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

JATL

July 8th, 2010
11:34 am

OK -my ADD is all over the place today! I kept missing this part you all are talking about: “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”

Well, HELLO -its a teenager! My mother was surprised my eyes didn’t get stuck in the top of my head when I was a teenager I rolled them so much! If she had ever mentioned me meeting her needs, they probably would’ve gotten stuck. Evidently I perfected the classic eye roll coupled with, “MOTHERRRRRR!”And yes, the others are correct -YOUR child is NOT HERE to meet YOUR needs! EVER! We bring these kids into the world, but it’s supposed to be a selfless act. Hopefully, if we’re lucky, we get paid back with good relationships, great grandkids, and proud moments, but not always. It’s a gamble. I expect my husband to meet certain needs of mine, and I expect certain needs I have to be met through friendships, but I don’t ever expect my children to meet any of my needs. If you had a kid for that, then that’s probably where this whole problem started 17 years ago.

Matt

July 8th, 2010
11:36 am

Who’d ‘a thunk it? A disrespectful teenager? Never would have guessed. As the parent, it’s your responsibility to teach them to expect consequences when they are disrespectful. If your kid really is as bad as you make it seem to be, then keep him in counseling, but don’t kick him out of the house. That will only make him heartily dislike you. Besides that fact, it is illegal to kick a minor out if he is your responsibility. If I were you, I’d get the kid back home, have a sit-down discussion, and start anew. If he has a problem with that, MAKE him listen to you. You need to show more discipline and firmness with your kid. If they talk back, take something away that they really like, or threaten them with something that they dislike. Don’t think that your only option is to abandon your responsibility as a parent and kick the kid out. That is just plain wrong.

TechMom

July 8th, 2010
11:47 am

I understand tough love and quite frankly think that some teenagers can ruin their family’s life if they are allowed to. Sometimes things have gone on too long and escalated so far that the only option is something drastic like kicking them out. Should this have been dealt with better in the past? Likely. That being said, I don’t know if Mom is just trying to sugarcoat the kid’s actions or what by they don’t seem awful enough to me for the child to be kicked out. My son is 15 and we have had to do some pretty un-fun stuff as parents in order to get him to listen and behave as a contributing member of this family (i.e. zero privileges+ lots of chores + lots of isolation).

I don’t think the mom has a legal requirement to keep supporting this kid, even if s/he is not yet 18 b/c s/he has graduated and is nearly 18. You can be emancipated quite easily at this point and I doubt the state has any interest unless this teenager is not capable of getting a job. Lots of us lived on our own at 17, 18, 19 and did just fine. The question does come into play, is the teenager capable? It’s hard to tell without a true medical diagnosis. ADD/ADHD, no biggie; Bipolar – biggie b/c it’s such a sensitive mental condition that it requires careful medication dosage to control. Perhaps the side effects of the medication or the condition itself are controlling the child’s actions more than s/he is able to.

Lastly, I would not doubt that the step-parent has something to do with the situation. Although he’s been there for the past 10 years, the mom doesn’t state in which role/capacity. The FAMILY should definitely seek counseling before going to such a drastic measure.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
11:49 am

TechMom–you *can* be quite easily emancipated at this point, but it is a legal process. You can’t just toss ‘em out before 18; you have to go through the appropriate channels.

KoolAid House

July 8th, 2010
11:49 am

My child is turning 16 in a month. Although not disrespectful, but typical teenager doing what they want to do when they want to do, hearing what they want to hear, having to repeat myself, I see no reason to kick my child out of the home. Looking at the big picture, being disrespectful should be the sole grounds for kicking someone out.

No doubt something needs to be done, but I sense the mother only added to the child’s obvious feelings of abandonment.

DigALittleDeeper

July 8th, 2010
11:50 am

Matt

July 8th, 2010
11:36 am

This child has successfully completed highschool; after that we don’t have to do anything when they are disrespectful. We choose to pay for college, because we love them; not because we are obligated to do so. And we do it without expecting anything in return except for a little bit of respect.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
11:52 am

I’m a liberal. I don’t want a boy to act like a girl; I prefer he act like a civilized human being. Or are you suggesting that this equates to being a girl? If so, I won’t argue. ;)

There are plenty of more effective punishments than spanking, which is the lazy parent’s way of instilling in their kids the certain knowledge that violence CAN solve our problems. Yay! Wait, no, that’s bad. Actually, violence in kids can be correlated to homes where spanking is de rigueur, as study after study has shown.

