Mom threw teen out of the house: When is enough enough?

Yesterday I got a very distressing note from one of the moms in our community. Her battle with her disrespectful teenager had reached critical mass and she had told her almost 18-year-old they were no longer welcome at home. The mother is completely torn up inside not knowing if she has done the right thing, but she felt she couldn’t let her child continue to treat her this way.

The mother’s full letter is below. She is keeping the gender of the child neutral as not to sway the audience. Please be gentle and constructive in your advice or criticism. She is truly looking for a sounding board and some help. She’s not sure she’s done the right thing or even what to do next.

Here’s what the mother wrote:

“My question is …  when is enough, enough?

I have a 17 yo who shows no respect to my husband (not the father) and even less respect to me.  I love this child, have tried to do the best I can and have twisted myself into a pretzel to be an involved parent.  School was never fun, even kindergarten and we struggled every year.  The child has graduated this spring and was planning on attending the local community college before starting Georgia State the following year.  In my opinion this was a wise decision by this child.

I have been an involved parent, the last couple of years I was not as involved in the activities, but my thought process has been I needed to let go and give the child room to fall and learn how to recover while there was still a safety net.  I feel I have been strict, but also very giving and loving most of all.  I have had few expectation other than to work hard at school, try your best at swim team, take the seasonal job seriously.  Having a 17 yo who is still a virgin, not gotten into drugs, drinking and smoking, I feel I have instilled some values.  I always thought to teach by example, work hard, do for your friends and family even when there is no reward for yourself.  I have been supporting my mother, a elderly family friend, my child and myself and only recently married a man I had been with for 10 years.

I have had my child in counseling for the past 7 years working on depression, ADHD, bi-polar issues.

The child’s father has been in the picture for the most part, not due to me.  Up until the last 3 years we lived 4 miles from the father and other than celebrations (birthday, holidays or some event) he didn’t take his visitations consistently.  My child now will have little if any contact with him, but I try to keep the father in the loop as to what is going on at home.

We have less than two months until the 18th birthday.  As of last night the child is no longer welcome in my home.  In many ways I have nothing to complain about, other than the lack of respect, but I refuse to live with someone how does not respect me.  I don’t feel I am asking too much, help around the house, take care of the animals food water and let the dogs out to potty if you are home.  Help keep the kitchen clean, load or unload the dishes, don’t leave piles of clothes laying around, keep the bathroom clean since you are not the only one to use it.  We have offered to pay for doing things around the house, but $30 a week to feed and water was not enough in the child’s mind.  My husband and I just finished installing a fence and will need to paint it in the near future, child wanted to make money and offered to paint it.  But didn’t feel that the amount should be based on how good of a job was done.

I feel I have done everything I knew to do, but some how I have ended up with a child I don’t like.  This child is selfish and self absorbed and shows little to no concern for the feelings of other.  When I stated I would turn off the cell phone the response was “then you won’t hear from me again”  I said that is your choice, mine is to not let you control me with threats.  I will leave the phone on until the 18th birthday, but after that I will have it disconnected, only due to if an emergency.occurred I would like to have the ability to contact and be contacted.

Have I gone to far to let the child know it is no longer welcome in my home.  I was out on my own when I was 17, living in an apartment and paying rent and bills, but that was almost 30 years ago and life was a lot different.then. When is enough, enough?  I don’t enjoy living in a state of war at home, my needs are not being met by the child, when my needs are brought up, I get the typical eye rolling, deep exhausted sighs, and blocked out and ignored.

Would changing the locks and security password be going to far?  We don’t have a lot of valuables but I don’t want the child in the house without someone being there to make sure…..  I guess I don’t have faith in my child to make the right choices anymore and don’t trust this new person in my home.

Okay moms and dads: What do we think? How far does your teen have to push you to be thrown out? Did this teen hit the limit? Would the mental health issues override what another teen might be held accountable for? What does she do now: change the locks, let the teen back in after three days? When does the teen get to come home? How does the mom know the teen is ready to live  by the mom’s rules?

125 comments Add your comment

If the child is not yet 18...

July 8th, 2010
9:22 am

…the mom may be in legal trouble… she should have waited for another 2 months but it is doubtful the child will seek any DFACs involvement. Sometimes tough love is the only love that reaches these strong willed children. I am really sorry for her delimma…

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 8th, 2010
9:23 am

In a related story and truly not trying to be funny — a 29 year old man held his mom at gunpoint for not ironing his clothes. Here’s a guy who felt entitled to that mom service.

http://www.ajc.com/news/cops-man-holds-mom-566035.html

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 8th, 2010
9:23 am

I kind of wondered about that — wasn’t sure.

