View Full Version : What do you expect of your older teens/young adult kids living at home?

06-10-2013, 12:24 AM
My oldest just turned 18yo a couple weeks ago and dh and I already feel like she's spiraling out of control.

She works part-time but over the months her manager has pressured her into working more and more hours...up to 35+ per week. She took a gap year so that was fine back then. Now things have to change. We told her she had to cut it back to no more than 3 shifts per week so she would have time for school, dance and community theater--all things she wants to do.

She currently is taking two college courses...they're not that labor-intensive at all...an art class and College Comp (she placed into honors but is taking the standard one, so a breeze for her). She did recently complete an academic certificate in Art, but it took her 10 months instead of the agreed-upon 4-6 months and she lied to us a LOT about putting off her assignments, etc. She often would promise to complete an assignment before X privilege (trip, date, movie, etc.) and lie about it.

She has a boyfriend she's only known for a couple months and is already sleeping with him--and was sneaking around/lying about that part as well. When she has a boyfriend she *always* lets things go. She gets all "ga ga" and has trouble focusing. My feeling is she's too young to be having sex and too young to be THAT involved with anyone. But I can't control what she does, kwim?

She's been staying up too late (as in, all night practically) driving to school/work on too little sleep, not waking up to her alarm clock and not helping out around the house at all. She still will "babysit" her younger sibs if we catch her at home but she's been falling asleep while she is supposed to be keeping an eye on everyone. She's also quite "b*tchy," for lack of a better word, most of the time. She also says demeaning/disparaging things to her younger sibs quite often AND has been dropping the F-bomb in normal conversation like it's nothing (that's the boyfriend's influence).

She claims her supervisor won't let her reduce her schedule or give her a Saturday off twice a month. Come early August she will be taking 15+ units and something has got to give.

Also, I have no idea how much help around the house is "fair" to ask of her. There are four kids...I probably need to demand more of my littlest two. My 14yo boy isn't exactly a happily willing helper lately...and he's going to be going off to public high school in August.

We pay for everything except her car insurance, gas and her cell phone data plan. We encourage her to save her $$ as much as possible but she does buy clothes and personal items with it. I am more than happy to buy her toiletries, food, basic clothing, etc. We also pay for tuition and books. She's driving a hand-me-down vehicle that we would like to gift her to use as a down-payment on a better car...if/when she manages to get her act together.

Any thoughts? Thanks! :D

Stella M
06-10-2013, 12:47 AM
My first thought is that she's on a pretty good wicket...

18 is an adult. You, your dh and your dd should be able to sit down and come up with a mutually agreed plan on the % of her wages she pays for board, the amount she does around the house, college attendance and attitude.

I guess the kicker is that then you need a plan for when she doesn't keep to her part of the bargain. I'd be asking my child to move out at that point, unless there were physical/mental illness issues at play. I don't need to live with a pita adult. But ymmv.

As far as work around the house - I'd expect a grown child to do what my teens do - washing, room care, help around the house, cook once or twice a week, help out with shopping...I'd probably negotiate a payment for babysitting.

Board - depends on what they are making but 10-30% doesn't seem unreasonable.

I'd completely stay out of the boyfriend issue other than to be available as a listening ear and to make sure she had access to reliable bc.

I don't mean to sound harsh btw. I remember 18 - it's tough. But you can empathise with your dd about this transition into adulthood without having to accept inappropriate behaviours like the moodiness with siblings and the lack of help around the house.

The other stuff - it's hard to watch someone you love make mistakes or get things wrong - but it's how they (we) learn.

06-10-2013, 02:12 AM
As usual, take my advice with a grain of salt. I only know what I've experienced with my much younger sister, who still lives at home. My children are not that age yet, I still have 9 or so years thank god.

I was not only out on my own, but living in another state from my family, getting ready to get married at 18. So I agree with Stella, she won't suffer from a little adult conversation and more structured responsibility as long as there isn't some underlying issue that's preventing her from maturing.

Does she need to work? Can she find another job that's more flexible, perhaps an overnight shift to accommodate her sleep schedule? Could she volunteer instead? If she's into community theater, she could volunteer through local theaters in your area, hand out programs and do clean up in exchange for watching plays.

I would plan to sit down every semester and talk about the schedule. What days and times she can go to her boss with, days she needs off. Then factor in babysitting for things already on the calendar as well as days and times you expect her home to be with the family or earn her keep and free time. Get one of those big desk calendars and color code it with highlighters.