Finally, what the heck does this have to do with a kid rolling her/his eyes at mom and being kicked out of the house for it?

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
11:53 am

Dog, sure, you *can*, but you can also face legal consequences if the teen has the sense to go to the police or child services.

You can kick a kid out at 17, but if you don’t go through the appropriate steps, you’re not on the right side of the law.

Psych Friend

July 8th, 2010
11:55 am

I hope there is more to the story…from what I am reading, it seems the mother has some entitlement issues of her own. I understand chores, but it sounds more like the mother expects a slave rather than someone to do chores. With the mother wanting to express her “feelings,” this may not be appropriate for the child. From the sounds of it, the mother describes a child who is abstinent, drug and alcohol free and otherwise a good kid with the exception of the mental health issues. I wonder if the mother has stepped back and looked at her approach to the issues? Rather than ranting and raving about it and making everything about her, perhaps she should engage the child more and make it about them? This is an interesting case that I think a family counselor could have a ball with!

TechMom

July 8th, 2010
11:58 am

@Not going… it’s obvious there are no real channels you have to go through to kick your kid out- this lady just did. All I’m saying is that unless someone calls the state, who’s going to know? And further, do you really think the state has the resources to follow up on cases like this when there are toddlers in homes getting beaten?

Laws are only useful if they are enforced and I can’t see anyone enforcing this one nor would I want them to use my tax dollars to do so.

Becky

July 8th, 2010
11:59 am

@Banjo..Just last month a friend of my husbands walked into his house one Thurs. night to find his 25 yeard old son dead..This boy hd been in and out of trouble with the law for some time, was using and dealing drugs, had served time in jail..Each time the Dad would do whatever was possible to “save” the son..He spent thousands of $$$ to try to keep his son out of trouble, didn’t work..So my thoughts are with you and hope that everything works out for you, your wife and your son..

LG

July 8th, 2010
12:06 pm

As a mom of a 17 year old boy, I earned my respect, I didn’t expect respect. This whole generation is about adults earning their respect – it’s not just given anymore and rightly so. You only get respect if you are respectable in their eyes and that doesn’t mean being their friend either. They don’t want us as friends, they have their own.
They want their parents to be parents that are respectable. Find out what that is to your son and see if it’s doable.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:07 pm

Oh boy, I’m really pissed off now! Ive got plenty of evidence to back up my claims! Who do you think you are to question my authority? And don’t ever call me Gump again, or you’ll regret it!

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:09 pm

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1983895,00.html There’s your story about a study published in _Pediatrics_ journal about the long-term effects of spanking.

By the way, that’s a hit on the first page when you Google “spanking study.” Now I guess I’ll be googling Georgia state law about minors (you know–minors–people under 18) because you don’t know how.

Peggy

July 8th, 2010
12:09 pm

Wow, the blame game is going strong. Why assume she is favoring the step dad over the child? This isn’t a new man in the picture, They’ve been together for 10 years. This mom loves her child, has tried everything she knows to do, and is just asking for helpful suggestions. Throwing a child out is a heartbreaking decision and tough love is a desperate act. Yes she LOVES this child, not liking does not mean no love. She appears to have sought professional help to no avail. What’s left? Dr. Phil?
Yes change locks and passwords, if the child shows up hungry with a civil attitude feed him/her and tell them they are welcome home if they can be respectful. Stress that you love them but don’t like and won’t tolerate disrespect.
If the child indicates they want to come home list chores and let them choose which ones they are willing to do. They won’t choose much but it’s a beginning and they’ll be home and not in harms way.
All parents try their best with kids, and sometimes their best isn’t enough.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:09 pm

You’re so cute, pretending to be me! I’m a liberal. I don’t curse.

DigALittleDeeper

July 8th, 2010
12:10 pm

As far as all you legal beavers, I wouldn’t care if DFACS had to get involved or the overall court system. I would suggest that DFACS take them in or the judge moves him/her into their home.

