Tough love or keep enabling? Need support

Tanya - posted on 10/29/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I've never done this before so please bear with me! I am a mother of two daughters 18 and 16. My oldest graduated from H.S. just this past May, 2013. My youngest is a Junior in H.S. In June my fiancé and I bought a house at a beach community in N.C. My oldest did not want to move with us, she wanted to stay in Ohio where all of our family and her friends are. I had to respect her choice, and as hard as it was to leave her we moved. My youngest daughter was excited about the move. My oldest enrolled in massage therapy school in Ohio and moved in with my ex-husband. It was rough being 600 miles away from her. In August she called crying and said she couldn't take it anymore, she wanted to move to N.C. to be with me and her sister. I kept asking her is she was sure, that she couldn't just go back and forth, she had to make a decision and stick to it. She assured us, she wanted to move. So Sept. 12 she did. We had to go through a lot of crap with her college with financial aide stuff but we were able to enroll her in a similar program in N.C. and she started college Oct.2.She doesn't have a license so I was driving 4 hrs round trip everyday to take her back and forth to school. A sacrifice I was willing to make for her to get a degree. Then on Oct. 27 she said she hated college and wanted to drop out and move back to Ohio! Ever since she turned 18 she has been saying "I'm grown, I do what I want". Laughable considering she is still completely dependent on me for everything, transportation, food, housing, clothing, medical expenses etc. She didn't even do her own laundry. I tried to talk to her about her new decision, and that went all bad quickly. She stormed out of the house, telling me to "leave her alone". I told her (and yes I was angry)," if you drop out of college and move back I will not support you from 600 miles away. If you think you're grown then figure it out, and I won't make arrangements for you to get back to Ohio, so get on that cell phone I pay for and find your own way back". So yesterday morning she left with a bag and a blanket to board a greyhound bus for a 23 hour trip back to Ohio! Let's just say, I am not dealing with this "tough love" well. I was a mess all day, couldn't stop crying, replaying our conversation over and over again. Was I too harsh? Am I being unreasonable? Do I just let her figure it out and hope she doesn't get too hurt in the process? I have a Masters Degree in Counseling so I know a lot of the text book answers to this situation, guess that's not what I'm looking for here. I know I have enabled her a lot, She has ADD and maturity wise is lagging several years behind her chronological age. I guess I am just looking for some support since my support system is 600 miles away. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Tanya - posted on 10/30/2013

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Thank you Evelyn! The irony is my daughter told me before she left " I'm sorry I don't want to be exactly like you" only she is a lot like me at 18. I thought I knew everything too, thought no one understood me, thought I was grown and didn't need my mom. So I moved out, and ended up homeless and sleeping in my car for 4 months cause I was to proud to call my mom and say "I was wrong". I know intellectually I'm doing the right thing, but lining my heart up with that is a struggle. Thanks again for responding.

Ev - posted on 10/29/2013

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You did the right thing though you let the anger take control. But we all do that and we are not perfect mothers or fathers for that matter. My sister is going through this right now and we have all told her to stop enabling her daughter by paying for her pre-paid phone minutes, taking her daughter back and forth to the boyfriend's home, and letting her sit around the house while my sister works 40 plus hours in 3.5 days and does the house work at home as well. She has had our parents, myself, and a friend tell her all the same things but she never listens. SHe also is the cause of a lot of her problems.

All this being said, your daughter needs to learn that she has to make choices and stick to them. Going to college right after high school is not the best choice for a lot of kids fresh out of high school and I know the economy is not great right now with jobs but she could have gone to work for a year or two and then gone to school. I think its hard for her and will become harder for your daughter but she can not expect you to do this for her forever. And text books can give all sorts of answers to this no matter if you have a Masters in Counseling or are just reading a book to get advice on the situation. But they do not do one thing, and that is know what the reality of it all is. Just keep the tough love going. SHe will either sink or swim.

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