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19 Year Old Daugter--Out Of Control

Question:

I am currently going through a similar situation with my 19yr old daughter. She, cheats, lies and steals. In 1 year she has had 3 jobs. She has taken our credit cards and charged on them and I have even caught her with some of my checks that she has forged. I am at my wits end. If I do not get some help I will be going to jail for slapping some sense into her head. I remember growing up when my mother would give us good wiping. We had respect for her–not to mention we were also afraid to do anything wrong. I have never hit my daughter because I have always felt that talking to her was better, but it does not work with her. I want to put her out so bad but it would be very difficult for her to survive her–the cost of living is so expensive my husband and I find it difficult to live comfortably. I don’t know what to do. I feel helpless. She says that she does not want to talk to a psychologist because they do not know anything. She said that she would rather die before she talks to another one. Sometimes I wish that she would end up in jail so that she realizes that what she is doing is serious. What can I do? I feel so helpless. Helpless

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Answer:

From the recent E. Mails we have been getting it appears that many families across the nation are having similar problems with their older adolescent children. It is a painful dilemma that does not offer many happy solutions. The worst part of this turmoil and stress is that parents feel very alone with these problem children. It does not help much to know that other families are struggling if they are not part of your life and offer no support for what you are going through. That is why I want to make my first suggestion for you and many others in this way:

Al Anon and Al Ateen are support groups for those parents with children who are having alcohol and drug problems. How can this help you with your situation, I hear you ask? Well, the answer is that the problems are so similar that the same principle work and the families who attend these groups know this very well and provide the needed support and advice.

What is the advice offered by these groups? The answer is that they help families to stop "enabling" their children to continue behaving is destructive ways.

Now, hold on: I am not suggesting that these older teenagers outrageous behavior is the fault of the parents. Instead, what I and these groups is saying is that the most painful thing to do, and for which lots of support is necessary, is to put very real limits on the destructive behaviors of these young adults. The way to place limits on these young people is to insist that they no longer live in your house.

Your daughter is 19 years old and is no longer a minor in the eyes of the law. There is no reason for her to live under your roof is she will not follow reasonable house roles and societal rules. I hear your anguish when your report that you do not want to put her out of your home when the "cost of living is so high" and when you fear that she "could not survive." Well, that is what is referred to as enabling.

The plain and simple facts are that taking your credit cards and forging your checks are criminal acts for which she can and should be arrested. Otherwise, there are no consequences to her actions and she knows that. It would be tragic and ironic if you went to jail for hitting her instead of her going to jail for her crimes. You can call the police and have her arrested for theft and forgery and that is another simple fact. Talking does not help and getting angry at her does not help and your heartache and anguish do not help, but setting limits will help and either Alanon or Alateen will help because those people are going through the same thing. By the way, for all you know she may be stealing from you in order to purchase and use drugs.

If you cannot bring your self to call the police then you have no other option but to have her leave your house…now!, immediately.

No parent wants to put their nineteen year old daughter out of the house and it does feel like an awful thing to do. On the other hand, she is leaving you no choice. Do you and your spouse want to end up becoming ill over this? What about your lives and your right to live comfortable and to use the money you have worked hard to earn and save? If she wants money she needs to get a job and a place to live. Lots of young people find room mates to live with in their own, private apartments.

Everyone must follow the rules of society or they end up in prison. There isn’t a person I know of who is allowed to steal and forge and is allowed to get away with it. Of course you are angry and frustrated but, you are not helpless. Set the limits and set them now either by calling the police or putting her out. Then, attend support groups in your community.

This is hard to do.

Best of Luck and,

What do other parents think? Please write.

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