As far as consequences... are you willing to have her move out? Would this boyfriend support her or does she have other friends to move in with? I suppose you'd have to look at the big picture, could you fully support her so she can quit her job in exchange for an education or would she rather keep spiraling and end up having to work full time to support herself outside the home and forgo an education to survive? Or some variation.

06-10-2013, 03:19 AM
As far as consequences... are you willing to have her move out? Would this boyfriend support her or does she have other friends to move in with? I suppose you'd have to look at the big picture, could you fully support her so she can quit her job in exchange for an education or would she rather keep spiraling and end up having to work full time to support herself outside the home and forgo an education to survive? Or some variation.

This really hits the nail on the head. I absolutely don't want her to move out, or feel like she has to. My parents forced me to move out before I was ready financially (my now-dh and I were engaged and trying to save $$ before moving out of our parents' houses) and my parents' actions let to me dropping out of college due to working more and more trying to make ends meet. So that's exactly what I did (and dh)...forgo an education to survive. Dh eventually graduated at 25 and I didn't even get my associate's till I was past 35. I sooooo don't want that to happen to her, which is why I'm trying to be as accommodating as possible...her behavior is just driving me batty.

I personally LOVE the idea of her doing volunteer work (or no work!) rather than paid work. Paid internships have come up at our performing arts center but she's refused to apply because she feels like her job (as a barista) is a huge step above an internship. Makes no sense to me since she wants to pick up an AA in Theater Production on her way to the state university. So why not work at the theater, paid or not?

She doesn't have to work but she feels awkward about needing clothes, etc. and asking us for money. Before she got her job back in October, we offered to pay her monthly in exchange for babysitting and helping around the house. She declined. She doesn't want to be told what to do and feels like us giving her $$ would obligate her to listen to us more. :/

It's funny because when we moved to this house last August, she wanted the one bedroom that was separate from the others. It would have been perfect for dh's office, but we let her have it with the promise that she'd keep it and her bathroom presentable, since you can see right in from the family room/kitchen and that is the bathroom that visitors use. She swore and promised and acted like we were crazy to think her messiness would be an issue.

She doesn't keep the bedroom or that bathroom neat at all. I've had people over and have discovered after they've left that there was trash all over the bathroom floor next to the toilet, and an overflowing trash can and no clean towels and no TP! I don't think that leaving that bathroom presentable and with a roll of TP is a lot to ask! And closing the doors isn't a good option since we have issues with the AC on that side of the house and multiple AC techs told us that we need to leave doors open as much as possible due to the way the HVAC is ducted.

I am seriously considering moving her to the current office and making her share the kids' bathroom with her siblings. I think I deserve not to have to stress out about a third bathroom that doesn't NEED to be messed up all the time! And I don't really care if she wants to live in clutter (she sleeps in her clean clothes because they're always just on her bed) but I don't want her in a room where I have to SEE the clutter and stress about it.

I'll have to give more thought to the idea of asking for rent.

I'm just really at a loss. I guess I just want her to work less, focus on school more and not be mean to her siblings or rude to her father and I. Her room is usually a sty, she leaves her clothes in the washer/dryer (when I'm feeling generous I don't mind but her entitled attitude is getting to me) and I just feel like her promises and things we all agree on are just a joke to her.

Stella M
06-10-2013, 04:23 AM
What you want from her isn't too much to ask, especially since you are nice enough to be offering to support her.

What does she say when you talk to her about it ?

I would still probably require some rent, even if you put it aside for her...it's less about the $ and more about helping her learn how to live responsibly and setting some new adult-child/parent boundaries.

Don't you just wish you could somehow transmit some of your hard-won wisdom into their brains ??!! It must be frustrating...

06-10-2013, 03:55 PM
OK, here is the thing - you want her to be an adult and at the same time don't want her to be one. And I think she might be just as conflicted.

You keep talking about all the things that YOU think she should be doing - not really thinking of her as an adult and then you talk about things that she should be responsible for - like she is an adult.

I don't know what I am going to do once my kids get to that age, but I can tell you what I did when I was your DD's age and still lived with my parents.

While I didn't pay any household expenses, I paid completely for my car, college and any other things that I wanted. My room was my room. My bathroom was my bathroom. No one cleaned it, no one commented on it. I didn't have a curfew and if I stayed up all night - well, I was the one dealing with consequences.

I've always have very good and strong relationship with my parents, so there were never any kind of talk about me moving out. As a matter of fact, I was still living with my parents into my 20s, while i was investing in RE etc.