TnT's Mom

July 8th, 2010
9:27 am

I wish I had the answers – my son is almost 17, will be a senior and we have having some power struggles in our house. He has an a little bit of an entitlement attitude. he does household chores for me but refuses to do anything for his father.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MOMania. MOMania said: Mom threw teen out of the house: When is enough enough? http://bit.ly/axvftI [...]

Allie

July 8th, 2010
9:34 am

That’s a very tough situation and one I pray I never find myself in with my kids. Though it if came to that, I would follow Mom’s example and hope I was doing the right thing.

Kids need to learn respect and responsibility. Sometimes tough love is the only answer.

Possibly the teen in question had heard all the threats and promises in the past and, when nothing came to fruition, continued on with the behavior. Having Mom act on her threats and take action is a tough but necessary step. Now that Mom has taken these first few steps, she needs to continue on this path to show she means business. She also needs to get the biological father on board with her decisions to show solidarity to the teen, in case they go there looking for an easy ride.

When the teen realizes how tough it is to be out on your own, struggling to make rent and pay bills, they’ll see a different side to this situation and hopefully admire and respect Mom a whole lot more.

I wish her well with this. I will keep her and her family in my thoughts.

Young@heart

July 8th, 2010
9:37 am

Sounds to me like the teen is being typical….I wouldn’t throw mine out for not doing chores or back talking, …maybe you grew them up thinking all this was entitled to them and now with the new marriage the teen is rebelingl….mom probably never cracked down before but now that new Step dad is there he’s adding fuel to the fire with comments to her like are you gonna take that from teen, teen shouldn’t have this or that. I have seen it a million times when the new step comes in and pressures the other to control their kid how they think.

NicNac

July 8th, 2010
9:38 am

She keeps saying that her child is disrespectful but doens’t really give any good examples of this. (other than disagree with how much they should be payed for chores, hardly a crime). According to her, they dont drink, smoke or do drugs. No mention of stealing or verbal/physical altercations. I’m just not seeing anything that warrants getting thrown out of the house.

The part where she said that she raised a child she doesn’t “like” anymore really got me. Wow… I think the problem is with her and not her kid.

If the child is not yet 18...

July 8th, 2010
9:44 am

…see motherjane, I can too make comments germane to the topic WITHOUT having a blog “name”…so I guess I better make another comment or you will castigate me for not having a “real” name.

In this situation, I agree with Allie that maybe the child will understand that he/she does have responsibilities within the family now that food and shelter are her/his responsibilty on the outside…

JATL

July 8th, 2010
9:47 am

WOW -it is really hard to say very much not knowing the full back story. I don’t know that I would kick my kid out of the house unless I knew he had somewhere to go. In fact, I think the parent/guardian can be in legal trouble because the kid is under 18. If she’s found on the streets or something or does something criminal -she’s still a minor. It sounds like the “child” has some deep emotional/mental issues that lead to this behavior, because if he/she isn’t into drugs or some other subversive activity, it’s hard to imagine why she would be so mean. Unfortunately some kids are MEAN -people are MEAN -and we have different terms for them -sociopaths, etc. The letter states that they’ve seen a counselor for years for different issues. I would like to know more about what 7 years of counseling has yielded. It sounds like they need to be in immediate family therapy right now. NO, the kid shouldn’t be acting in this manner, but are they afraid for their safety? Has it gotten that far? It would be incredibly difficult for me to put up with this from my child, and I understand where the mom is coming from, but I also would freak out if my minor child was possibly sleeping on the streets or in a car or something.

On the other hand -since we don’t know the actual situation, and we haven’t witnessed the disrespectful behavior, most teenagers are surly and disrespectful at least some of the time. I’m not saying it should be allowed or condoned, and certainly not on the level that it seems to have gotten to here, but I just don’t feel we have enough info to really make a judgment call. If we can have more info on the outcome of the counseling, any emotional or mental disorders, etc., it would make evaluating this situation easier. I say go into family therapy IMMEDIATELY with the kid -let the kid stay at home unless there is a definite, safe place she’s staying -and see if something can be worked out. The best conclusion may be to tough out the next two months and make sure she’s set with a job and an apartment the day she hits 18.

