourself.

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller

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