Also, I don't think it's fair to base your expectations of her on your other kids. It shouldn't matter who is doing what chores or who else is helping with what. My view has always been that expectations should be based on an individual and only on that one individual. So, I would decide what SHE should be doing or not doing around the house, regardless of what anyone else is.

06-10-2013, 05:06 PM
It really does sound like you're conflicted about whether she's still a teenager that you're responsible for, or whether she's an adult living in your house.

If you need her to help around the house, babysit, make dinner, etc..., and she won't do it, then you should definitely charge her some room and board, at least so that you can hire a babysitter and a housekeeper. If she doesn't keep the bathroom tidy, then she should be billed $25 each time you do it for her.

Obviously, it's nicer if everyone can just get along and pull their own weight and communicate, but if that's not working, a simple agreement with financial consequences makes things nice and clear. No hurt feelings, no anger, just a simple black and white agreement. If you don't really need/want the money for room and board, you can always save it for her and give it back as a wedding gift or a downpayment on her first house one day. Do not tell her this is your plan!!!! It really sucks the power out of it.

As far as her work life/courses/internship/education, I think you have been relegated to friendly background advice-giver. Unless you can somehow keep her in "teenager/child" mode for a couple more years, these are now her mistakes to make, not yours.

My own experience as a teenager: In high school, my parents decided that since I was skipping so much school, I would have to go to work. I was required to pay $300 a month for room and board in Grade 11 (that was 1988 - a heck of a lot of money when I only earled $4 per hour). Eventually, we renegotiated to reduce the rent as long as I agreed to reduce my hours (mom was worried that I wasn't getting enough sleep). I renegotiated again in Grade 12 so that I could stop paying rent as long as I attended school regularly (at that point, I really wanted to get in to University). I moved at age 18, but negotiated to come home rent-free for 8 months when I was 20 so that I could save up for a trip to Europe. The ability to negotiate, make deals, know what you want, make compromises, and work with money have all been valuable in my life. I wouldn't recommend doing it in high school, but if your daughter wants to grow up, she has to do it sooner or later.

Accidental Homeschooler
06-10-2013, 06:05 PM
I have a fifteen year old. I am not there yet, but my thoughts are that maybe it is a roles/responsibilities transition. As previous posters pointed out, whether she is a child or adult is going to determine a lot. I also think that there are a lot of ways a college student or young adult at home could work well and be good for everyone. So maybe the thing to do would be you and your dh sit down with her and just talk about how you see this arrangement working. And of course be open to hearing how she is thinking it should work too. I remember coming home my first summer after college and it was hard. I had been in charge of myself for nine months and suddenly my mom was trying to give me rules, rules that went beyond consideration for those you live with. It did not go well. She eventually gave it up and things were fine lol. I did help, but as an adult who wanted to not a child being given rules and chores.

06-10-2013, 06:21 PM
She sounds very much like my sister. Just having a really hard time becoming an adult. Wants to be treated like an adult, but acts like a teenager. Her main source of income is as a barista as well, she hates it but it pays for her crappy insurance.

I would consider just letting your guests use your main house bathroom. They shouldn't be going into your daughters room, even if she agreed at the time, it's a huge invasion of privacy she might not have realized at the time. I would either move the guests or move your daughter. As for trash, do you have regular trash days? Request she bring it to you when you're collecting from all the other bathrooms. And unless she's the one that's buying the TP, as a functioning guest bathroom, I think it's your responsibility to keep the bathrooms stocked as you buy packs, just throw a pack in there every week or month or whatever, problem solved.

You might just have to come to terms with the fact that she'll never be at cleaning. :) I absolutely suck at keeping my room clean. I hardly ever hang up my clean clothes, they usually stay folded in the basket until I wear them again.

I was expected to pay rent for the first 9 months of my 18th year, and three other times while dh was in the military and I stayed with my parents. $200 + part of the phone bill the first time, and food/utilities/baby supplies the next on top of all my other bills.

As for college.... Dh just graduated at 32. It took him 14 years to complete his degree. I got my associates online in 2008 maybe. It's not a horrible thing to wait until the right time. It's harder with work and kids, but it's even harder if you're not ready or committed. If she not willing to do internships and volunteer, is her plan really still the same? Or is she just going along with the theater degree idea because she doesn't know what else to do?

06-12-2013, 03:09 PM
Thanks all! :) So many good perspectives, which is exactly what I needed.

I think she really does want the theater degree. She has a certificate in art (earned online during her 18 month "gap year) and initially wanted to major in computer graphic design but realized between her certificate and an online photoshop class she took last summer that she isn't sure she wants to major in art. She has become very interested in theater and dance over the past year, thanks to our local community theater.

