I haven’t done a new parenting post in a while. I witnessed an intriguing conversation that popped up in my Facebook feed on this topic. Since I have a newly adult child (my youngest just turned 18), I thought it was time to talk about it.
This woman was complaining about her 19-year-old daughter. It’s a fairly common story – not working, not going to school, not pulling her weight around the house, etc. She was paying the daughter’s cell phone bill to the tune of several hundred dollars and letting her use the family car, even when she would leave it empty of gas and full of garbage. She even said the daughter would call her ugly names and refuse to cooperate in any fashion.
Frankly, it sounded like a pretty awful way to live. I don’t blame her for being upset, but this is going to be a tough problem to sort out. I’m sure this child’s bad behavior has been tolerated for many years. It will take a long time and considerable drama to sort it out.
On the other hand, my son has a friend who is just 17 years old who has been kicked out of his house. I don’t know all the details, but from what I understand, he “came out” to his family. He was immediately forced to leave his family home. He is fortunately able to sleep on a friend’s couch – for a while….
I’m trying not to be judgmental about these parents, because I don’t know the whole story, but it seems to me that each of them is doing major harm to their child. I can’t imagine that the girl is suddenly going to turn into a great roommate, wife, employee, or whatever. It doesn’t seem like she was taught some basic information on showing consideration for others, carrying her own weight, and acting like a responsible adult. I’m afraid 19 is a bit late to begin teaching those lessons.
The boy, I can’t even imagine. A 17-year-old has no real ability to support himself and now he has been suddenly deprived of the basics of food, his belongings, the family relationship, or even a safe place to sleep at night. That is probably the most severe punishment a family can hand out. To my mind, this should be reserved for a kid who is absolutely out of control, and even then I think there should be a path to reconciliation with his family. I just can’t imagine turning your back on your child like that.
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