Magenta

July 8th, 2010
9:49 am

A friend’s teen was gone from the house the day after graduation, determined that s/he could do everything better their own way. Now s/he is just a couple months shy of 21, really struggling, but the parents are extremely hesitant to let the kid come home, knowing s/he will bring all those problems inside their home. Time is a great healer. It will enable the kid to grow up (hopefully) and understand the situation from the parents’ perspective. The parents are fairly optimistic that things will turn out okay. 40 years after Woodstock, we still have generation gaps. They just have a different focus nowadays.

Mom is Wrong

July 8th, 2010
9:53 am

Mom,

You state, “My needs are not being met by the child” compounded by the child is bi-polar says it all–this child does not stand a chance with you. Sad…

JJ

July 8th, 2010
9:54 am

Wow, I could have written that letter. I’m dealing with this now. My daughter has not been able to get a job this summer, so I made a list of chores, and offered a weekly sum, plus I would also fill her car up with gas on MY paydays. She needs tires on that car, so she has to Earn the money by doing other chores and not getting paid for them, but getting credit towards the tires. But for her, the money is not enough for the chores she has to do every week. They way I figure it, I work all day long, she is at home with nothing to do, so why should I come home to a dirty house? Between her and my unemployed roommate, I should NOT be doing any housework!!!!! I should be able to walk into my home, it should be clean, and the yard should look nice too.

I have no words of wisdom to offer, but I will read and see what other’s offer. I may learn a thing or two here today also.

VaLady

July 8th, 2010
9:58 am

I know exactly what this Mom is going through. My husband and I just threw our 20-year-old out of the house four weeks ago. It was not an easy decision and we still agonize over it every day. I vacillate between anger and grief. Long story short, the 20-year-old had just completed a third semester as a freshman in a public Georgia university (not UGA). The first two semesters had been a disaster, although high school presented no academic problems. This past semester, our offspring was repeating four courses that had been failed before. Big surprise – all F’s again. After the “adult child” returned home, life was an aimless existence of partying with friends. The arguments escalated. When the “adult child” left the house, we kept the cell phone and I checked the messages. Also, I reset the password on the email account and read all of those messages. Long story short – marijuana has entered the picture. We had suspected drug use, but we did not have any concrete proof. The “adult child’s” significant other is a big supporter of NORML – what a surprise. There were text messages between the 20-year-old and the significant other about some pot that the SO has procured and that the 20-year-old smoked on a work break.

My husband and I feel like we’ve been “chumped.” We have spent over $20,000 on education so far and were willing to support future academic endeavors at a local technical college. All this is down the drain due to current life choices.

My husband and I have tried to give our children a nice life and to be active participants in their lives. The “adult child” has made choices and is now having to accept the consequences. Even though I grieve every day, the bottom line is that I cannot support the current life choices. When the 20-year-old left the house, I said, “I have always loved you and will always love you, but I do not like what you’re doing with your life right now.”

My husband and I have changed the locks and created a new pass code for the security system. The 20-year-old’s significant other is facing felony charges for receiving stolen property. We fear that the SO may be dealing marijuana, as well. We decided to secure our house; it’s better to be safe than sorry.

My hope is that the 20-year-old will come around to sensible thinking and return to us. My husband and I are willing to pay for rehab (if that is what is needed at this time), but that would require the 20-year-old to drop all the current friends and the significant other. I doubt seriously if that is going to occur anytime soon.

Like the Mom who started this column, I also worry that I have done the right thing. Intellectually, I know that I have. Emotionally, I am on a roller coaster. I grieve for the child that used to be and for the person that could be in the future. I may never see this “child” straighten out and become a responsible adult.

Lady Strange

July 8th, 2010
10:01 am

I too don’t see anything that warranted being kicked out of the house. Did she ever sit the teen down and have a good talk with them about their attitude, etc? I did my share of rebelling but if my mom had come to me and told me how I was hurting her I would have been mortified. I was at the opposite side of the spectrum, my parents divorced when I was 18 so I was all up in arms about that. I imagine this teen is upset of all the changes recently with the new husband.

Doesn’t make sense that they talk about how they instilled all these values in their child but now they don’t trust them cause of a little rebellion? Sounds like the parent and teen need to have a heart to heart talk and find out what the real problems are.

Becky

July 8th, 2010
10:05 am

Based on what she says about the child, I think the child needs more attention..They need to find out why the child is depressed..I’ve never had to deal with this type of thing, so I wish her all of the best with whatever happens and hope that everything turns out for the best..