As, far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t care what is put into my “parental record”.

I hope the same is felt by this mother and stepfather.

As far as the parent wanting a slave, the child must think the mother is the MAID. It’s my house and if you don’t like CHORES you should get your own home. Then you can live as you like.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:11 pm

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:12 pm

Oh boy, I really *do* have evidence to back up my claims. I know in talk radio world, they don’t play that way.

Since when did conservatives decide that laws are suggestions, dog?

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:13 pm

dog, I was sure that was YOU posting under my name! You’re telling me it wasn’t?

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:14 pm

It’s true. I read widely, and I retain a lot of what I read, but you wanted evidence, so I provided links. You’re grasping for straws now, dog.

been there

July 8th, 2010
12:14 pm

This is the first time that I did not ready ANY responses before posting comments. To each his own and I didn’t want to agree or disagree with anyone else, so here goes: I have been told by the authorities that a child at age 17 CAN be tossed from your home, unless they are in school. Since your 17 yo has graduated, you are in the clear there. Secondly, I feel like you and I are raising the same child. I love my child dearly, however, don’t particularly enjoy their presence, and at times, like them either. is your child medicated for his / her ADHD, bi-polar, issues? that is necessary for your sanity, as well as their own. I have never been a proponent of “drugging my kid” but, having lived with both ends of the spectrum, it is necessary. In addition, it may be that the kid’s emotional state is such that you may be fearful for your safety. ADHD and bi-polar tendencies lean so dramatically toward the impulsive behavior that he/she may “snap” and cause you or your husband physical harm. This generation is not taught respect from anyone except SOME parents. Children are told that they have rights – no, not really. You are required to feed, clothe and house them. That is their only “right.” You are not required to feed them fillet Mignon, clothe them in Tommy Hilfiger (choose your name brand) or house them in Buckingham Palace. Nor are you required to provide them with entertainment – ie, cell phones, computers, video games, TV, trips out to wherever, etc…. Those are privileges earned. If your child chooses to disrespect you and your husband, then he / she chooses to loose privileges. In this case is the privilege to live in (I am assuming) comfort. I feel you are doing the right thing for your family by tossing said kid out on his / her butt and let them fend for themselves. A little hungry, cold, and discomfort may make them realize what they did have. Oh, and if you are paying for college, then you are giving them another PRIVILEGE – not a right. You, as a parent will ALWAYS worry, but you must know that you did your best and tried to raise a respectful child. Good luck and God Bless – by the way, the military may REALLY make them respect what they had – it is a consideration!

momoftwo

July 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

I have two children ages 8 and 11. They argue and bicker and as we speak are in their rooms for the rest of the day.
Point being, that she has reached her breaking point.when your child makes you cry, what does that say…her needs to have “her needs met” is understandable.Not having to be miserable yourself has some merit too.
MIne are driving me crazy….

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:17 pm

are you implying that Oprah is not a reliable source of information?

Brenda

July 8th, 2010
12:17 pm

I’m a single mother of an 18 year old who recently graduated from high school and received a scholarship from a university. I raised my son alone from birth and trust me, we have had our rounds. No, my son did not and still does not take out the trash without asking, automatically pick up behind himself and occassionally acts like the self-absorbed / spoiled brat he really is; but at the age of 17 I would not put him out of the house.

Mom, please rethink your actions, let him back in the house, and please continue the therapy.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:21 pm

dog, if I didn’t have any knowledge of it, why was I right about both issues? There really was a study just as I said that said just what I said it did… and Georgia law (whatever “authorities” are telling people, whatever that means) states that parents can’t kick out a 17 year old without going through some legal hoops, because 17 year olds are minors.

Truth is, I’m in graduate school, and *I* have access to the original journal article in Pediatrics–but that’s not generally available, so I looked for a mainstream media story redacting the information so you could see it too. It was easy to find.

Look, I’m done arguing with you. The facts are very clear.

Here it is from the Georgia Code of laws:
39-1-1. Age of legal majority; residence of persons in state for purpose of attending school
(a) The age of legal majority in this state is 18 years; until that age all persons are minors.

