She’s An Adult But She Isn’t

Question: Dear Luise: I love my daughter very much, but I have a bit of a problem.  My oldest daughter is 19 years old, and we have had problems in our relationship in the past year, as she has had a son and lives in my home. I adore my grandson, and have bonded with him, just as she has.  She and I have had disagreements about her care for him, cleaning up after herself and the baby, etc.  Only after I was doing the clean up and baby maintenance myself for a couple of months. My children have always been my world, and my grandson just multiplied this by two fold.  I have gone as far as to tell her that if she did not get her act together she’d have to move out.  Well she did just that. She disappeared for two days and I had no contact with her. I then found out where she went. She was with her absent father who has broken her heart time and time again from the time she was a little girl. He has 8 children to 5 different mothers. My two daughters were the first two. (No. I wasn’t foolish enough to stay around). He was very physically abusive to me, and he also has a long history of drug use. I have learned that he has a felony child abuse conviction for abuse committed against one of his newest children. I knew that he was bad news, and this was my reasoning for “escaping” nearly 17 years ago. My daughter knows the history, and has chosen to let him into her life and that of my grandson. I’m afraid for my daughter, but more for my grandson. She has since returned home to “get her life together”. Meaning that my husband, (who has been there since she was four, and she calls him dad) and I are to buy her furniture and help her get an apartment closer to us, but she continues to communicate with the ex and his family. He bought her a cell phone to stay in touch. I have asked her not to ever leave my grandson with him or anyone in the family there, as I fear for his safety. I have stories that could make your skin crawl. As an example, Her bio father smoked his first marijuana cigarette with his own mother when he was 10 years old. He told me this after I was pregnant with my second child.  She is of age, and I can no longer tell her what to do, and when she talks about her biological father and his family she does it with a smile on her face and joy in her heart. Any advice, please? A.

Answer: Dear A. What a tough situation. Many times the more we say against something or someone, the more our kids (whether adults or not) seem to be attracted to the forbidden. Yet we worry for good reason and can’t just stand back. You can warn her but you have little to say about what she does. She may tell you what you want to hear and continue to see her bio father and his clan as amusing and maybe even lovable. You know better but she is too young to be wise.

It doesn’t look to me like you are treating your daughter as a person who is “of age.” She has stayed with you, stayed with her bio dad and now you are going to set her up in an apartment. She seems to have the rank of a dependent child who has the privileges of an adult. That may not be supportive of her growing up and taking responsibility for her actions and environment.

She’s a teen mother. Deciding to follow through with that implies growing up…fast. Do you see that happening? My guess is that it’s time for tough love. I don’t know how that might look, but it could be her getting a job…paying rent and paying childcare. That is what she would have to do if you weren’t around or even still alive. What would she be up against if that were true? What’s realistic? Blessings, Luise

3 Responses to She’s An Adult But She Isn’t

  1. M. March 27, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    I have come a severe background since the day I was born. Put it this way I was used as my mothers scapegost and I allowed my 4 daughters to use me.1 pediculary has the rest against me and also won’t let me see my grandchildren. They plug me in off and on It makes me so sad and alone. They say they love me but hate me more often. It’s making me sick and I don’t want to get sick ….I’ve been through enough. I am so so sad to be isolated for them to see how much they can hurt me. For what I don’t know. I pray caostantly for a miracle I know it will come. Thanks for listening. Bless you all. M.

  2. A. June 30, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    My 26 your old son doesn’t want to grow up. Blames others for pretty everything that goes wrong in his life. When most of the time it is because he has done something wrong like going after his friends ex girlfriend knowing he wants to try an get back together. Staying out all night and next day not calling or even texting. Lying about his job he seems to be compulsive and it keeps getting him in trouble. I have ask him to get help he says he will but doesn’t. I left my relationship when he was 18 and my older son 21. I moved 3000 miles away. I knew the kids were fine with their Dad and he was a good man. They knew also why I had to leave and said they understood. Had agreed to pay first trip to come and see me. Older son came twice before younger came and stayed for a year. Think he was using me to escape some messy situations he had again created due to lying etc. I got the sense things weren’t good. We tried really hard to help him here, my partner working with him teach him some computer skills, budgeting job search etc. He eventually did want to do any of that . Didn’t make sense to him felt it was stupid and kept running to me every time he didn’t like something my partner was trying to teach him. Thought him joining us would he straighten him out. Went well at first until the staying out, drinking, smoking pot and brining home strange girls at 8 am in morning. Went from bad to worse found he lied about almost everything and seems other family had known this for years. Found him to be very manipulative constantly using the” its not every kid whose mothers leaves them at 18″. I constantly found myself blaming myself or feeling guilty. He attempted to commit suicide. Post a goodbye nice knowing you note, of Facebook.. sent text msg etc. More of a ploy for attention I think but had to call an ambulance (took pills and booze). Shortly after said I have to go home if you don’t let me I might do it again and succeed this time. Since he has been back he has had two jobs and moving to third place in 6 mths. Got mad at me as he told me some things in confidence and I inadvertently let one of these things slip to his half sister. Now tell me I have made last 5 years of his life hell, can’t trust me (as thing he told me he had lied about so got caught) etc etc. Sent me message basically saying this is the last msg you will get from me. I was devastated. His words were mean and childish and unfair and brought me to tears. Wanting to respond I refrained because did not know what to say and figured he expected me to respond. Week went by he has finally sent me message with an apology of sorts. Saying he is doing because I obviously won’t. Again message give with one hand takes back with the other. I really don’t know what to do. I worry sick, I love him so much but can’t take his lying and lack of respect not to mention his terrible sense of responsibility. He wants me now to help pay $9000 for 16 week chef training course. I don’t have the money and he knows that but still asks. I have a number of illness(visually impaired and mobility) that stress adds too. I’m angry but I don’t want to vent I want to get through to him. I haven’t answer either message as I am scared to fall back into his trap and say the wrong thing. I worry so much about what is going to happen to him if he keeps this up. A.

    • Luise July 2, 2011 at 7:34 am #

      Please come over to my Web-forum that is for women with issues with adult children and extended families. You will find us at: Blessings, Luise

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