As for her kicking the kid out 2 months before they turn 18, I don’t think that DEFACS will do antyhig about that..Even though 18 is the “legal” age, basically at 17, they consider you old enough to be on your own..My great niece moved to FL. when she was just about a month away from 18..She went down, rented an apt. and registered for school without any parental help..

@MJG..You don’t even have to be on here for someone to pick on you..Good luck with that one..

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

July 8th, 2010
10:15 am

becky — that’s so funny — i was thinking did I miss MJg ’s comment — i couldn’t figure that one out –

Hey, Becky...

July 8th, 2010
10:17 am

…that was in response to her smart a– comment late yesterday afternoon at 5:31pm – “OH wow…I see you were REALLY busy without me today :0! I did not want to clog the blog…LOL”, especially after she gets on people for NOT making comments that are related to the subject at hand…

Cammi317

July 8th, 2010
10:20 am

Yeesh, I am having a power struggle with my 12 1/2 y/o, but I keep telling myself it is just changing hormones and she will outgrow it. I sure hope I am not still going through this 5 years from now because one of us will not survive….

Also, I highly doubt that DFACS will give a care about an almost 18 y/o being put out…

Mattie

July 8th, 2010
10:27 am

I’m in agreement with those that do not agree with this mother’s actions. It looks to me as though she has chosen her new husband over her child. The world does not need another homeless person with mental issues. How can this possibly turn out for the best?

We have three teens here, and while they are generally responsible and respectful, tempers “might” flare over messes, missing curfews, etc. It isn’t worth getting into a power struggle over. I suppose if things ever escalated, we would first cut the extras like cars and cell phones. It has never been necessary. We keep things from escalating by shutting up, and instead writing notes when we are upset. A reminder that we have expectations that aren’t being met, along with a confirming “we love you”, has always been well received.

My mother started the letter exchange with me, and I was much more receptive to it than a lecture. I suggested it to a friend, and she has also had great results with her teens.

MomOf2Girls

July 8th, 2010
10:29 am

I have never had to deal with this, but I do remember reading a while back an article about parents who did. Their solution was to remove EVERYTHING from the child’s room except 1 change of clothes. Took the door off as well. Child had to earn back the bed, linens, clothes, phone, desk, etc. Made quite an impression on the kid and led to some major straightening out.

Cammi317

July 8th, 2010
10:29 am

Mattie, I like the letter idea! Thanks for sharing it with us.

JATL

July 8th, 2010
10:31 am

VaLady -see I get your point and situation far more than this mother in the column. You have a 20 year old (who is an adult whether acting like it or not), AND drugs have entered the picture, money has been wasted on college that he/she obviously doesn’t care about, etc. I TOTALLY get where you’re coming from!

And, I don’t necessarily think it’s a situation where DFACS is going to come visit so much as a legal issue in case the minor gets involved in some type of criminal activity (which homeless minors and people in general are often wont to do). Sure, in many cases a 17 year old will be charged as and treated as an adult, but depending on the situation, the parents could definitely be called on or held responsible for a minor’s actions.

Hey Mattie...

July 8th, 2010
10:32 am

…what a creative solution to a potentially sticky situation – and as Cammi said, thanks for sharing.

LuLu

July 8th, 2010
10:45 am

I grew up in two different parental situations. In one house, there were drugs and yelling and physical altercations. I left that environment because I didn’t want to grow up to be like that. In the other house, there were issues like not leaving a door open, or not closing a door, or not getting my chores done right when I got home. Generally small issues. If your kid isn’t having sex, doing drugs, stealing or yelling it is NOT that bad. Teenagers are teenagers. To me this mom sounds like she hasn’t done any self evaluation to see what she could do to fix the problem and instead is just washing her hands of the issue because she doesn’t “like” her kid and “her needs” aren’t being met. When a 17 year old kid is homeless they are not going to find the right answers that are going to straighten them out, and they will probably hate you for a good long while, unless they get some serious counseling and forgiveness going on in their life.

Have no answer but understand

July 8th, 2010
10:45 am

It is hard to say when to let go and when to hold on.

FCM

July 8th, 2010
10:48 am

“But didn’t feel that the amount should be based on how good of a job was done.” WHAT??? What if he/she did a lousy job but it all gets painted? You still want to pay full agreed upon price?

Power struggles between same gender of the species under a single roof is normal. It has to do with ascerting the self, practicing independence, and trying to establishing the self as an adult. You see it in the anmial world all the time. There is a reason a Pride has few males.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
10:50 am

Add me to the list of people who are troubled by the mom’s actions for several reasons.

1) You’re legally responsible for the kid until age 18.
2) Kid has a history of mental issues and congrats, you just removed his/her access to treatment. 7 years of counseling for serious problems and you don’t mention medication. I seriously hope you didn’t have the kid in the kind of counseling that doesn’t offer meds after *seven years*.
3) Kid is “not meeting your needs” and you don’t *like* her/him? The kid is NOT there to meet your needs at 7 months, 7 years, or 17 years. And nobody said you had to like the kid. HUGE red flag there. Show me a teenager who *isn’t* self-absorbed, and I’ll show you an excellent actor.
4) Kid had a plan to attain self-sufficiency: go full-time to community college, then move to a better school, then (presumably) get a job. This is a good plan, but it cannot be accomplished now. Good going. If you *do* have a relationship with the kid in the future, that’s going to be between you two for the rest of your lives… and if you think you resent the kid, you ain’t seen nothin’ until you see how much the kid resents YOU for this.
5) I’m SO sorry that you had a child 17 years ago and that the kid is inconvenient. I’m SO sorry that the kid doesn’t seem to like you anymore than you like the kid. Maybe you two were trapped in some kind of dynamic of nagging to work/whining not to work and there wasn’t really anything else to your relationship. Unfortunately, burden’s on YOU, not the kid, for that.
6) Go back to point one. In two months, you’d have the right to do this, as unfortunate and (in my opinion) unethical as it is. But right now, you don’t. You’re a custodial parent until kid is 18. And right now, you are a very, very bad one.

Becky

July 8th, 2010
10:50 am

@Hey Becky..I knew what the refrence (sp) was about and as has been said before..If you don’t like reading everything that MJG has to say, don’t read it..We all know that a lot of her post on here are long, but we (at least me) usually learn something from what she has to say..Yeah, she might post on here 4-5 times or more per day, no big deal..At least she says something & she’s usually not ugly to others on here..:)

@VaLady..Good luck to you and your husband..My Mother always said that she did not care how old you were, if you lived in her house, you followed her rules..I lived at home until I was 22 (Mom had cancer) and I always was respectful to her..Yes, I went out an partied, but I always called her and told her where I was..

JMS

July 8th, 2010
10:55 am

I would agree to take away cell phones, and other privlages, like a car or an allowance. I am not so sure about putting the child out of the home. If the child went to college would they not be staying in a dorm, so while it may be a difficult few months while you wait for college to start, I would work around holding off kicking the child out, and rather send them off to college which will serve the same purpose, that of getting them out of thehosue. Two reason you do not want to burn bridges adn this could be a stage, and two, once in college and having to do all the things they have to do like cooking living on a budget they will come to appreicate what you gave them and you may find that tehy will come to respect you and what you offered all on their own. CHildren today aond of the past 20 years have sadly been products of their enviroment, adn one thinng I have nnoticed is that so often parents have given them things to “shut them up” and get them out of their way. THat works when they are young children, but when they get older their demands are larger, more expensive and they have been trained to not take no for an answer. So you reap what you sew. I have always said if you are willing on the front end to put the time into raiising a child, which often meant stopping what you were doing to teach them accpetable behavior, you would enjoy them for years to come, We all know it would be easier when a child throws a tantrum, right at the moment to give them in and give them whatever it is they are demanding. I have seen it with my friends children and family. When I said no my kids knew I meant no, so did not persue it. COnsistancy or convenience that is the big game changer. I was always consistant. I have respectful children becasue tehy know the boundries they are very clear. Sometimes our childrens behavior, is a reflection of our inconsistancy and it is confusing and frustrating for them, tehy need clear messages. SO many times we do not want to take the time to deal with the bad behavior and take the time to let them know you love them but that does not mean you will give them everything their little heart desires. COnsistancy is what any living things thrives on, animal people and even plants, you will reap the benifits for years to come, sadly more parents take the quick fix just to shut the child up and make them “go away”. SO I always wonder why people act like they did everything right and have a child that is disrepectful. If you allow it once it will take root. As a parent you do not get weekends off or vacations it is 24/7 forever. I hope you work it out. Sit down and set boundries, talk to the child even if you have togo to a 3rd party. Part of you problem could be a misaunderstanding that the child feels this new relationship is pushing him aside. Explain that the love for a sppouse does not replace the love a parent has for their child. I urge you to work through this, as you do not want to later look back and blame your new husband for pushing the child out of your life, which it appears to me could be a small part of the larger equation. Sit down wit hyour child and work out some new adjusted rules you can both agree to live with.

jg

July 8th, 2010
10:55 am

I like the letter idea….we are having the same problem and I am so miserable.