That’s about as clear as the law can be. You can ignore the law, and sure, you might well get away with it. That doesn’t mean you’re legally right. According to the LAW, a 17 year old is a minor unless the courts declare otherwise, period, end of story.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:21 pm

PS: I’ve never actually watched Oprah. Who has time? As I’ve already stated, someone else is posting as me. Welcome to the Interwebs.

Banjo the Siren

July 8th, 2010
12:23 pm

Thanks for your kind words, @Becky. Such a scenario is indeed my fear, especially with my wife’s constant enabling.

If I had no other kids, I would play the “Daring DFCS to take him” game. However, I am most interested in my daughter not being exposed to the system any more than she already has been (through family interviews with DFCS brought on by my son’s behaviors.)

DFCS has been to the home multiple times since my son was a little boy due to his self-destructive behaviors resulting in ER visits, etc. He once broke his wrist two times in quick succession by punching walls in our home and in neighbors’ homes.

I hate him sometimes when I think that he has exposed his sister to the risk of DFCS scrutiny, which we have all heard the horror stories: taking children from homes that are safe but don’t fit the particular DFCS apparatchik’s mood that particular day. Meanwhile, I believe my son is a danger to all of us and as such, if I permit him the run of the home I will certainly put my daughter at risk!

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:24 pm

dog, who else would it be posting under my name? why would anyone else bother? that last comment “from me” was you too, wasn’t it? just fess up so we can continue our debate

the mom

July 8th, 2010
12:25 pm

For all concerned, the child is safe and not on the streets. I didn’t kick the child out, but told the child they were not welcome in my house if they didn’t respect the rules. I do seem to remember a blog several months ago about this very time period in a child’s life. Just after High School and right before College. If I remember there were a lot of comments along the lines of my house my rules.

It sounds like the biggest mistake I made was saying my needs are not being met. I was not looking for emotional needs, which is not the child’s responsibility. The needs I was thinking about when I wrote that was the common courtesy needs of living in a house with others.

The stepfather is not an issue. I do take sides between the two on the few occasions there is a reason to take sides, and feel I support the one who is in the right. It is not based on one is my husband and the other is my child, just because on is an adult does not always mean he is always right or since the other is a child they are always in the wrong.

Physical conflict.. The child did attempt to strike me a couple of weeks ago, but stop before they made contact. There have been times when contact has been made.

Under no circumstances would I with hold the medical treatment and counseling. There was a secession just Monday, so this has not been neglected and has been brought up.

I did take the child down to mattress, pillow and sheets, picked out the clothes for that day’s activity. Worked some, but didn’t seem to have the response either the counselor or I thought it would have had. I have also cancelled a birthday and Christmas when the child continued with behavior that was unacceptable. I have not made idle threats and not delivered. On the other side I have rewarded acceptable behavior and the child has have wonderful life experience.

Driving is not an option at this time; license has been suspended due to missed school days. Will be reinstated upon the 18th birthday. Summer job was lost due to the economy.

The not feeding or watering the animal was a bigger issues since the animal was injured and could get fresh water on it’s own and was out in the heat. We checked before we left for work, but when my husband got home there was no water and then drank three buckets of water, in this heat needs of the animal outweighed the needs of the child.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:26 pm

Banjo, your story is heartbreaking, and you are in my prayers. It sounds like no amount of even perfect parenting could’ve changed that situation. It’s a mystery why some people grow up so filled with rage and hate, completely acking in empathy, despite the best efforts of those who love them.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:31 pm

Hey, the mom. I am VERY glad to read that you know where your child is and that she/he is safe. Reading more clarification, I’m very glad that you didn’t just toss a 17-year-old out because of some sass and eye-rolling.

Frankly, for me, everything changes with physical abuse (of people and animals). When you’re hit, that’s a very different matter. I hope that counseling (and medication?) can help, and I would also recommend seeing a lawyer about legally ending your parental responsibilities. Sad as it is, it might be necessary in this case.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:33 pm

As I said, I’m definitely not interested in further engaging debates with people who aren’t interested in civil discussion, but I am enjoying reading (and responding to) everyone else’s comments. The Mom, thanks very much for posting here–I know I in particular attacked you based on what was said at the top of the article, and I’m glad to know that I was wrong!

