Monday, July 16, 2012

Need help with 20 year old daughter

Hi. I have a 20-year old daughter that I need help with. I don't know where else to turn.

Background: she is an only child, raised in a loving, Christian home and was afforded every opportunity available to her.
Problems: In 10th grade she got involved with a "not so nice" boy (against our wishes) and had sex at 15 with him in a classroom in school. After not having any success with the school system as to why these kids are not supervised, we moved her to a neighboring school. We also had criminal charges pressed against the 18 year old boy and had a restraining order. We realized our daughter had started lying to us about almost everything.

We thought a new school and new friends would help get her back on the right track. It didn't. She just kept sneaking around doing stuff behind our back and lying to us. She would sneak out of the house at night; she would lie to us about who she had been with; she never came home on time, etc., and was skipping a lot of school. We were so glad when she finally graduated. She has not had the best judgment when it comes to friends. She was to start a local community college that fall and go into nursing (her choice). She started college and attended about a month.

We found out from someone else that she had quit college and was doing God knows what while we thought she was in class. She wanted to re-start at the first of the year..we agreed and paid tuition. I don't think she even registered, but continued to lie to us. During this time she would not keep her room clean, etc. Even though she was 18/19, I wanted her room at least "safe." She would leave food all around, spill drinks, leave used sanitary pads around, etc. It was all nasty and made my house smell. While we were at work she would sneak people in/out of the house that we did not care for nor trust. She met some guy on the internet who lived a couple of hours from us and got involved with him (another race). She would go for days at a time and not tell us where she was or if she was OK.

We found out that her car had been left at a storage facility due to two flat tires (she lied about how that happened), by a call from a police department. Trying to teach her responsibility, we did not pay the storage fees..she ended up having to sign over the title of her car to pay for it. We ended up getting her an old car and put limitations on it...she violated every one of them. Next thing we know she tells us she is pregnant by this guy and is moving in with him. We tried talking to her, offering her different solutions, but "she was in love." We tried to support her move and situation.

About a month later we got a call from a friend of hers who told us she had been arrested for shoplifting and was in jail. She was charged with a felony and a misdemeanor. She did not want us to know, but her friend did not have the money to bail her out. We had to put up the title to her car to get her out of jail, with our own being she move back home since we were responsible for her court appearances, etc. Someone had taken her car, we finally found it. We saw the place she was living..horrible. Cat urine all over clothes, just plain nasty. We got her back home, got through court case with probation.

All this time she was not working and sponging off of us. Baby was born and we were there for full support. Father wanted nothing to do with baby. About three weeks after the baby was born, she told us that she wasn't really sure who the father could have been someone local, and the baby looks like him. He wants to see baby, bring into his family, etc. This guy has been in trouble with the law and we didn't want baby around him. Our daughter found out he was involved in drugs and later agreed with us. We had an agreement that if she did not go after either guy for paternity, custody, support, etc, we would help her raise the baby. She agreed. We had hoped she would grow up and take responsibility. She didn't. They are both living with us. She has never washed any of his clothes nor cleaned his room. We are on her constantly about giving him a bath and giving him his medicine. Her bedroom is nasty again. I have refused to wash her clothes..she is now 20 years old! She has gone a month without washing her clothes...just keeps on wearing them. How gross!!

Now, she wants to take local guy to court for paternity, support, etc. She has gone against our agreement. I can't get through to her that she is "opening a can of worms" that she can never take back. The only reason she is doing this is for the money..she doesn't think it is "fair" that she has to do without to take care of her baby. She is so selfish. She won't listen to anybody. We have offered to help her go back to school; the family babysits while she works; she pays no rent; etc. I can't get through to her. Help!!

Dear Lynn:

You are not going to be happy with my response however, it is not my job to tell people what they want to hear or I wouldn't be helping anyone.

She is 20 years old and it is obvious from what you describe something is very wrong with her and you. Why are you still trying to fix this? She needs therapy. Everything you describe about her behavior says something is very, very wrong. Her lack of concern about her personal care SCREAMS of depression or some sort of Mental Health concern. She should have been screened years ago for Mental Health and/or learning disorders.

Now you will need more help yourself. She is 20 years old and legally an adult. You have NO recourse for any of her choices. You cannot dictate how she lives her life or what she does as a mother. It is too late for control.

You need to break. Break from the judgement and the criticism. It hasn't helped so far and it is not going to help. Ask yourself how well what you are doing is working? Is is?

If she is going to live with you, she needs to be in counseling. I would suggest getting some yourself to help you set boundaries and learn to focus yourself on your own life again. These boundaries became very blurry years ago and are not helping her at all.

I am not blaming you for her mental health condition only not addressing it sooner. Stop believing you somehow can fix this it is not fair to you or to her. Don't wait another day to contact someone and require her to get help. Your grandchild deserves a health mom and family.


M Kay Keller

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