I think Jeni nailed it with..."Wants to be treated like an adult, but acts like a teenager."

That is Kayla, for sure!

But, I think she's been trying to tell me that and maybe I haven't really been "hearing" it completely. She has made comments over the past 6 months or so that elude to the fact that she's conflicted on whether she wants to be at home and treated the same as when she was 17, or be treated like an adult. I always laughed them off as joking or silliness.

We sat down the other night to set up her fall schedule and as we were getting started, she volunteered that she was planning on giving two weeks' notice at work before fall semester starts. I hadn't even said a THING about her work schedule LOL so I was really relieved to hear that SHE was ready to jump into school with both feet. She's going to ask to go on a leave of absence during school semesters and work ~35 hours a week during breaks. We also discussed how she could babysit (for others) to pick up extra $$ during the semester...but that she wouldn't have to take "jobs" if she didn't have the time any particular week. I again offered to pay her when she babysits here but she refused, citing that we're already paying for school and letting her use the car.

She seems really excited about her plan. She signed up for 18 credits...3 of them are 1 credit dance classes (so no homework or tests), and one is online. So I definitely think this is doable if she's just babysitting here and there (she also will continue to be involved at our local theater as well).

Ever since she said she would be taking a LOA from work during school, I've felt like the weight of the world has been lifted. I just have known in my heart that if she continued to work that much that school would never be a priority. And if she didn't want school to be a priority, that'd be fine, but then she'd have to tell us that and not let us pay for classes she'll just dial in and barely finish (which is what she didn with her art certificate and that one photoshop class LOL).

As far as her room goes, I have let her keep it however she wants for many years...it's just that she chose a room that is right off the main area of the house and one that everyone can look into all day long--including visitors. We told her that she could have that room if she really wanted it, but that we didn't want to see piles of mess from the great room. The bathroom she's using is adjacent, not adjoining, with her room. She could use the kids' bathroom (which is a lot bigger and has two sinks) and that'd be great cause it's around a corner with the other kids' bedrooms and no one can see it easily. But she wanted to use the "guest" bath with the promise that she'd keep it clean and stocked...if she weren't using it, it'd stay clean and stocked because the kids use theirs' and dh and I use the master bath. If that all makes sense. We'll figure something out...I mean, if she doesn't want to be bothered with it at all, it'd just be easier to switch her and the office.

She's also been very down because her boyfriend is talking about enlisting and he's seeing a recruiter today. When they first started dating, she was keeping emotional distance because he had said he'd be enlisting this summer. Then when he gave her her birthday gift a couple weeks ago, he told her he'd decided not to enlist, citing that he wanted to stay local to help his mom and to be with her. Then they had sex for the first time. That was a couple weeks ago. Then he started talking about enlisting again a few days ago, and asked her to go to the recruiter with him. Then he changed his mind and said he wanted to go alone. She is convinced if he goes in there alone that he'll be leaving in a few weeks. She also feels a little duped as far as letting her guard down goes. :( But it's something she'll have to deal with...I will be supportive although my first instinct is to say "I could have told you so!" I WON'T say that of course...

06-13-2013, 06:43 PM
Okay as a person whose room was in a similar spot when I was a 13-18 as your daughters is now, I'd like to suggest a compromise. Would you be willing to install a curtain or maybe back to back curtains(so you can pick one side and she can pick the other) on the inside of the door? This way her door can be open like you need it to be but her room is not visible.

06-21-2013, 04:01 PM
My kids are not this old yet, but here is what my parents did with all six of us kids.

If we were enrolled in college, and taking classes, we got free room and board. We were expected to help with things like dishes, lawn mowing, cleaning and do our own laundry. My parents did let boyfriends/girlfriends sleep over after age 19 or so, particularly with the younger kids. We were expected to have summer jobs to help pay for college costs. Parents paid the auto insurance as long as we used their really ugly old cars. (Which some of us happily agreed to, others did not.)

If we were not in school, we were expected to pay $200 in rent a month. We still had to help with upkeep of the house and do our own laundry. Car insurance was no longer paid for. Not having a job was not an option, except for those newly out of college or the military - they got a grace period.

I hope this helps. May not work for you, but you may want to sit down with your husband and agree to what you want to do now before any more kids are this age.

06-22-2013, 12:06 AM
its a lot harder to get a job these days though. my daughter spent years looking for a job, finally got one, but they wouldnt cut down her hours below 30 when she started full time at school. now she finally has an unpaid internship . . .