Just-My-Thoughts

July 8th, 2010
12:34 pm

The horse is out of the barn in this situation. IMO, if this mother/child relationship is broken now, sitting down talking is not going to solve the problems. It’s probably too late for “sit downs”, like most teens, they know everything. So my suggestion to her would be to wait, reality has a way
of humbling the most “stubborn” know-it-all’s. And when the child come crawling back, because they always do, only then will she have the upper hand in this matter, and only then will her and her husband be able to control situation.

KoolAid House

July 8th, 2010
12:34 pm

“For one, I’m a grown man who can handle any liberal witch that comes my way. Two, you’re not going to do anything to me.

Your empty threats are laughable, Gump”

I hollered and thought the same thing!!!!!

Banjo the Siren

July 8th, 2010
12:36 pm

@Not you hit the nail on the head. My son has been diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Throughout his life, he has been to many specialists and diagnosed with various things. I would greedily check the literature on those diagnoses and say, “Well, I guess they’re the doctors.” I would ask them about the variations I saw between his behavior and their diagnoses and they would just shrug and say let’s work through it.

Then, of course, the counselors in school and therapeutic settings who specialize in dealing with kids with this or that diagnosis would start calling the house and complaining to us about him!

Reading up on APD is the first time I came away thinking, “Yep, that pretty much describes him.” And the literature is terrifying — makes me feel as if there’s nothing that can be done except protect ones self and society. I would hang a bell around his neck if I could.

A Family Guy

July 8th, 2010
12:38 pm

I am a family therapist and a parent of teenagers. There certainly is a time for drawing the line, however there is not enough information in the letter to make a judgment or a recommendation about the actions taken by the mother. The letter contains many clues that I would want to follow up on; but more information is needed before drawing any conclusions. The child has been involved in therapy; has the family also been involved? Was the therapist aware that the mother was getting to the point of considering these actions? Therapy is not always the answer and is certainly not a magic bullet, but often the process can help to avoid extremes in behavior and improve the family’s ability to solve problems.

KoolAid House

July 8th, 2010
12:40 pm

@Banjo ~ I had to go back and read your story. I feel your pain. You did the right thing by taking his threats seriously. These kids snap so easily. His mother has enabled him his entire life. From the sounds of it, he probably will wind up in jail for a very long time. Your wife is also wringing her hands because she can’t see that she has failed as a parent. Indulging your child is fine to a point. However, never given him feet to stand on is problematic.

I truly wish you best. Perhaps he’ll come back on the other side of thru….

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
12:43 pm

@Banjo–read a really interesting book recently, “The Sociopath Next Door,” by Martha Stout in which the clinical psychologist estimated that four percent of the population are sociopaths, the chief symptom of which is lacking any conscience at all. A fascinating read, but heartbreaking and yes, terrifying if it’s a family member. One thing I’ve consistently read is that there’s nothing that “makes” a sociopath; they’re clearly lacking conscience from a very young age. Do you think they’ll ever find a way to treat it? I’ve not run across anything that claims to be a successful treatment for APD.

BeenThereDoneThat

July 8th, 2010
12:43 pm

I’ve been in the same situation and it’s no fun at all. No parent that loves their child ever wants to face this, but it happens. A lot of times they are influenced more by the company they are keeping, than by the believes and values instilled by the parents. My teen also faced problems with depression and we went through the counseling too. I also listend to threats of harming themselves, etc. They knew this was a touchy area and was used to manipulate me. Per our counselor’s advice-I had to learn to say “I love you and I hope that never happens,I was available if they needed help and professional help was available”. This finally stopped when the teen didn’t get the expected reaction. There was a step parent involved as well since the biologoical father was deceased. We have since divorced due to all of the issues. There is no one that can tell you 100% that your decision is the right one to make, but I would suggest that you wait until 18 yr. to do this. I was told that a 17-yr old can leave on their own if they have a place to live and the authorities will not make them return, but the parent cannot force them out of their home until 18-yr. This is abandomment and you can face charges, if reported. You set the rules of your home as the parent, and if the teen refuses to abide by the rules, or show respect to you and your spouse then you have to decide what is best for the family. You give the teen the chose to follow the rules or leave (at 18). If they choose not to follow the rules, then you didn’t kick them out, they choose to leave. It will be tough though, and there will be many worries, many doubts, many tears and many sleepless nights. ). I had many people that were not parents of teens give me their advice, which advice is always easy to give, but tough to swallow. You don’t know what you would do until you have faced the same situation. If it helps you, work with a counselor to proceed. Best of luck.

