How to get 22yr old daughter to realize age does not mean a grown up

[deleted account] ( 23 moms have responded )

HELP! Right now I do not like my daughter, I do love her, but I can't take the rudeness anymore. She is a college student who lives at home, she has a part time job, and does pay her own car and cell bills. My problem is that she thinks my home is a flop house. That she can come and go as she pleases, sometimes not coming home at night (staying with boyfriend). I have informed her of the "rules" of living at home...be in school, keep her room clean (doesn't happen - ever), help out (rarely happens) and let me know where she is. She has a lenient curfew (2am), but often comes home later. We had this problem before and she moved in with her bf, but she didn't like living there, and came home. They broke up, got back together and are now talking marriage. She thinks that because she plans to marry this guy that she can stay there overnight - I disagree. I told her that she needs to follow the rules or move in with her father or bf. She constantly yells at me when I remind her of the rules, and says that she is an adult, and that I shouldn't be concerned with what she does. (WOW, writing this out, I think I need to kick her out...still hard to let go, I know that when she does not live here, she will not finish school). When she behaves, she is a pleasure to be with, but this "I am an adult" thing has to stop.

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Christina - posted on 03/28/2013

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Now I haven't read all the replies, and this is just a generalization (which is never right to do but i am going to be a hypocrite here because these issues have bothered me for a long time) but here is what I think.

You "mothers" are horrible. Why must you attach everything to money? It is disgusting. They are still your children no matter what their age. You can't just turn the house they've grown up in, their HOME, into a guest house once they become an "adult". If you treat them as guests in 'your' house, why do you expect them to respect you when it comes to curfew? You've begun to treat them as colleages instead of kin so why would they value the fact that you might worry about them at night, when you don't show it elsewhere?
You are upset that they don't clean the house and their rooms, so what did you do about that while they were growing up? You think they are just going to change because they've turned a certain age? And that now you think it's reasonable to threaten them to move out because they are still the same as they were just a couple year ago?

Everything seams like a burden for you; "they need to call me about where they are at night because 'I' need to sleep at some point" (a paraphrase from one of the replies). The way you approach problems is in such a selfish manner. This is part of parenthood, why are you so negative toward your children here? it is horrific. it is like you are trash talking about your babies behind their backs. From a person on the outside, I was shocked at the way some of you wrote about your children here. The idea of a community for mothers is wonderful, but look at how you write about them. It scares me. "I do not like my daughter", just because you add you love her in the end of that sentence, you think it is alright to say that? If you are that kind of a person, do you think you deserve respect from your child?

Kicking your children out of their home because they are acting immature and struggling through a transition in their lives??? How Dare YOU!? You 'modern' and western parents all demand your kids to grow up and move out as soon as possible so they can be 'ready' for the real world. I never understood this. Where is the feeling of family? The closeness? You live like you are on a conveyor belt in a sweatshop; everything has to happen at a certain time. Coming from a culture where we treasure our families and our values, where our youth grow into intelligent, mature, and responsible adults and spouses, and raise children in the same loving environment while instilling the traditions we've learned onto them in an enjoyable manner, I don't see the point of the cold way of living you parents practice.

- an offended, sensible 19 year old.

Ginger - posted on 03/29/2012

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As a mom of 5- 3 of whom are legally adult(24, 20, 18) and two who are still growing (14 and 10) and all of whom live at home. My 24 year old moved out and did the "I'm grown" thing until his marriage ended and he has a young daughter of his own. My 20 year old graduated high school, attended Job Corp a year and came home- he got himself a job. My 18 year old decided he did not like the 'rules' and moved out to his Dad's (major fail that) and the younger two are still growing up and into their own.



