I’m on the fence about it…
My mother hated my parenting style. She said I was too lenient. She said I didn’t enforce enough rules or give them enough chores and let them be far too autonomous. And she was not wrong. I have always wanted them to have a sense of freedom, learn their own way to self control, make their own choices and learn that there are consequences to everything.
But…that said…I never saw the need for corporal punishment or harsh penalties. Most often I find they have learned best from their own hardships and from both their own and parental disappointment.
But the 18 year old is really giving me a run for my money right now. I know she is an adult. But she simply can’t come and go as she wants to. Especially since she’s taken to lying to me, not introducing me to her new friends, not even the boy she hangs out with all the time. He even comes to pick her up and he still won’t introduce himself.
She’s gone as far as turning off her “find my phone” option so I can’t see if she is where she says she will be. I can no longer rely on what she says to be true. Her curfews mean nothing to her. My feelings seem to mean nothing to her.
I had already accepted that her scorn and disdain, her ignoring me except when she wants something and her angry backlashes when I ask her to keep up on her few chores was the new normal. But I absolutely will not accept being lied to.
If she doesn’t want me to care where she is and if she’s safe then she can go live somewhere where no one bothers her about it. Last night she pulled another little stunt and took my car so I had no choice but to just wait for her return. She wouldn’t answer my calls. I have no idea who she is with as I’ve never met any of these new friends.
She probably thinks I’m insane. But just last week a local 17 year old girl died from a drug overdose. She was a sweet girl. Who recently got in with a different crowd. She took a percocet at someone’s house and died. It had been laced with fentanyl.
I’ve seen a lot of things in my life. I’ve hung out with gang bangers, drug dealers, motorcycle gangs, on and on. And while I trust her judgement I also know she’s very naive and kind hearted and I am trying to protect her, not clip her wings. I think I give her enough space to get her social needs met while still allowing me to know she’s safe.
All I ask is that she tell me where she is, give me the contact information of that person and an assertion of when she will be back. I also ask that these things be truthful and accurate and she abide by her own word.
So far this has proved challenging for her. She asks “why can’t I spend the night at this boys house?”. I retort “why can’t I meet him?”. And we have yet another stalemate. Do I want her staying the night at random boys houses overnight? No. Not really.
But I had a male best friend in High school. I was allowed to spend the night at his house but my father knew him. He was around a lot. He wasn’t some mythical figure with only a name to grasp on to. He was legitimately a good friend.
I can only do so much here. If she wants to do whatever she wants to do I can’t stop her. But I did give her a choice this morning: move out or be grounded all this month. No excursions or extra curricular activities at all. Just work and her father’s house. But she gets her car this month. So I know neither option is probably sitting well with her. I gave her a few days to decide. Meanwhile she’s grounded.
Mind you, I’ve never once grounded her. Not once. So it’s funny that she’s technically an adult and I’m grounding her for the first time. But I won’t be lied to. I won’t be made to feel like my feelings and expectations are unreasonable in my own house. I don’t want her to go. Where would she go even?
But I was kicked out at 17 and never looked back and although it was hard I was much happier. So if she is that miserable here maybe she needs to find her own way. She seems to think rules and expectations don’t apply to her. I have no idea where she thinks she can go that this would not be the case. But….. it is what it is.
I’m under no legal obligation to provide for her. She’s under no legal obligation to tell me where she goes. I guess we will see what happens. Knowing her she probably thinks she can talk her way out of it. She can’t. I’m done being ramrodded: even by people I love. Sorry.
I’m establishing clear boundaries for myself, for my own happiness and peace of mind. Maybe she’ll understand that one day. Definitely not today….but one day. Maybe?
All I can hope and pray is that she’s got a good enough shoulder on her head to figure this out before she puts herself in any truly dangerous situations. But it’s her life. These are her choices. She has to suffer her own consequences. And I must learn to live with that sooner or later. I guess maybe we are going with sooner here.
Let’s see what she does.