Denise

July 8th, 2010
12:48 pm

Not a parent but I do have a comment. The main issue I have with this is that she says her child has been treated for mental illness/disorders. What this mom doesn’t seem to realize is that, especially for bipolar disorder (which I have so I can speak about), treatment needs change as the disorder changes. This child may be experiencing some new symptoms of bipolar disorder that is making him/her act out. For example some people become very aggressive when they are manic. Aggression looks different for different people but definitely talking back and being beligerent (sp?) can be seen as aggressive. If her child is in a manic phase, he/she may engage in risky behavior that, if not observed by a parent, may really get him/her in a lot of trouble.

Look, I don’t know what a parent should do in most circumstance because – using MJG’s statments – I’m not even on the sidewalk, but I believe when you have a child with a mental illness, you can’t just throw them out to the wolves without first equipping them to care for themselves. I am 37 years old and was diagnosed at 22. It took a lot of trial and error to get my treatment plan straightened out and without support I wouldn’t have been able to do that and function the way I do now. (No one even believes me when I tell them I have BP disorder because I am fully functional.) These illnesses change and the treatment plans change along with the symptom changes. I think it is irresponsible for a parent to let a child fend for themselves when they are sick. I’m sure others don’t agree but that’s okay. I’m just speaking from my individual perspective triggered by a few words in the letter.

KoolAid House

July 8th, 2010
12:50 pm

@It’s a shame ~ nice twist on the book title…you are making me laugh!

motherjanegoose

July 8th, 2010
12:55 pm

@ A Family Guy…I was thinking exactly what you mentioned: we need more information.

I have parented 2 teens. Were they ever sassy, messy, rude or difficult? YES but they met up with the consequences…which ( to me) is a big problem in families today…they do not have consequences. Perhaps this Mom is just giving consequences for behavior she cannot tolerate. It is her house and thus she does have this right ( to me).

My son just moved back out after a year home with us. He is 23. He knew that living with us afforded him more financial freeddom but he did have to respect our rules. We were more lenient with him at 23 than at 15. He moved due to the 90 minute commute to work in the a.m rush hour for his 8 a.m. shift. He told me it is REALLY wierd to me in an apartment all alone. I will see him for lunch tomorrow.

I do not feel I need to earn my children’s respect when I am footing the bill. We enjoy him as an adult and he is generally considerate and reasonable.

My daughter is 18 and one of my husband’s friends just told him, ” can we switch daughters…yours seems much easier than ours…”

Again, I do not know about all kids. I parented mine with rules, expectations and consequences. It was and still is not popular or easy but just the way we do things at our house. Mine have both worked since they were 12 and pitched in for their own things. It built repsonsibility and our friends continue to comment on what nice kids we have…we know they are not nice ALL the time :).

I think there is more going on with the featured story today, in order to form an opinion but that is me.

Banjo the Siren

July 8th, 2010
1:00 pm

Thanks @Not I will check that out. Most of my reading has been online and I also read Robert Hare’s “Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us” which came up with about the same figure, maybe even higher.

Photius

July 8th, 2010
1:00 pm

I cannot judge this mother; have mercy on her. I do know this due to age and experience: sometimes a child is just flat out damaged goods regardless of parenting. It’s biological reproduction and sometimes flawed species are created from time to time. I am not trying to sound cold, but sometimes the child comes into this world bad news and will always be bad news. It happens all the time in nature. i am so sorry for this mother’s experience.

Not Going To Use My Usual Name

July 8th, 2010
1:10 pm

@Banjo–I’ll read the Hare book. Even higher?! Scary. @Photius–we hate to admit this, because it’s admitting that we have no control over it, but you’re right.

