New to Group! Help! Daughter in College Is Clueless
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|Mon, 11-11-2013 - 2:18pm|
Hi! I have been an I villager in the past, but never in this group. I spent years trying to wing it with my DD, with little outside advice, because frankly, the situation is so multifaceted that it just seemed like too much info to try and sort through, in an online forum. But I'm at a point now where my DH and I can't agree on which direction to go with her...I am disconnected from the rest of my family...so I don't know where else to turn, to seek advice. If anyone has the patience to try and sift through this with me, and offer some opinions and advice, I would appreciate it. I suppose the response that I get here will guide how indepth this conversation becomes, but the basic problem I have right now is that I think she's about to fall flat on her face. How (and IF) I intervene at this point could very well impact our entire future. I'm afraid to do nothing, for her sake, but stepping in could be risking my other kids, my finances, and even my marriage. I don't know what to do.
My daughter is 19 going on 15. I love her dearly, and I'm very concerned that she's not mature or responsible enough to make the adult decisions required of her now, yet she's so head strong and blatantly disrespectful to me and my DH that we have been unable to successfully guide her...every learning opportunity erupts into a battle of the "I'm over 18 and you can't tell me what to do." Parenting her has always been a challenge, but I'll spare you the years of details at this point. She's in college now, living in off campus dorm style housing, and her poor decision making is mounting to the point where it appears as though her world is about to come tumbling down. I don't want to see her fail, and my heart aches for what I can see coming a mile away.
She chose to enter into a lease contract ($550/mo), but is about to lose her job (again!), so will soon not be able to pay for it. She's a full time student, but lost her scholarship because she couldn't keep her grades up, so the student loans are mounting. She's still a good student, and I'm proud of her for that, but her GPA fell below the necessary level to keep her academic scholarship. There are so many reasons that living at home with us is difficult at best (torture on all of us, frankly), yet having her at home is really the only way I think she moves in a positive direction. Sadly, she's not mature enough to handle even the basics of life (seriously, she doesn't even brush her teeth at night without being told), yet she just went out and got herself a dog (despite us talking to her about all the reasons it was a bad idea). She relies on everyone to drive her around because she refuses to learn how to drive. She has some real emotional issues (heartbreaking, as a mom, to see this), that despite my best attempts to get and keep her in counseling, seem to mount rather than resolve as she gets older. She's more concerned with posting "selfies" on various social media outlets than she is with figuring out how to have real life relationships, and she refuses to discuss this fact. She's not able to sustain friendships because she is unbelievably self absorbed, competitive, jealous, and negative. I'm sure this is a result of poor self esteem...another fact that she refuses to discuss, probe into, or do anything to change. I have tried and tried to help her and guide her in many ways throughout her life, and have done everything I know to do. We've tried coddling, tough love, and everything in between. I love her, and will never give up wanting to help her, but now that she's an "adult" there seems to be nothing I can do to help her succeed and grow in a positive direction. She always finds a way to go against any logical step towards growth and responsibility.
If you're still reading, thank you. Again, this conversation can go in a bunch of different directions if anyone is interested in diving into this with me, as there's so very much that I have not touched on. But, I guess my general questions are these...
Do I help bail her out of her lease, when she finally admits that she's in over her head? Financially, I can not comfortably take on her lease. This will put a huge strain on the rest of the family. I can help her find someone to sublet, but then what? She (and now this new dog!) should move back in? She is not willing to keep a clean room and bathroom (seriously, her room looked like a bomb went off for years), she will not help out with household chores, she does not feel like she should follow any rules, she's nasty to her brothers, and she's downright disrespectful to me and her dad when she doesn't get her way, despite being told that it's not acceptable. No amount of consequences or loss of privleges was ever enough to guide her towards respect or positive behavior. Her mantra always seemed to be that she would do what she wanted, how she wanted, and when we wanted, and there was nothing we could do to change that.
If she were to move back home, I'm concerned about the negative impact it will have on all of us, but as a parent, my door is supposed to always be open, right?
Regardless of her living arrangements, how do I get her to want to learn how to drive, so that she can become a self reliant individual? We learned that forcing her into the drivers seat only causes more arguments and animosity, and closes her mind off to learning, even more. We tried to promote situations where driving seemed like her own idea, with no success. Driving school was a waste of money, it's like she never went. She learned nothing from a paid instructor, as putting her on the road is still downright dangerous. She just plain refuses to learn how. The first semester of school, she literally called on friends to drive her to school every day. She'd pay them or guilt them, and once they got tired of carting her around, she'd find new people to do it. And if she couldn't get a ride, she'd just skip class. I tried entering into agreements with her where we'd take her to school if she would make the effort to learn how to drive...or make an effort to keep her room moderately presentable...or help out around the house...or simply speak to us with respect...but she refused to hold up her end of the bargain.
Again, sooooo much info being left out here. A little background info for anyone who might be interested in helping me sort this out...Her bio father walked away from her as a baby, and made years of broken promises, thus causing a ripple effect of daddy issues and trust issues. Eventually I remarried and had 2 more children, which my daughter never figured out how to accept and embrace, rather than resent and revolt. Her real father gave up custody when she was 8, and my DH adopted her...but no matter how hard we tried to help her feel and see that "daddy" can be the one who chooses to love you as his own, she just couldn't drop the chip on her shoulder or that "you're not my daddy" attitude. Anyway, I was a young single mom for the first 8 years of her life, and made many mistakes, I know. My family all tried to make up for her father by making sure she didn't want for anything in life...which inevitably has caused some of her issues, I'm sure. People used to tell me she was a classic spoiled rotten brat. I recognized the pattern, and worked to show her gratitude, humility, respect, and compassion. This was a process, and was very trying on my new marriage, at the time. She knew she could be difficult and cause arguments, driving a wedge between everyone while putting herself on center stage. She actually seemed to enjoy it. My parents overstepped their grandparental bounds a gazillion times, causing more of the issues we still battle. My daughter quickly learned that she could manipulate everyone, get what she wanted, and start family wars in the process. So now, after years of battling, I have chosen to disconnect from my extended family rather than battle them on every thing, and have them sabotage me, my DH and kids, around every corner (that's a whole other post!). My husband and I learned how to be a team and not let our daughter use us against one another, which has made her revolt against everything even more. So here we are!
That's the tip of my iceberg of issues and questions. If anyone feels compelled to offer advice or engage in helping me "right the ship," I would very much appreciate your positive guidance. Thanks so much!