Saturday, September 11, 2010
Subject: 18 year old daughter screaming and fighting
Question: My 18 year old daughter is still a senior in high school. Ever since she was a young girl she has always used her voice to let you know she didn't like the way things were.
Last night she came home after spending the weekend at her friend's house for a bday party. She walked through the door and you could just see the attitude on her face.
We didn't say anything because I just knew a battle was brewing. About an hour or so later, she erupted while I was talking to her about her responsibilities in the home. I repeatedly asked her to stop texting on her phone while we were trying to hash out issues, when she didn't, I asked her to give me the phone until we were done talking. The next thing I knew she threw the phone, nearly hitting me in the face with it. She grabbed the phone, and started to scream at me that I couldn't take her phone because I don't pay for it.
My response to her was that she was being disrespectful by texting while we were trying to have a discussion. She then walked outside without shoes or a jacket and sat on the front porch while she contacted the police, saying she was fearful for her life.
Two officers showed up asked what was going on, I told them she is 18 and if she doesn't want to follow our rules she needed to find some where else to live. They then had me pack a bag and drive her to a friends house. On the way to her friend's she started to scream at me once again, as she got out of the truck she stated "I hope you know I (blank) hate you, and you make me want to slice my wrist." I asked her to gather her stuff and get out, and I drove away in tears. (I held strong until she was out of my car, didn't let her see how much her words stung). The next morning she text me telling me she was sorry and asking when she can come home. I am not ready for her to come, and I told her as much.
Also said that because of her age, she needs to either follow our rules or not come home. Our rules are 1. Be responsible for your own actions, 2. No screaming or yelling at the parents, 3. Do chores as assigned (they are rotated with all three of our kids that live at home, 17 year old and 14 year old). I don't know where I want to go from here, I am very hurt by her actions, and shocked that she called the police, she also claimed that we locked her out of the house, however we never did, the door was unlocked and I went to the door several times and asked if she would come in and talk or go in her room and cool down.
Do you have any suggestions? Am I doing the right thing by not letting her back so soon? I went through the same thing with my parents when I turned 18, thought I knew everything, could do anything and didn't need to answer to anyone but me. I learned, and I just pray she will learn as well because she is such a hard headed, stubborn young lady. She is my beautiful girl, and she is not all bad, she is has very wonderful qualities she just gets so angry and it escalates so quickly. Thank you!
Answer: Dear Theresa,
You are not going to like my answer. Neither of you is acting totally responsible. First of all she is 18 years old. You don't take a cell phone out of her hand like that it is just as rude as her behavior.
Secondly you need to learn a new way of relating to her besides the old you follow my rules thing. She is too old for curfews and chores.
Expecting her to pick up after herself and help out like any other adult is one thing however your posting doesn't sound like you have made the transition to treating her like an adult.
Now as for tolerating her yelling or behaving like a child. Let her know that you see her as an adult and therefore you expect her to act like one no matter whether or not she is mad.
I have said this before and I will say it again. She has learned this disrespectful behavior from somewhere. Did someone model this behavior in the home? Have you put up with it in the past? We teach others how to treat us both by how we set our boundaries and how we behave ourselves.
Even if she is still in school there is no reason for her to not be holding down at least a part time job. If she wants to live at home and not do any clean up then tell her to pay rent. I think you know how this is suppose to go down. I think you need to be reminded that she is not your little girl anymore and you need to let go. I think you did a great job by telling her you were not ready for her to come home yet. Take your time and be clear about what you expect as far as adult responses are concerned. Then remember that the adult brain is not finished its neural wiring until around age 25.