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What Should I Do With My 19 Year-Old Daughter's Anger Issue?

Question:

My 19 year old daughter has very disturbing temper tantrums and they are getting worse. She screams and cusses and blames everyone for her mistakes. She lives at home with us and everyone walks on “pins and needles” in hopes that she doesn’t have an outburst. If one thing doesn’t go her way she starts one of her tantrums.

I dread getting her phone calls in fear that shes having a trantrum and It disrupts my whole day. Im at a loss on what I need to do. Where should I call first in hopes of her becoming a happy nineteen year old? She also dropped out of college and quit her job 3 months ago. She has tried a few times to go out and put some job applications out but the least little thing will set her off and she won’t go.

Sometimes, these tantrums go on for as long as an hour. As much as I do for her, she is real “mouthy” to me.

I have had enough. I’m scared that one day one of these tantrums will cause her to do something she will regret. What should I do?

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Answer:

It is understandle that you are at the end of your patience with your daughter. If anything, I wonder why it has taken you so long to get there? What I am implying is that your daughter seems to have been allowed to behave in ways that are outrageous and without suffering any consequences. What do I mean by consequences?

What I mean by consequences is that, at age 19, your daughter is now an adult. As such, you are no longer obligated to allow her to live under your roof. Now, I know how difficult it is for a Mom to read this. As parents, we love our children and want to protect them. However, she is now past the point where she needs protecting. Rather, she needs to learn that, in the real world, where there are hard consequences for our actions, we pay dearly for our insulting and dysfunctional behaviors. She is old enough to learn that she can no longer behave this way.

Try to stand back from your situation, if you can, and think about the fact that she has:

1. Dropped out of College,

2. Quit or gotten fired from jobs,

3. Is living at her parents’ house without paying rent or contributing to keeping her bed and board,

4. Throws unexcusable temper tantrums,

5. Has everyone in the house intimidated by her actions,

6. And, is insulting to her mother who continues to allow this behavior.

Here are some suggestions that, in my opinion, make a lot of sense:

1. You and your husband set a deadline for her to move out of the house. That deadline needs to be very soon. I would suggest two weeks.

2. If she throws a temper tantrum when you announce this, call 911 or call the police, let them know how she is behaving and have her put out.

3. In the service of being fair, if she does not throw a temper tantrum, let her know that she can stay only under some very strict rules of conduct. Among these rules are that: A. The temper tantrums cease, B. She get a job and start paying rent, the amount of which you are to decide, C. She is to stop the “mouthyness” towards you and other members of the family. D. If she has a complaint about anything, she is to talk about it in normal and respectful ways.

Mom, it is not your job to make her into a “happy nineteen year-old person.” That is her job. It is your job to enforce correct and respectful behavior in your house. If she cannot do that, then, she must move out or be put out against her will.

There are parenting support groups that can help you with this and even ALANON might be helpful. ALANON is for people who live with alcoholics. You can benefit because you are “enabling” or making it easy for you daughter to continue to act this way. Either call information for ALANON, or look them up on the Internet and find out where the meetings are in your neighborhood. Who knows, perhaps your daughter is drinking or using drugs?

By the way, there is also the psychotherapy route for you and your family. That is always a good idea.

Mom, take control of your home and your life.

Best of Luck

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