DEAR COACH RICHIE: My 18 year teenager won’t grow up? She’s acting so entitled, dropped out of college, has 2 jobs but between them doesn’t work full time. I have started charging her rent since she dropped out of college and asked her to clean her room, do one thing each day to help with the house, clean up after herself and do a load of her laundry a week or I cut off the Internet.
She’s so mad that I’m charging her rent because, in her words “I know she’s broke” but she can get a tattoo every time she gets paid and spend every dime she has the day she gets paid. And I’m the bad guy?!? I’m trying tough love but it’s not getting very far when she has $5 in her account to last her until next payday. She has major depression and I’ve found a therapist for her and we’re trying to switch her depression medication. I’m at a loss.
COACH RICHIE: I feel your pain. Teenager won’t grow up is a common complaint from parents. However, as parents it is our not job to get them to grow up. They are on their own journey in life and they will grow up when it is their time to. When we force them they resist because it is not what they need in the moment. We want the best for our children and sometimes the best thing is to let them be and find their own way. Tough love never works. What do they learn from tough love? When I am depressed the people that are supposed to love me take things away from me.
A couple of questions you can ask yourself. What do you fear the most of her not growing up? What does that mean for your life if she fails at it? As parents we sometimes make it all about our own egos. We can’t help it. Our parents did it to us so we just pay it forward. Charging her rent is great. especially if she just works. This an an opportunity to teach her about life and paying rent is part of life. Have you asked yourself why you care so much about her only having $7 in the bank? Does that really effect your life? Instead of asking her to do all the things around the house or suffer a loss of wifi. What if approached it in a different way? Are you being specific with your requests? Do they have a due date?
Have you asked her to vacuum the living room and then said when do you think you will have that done by? Timeline. They need timelines. If she says by dinner. Then say . Great. Then i am expecting that the living room will be vacuumed by dinner. The most important aspect of being a parent is dropping the expectations of the parent that we thought we would be. Instead becoming the parent that our children need us to be.
When we push them too much (Tough Love) we end up pushing them out of our lives and without the connection to us leaves them with not many good options. Latin word for discipline is teaching. In what ways can you help teach her how to become an adult without resorting to taking things away and all the arguing and fighting that happens as a result. we only have one chance to get this right with our children.
The more we questions our own thoughts and ego about how we are parenting and what our expectations we have for our children the better off everyone is. So one last question that you could ask yourself. What expectations did I have for my child that she is not fulfilling which is creating negative emotions in my own life? What can I do to let go of the wheel and let her figure things out. When we let go of the wheel a little bit they realize all these life lessons and learning opportunities. Teaching time.
They learn problem solving skills, coping with challenges, becoming mature and most importantly they get wisdom through failing, falling down and getting back up again. You got this all day long. I hope you find something here that helps you out. We can love them or control them but we can’t do both. It is their journey and we are merely passengers here to love, guide, support and mentor them we are not in control of their destiny in life only to help them stay on the road.
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