Mother of 2

July 8th, 2010
1:11 pm

I wish everyone would stop judging this mother. I have a teenaged daughter and it’s not easy. She needs her child to respect her and do what he/she is told when asked. I think that’s what she meant by not having her needs met by her child…duh. Yes her kid could be worse, yes most teenagers are unruly, but that does not mean she can’t teach her kid a lesson. I have 2 children and I have learned that what works with one child may not necessarily work for another. She has reached her breaking point with this kid and she did what she thought was best. Very few parents make decisions with the intent of screwing up their kids’ life. Give her a break. My 13 YO daughter was disrespectful toward me (yelling and screaming at me because I made her do the dishes) and I asked her to leave and after she stood outside a few hours in the dark, she changed her attitude. Tough love is hard to give, but sometimes necessary. No parent should allow drug abuse, dropping out of school, irresponsibility, or disrespect…ever. If you allow disrespect, the other offenses will soon follow.

Heartbreak

July 8th, 2010
1:35 pm

I am living a similar situation. With 3 teens all parented the same way, two are incredible with normal teenage issues. The one is out of control. Running away from home when told to study, drinking, threats and actual physical violence. Our world has been turned upside down. We go the counseling. The troubled teen refuses to go. I love this child with all of my heart, but I do not know how to reach him anymore. He repeatedly states he hates me. And then days later will ask for money to buy some toy. Which of course isn’t given.

Our family is at peace when he is living elsewhere but our family is not complete. I pray daily that he will grow out of this destructive phase before permanent harm comes to him or someone else.

I empathise with this mother. Until I lived the situation, I never belived it could be this bad and I tended to blame the parents. No more, it is in fact often the child who is to blame despite the parent’s contined intervention and support.

Banjo the Siren

July 8th, 2010
1:54 pm

@Heartbreak my heart goes out to you and you bring up an important point: your world has been turned upside down!

We got to the point where court ordered counselors were in our home 4 days out of the week. One day my daughter walked in from school, got herself a drink out of the fridge, and went to the TV — all without anybody saying a word to her as we were thrashing through my son’s crap yet again. When I realized what had happened, I quietly excused myself and went and sat with her and talked with her.

The counselor probably immediately branded me as uncooperative but my son was and is the uncooperative one. We had already been talking for an hour by the time this occurred, not to mention the days and days worth of meetings we’d already had.

From that point forward, I made it a point to say, at the start of a session, “I’ll take part in this for an hour.” Seemed fair. Then we would sit through my son’s stonewalling for 60 minutes at which point I’d politely excuse myself and go about my business. Inevitably the two — Mom & Counselor — would approach me after another hour or so and say they needed me back. First couple of times I went back only to find it to be yet another charade where they had somehow extracted a verbal agreement from my son for something or other (he’s great at verbal agreements) and wanted me to hear it. I listened and said, “Thanks, I hope that happens.”

Then after those agreements went by the wayside, I didn’t let myself get pulled back in.

Same Mom different house

July 8th, 2010
1:56 pm

I have a similar situation at home. However, what I did was start cleaning up the child’s things and throwing them out (give to charity, whatever). My child was warned that by such-and-such day, if the messes weren’t cleaned up then they were gone. If the job wasn’t done, then I did it. The key here is that you don’t replace them. I started charging for groceries (outside of staples), gas, internet, cell phone – anything I could control. It was meant to show that there is no easy ride. If the child wanted to keep these things then my child could get a job and start being responsible. If my child doesn’t go to college in the fall, then the choice is to pay me rent or be evicted. Mine is not so much dissrespectful, just pulling power plays and being passive aggressive. I could never see me kicking my child out. In some ways I think the child pushes me to the limit to see how far I would go. My love is too strong to kick the child out. However, I can make it a living hell if I want to. It is MY house and that’s it. Final. The final thought here . . . the child in the above story probably didn’t think the Mom would follow through on her threats, pushed her into a corner and wha-la. Perhaps the Mom should have the child over to talk. And I mean just talk. Not make demands on each other, not criticize, not judge. At this point, you can no longer ‘Mother’ the child. You can only guide, advise, and love. We don’t have to like our children’s behaviours or decisions; but we should always love them. Try making out a contract, whatever . . . there are always choices. One last thing . . . it took 3 weeks for my plan to start working. It was a battlefield to start. But finally there is some peace and my child knows where they stand.