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What do I do about my 18 year old?

Quick back story, I didn't have a mother growing up so I wanted to ensure I was the best one to my children.  I have always been very close to all of them until my oldest daughter turned about 15.  Our politics and beliefs didn't vibe well so we would argue from time to time. I became worried I would lose her so I backed off.  She is a good kid, dabbled a little with drinking but nothing kids don't do. She does raise her voice to me and has a few times become very heated screaming at me but I will yell back knowing damn good and well it doesn't help.  She turned 18 and she threw that card at me constantly, "well I'll just move out then."  I've ensured she has never had to want for anything, I've never told her no and if she's wanted it she's got it.  Her grandmother is even worse than me in spoiling her.  I finally reached a point when she threatened to move out that it was her choice but she stayed improved or atleast I thought.  She has a part time job, and is taking a few college classes, I don't ask for any money, or her to do any chores including taking care of her dog, buying dog food, or really anything.  I give her my car whenever she likes, I don't gripe at her and I try to give her space occasionally telling her that I miss her when she's constantly going with her friends.  My husband who has more of a laid back relationship with her joked about doing the dishes.  She started to argue with me saying that we were being "passive agressive" and if we wanted her to do something we should just ask.  I told her it wasnt' about that and it was just easier for us to do it because she has a lot on her plate.  She insisted that I was mad at her over and over so I got irritated and said, "I'm not mad but I'm done with this conversation." and walked off.  About an hour later she comes and says, "I'm moving out."  I thought she was joking only to come out and see her friends packing up her room.  I was floored and felt extremely disrespected with no heads up and over something so trivial.  She moved in with her grandmother (mom to her dead beat dad who hasn't seen her in years) an even bigger slap in the face.  She told me she didn't want to talk to me but came over yesterday and basically said that she moved out because I don't listen to her and I don't appreciate her.  I tell her all the time how proud I am of her, I don't rock the boat because I was afraid of her leaving.  she told me she feels left out and I love her younger brother and sisters more.  I would always ask her if she wanted to hang out but she wanted to go with her friends.  I work full time, have 5 kids and I try to spread myself thin enough to be a great mom to all. Our talk went Ok, with me wanting peace so much that I took ownership over everything and she doesn't see she had any part of it.  I explained that had she felt like this I could have fixed it if I knew, she somehow thinks she told me several times.  She wants the ideal living situation to be her stay with her grandma and get to come and visit and hang out whenever she wants.  If she wants space I think this is defeating the purpose.  I want her to come back but I can't handle another blindside like this if she decided to leave again.  She is very very immature emotionally so I can't even really reason with her, she only sees her side.  I don't feel that she should just be able to come back whenever she wants after this choice.  What do I do?  Her grandma lets her take her car everywhere now and would never make her pay for anything either.  I feel betrayed and that she left me who took care of her for another family member who does the same.
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Avatar universal
She has some growing up to do.  I recommend backing off from the urge to encourage her return home.  If possible, I think it would be a good idea to form a good relationship with her grandmother (if you havent already) to decrease chances of badmouthing you.  While I am sure she is lovely and endearing, the behavior you described also points out that you have raised your child to be an an entitled, spoiled, disrespectful, and unappreciative adult.  I can relate as I pretty much did the same thing.  At 16, my daughter left to go live with her grandmother on moms side.  Betrayal is an understatement of how I felt!  For you, it's time to stop kissing her but and walking on eggshells when shes around.  At the same time, tell her her that you love her and keep communicate lines going.  When there are family events invite her along but dont let her rule the roost by guilt tripping.  Shut that down, nicely.
Also, I wouldnt express your feelings of disappointment about the past or present either.  Just stay as positive as you can and if you need to it's ok to be "in a rush" and get off the phone or leave if you cant deal.  Grandma may eventual "break" too and you could find yourself nodding to her complaints about your daughter over the phone.  In time, your daughter should get out of this stage.  Life has a way of waking us up to the reality we face.  Sometimes our "protection" can hinder their growth so let go of thinking YOU have to fix this.  She has to learn accountability now.  Pat yourself on the back, focus on your family at home and occupy yourself best you can.  Things WILL work out.
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1 Comments
I can't thank you enough!  I just found this site yesterday and after reading some replies I was leary about posting. Sometimes people can be cruel.  I completely relate when you said you felt the "betrayal" and you're right there's no words to convey the full pain of that.  Her being my first this was my first "go round" if you will so I know I made mistakes and by the time I realized it it was almost too late.  Once you give into someone their whole lives they dont' take well to suddenly you telling them no at 16.  I'm not one of those parents who could ever turn my back on her but I do need to not baby her and walk on eggshells anylonger.  Thank you again!
207091 tn?1337709493
I totally agree with DaddyDad.

So far, she's gotten pretty much whatever she wants when she wants it. She doesn't even have to do dishes.

She thinks the grass is greener at Grandma's? Okay, that's fine. Right now, it probably feels that way - Grandma wants some time with her, will spoil her rotten, and eventually, Grandma will wonder why an 18 year old isn't picking up after herself, doing her laundry, etc.

Your job as a parent is to raise your children into adults. It's not to make sure they are happy and comfortable at all times. This phase is part of raising her into an adult. She'll be fine.

Don't get too caught up in her thinking you loved the others more. That may be partially true, partially guilt. She knows your buttons to push to get you to react. Don't parent from guilt.

When I was 18, I thought my mom was a special kind of stupid, and that life wasn't fair and I was the biggest victim of everything. I got over it. Your daughter will, too.
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I appreciate so very much your positive words.  Life seems so different from when I was that age and there's only 18 years of an age difference. What a different world we live in because I remember walking the line with my parents.  Truly thank you for your advice, I have been parenting for far too long from guilt.
973741 tn?1342342773
Hi.  Sorry you are having these problems.  I can say as a mom of a teenager, they are very confusing.  I find myself shaking my head, wondering what the heck and worse, what I could have done differently.  All we can do is try as parents.  It's never going to be perfect.  

So, she is now 18. That's kind of a turning point.  Most kids at that point are preparing for what is 'next'.  For some, that's going to be college. For some, that's going to be trade school.  For some, it's a job.  Which direction is she headed?  This is really the major discussion I think at this point.  She's immature but she'd not be the only one her age that is.  But reality is, she needs to be setting herself up for phase two of life.  That's when she is getting into a position to be independent of her parents financially and otherwise.  She's not at an age really where that should be fully expected. But she's also not of an age in which she should be treated like a young child either.  

The bind you are in as well is that she has her grandmother that may not go along with you in the forced growing up.  So, she's not going to charge rent, not allow her to drive her car (uninsured) or even have her pay gas money.  I think you'll need to discuss what expectations are with her grandmother too.  

I think it is fair to have expectations of her.  Unfortunately, she's kind of led a life it sounds that you do most everything for her and allow her moods to rule the day. As I said, I have teenagers and I know it is a fine line between what should and shouldn't be acceptable.  I know my boys are normal with some of their moods, outbursts, etc.  But when does it drift to not normal?  When do I?  It all can be complex. But at this point, there is no reason for you to accept screaming or carrying on.  

Let's talk about what discussions have happened about preparation for the next few years and what her plans are and we'll go from there.
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3 Comments
Thank you for your advice! She's a brilliant girl, always good grades, graduated with honors, lots of scholarships so she's going to school and working part time.  She said she doesn't really know who she is, but I think her way of leaving the house was a long time coming in her eyes.  She wants to be independent but she's so far from that emotionally that I think maybe her leaving to her grandma's gave her a little more sense of adulthood even though it's still not being on her own.  I love her dearly and I miss her but I know I can't force or try to guilt her.  I think when she told me she was leaving it was such a brutal blindside the way it was done it just stings bad.  I would have gladly applauded her moving out if it were more traditional, you know, save up money, get an apartment, etc. but "hey mom you pissed me off because You were passive agressive about my chores so I'm moving out right now."  No preparation, no time to process any of it, I feel like one day I was her parent that could protect her and be in her life and the next it was taken from me." She actually just called me to say hi and that she'd come over later but It's so confusing at what role I'm to play.  I'm very thankful but she left to be independent and do her own thing but she has been over to the house almost every day this week.  I don't know what she's wanting but she told me initially not to ask.
You're still mom, even though she doesn't live there.  I've been living on my own for a REALLY long time, and my mom still wants to feed me, is still the one I call when I don't feel well, etc. She still tells me to bring a sweater in case I get cold.

What is she coming over for every day? Are you doing her laundry or cooking for her? If she wants to join the family dinner, that's okay, but your job isn't to do her chores any longer.

You'll still protect her - you can still give her advice about boys, health stuff, sex, food, remind her to get enough sleep, etc. She's still only 18. If she were living away at college, you'd be doing that. You wouldn't be doing her daily chores, like cleaning up after her, her laundry, reminding her to do homework.

She threw a little fit and stomped out. This time, she stomped all the way out. That's okay. She may want to come back home, and you have to decide what to do then. If she moves back in, it can't be the same. She's an adult. She needs some responsibilities.

Make her take care of her dog (where is the dog now?), put some gas in the car, do the dishes, etc. It's not to punish her, but to prepare her for life after living at home. If she doesn't know how to do laundry, now is the time to teach her. She doesn't have that much on her plate - she has far less than you do, and you manage. Say no to the car occasionally. Teach her to plan her nights out - will she be able to have reliable transportation? Will she need to take an Uber?

It's a transitional time for all of you, but you did it with your parents, and you can do it with your daughter. :)





Stop catering to her. You gave her everything she needed and realistically gave her what she wanted. She does not appreciate your efforts. She left, good for her, better for you. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Let her learn the hard way.

I took the soft loving approach to my daughter. It failed to teach her the necessary lessons we parents try to teach.

My daughter poisoned the well so bad I wish I had never been a parent.

Avatar universal
I agree with DaddyDad2 - let her stay with grandma for the time being.  But, should she ask about moving back in, set some "hard and fast" guidelines and give her some responsibilities that she HAS to deal with before she is granted any more privileges around YOUR house.
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