problems with my hateful 18 yo DD

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
problems with my hateful 18 yo DD
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 10:40am
My DD is 18 and about to graduate. For most of her life, she was a great student, but she's kind of quit caring. I think drugs may have something to do with that. She's headstrong, I believe she's bipolar as well, and she is supposed to be on medication but she doesn't take it. She has anxiety attacks and she threatens suicide from time to time. I don't think she's serious, but I have had the police out, so I do take it seriously when she threatens. My 16 year old daughter is always "losing" clothes, and we're almost sure that 18 year old steals from her. My 18 year old is hateful, belligerent, and pretty much comes and goes as she pleases, regardless of what I say. She moved out back in December, dropped out of school, temporarily, ended up living with "friends" and even in her car for that month, and then came home, for which I was thankful - I just wanted her to finish school and make some good choices. She craves a "spontaneous" and rebellious existence.

My DH is not her dad. We've been married for 4 years and everything in our marriage is wonderful, but he cannot stand this child and her complete disdain for our family and our rules. A year ago, he told her that she would be asked to leave as soon as she graduated high school. They don't fight, they just kind of avoid each other. He cannot stand the way she walks all over me and does what she wants, and steals from her sister, and lies, we catch her in lies all the time. So I do understand where he is coming from, but it also breaks my heart. Anyway, she'll be graduating in 4 weeks, and he's told her that we will put her in an apartment and pay her first months rent and a deposit, get her set up and turn her loose. My parents have also offered to take her (for THREE months) so that she can save some money but she says she doesn't want to live with them. I have also set aside some money for college, but I want her to go to the local junior college because she has no goals in mind, and I don't want to just throw money away on her... but she hasn't bothered to even take her SATs or anything.

Anyway - that's where we are. I am so emotional about this graduation, I keep getting all choked up about it - she could care less. I don't scream at her, I don't fight with her, I just talk to her and keep reminding her that she is making some really stupid choices that she will regret someday, but she thinks I'm an idiot.

Does anybody have any advice? This is such a sad time for me. I know it could be worse, but it truly is breaking my heart... on one hand, it will be a relief to have her gone, but on the other hand, I don't think she's going to make it on her own. And my DH will NEVER welcome her back. No way!! He is counting down the days until she is gone. I have sometimes even thought of leaving my marriage to go to "the apartment" with her, but that would mean uprooting my two other children, and really - I Love my marriage, but I am so torn between my ungrateful, hateful daughter and my had-it-up-to-here husband. She's still a child, IMO, but she doesn't think so... (sigh) - well, if anyone has any words of wisdom here, I'd appreciate it.

Avatar for meanmommy123
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 11:16am
Ok so there is alot to address. First I think what you are running into is typical teenage stuff I moved in with my boyfriend when I was 16 he was 21.. Anyway I think that if she can graduate and go on with her life she will eventually go to college NO don't force her to go I am 24 and just now going. Save the $ until she is ready to go and then give it to the school not her. I also know about step dads I hated mine now we still don't really speak but I am a grown up now and I have a child and one on the way a job and a great hubby he realizes that I did ok. Your daughter is going to have to make her own choices she will swim or sink it is that simple. I think if you want to help her get in an apartment that is great but BUT I would put it all in her name so that if she has friends move in or something and they trash it you aren't responsible. All utilities to cause they will take you to court if they aren't paid. Basically what I am saying is that she has to grow up some time kids don't realize or at least I didn't that moms do love us and are looking out for us. I wouldn't leave your hubby if you love him NO WAY. Just try to make it throught the nest few weeks and when the time comes say OK what are we going to do.. I PROMISE you she will look back and say I can't believe I was such an ass to my mom.... Good Luck
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Fri, 05-02-2003 - 5:20pm
This kid has a buttload of emotional problems that are causing her behavior. Instead of throwing her out, how about getting her into some psychotherapy? When was the last time her meds were adjusted, or her blood levels checked? Get her on meds that WORK, & she'll be more likely to take them. Instead of calling the cops if she make suicidal gestures, take her the nearest psychiatric hospital & tell them she is at risk & you want an evaluation. If you think she's taking drugs, why haven't you gotten her into substance abuse treatment. Many kids who have emotional disorders abuse drugs as a way of self-medicating. This is a cry for help. No one ever said parenting would be easy, & it's even harder when your child is disabled. Here are some things to keep in mind:

The “patient” is the whole family.

Remember that children with emotional disorders have two time frames: “Now,” and “Huh.” There is no future. There is no past. There is only now.

Do you want to understand thier actions? Just ask yourself: “What behavior would make sense if you only had 4 seconds to live?”

Instead of punishing wrong behavior, set a reward for the correct behavior you would rather replace it with. Rewards should be immediate, frequent, powerful, clearly defined, and consistent.

Plan ahead. Give warnings before transitions. Discuss in advance what is expected. Have the child repeat out loud the terms he just agreed to.

Don’t argue; nag; or attempt unsolicited and spontaneous transplants of your wisdom to your child. Instead, either a) decide that the issue is aggravating but not significant enough to warrant intervention; or b) make an appointment with your child to discuss the issue.

Head off big fights before they begin. Seek to diffuse, not to inflame. When tempers flare, allow everyone to cool off. Serious discussion can only occur during times of composure.

Especially with teens, negotiate, negotiate, and negotiate. Parents need to model negotiation, not inflexibility. Don’t worry about losing control: the parent always gets to decide when negotiation is over and which compromise is accepted. Remember: negative behaviors usually occur because the child is spinning out of control, not because he is evil. While evil behavior would need to be aggressively squelched, the much more common overwhelmed behavior needs to calmly defused.

Pick your fights. Is the issue at hand worth chipping away at your relationship with your child? Can your child really control the offending behavior at this moment?

Although it is not the child’s “fault,” he will still ultimately be the one to take the consequences of his behavior.

This is hard work.

You will make it through this; you have no choice.

“The children who need love the most will always ask for it in the most unloving ways.”

If it is working, keep doing it. If not, do something else.

Forgive your child and yourself nightly. You didn’t ask to live with the effects of an emotional disorder any more than did your child.

Steven Covey (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) suggests imagining your child delivering your eulogy. What do you want him to say about you? Keep those bigger goals in mind as you choose your interactions/reactions to your child.

This is not a contest with your child. The winner is not the one with more points. The winner is the one whose child still loves them when they graduate from high school.