Your daughter lives in YOUR home. She is not contributing in any way other than to try enforce her age as proof of her being an adult. As I have told my own children- "Your age does not mean a thing if you are not mature enough to back it up" If you want to be treated as the adult that you feel you are then you must behave that way. You will pick up after yourself. As a child it was my job. As an adult it is your own. If you choose to remain here you will continue to help out by any means that is needed. If you cannot pay any of the bills then be respectful of what you use. Lights out when you leave a room. Wipe down the bathroom when you are through. Sweep the floor before you go and take the trash on your way out. If you have laundry to do. Do it. You may ask me to help you- but as an adult it is your responsibility. If you are going out then I need to know when and for how long. Why? Because Im living here too and have the right to know what to expect. If you are not sure then I expect a call. NO after midnight outings since I have to sleep some time. IF you plan on staying elsewhere for the night then I need to know up front. If you need a ride somewhere - ask me. If it's long distance then I need gas money too. I may be dropping you off? But I have to get back home too. I have told them (the 'adults' ) that if they can not abide by the rules that I will surely miss them. Because they can live elsewhere. I am mom, I am a safe haven but I am not a flop house nor am I their new 'rug' that they can walk on. I do not raise my voice to them until they raise theirs to me. Period. And I DO make sure they understand that their 'tones' will not be tolerated. NOT when they were toddlers and certainly not when they are grown. I know it is hard- but if your daughter continuously disrespects you then she should go on and move out. I KNOW how HARD it is to sit and think of the 'what ifs'- like not finishing school etc...that is something she will have to go through and decide for herself. And as the Mom...all we can do is PRAY it goes the right way.....at least in the end. She may just need a hard wake up call. She left once and didn't like it. Chances are that she wont like it again.

Allie - posted on 11/17/2012

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As an 18 year old myself (no I am not a mother, sorry), I usually only listen to my parents when they advice me instead of telling me what to do. I understand that you have certain beliefs and you want her to abide by your rules, but it's time that she makes beliefs of her own. At first her beliefs may not be yours, but that's okay: part of growing up is experimenting and making mistakes. When I was 15 my mom treated me like I was inferior to her, and I felt like she didn't trust me and love me because it seemed like I could never do anything to please her. So, I moved in with my dad, and as soon as he started treating me with respect I did the same for him. When I moved in with my dad, I did make mistakes but I thought it was okay because he trusted me and would love me no matter what. Maybe, you can trust your daughter a little more? You have raised her for 22 years, now it's time to put your awesome parenting to the test and see how she acts. :)

De Ann - posted on 01/03/2012

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Although most parents these days believe they should "talk" to their children and adhere to their feelings, I am not one of those. Not to be rude but if your daughter wants to treat your house like it was a flop house i.e., her house then I have 3 words....THIRTY DAY NOTICE. That's my modo. This is how I've managed not to continue to have problems with my "Grown" children. I know we all have different things that work for us. I know you too will find something that keeps you sane and keeps a decent relationship with your daughter. My rules, in my house, that I pay for are NON-NEGOTIABLE. If you want to do what YOU want then you must find an establishment that YOU pay for so you don't have to deal with my rules. My first three kids are out of the house. 22-College, job, own place, 21-College, job, renting a room in L.A. 18-Army. They found their way and yours will too.

[deleted account]

My niece, Rachel is 23. She graduated from college and my daughter who is an administrator for a Charter school in another state interviewed her and offered her a job in her field-Rachel hemmed and hawed for 2 weeks and then turned the job down. She has a boyfriend in PA and even though her parents would have assisted her transition and helped her with an apartment and rent, etc. she ended up not wanting to leave PA. This year she was once again approached to interview for the same school-but she decided that she now wants to pursue her masters degree and once again turned down the job. She was supposed to go back for her masters last year but did not do so. She is instead working as a nanny making decent money but not working in her field. I am shocked that she isn't eager to work in her chosen field and has decided to live at home with mom and dad for free-how do you get a young adult to grow up, accept responsibility for herself and move her life forward?

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Angela - posted on 02/26/2013

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Debbie, I wasn't discussing your niece - I was discussing the daughter of the OP!!

I was in my 40's before I got my drivers licence - there's no rush - there are already too many motor vehicles polluting the atmosphere! What's wrong with public transport - or walking?

Of course I live in the UK where people still have the use of their legs.

I agree that a lot of young women put important stuff on hold because of some guy who mightn't be showing them the same commitment. But parents telling them the error of their ways isn't going to make them take a fresh look at what they're doing.

She's employed and making an honest living - that counts for a lot! With or without qualifications it's hard to get ANY job in the current recession. I remember my own parents going on about stuff like this. It's almost as though the prestige is more important than the money that we all need to live on!

[deleted account]

First of all, she has been out of college for a couple of years and IS currently working-(as a nanny, not as a teacher). The economy is such that in PA there are no teaching jobs so moving out of state is probably the only option. She rang up lots of debt for mom and dad-for her education and now is looking for mom and dad to pay for her masters so she can continue to be molly coddled (as you say)--and then maybe still not want to teach..? She actually said she isn't sure if she wants to teach, so why go get a masters? This is the same girl who waited until she was 19 or 20 to get her drivers license...very slow at moving on. I guess the main thing I'd like to stress is that she and other young women seem to mortgage their futures and careers because of some guy who does not have their best interests at heart...they don't propose because they don't have their own lives together and may not be as serious about them. Love means encouragement and supporting the person you love not holding them back.

Angela - posted on 02/25/2013

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Perhaps she is attempting to set boundaries? She doesn't like your intervention? Chronologically, she IS an adult. If she committed a crime, she would be treated as an adult. So stop mollycoddling her and doing her favours. Let her move on.

Maybe she doesn't even like what she's studying at College? I had a similar problem with my own parents. I moved out and moved on.

I put myself through College & University and graduated with honours.

Parents paying for everything generally means the parents would like to be calling all the shots and making all the decisions. Young people generally do better for themselves when they're allowed to get on using their own steam. If they don't progress once they're out on their own, then they probably wouldn't have moved very far with choices, ambitions and achievements if they'd stayed under their parents' roof.

Reality is a great teacher.

Anne - posted on 02/15/2013

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Oh Lisa I could have written your post about 8 years ago concerning our oldest daughter. Our rules were: Live in our home you go to Church, use respect when you speak to us, let us know your schedule and cell phone number, in case we need to get a hold of you in an emergency. Get a B or better and a B- is NOT a B in all of your classes for us to pay your tuition, you need to pay for your books. WE will NOT pay your Credit Card Bills. You charged it you pay for it.

Things were manageable until her boyfriend broke up with her and she did a 180 in behavior and attitude. She thought it was necessary to close the local bar where her friends worked at and hung out at. (She was 21). NO SHE DID NOT WORK THERE! This caused her to get a C in one class and we STOPPED Paying for her college and I asked my MIL not to pay or loan her the money to pay her tuition. She got a full time job and found out she did not like the job. She was still drinking too much and moved in with her then bf she knew for 7 weeks. This almost ended our relationship. I was not happy with this. FAST FORWARD to NOV 2011 she became a STRONG CHRISTIAN and moved from MA to CA. (She had in the mean time put herself through Culinary School and Graduated with Honors.) She is now the amazing young women she was meant to be instead of a young women that was drifting in the wind. Yesterday she became Engaged to a wonderful Christian Young Man that we all love.

My reason for sharing this is not to make you feel worse or to BRAG, BUT to hopefully encourage you and let you know to not give up on your daughter. Do Not Take this to mean I think you should take her abuse. But only that with EVERY ONE YOU KNOW PRAYING for your daughter God can answer your Prayer. Your relationship can be restored. I will be Praying for you and your daughter.

NICHOLE - posted on 02/12/2013

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IF SHES TAKING ON HER OWN RESPONSIBILITIES (BILLS) THE YOU SHOULD START TO SEE HER AS A ROOMMATE. THE ONLY RULE YOU SHOULD HAVE FOR HER IS THAT SHE LETS YOU KNOW WHETHER OR NOT SHE WILL BE COMING HOME. THE MORE RULES YOU GIVE HER THE LESS SHE'LL LISTEN ANYWAY. EVEN IF YOU DID KICK HER OUT ITS OBVIOUS SHE CAN GO TO HER BOYFRIENDS HOUSE AND HAVE RESENTMENT TOWARD YOU,

Angela - posted on 02/12/2013

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Time to cut loose the apron strings. She ought to respect your rules if she's living in your home but guess what? She doesn't have to live in your home!

She won't help out around the house? OK - you do LESS for HER! That means no cooking and no laundry. Now sticking one's dirty clothes in a washing machine is no big deal, but I bet she doesn't like ironing! Making a sandwich is no big deal - but making a nice, cooked meal is a whole different ballgame!

And you need to enforce consequences more. If you're not happy, ask her to leave. It's as simple as that. Mean what you say as well. If she wanders off and doesn't return by your curfew, have all her clothes and possessions packed and waiting for her!

This isn't rocket science!

Angie - posted on 02/04/2013

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Time to let go ~ you have enabled her long enough to be a freeloader. She needs to reach her 'ah ha' moment and this is her crossroads to sink or swim, call her bluff and let her fly- you do not deserve to be abused in your own home by your own child you raised all her life. I have the same issue with mine and she has a daughter of her own. When she has no safety net she will figure it out. Sometimes we want our children to be what and who WE want them to be- yet we have to accept them for who they truly are. Cut her off and let her prove how 'grown' she is. It's not easy and it takes time for the gap to heal in your heart, the best love is tough love- you don't want her to be handicapped by not allowing her to fall once or twice until she gets the hang of reality. Sending much Light and Strength to you beloved As a parent of a 'grown' daughter- I understand your pain, frustration and how torn your heart is. I am here to talk if you wish~ I do spiritual readings as well as life coaching. OneLove~

Carrie - posted on 01/24/2013

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I believe the only way to get an adult to act like one is for them to be on their own. Unfortunately, young adults living at home can be all too happy to fall into the familiar pattern of letting the parents do all the housework and solve all the problems, while they skip off to have fun with their friends.

