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?