Peace

July 8th, 2010
10:59 am

The first thing that the mom has to realize is–is she and her family now at peace? I put my own child out at 18 and since the rules could not be obeyed I was done.. The other children in my house were not getting the attention because it was all focused on one child and their negative behavviour. I realize that some kids just want to do what they want to do irrespective of the love and home training they receive. That was my child. The child was not raised with a silver spoon in his mouth but he got an entitlement attitude from where we lived and how he saw his friends interact with their parents. Mom, I would say to you that it will be a lesson learned for your child,,the lesson may not come this week or not until 5 years from now..but they will come to their senses. Also, I do not believe that since we are parents, God did not put us here to be abused by anyone, even our own children!

Susan

July 8th, 2010
11:00 am

The boy’s biological father needs to persuade his son to come and live with him. After all most teenage boys identify with the male gender as a role model at this later age. Very possibly the young man is acting out of rebellion because of his mother’s new husband (even though they dated a long time) and having in the house full time would be a big adjustment. This can be a troubling and uncertain time and transition for teenagers into adulthood, Coupled with his existing depression he needs unconditional love from both parents as alot of teenagers act out. He is too young to be on his own as he will most likely get into mischievious trouble trying to make it on his own after being forced out of his familiar surroundings. Spiritual counseling is a suggestion.

Meg

July 8th, 2010
11:02 am

My so went through a disrespectful phase, but I never threw him out. My reaction would have been to get angry and argue, but we got saved about that time and the Holy Spirit tempered my reactions, and I was able to remain calm and detached and focus on setting a good example. I’m extremely proud of how he turned out, and the glory goes to God, who supplied us with the blueprint and His infinite love and patience.

Jacksmum

July 8th, 2010
11:02 am

IMO – The people blaming this mother are not parents of teens. This is a very serious time. Just as telling a small child why not to touch the stove, play in the street, talk to strangers…teaching a young adult that others “needs” must be met, that value of compensation is commiserate with quality of work and that respect is a two way street are critical life lessons. Sometimes you have to let the small ones touch something hot, and the older ones go it alone. Good job mom. The right way is most often the hardest way.

And yes, I do have a 21 year old step and a younger bio. We have major problems with the step (disrespect, drugs, dropping out of school to party, etc) and none with bio. The difference may be age, but we are hoping and praying that the difference will be accountability. Step was spoiled rotten and still walks around with hand out (which mom fills, so not expecting any changes soon). Bio is held to standards everyday and rewards are always earned, never for effort but only for achievement.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
11:03 am

@Jacksmum–according to the *law*, she doesn’t have the *right* to throw him out. Doesn’t that end the “debate” right there/?

UF Mom

July 8th, 2010
11:06 am

I’m also really struck about the “child not meeting my needs”. No offense, but I don’t believe we bring children into this world to meet our needs, unless we are referring to the purely selfish desire/need to have a baby.

I think, as parents, we are obligated to meet the NEEDS of our children. Without knowing any more than the letter states, it sounds like this child’s meets were not met somewhere along the line. Maybe his/her wants were met, but I sense a level of emotional distress that has grown into something bigger. Mom says she has been with her now-husband for 10 years so I assume this man has been a part of the child’s life since age 7 or so. Did the then-boyfriend/now-husband ever take precedence over the young child, who was already dealing with divorced parents? Did it create a rift or distrust that festered into rebellion?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe a 17 year old should be responsible for their own actions. I just have a nagging feeling there is something deeper going on here. As stated above, I think some of the annoying behaviors being exhibited (eye rolling, sighing) are just typical annoying teenage reactions. I would really need more concrete evidence of what is irking Mom so badly to gauge whether or not I feel the eviction was fair.

FWIW…my DH had problems with his mother once she remarried…most of it was stemming from his step-father. Step-father refused to be involved and threw all of it back on my MIL, who lashed out at my husband. Once they divorced, she became somewhat normal again. Classic mistake of letting a man rank higher on the family totem than her own children.