Saranna, you didn't fail your son. He was an adult and made his own choices.

Saranna - posted on 12/28/2012

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I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH. I DID EVERYTHING I COULD TO HELP MY SON AND DAUGHTER GET AN EDUCATION, SPEND TIME WITH THEM, YOU NAME IT , I DID IT. MY SON OF 27 DIED LAST YR. FROM DRUGS. HE WAS WELL LOVED, VERY TALENED, AND SMART, BUT SOMEWHERE I FAILED HIM. ITS DAMED IF YOU DO AND DAMED IF YOU DONT. I WAS NOT A PERFECT PARENT, BUT I WOULD GIVE ANYTHING TO GO BACK AND DO ALOT OF THINGS DIFFERENT!! ALL KIDS ARE DIFFERENT SO YOU CAN'T HAVE TONS OF RULES AND YOU CAN'T LET THEM RUN THE SHOW. I DON'T HAVE AN ANSWER BUT TO PRAISE EVERY GOOD THING THEY DO AND LET THEM KNOW YOU LOVE THEM. I DON'T WISH THIS PAIN ON ANYONE. RAISING CHILDREN IS HARD, ESPECIALLY IN THIS DAY AND TIME. BE GRATEFUL YOU HAVE HER. ITS TAKES TWO AND SOMETIMES JUST LISTEN. HOPE I HAVE BEEN OF SOME HELP. SARANNA

Sharynn - posted on 12/20/2012

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I am setting up a contract with my almost 22 year old daughter who lives here at home, works part-time and attends college. I am a single Mother and just HAD to come up with boundaries and consequences or I was going to lose my mind right along with my home. I gave her the expectations list I made up and we discussed it and I am in the process of writing the contract up right now! There is NO reason we cannot continue to live at home without our adult children totally disrupting it and making it awful to even live in our own home! I really feel this will work. I am enforcing a "Three- Strikes" rule too! I am so excited to regain my peaceful home atmosphere! Yeahhhhhhhhhhh

Martha - posted on 09/30/2012

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Lisa I understand you 100%, my 20 almost 21 years old daughter is going on the same direction, taking one class on college and part time job; I don't have an answer,I am feeding myself with all this answers, nurture a child is not easy... God bless you!!

BEATRICE - posted on 07/18/2012

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Yes this is difficult and no one easy answer as their are many variables to consider. One is how far along school is she. How much has she invested vs. you . Or how much will she and you or (ex?) husband owe, in loans, etc. ? What is her major and job outlook? College is not for everybody, but if she has made a commitment it is likely that at 22 it, makes sense to finish or at least part time and work part time. Also, it matters how her behavior trend was and what her boundaries were in the past. It is sometimes harder to drastically change approach when she has been allowed to manipulate a system that perhaps had little threat of consequences. Of course these boundaries when proven to adhere as she got older needed to stretch and widen. It may be painful to see them fail , but sometimes they need that reality as long as they are not severely harmed like living with an abusive boyfriend or with potential criminal or drug circle of friends and so on. But try to sit down with her like an adult and say I love you and I want to work out a grownup solution so we can always feel that I am hear for you but to allow you to make wise grown up decisions on your own. But without my intervention, you must also accept the responsibility and consequences that come with it. But I am here to listen first and if you want my opinion or help I am always here or help you get help or advice from someone who has more experience. (Hearing it from someone else. perhaps a closer to age but older successful role model will mean more to them -even if the same advice). Work out any financial arrangements necessary and best later if in writing, but realize any thing in the past is probably left on your shoulders but not from this point on. I did this my oldest daughter but then
4 years later when she was making progress graduated, and was working full time for 2 years and not complaining that she has to pay (and other kids didn't)and paying student loans, I paid the interest and one of her smaller loans off (as we are not wealthy- and shaky economy). The younger have learned from this too, that most of their college debt and decision will be up to them and that whether they are working part time or full time or school, they have the same chores and rules that will be loosened as they prove themselves, so its up to them. Its not easy and not perfect and always ongoing but overall its been helping alot. No , I don't think you have to worry in losing your daughter or any kid forever by placing fair rules if worked out together. Its just may be harder the older they are but patience is needed and any help you can get, its worth it for both of you and the rest of your family. And an ex or husband needs to be on board hopefully, if not then unfortunately eventually she will see that you are the one that truly cares.

