My 17 year old daughter wants her freedom. Her father and I are divorced and have been since she was 4. She wants to spend the next 3 weeks with him where he lives (45 minutes away).

Roberta - posted on 07/21/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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She has never lived with him, primarily becuase I (and the court) have said no. He does not provide appropriate oversight for her when she does spend a weekend with him. Primarly she goes and does what she wants with no curfew or checking with other parents where she is supposed to be spending the night. He has never provided child support. She has a loser boyfriend who has cost us money and gotten her in trouble with me and her step father. She gets excellent grades, holds down a good job, attends school regularly and is a otherwise a good kid. She drives a car we bought for her ($2200 of which she paid $500). We pay for insurance and her phone. She gets $50/week allowance from us and has a midnight curfew on weekends and 7 pm on school/work nights. It seems clear to me that she only wants to live with her dad for a while, so she can take advantage of his lack of oversight. She says he trusts her and allows her to do what she pleases, and as long as she is not getting into trouble, that should be fine with me as well. I don't agree. Advice? Should I let her go stay with her father? My inclination is no, but if she insists then her car and phone stay here and her allowance stops.

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Roberta - posted on 07/22/2013

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Kristi C....thank you so much. We had this difficult conversation last evening, and at the time I was inflamed. After I posted this, watered the flowers, weeded the garden and walked around with the dog for a while, I began to wonder if letter her go was actually not a bad idea. It would be a vacation, for her and I both. I do trust her, I worry about her fathers lack of supervision, but you are correct, she is a good kid and despite some poor friend choices, she as managed to keep on track with good grades, her job, not skipping school, etc. I'm feeling better about it.

Kristi - posted on 07/22/2013

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She's almost an adult, legally. Obviously, you've been doing enough things right that she's doing so well in school and is working and actually abides by a 7pm curfew. I don't know how you make that one work, but more power to you. I don't know what kind of trouble your daughter got in but, most teens do get in some sort of trouble at some point. I'm not justifying it, I'm just saying it's pretty natural so try not to hold against it her too harshly for too long. ; )

I don't know why her dad "does not provide appropriate oversight," according to you. I don't know if it's because he trusts her or he's lazy or if he does know what's going on and you just don't know it or a combination of all three. However, it sounds to me like you have some serious control issues and are still harboring ill will towards her father (which may very well be justified, I'm not judging on that) and are kind of taking that out on your daughter by not letting her to go there. I mean, does she get into trouble over there? Is she putting herself in dangerous situations? Is her father putting her in dangerous situations? Who/what are your sources? Is your daughter a liar so you still need to call her girlfriend's parents to see if she's actually where she said she would be?

Visitation is separate from child support. In theory and in some cases, inability to pay child support does not make someone a bad parent, just like the ability to pay does not always make someone a good parent. By keeping her car, her phone and her allowance in order to make her choose you over him is very manipulative.

The allowance, ok...she's not home to earn it. But, unless she's been in trouble with the car before (drinking and driving, etc) why would you take her independence away...she's free to leave a bad situation without relying on someone else, she's free to come home from her dad's early without bothering anybody for a ride or having to play 20 Questions all the way home about why she wanted to come home, what happened, and so on. And what about work? Does that mean her dad would have to make 2 round-trips to take her to and from work? Because, IMO, that's bullshit. Your daughter can use her own money for gas in her own car in one round-trip. Last but not least, the last thing I will ever, ever take from my daughter is her cell phone. That doesn't mean I won't turn off the internet if I deem it an appropriate consequence but why would you take the one thing that could potentially save her life? It's like your lording over her all the material things you can afford to give her that her father can't. Frankly, it's disgusting.

3 weeks is not living with someone. It's a vacation. That's probably exactly what she's looking for before school's back in session in 4-5 weeks. It would surprise me to find another mom on here with a 17 year old who respects a 7pm curfew. My daughter will be 14 in a little over a month. She's got a great head on her shoulders and our relationship is solid but she would laugh in my face if I tried to impose that kind of a curfew. In part because we don't get home from gymnastics until almost 9pm M, T and TH but still. Any 17 year old would want to go where the rules are more relaxed, not just yours.

I think you need to reexamine why you don't want your daughter to go, what about it is realistic (I'm a worrier sometimes, too and when it comes to what might happen at dad's...) and what is not. Then, you need to decide if you've raised her well enough to make good decisions and know right from wrong. Next, ask yourself if you trust her. Finally, you need to ask yourself if this is the hill you want to die on.

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