Dey tuk er jerbs!

July 8th, 2010
11:07 am

Been there, done that

July 8th, 2010
11:09 am

I feel for you
I threw my son out when he was 19 for basically the same thing. Disrespectful, didn’t follow the rules, thought we should cater to him. I really should have done it the year before. The final straw was I got up at 3am and was going to have my son take me to the ER. I went to find him and he was gone. So was my car.
I called his cell. He didn’t answer but did come home after a few minutes. Long story short, I kicked him out that Friday. After a few months of living with several different friends, he realized that he was going to have to take charge of his life. He joined the Army and is doing great. I am so proud of him I could burst. And he actually called me to thank me for kicking him out and giving him the “wake up call” he needed to get his life together.
Tough love works, but I’m not sure who it is tougher on, the kid or the parents.

Jessie

July 8th, 2010
11:10 am

Just fyi – teenagers are supposed to be self-centered up to a point – it is part of the process of maturing and I wouldn’t be so sure about being a virgin, not drinking or using drugs – if you have been “hands off” the last three years who knows what has been going on in your teenager’s life. Even if you had tried to monitor your child’s life closely, teenagers are very skilled at lying and deceiving. What I think most people don’t understand is that once a teenager is able to drive, or be driven by friends, they are going to make all the important decisions in their life, whether you like it or not. If you have taught, loved and respected them well and have some good luck thrown in, then they will make good choices most of the time.
I wish you and your family luck, but most of all I hope you can still reach your child and let him/her know you love them unconditionally – so many children don’t get that message.

Maggie Reed

July 8th, 2010
11:13 am

I had a similar situation years ago. My child was abusing alcohol and was hostile to the rest of the family. I feared for our safety. After my teenager spent a week of camping in the woods near our house, I arranged for him to move in with his grandparents. They advised him not to take down his camp because the first time he came in drinking or behaved disrespectfully he would once again find himself homeless. It worked. He gave up the alcohol cold turkey and lived with them – very happily for a couple of years. Perhaps because we were able to keep it all in the family, our relationships with him stabilized.

Jacksmum

July 8th, 2010
11:17 am

@Not Going to Use My Usual Name – it is not illegal to remove a child of 17 from your home. She may have to get an eviction from the courts, but if the child has gone, that is no longer an issue. Sixteen in Georgia is the age of emancipation. They can go or be sent at that point depending on the circumstances. The parent could be held liable if the child is living at home, but if not, mom is in the clear. Bio dad can also pick up the slack. Sounds like maybe he needs to intervene for the sake of his child. It really does take the efforts of both parents to raise a child.

Lori

July 8th, 2010
11:17 am

The one line that gets me is “my needs are not being met by the child”. This is HER CHILD, not the other way around. Your child does not need to meet your needs. If the worst thing this kid did is “disrespect” her and her new man, then she is an idiot for severing the relationship. Sounds like she is the one who is self-absorbed. This kid graduated, is planning on attending college, doesn’t do drugs, and as far as we can tell from the article isn’t a criminal. Leaving the laundry laying around and forgetting to let the dogs out is something all teens do (and most husbands for that matter). I didn’t see anything in her story to explain what this kid did that was so horrible they deserve to be kicked out. It sounded more to me that she is just picking the new man over the kid, which sadly happens all the time.

been there done that

July 8th, 2010
11:20 am

That is your house, you can do what you want with it…..you deserve respect and help, you are noones maid, the society has ruined children, there is not alot out there that does have respect for thier elders anymore….in my day, you knew better than not to show respect!!! I say let ‘em go, if they live long enough, they will certainly regret thier actions…..

momofone

July 8th, 2010
11:21 am

Has Mom consulted with any of the counselors that the child has seen in the past 7 years? Perhaps they could offer some good advice given that they would be much more familiar with the details/history of the teen’s behavior and family dynamics.

The fact that the teen has had bipolar and other issues may mean that either they need medication or they’re on the wrong medication. I would think that any type of mental health issues are going to make the teen years more difficult–for both of you–but a qualified counselor ought to be able to give you some guidance on possible next steps.

You’ll be in my thoughts–Hang in there.

