How much independence should a 17 year old daughter have?

Roxanne - posted on 05/15/2016 ( 6 moms have responded )

6

0

2

My daughter is 17 next week. She is very demanding of herself and is very responsible with her school work. She has taken in a lot of stress from trying to be independent, dealing with social anxieties, and the stress I have put on her being an involved parent. As a parent I have laid down restrictions that I feel are reasonable (no late nights during school nights unless there is an activity planned and midnight on the weekends and sometimes later depending on the circumstances). Unfortunately she hangs out with people much older than her and the friends her age seem to have no restrictions often being able to be out all night. This has been extremely difficult to deal with. Last October she had a breakdown and tried to hurt herself. Since then I have been a slave to my worries. She gets stressed and will take off in her car and drive. Once she drove 5 hours away and I had to meet her in between on the way back so she had a place to stay. She hates high school and in January she decided to graduate early (she is a HS junior). She will graduate with Honors this June and has been admitted to a good University which she will start in the Fall. Because of this she feels she should be able to do what ever she wants. She is trying to work with me but I am still worried often. I can't sleep until she comes home and the other day she was supposed to be home at 1am and showed up at 3am because she had to go get a friend that was drunk and couldn't drive. I applaud her being responsible but it is so hard on me. Last night she tells me she is gong to a party and will be there all night. It is with older kids and there will be drinking and she doesn't want to worry about driving. I am glad she is open with me but it is kind of hard to say that this is ok. The fact is she will be in college in 3 months living on her own and making these choices and I will not be involved. We communicate and she knows about drugs and drinking and driving and I do feel she is handling these things responsibly (except she is just 17!). I know every kid and family is different and there isn't a one size fits all solution but I feel like I can't do or say anything right although I have tried to give her a lot more freedoms. At times I just want to runaway because it is so hard. If you knew me you know I am not a quitter so these feelings do not go with my personality. All my other friends don't get it because there kids are homebodies or are struggling with different issues. I know it is finding a balance but I am so afraid she will have another breakdown. Is anyone else dealing with like circumstances? Thanks for your feedback.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Sarah - posted on 05/15/2016

9,604

0

22

I am going to try Evelynn method of breaking this down :
First:She gets stressed and will take off in her car and drive.
So take away her keys.
Next :she was supposed to be home at 1am and showed up at 3am because she had to go get a friend that was drunk and couldn't drive
While agree she was being responsible, as a 17 yo she has no business caring for a drunk peer. The most responsible thing would have been to call you for help.
Finally: last night she tells me she is gong to a party and will be there all night. It is with older kids and there will be drinking and she doesn't want to worry about driving.
Hell would freeze before I would permit my 17 yo to attend a party that is going to serve minors. if the booze was just for the older kids, she still did not belong there.
Since she is so impulsive in her actions, maybe she belongs at a local college until she is either 18 or can demonstrate better self control and decision making skills.

6 Comments

View replies by

Andrea - posted on 05/16/2016

47

0

0

I agree with Dove. Coming from my own experience it sounds similar to what your daughter went through. I went to a totally different country (I was a citizen but still) and everything was extremely different from what I have grown up with. I think that eventually she will be able to open up to let you know how she truly feels but sometimes no one can fight the battles but yourself. I would keep the communication open as that is better than closed communication. Good luck. I know it must be extremely difficult but we all have to grow up in our own ways.

Leslie - posted on 05/16/2016

33

0

0

Based on the other posts in reply you have made, it sounds like you feel she should have quite a lot of independence and in reality you are OK with what she is doing. If that is the case then that is fine. If you are having anxiety over the issues though (which it sounds like) then you have to decide if you can deal with the anxiety of her not obeying what you ask of her as far as curfew times or if you want to enforce it and deal with those consequences. That's not a decision we can make for you....we can tell you what we would do - personally, I agree with the other few posters who would enforce some other rules but you don't seem comfortable with that. Perhaps you can write down your concerns and sit down with your daughter and have a conversation together that will make the next few months until she goes to college a lot easier for you - and her. Given that you have the tracker on her phone it seems like some texting to let you know what's up and where she is and then you checking that she is should give you some measure of peace.

Is her Dad at home and involved? What does he think?

Roxanne - posted on 05/15/2016

6

0

2

Thanks for your reply but taking her car would cause huge issues and she paid for it herself which makes it difficult.

She called me at 1am to say she had to go and get a friend. I have a tracker on he phone and I know she was where she was supposed to be. Yes her friend should not be drinking however her friend made a good choice to call for help and my daughter just happened to be the one she reached out to. It is very difficult on me and I spoke to her about it in legnth but honestly helping her friend was the right thing to do. Most teenagers don't want their parents to help in these situations but the fact that this friend chose not to get in her car was good despite her bad choice to get in the situation in the first place.

The party was a college party but this isn't the normal. Yes I could say no, absolutely not but then she could as other friends do, make other arrangements, lie, and do it behind my back. As it turned out the friends she was supposed to go with didn't go and I told her she couldn't be there without them (hoping they would look after one another). The problem was she felt it was a non issue and obviously it is a big one for me. She wants independence and she wants to show how she can be responsible with the choices she makes. Teenagers as you can see in this chat are very difficult.

As far as college, she will be close to home but away. It was the best solution I could figure out. She is extremely smart and bored with High School. She needs to be in an environment where intellectually she is challenged both academically and socially.

Of course I want to think as you do and trust me I have consider it all. It is what we "should" do but everyone is individual and I am dealing with her mental state as well.

Again thanks for your response, just talking about it helps.

Roxanne - posted on 05/15/2016

6

0

2

Yes she is in therapy and she started some meds as well. Honestly she is a great kid that is what makes these things so difficult. She hasn't taken off for a drive for a while and each time it was more soothing for her but causes me obvious stress. She saved up and bought the car herself so it is difficult to take it away and honestly I think it would cause more damage then good. The problem is the friends she hangs out with are older (18 & 19 HS seniors and just out of HS last year). Parties and drinking unfortunately is not that uncommon and I even recall these things in high school when I was that age. I am trying to be realistic. She doesn't go and drink all the time, it is college parties that she has gotten invited to and let's be realistic about college. I try to keep her informed and she seems to absorb it. I try to set guidelines within what seems sensible. She is a hard worker, carries a 3.9 GPA, and will go to college in the Fall. She makes commitments and follows through. She is a great kid and I just struggle to protect her because of her breakdown. Sadly, there are a lot of kids going through the same thing. The big issue is her safety with herself and making sure she doesn't put herself in situations (at parties or whatever) that may be harmful. This is where it affects me and it is a beast trying to figure out what is right. There is no structured rules that apply to everyone and every situation so to say you should do this and this and that is how it is does not help. I am just hoping to get some support from someone who may be dealing with the same situation. It is easy to say this is what you should do but what you should do doesn't always apply. It is very individualistic. Hence my problem.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms