I’m with NorthernMSB on this one. Sorry about this meandering text but here goes…
One of the roles of a parent is preparing the "child" for adulthood. Society defines an adult as someone that has reached the age of 18. Legally you could pack her bags and kick her out. It would probably be immoral – but law and ethics are not the same. She too can go get a student-loan, buy a car, rent an apartment… whatever without your consent. She can join the circus or join a cult. It would be stupid, but legal.
Of course – as LOVING parents – we swaddle our "children" to protect them, only that protection can sometimes place them in a cocoon where they get away with stuff the "real world" wouldn’t allow them. I think that maybe the last important role we have as parents is the one where we unwrap the swaddling and expose our kids to reality.
I think one of the biggest parenting mistakes we tend to make is not allowing our "kids" to face their decisions. To make them aware that they can chose from some options, and their choices tend to have cost and gain, profit and loss, pluses, and minuses.
Like staying at home… The cost is that she’s a bit out of the freedom of the dorm or the privacy of a rented apartment. The cost is having to live by the rules of the owner of the home. The gains are numerous like laundry-service, good meals, warm bed, nice house… The gain is that she can get through a six year college program without being up to her eyeballs in student-debt.
Six year degree? Maybe medical field? I think the average student-debt is way over 150k… and no – there is no guarantee of a wage that makes this amount "worth it". A GP in an inner-city hospital or a physical therapist isn’t making enough to justify that amount.
At the same time you – as a parent – have to realize she is capable of more freedom now than a year ago. However that freedom has its cost. Party too much and you flop your courses. Flop your courses and your access to the college lifestyle is removed. Drop your grades and your cost goes up due to fewer scholarships. She needs to find that balance, and if she decided to find it the hard way… well better now than 10 years from now in some job were doing so doesn’t delay her by a semester, but get’s her fired.
I suggest you sit down with her and explain that the only reason she is at home is because you want her to be there. That’s it. Legally she doesn’t have to be there, legally she can move out, rent a caravan, get a tattoo, and start collecting cats. Nothing you can do to change that.
As part of your willingness to get her through college with as little debt as possible your contribution is the car, food, home… She can decide to do it in some other way but this is the help YOU are offering.
You don’t WANT her to leave, but you want her to show you respect in your home and for her to realize that what you offer isn’t to be taken for granted. I would STRONGLY suggest you remind her that she’s there because YOU want her there and YOU want to give her the best start to her adult life you can BUT that if she behaves in negative ways then it erodes your will in having her stay and erodes your belief that you are really giving her the best start.
Then you ask what she thinks would be reasonable rules. That it’s normal for you to worry if she’s out late and that it’s not unreasonable that she texts or checks in or whatever. What is reasonable? What compromise can you both accept. You too need to be reasonable. MAYBE the best you can get is that she texts you if she won’t be home by midnight and/or again in the morning if she’s not back.
I think it’s also fine to establish rules on chores, expectations, and interaction. This is what I expect from you – this is what you can expect from me.
The way you describe some of her behaviors… In what scenario do you think her negative behavior will do the least damage. Like if she hurls horrible insults to get a result (your words!):
at a part-time job where her boss could fire her on the spot if she behaved that way and the biggest issue might be that instead of working at a grocery-store she needs to wait tables…
at her first "real" job where she doesn’t get past the trial period (I hire people. At about the 2-month mark we monitor how people are interacting and how they fit. I have fired people for being socially disruptive…)
at her future job where her behaviors prevent promotions or place her on the top of the list when it comes to laying people off.
at her future job were interacting with patients/clients is required
If your daughter has time to party without worrying about grades then she has time to work. What that might help her with is taking that step from being a child swaddled in cotton into a young woman that has to monitor hours and interact with others. All my kids did part-time jobs during college/uni and none of them dropped grades due to it. They all had a healthy social life too (including drinking and partying and doing the stoopid things we all did at that age)
I think it’s also worth it to talk about this enabling her to possibly finish her degree with the minimum of student debt or even none. I’m fortunate to live close to a uni where my youngest is doing his degree at and our contribution to him is the fees, free housing and food, access to a beater-car. He works about 16 hours every other weekend and that pays for his out-of-pocket needs and gas. He will finish his degree with no debt, giving him a big head-start considering the average student-debt in his field is about 60k. Think back to when you were 23-35 and try to recall if you had the money to pay your bills, mortgage, start a family AND your student loans.
And like N_MSB my kids could call me any time of day for a ride home or they could tell a cabby that the fare would be paid by their dad once they got home if they didn’t have cash. The only time I got really angry – like RAGING angry – with my daughter was when she accepted a ride home one night with some guys. Turned out to be real gentlemen and just drove her home but…
Wanted to add:
I interact with a lot of HR people and HR managers. I have heard stories about how they get phone-calls from the moms of 22-25 year old employees with degrees explaining why little sensitive Guido can’t work long hours, can’t handle the pressure of working in groups, can’t be expected to be there by 8 in the morning or why he didn’t get the promotion… whatever.
At 23 Guido better be able to deal with the Real World!
[This message edited by Bigger at 12:04 PM, Friday, October 15th]