Before I get into this blog, I want to be sure to explain that I have a lot of guilt just writing this. In my line of work, I see terrible stories everyday about parents losing their children, having children taken away from them, or parents desperate for their children to return home. I cannot imagine that pain and I’m not in any way trying to say that what I am going through now is in any way like losing a child. I know, in the end, I am the lucky one. I still have my child. I still love her and she deep down still loves me.
|Remember this guy?|
That being said, you can probably guess what I am about to write. My 18-year-old daughter has decided she’s an adult now and doesn’t need or want to be at home any longer. Which to some people may sound harmless but the way she has decided to just destroy every important relationship in her life along with her future is nothing short of heartbreaking.
She’s failing school and very likely won’t graduate from high school even though she’s already been accepted to college and has the opportunity to get scholarships to pay for most of it. She’s destroyed meaningful relationships because she just has to get her way. When she doesn’t get her way, she has an absolute meltdown and won’t stop pushing and poking until she gets what she wants and if you don’t give it to her, well then, she has to keep pushing until that relationship is simply destroyed. The words that come out of her mouth are frightening. Yes, she's in therapy, and now that really isn't working.
And all of this is going on while my husband has been in the hospital and has been very sick and can’t drive or go to work. So, yeah, it’s been stressful lately to say the least.
But I’m not trying to get anyone’s sympathy—as I said in the beginning, my issues will most likely work themselves out, this will pass, and life will go on. Nothing has been permanently damaged... yet.
The point of writing this blog is for a few reasons. One, to just let others know that this kind of distress can happen to anyone. And two, to find the humor in a bad situation. Because if you can’t laugh about, what are you going to do? Cry? Sure, I’ve cried, but I’m ready to laugh a little now.
The other day, I had one of those early morning phone calls from my daughter while I was at work and she was supposed to be getting ready for school at home. She calls with this weak voice that lets me know, she’s about to tell me about how bad she feels and why she can’t go to school again. My neck immediately tenses up at the sound of the weak, “mama?” I tell her she has to go to school and hang up the phone knowing that it’s going to be one of those bad days and there is no telling what is waiting for me when I get home.
My fingers go to the keyboard of my computer and I type in “how do you kick out an adult child from your home?” My anger slowly starts to slide and I find myself almost laughing. I scan down the page to see the related searches include:
- Can I legally hit my adult child?
- It is legal to lock your adult child out of your house?
- Can you move out your adult child’s belongings from your home without their consent?
- Are you legally responsible to feed your adult child?
The list keeps going. I start to wonder, what else are parents like me typing into Google after dealing with an ungrateful, self-destructive child? But most importantly, it showed me, I’m not alone—not by a long shot.
I think the biggest takeaway I’ve gotten through all of this is to learn the answer to an even more important question, “how do you stop enabling an ungrateful, self-destructive child?” Because at the end of the day, the only thing I can control is myself. And the only thing that keeps me going in the right direction is to put an image of my daughter in my head where she walks away from her own children and husband one day because she didn’t get her way and I never made the tough decisions to not enable this type of behavior.
She has a long road ahead of herself and hopefully she’ll get back on track before she destroys her chance to go to college next year and more importantly, before she destroys all of the important relationships in her life and is left all alone with nothing. But she has to figure that out—you cannot make someone happy and you cannot make someone change when they do not want to change. Not sure why I need to keep learning that lesson, but apparently, I do.
In the meantime, I’ll find ways to distract myself with getting out of the house and Google searches. Which reminds me, the related searches for "how can I get my adult child to behave,” are pretty great, too.