DigALittleDeeper

July 8th, 2010
11:21 am

I really feel for the mother and step father, I am sure this was a very hard decision. This young person has reached the age of responsibility and is very close to legal adulthood. I believe it is very wise that the mother has decided to let this child experience life at his/her own expense. He/she will find out that friends and extended family are not as generous as one might think. They will find that food, clothing and shelter can only be obtained through gainful employment. He/she will find that the boss will only pay when the work is completed and with high quality.
I’m not sure where this child has elected to live for the next few weeks, months or year; however, I am sure he/she will be calling VERY SOON to return home. If not, they are in for a load of trouble.
However, if and when he/she does request to come home, my advice to the mother and stepfather is to negotiate a rental agreement with a clause that states if the rules are not followed him/her will have 30 days to find a new resident. The agreement should include food, utilities and shelter only. I would suggest they get a cell phone and pay the bill. I would not provide transportation or gas money. I would request that they give 24 hour notice of visitors and no one is allowed to spend the night. Then the final agreement would be that the rent is paid by the 15th of each month and there is a $50 late fee and only good for 10 days; after that it is 30 day notice.

Then say I love you and respect you as an adult. Welcome to the real world.

Banjo the Siren

July 8th, 2010
11:22 am

Wow, this sounds a lot like my own situation. However, there are a couple of wrinkles:

My wife and I can not get together on how to deal with our son. This has been the case since my 16-year-old was a toddler. She always shielded him from consequences when possible and ignored all parenting advice.

Of course I was not a perfect parent and we were both highly over indulgent of him, but just for example I would find her arguing with him at age 11-12-13. I would quietly say to my wife, “Hon, can we go to our room and talk this over?” since arguing with him was something we were told not to do, nor were we supposed to argue in front of him. Her response: “NO! Stay out of this! It has nothing to do with you!” In front of the child!

Now she is living with him at her mother’s because he began threatening to “f’ing kill me.” I strongly believe that with death threats involved (besides all of the other abuse I took from him: name-calling, cursing me, spitting in the house (!) at all hours of the day and night, physical intimidation) I am morally and practically doing the right thing.

My son also: steals from neighbors, does drugs, cannot stay in school, violates curfew, abuses our pets. I tried to ignore the other behaviors but when the death threats started, I realized I was going to have to take strong measures to protect my safety and sanity.

My wife says he “only threatens your life when you get in his face.” I feel as his father it’s my duty to be in his face at times, and not ignore the behaviors he gets away with when she is around. I have reports that he is still cursing her and disrespecting her and her mother. He was returned home on probation in February and quickly violated nearly every term of his probation, but DJJ has done nothing to relieve the situation.

So my son turns 18 in a little under 380 days. My full intent is to support his physical existence as well as I can up until then, and then instruct him not to return to my life until he has made a change in his.

My wife, meanwhile, shields him from the consequences of his actions and tells anybody who will listen that I have “given up on him” and that the problem is, “He and his father don’t get along.” Well, that’s true as far as it goes but I think I deserve at least a little credit for waiting until the death threats started before I said no more.

I also believe that by shielding him from the consequences of his actions as a juvenile, she is ensuring that he will continue his behaviors as an adult and the consequences will be much much harsher and swifter.

The point of all this is that I want to give the letter writer this advice: know how much you can put up with, and don’t take drastic action until that point is reached. We all have our breaking point. It sounds like you might still be able to reach your child. Take some parenting courses if you haven’t already. I recommend myoutofcontrolteen.com. It really helped me in my approach to my son and to my younger daughter. With my son, it helped me to know that I was doing all I could, albeit late. With my daughter, she has flourished under the new expectations and methods.

You should be extremely proud that your child was able to graduate. My 16-year-old just flunked out of 9th grade for the 3rd time and has been ordered to stay away from our county’s schools.

God bless and good luck.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
11:24 am

@Jacksmum–the kid can leave, yes, but the parent doesn’t have the right to kick ‘em out until 18. If the kid goes to the authorities, the parent is going to face some legal issues.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
11:27 am

Banjo’s story provides the perfect foil to the letter writer’s story. Banjo’s son: stealing, drugs, violent threats, abuses pets, ignores curfews, flunks school.

Letter writer’s kid’s sins: “unlikable,” sassy, feels entitled, doesn’t want to do chores.

I hope we all see the difference here.

CKM

July 8th, 2010
11:32 am

I am so glad this woman isn’t my mother. Talk about being intolerant. She should count her lucky stars that her child isn’t on drugs. She may tend towards that direction though when she starts to feel completely alone. How sad.
P.S. To “Mom”: I wouldn’t count on this child to be there for YOU in your later years.