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19 Year Old Daughter

Question:

My 19 year old daughter came to my house with her boyfriend while I was out of town. She doesn’t think she did anything wrong and said that’s what all teenagers do. I told her over and over again she is not allowed here while I am out of town Friday and Saturday. She did not follow the rules and I am not sure how to punish her

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Answer:

To begin with, your daughter is too old to punish. At age 19, you cannot ground her or take anything away. However, when you report that you told her over and over not to come to your house when you are away doesn’t mean that you discussed it with her. It is one thing to issue commands and another to have a two way discussion. For example, in telling her not to come when you are away, it’s important to honestly explain why. At the same time, you have every right to ask why she wants to come over. If the underlying issue has to do with sex with her boyfriend then you need to explain your house rules.

If you have done these things and she still comes over then it may be necessary to ask for you keys back or change the locks. I am assuming that the two of you do not live together and that is what the issue is all about. Indeed, I am not sure why she would have your keys. Do you want her to have easy access to your home?

To repeat, you cannot punish her but you can set and enforce boundaries and it seems to me that taking the keys away or changing the locks is reasonable. In doing so you want to protect your relationship with her along with setting boundaries.

There is one more point to make. If you choose to change the locks she needs to know ahead of time so that there are no surprises and so that she understands that it’s a privacy issue and not punishment…I hope it is a privacy issue.

Good Luck

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