Maddie - posted on 04/14/2013 ( no moms have responded yet )
My husband of 20 years and I have three teens, a 17 yo girl, 16 yo boy, and a 14 yo girl.
Two years ago I learned I have bipolar disorder II and my 17 yo was diagnosed as having bipolar not otherwise specified, oppositional defiant disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. She has been a difficult child since she was a preschooler. However, I had no idea that her violent and disobedient behavior was due to a psychiatric illness. As a teen, she has thrown things at her father, bitten me twice, and, since childhood, she has been mouthy with my husband and I and picked fights with her siblings.
Also, over the years, due to undiagnosed/ untreated bipolar disorder, I've struggled with depression and had my own share of angry uncontrollable outbursts. So I often felt guilty for not being a better mom/example.
Even so, all three kids are top students and generally well-behaved outside the home. Both my 17 yo and her younger brother attend college classes while in high school. However, due to my daughter's undiagnosed/ untreated bipolar disorder, and later, due to her refusal to comply with treatment, at times her grades suffered because she was too depressed to study. But this term she is pulling straight A's at college. She hasn't taken classes at her high school since junior year. She graduates this year.
My problem: Several weeks ago, after my 17 yo started a fight with my daughter in a parking lot ( I wasn't there), and after I discovered that the stress of her bullying her sister caused the 14 yo to purposely cut herself (which I promptly took her to a therapist about), I kicked my 17 yo out, My husband agreed to this (basically, I am the disciplinarian between the two of us).
My daughter is now living with my parents, age 84 (my mother) and 89. My father has dementia with lewy bodies which causes him to see people who no one else can see. He gets argumentative, especially with my mother, and lashes out in his sleep. My daughter is kind to my parents and her presence in their home is a big help to my mother. I told my daughter this.
But, we live in the east and my daughter has said that if she cannot move back home after graduation she will defer a year before attending college (she has enough credits to be a junior when she graduates this year) and MOVE IN WITH A 21 YEAR OLD GUY IN MONTANA THAT SHE SHE MET ON THE INTERNET. HE WILL ALLOW HER TO LIVE WITH HIM RENT FREE. THERE WILL BE 3 OR 4 OTHER YOUNG MEN LIVING IN THE HOUSE, friends and relatives of her friend. She says she wants to have an "adventure" after all the accelerated (college) schooling she's had. That schooling began in 10th grade after we pulled her out of an expensive private school, that she loved, after 9th grade because her bad behavior didn't warrant us paying for education she could get for free via our state's high school/college dual enrollment program.
This young man has been to our city to see her. She arranged for him to come here for a full week last year, when she was 16. He stayed at a hotel near the college my daughter attends (she is on birth control). My husband and I knew nothing about him being here until he was long gone. He is also in the military but will be getting out soon. She says her relationship with him is only platonic now.
I have no problem with the college deferment, but I absolutely do not want my daughter to live with this person and his buddies all the way across the country where no one can monitor her mental illness or her safety in general.
But I absolutely cannot have her back at home, not unless she undergoes a major change. So far, her commitment to the psychotherapy she needs is weak. She doesn't really think she needs it.
Meanwhile, our home is way more peaceful, less stressful, with her gone. It's like a different place. It feels so wonderful to only have predominately friendly kids around who give me no major flack, obey my husband and I, and get along with each other.
I've told my daughter my parents can use the help she provides (this is true); so leaving them might not be the best thing to do considering their ages. She seemed to consider this. She had started saying she wasn't going to Montana but reverted back to that the other night, during her weekly home visit, after she mentioned coming back home and I said my plan wasn't for her to return here.
Lastly, after we argued that night, I called her to apologize for not listening to her (she had been saying she didn't think she was bipolar). We talked about the issues raised in the argument and I ended the conversation by saying that, if she is going to Montana, she'll have to do it after her 18th birthday in the fall (she said she knew that) and I want to help her do it smartly.
I ended up saying, with my husband's agreement, that if she commits to therapy, including some family sessions, and makes a real change in behavior, we can revisit the idea of her returning home.
I REALLY don't want her to go to Montana as planned. The idea of it initially tore me up inside. But I think I'm making peace with it.
Do I have a choice (other than allowing her to move back home)? Please give me your opinion.