Francine - posted on 04/21/2012

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I believe that all kids this age take this route. It's the I'm an adult and I don't have to listen to you anymore syndrome. It's what I'm experiencing now with my 18, 22, and 23 year old daughters. From my experiences with them I've learned that it's time to take a new approach with them. They might not be 100% adult just yet but they truly need to know that I trust them and I've become more of a listener. I believe thats what you need to do here. You still have to sit down and set ground rules but talk one on one and let her really hear that your open to having a new kind of relationship with her. My 18 year old daughter lives at college but I can see everyday how our relationship has changed since Ive become more of a listener. We talk much more than we use to. My middle child is still a work in progress she can get a real nasty attitude every now and then but Ive sat down with her and had her tell me what time is she generally going to be home and after that when I don't question her anymore she usually has been coming home earlier than the time she says. I understand where your coming from it is hard to let go but if you don't start doing this now you can possibly lose your daughter forever.

April - posted on 02/24/2012

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Mutual respect is so important - It sounds like you have some rules in your house that are important to you. If that is the case, and your daughter does not want to follow them, maybe she does need to move out...for her sake, too. 22 is an adult - Can you rethink a couple of your rules? Does she really have to tell you where she is all of the time? If she doesn't keep her room clean, can you just shut the door and not look? You maybe festering resentment all day looking at her room which does not help. Maybe there are a few things she would be willing to do to help -- ask her what she would like to do to help around the house instead of telling her what to do. Also, start letting your daughter know what you like about her. Good luck!

Jane - posted on 01/03/2012

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I agree with Patricia Zelno on this. My kids are 21 and 18...my 21 year old daughter is in college 1000 miles away so she's only home during breaks and summer. She is a very responsible woman and has a full time job during the summer months. She does not have a curfew but knows that if she is not coming home that night and staying at her boyfriends/soon to be fiance that I would like her to let me know as soon as she knows. That's typically WELL before I go to bed. It's just common courtesy...she IS an adult and I treat her as such. My 18 year old is still in his senior year of high school so during the school week, he has a curfew but on weekends, it's pretty opened as long as I know where he's at. He's very responsible as well and extremely courteous and lets me know where he's going and if he changes places, where he's going again (LOL).

I just think at 22, you are still treating her like a child/teenager. Like it or not, she IS an adult...she might be a little immature for her age but an adult none the less. MAYBE, just maybe if you treated her more like an adult than a child, she might meet you half way and start acting a little more responsible and respectful!

Just a thought!

[deleted account]

I'm not saying you need to compromise your beliefs so that she can have fun. I just think you need to talk to her about what she thinks/feels/believes so you could understand where she is coming from and maybe you could come to a new set of rules that you both are comfortable with. If your daughter doesn't feel like you trust her or if she feels like your treating her as if she's still a teenager - she is going to continue to act the way she is.

[deleted account]

although I know that lots of parents do have that thought, that their children are going to do what they want, so why jeopardize the relationship by having rules, but it is not just about respecting my house, but also the way she was reared ( in a christian home). My belief is that if you wish to have your own rules then you should not be expecting others to financially support you. I am glad that your way works for you, but I will not compromise my beliefs so that she can have fun.

[deleted account]

I think the root of the problem is that she feels like you don't trust her. I think it's a little unreasonable to give a 22yr old a curfew. I know parents would say "if you live in my house - you live by my rules" but I don't agree with that 100%. There needs to be mutual respect and the adult child needs to show that they are responsible (by working, paying bills, going to school, etc). Not to say that you don't have guidelines that she should follow - but maybe some leniency won't hurt.
I think you should talk to her about what she thinks the "rules" should be and you could discuss (with an open mind) some new ground rules for her living there that you both would be comfortable with.
My daughter is 18 and I have let her sleep over her boyfriends house on occasion as long as I know beforehand. She does not have a curfew - but has shown that she is responsible enough to handle it. She lets me know where she is and about what time she'll be home so I don't worry - and I give her the freedom she needs so she could become a responsible, independent grown up. It works for us - and we have a great relationship. Hopefully you'll find something that'll work for the both of you.

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