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Bill
Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3705
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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I have a daughter who is 18 years old and a freshman college

Resolved Question:

I have a daughter who is 18 years old and a freshman college student. She is very disrespectful to us (parents) and regularly tells us that we don't do anything for her financially and that we are smothering her. She was leaving for school yesterday morning (she lives on campus) and was very hateful, said we didn't do anything for her and called me a horrible name without batting an eye. To prove the point that we do still provide for her financially, I cut off her cell phone except for the numbers of her roommate, us, and her sister. I wanted her to have access to someone in the case of an emergency. She needs to learn that the cell phone, the car, tanning bed membership, etc, is a priviledge and not a right. Was I wrong to do this and how on earth do you "ground" a college student%3
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Bill replied 3 years ago.

Bill :

Hello- Thank you for asking the question here at JustAnswer. I have read what you have written and am happy to respond.

Bill :

I am sorry to hear about this. I would guess after my 30 years working with families that you have been on the permissive side with your daughter and now that she is "out in the world" she has decided that she will try and rule the roost.

Bill :

You have to deal with her just as if she was living at home. Specific limits, Expectations, Consequences.

Bill :

Set it up so she choses.

Bill :

You chose to have us pay for X,Y,Z you have to do X, Y, Z. She choses not to do it then she knows the consequence ahead of time.

Customer :

You are correct that she is trying to rule us. I feel like I should be able to treat her like an adult but I don't believe that being 18 in age alone makes you an adult. Correct?

Customer :

She was so angry that I cut her phone off that she won't even talk to me now and i don't' know if I overreacted because i was at my breaking point with her or if she indeed needed to be disciplined.

Bill :

Correct. Adult behavior gets adult responsibilities

Bill :

I think it is understandable what you didd.

Customer :

It is so hard to do but I know that if I don't start withholding privilidges then I am just enabling her to continue to act as she does.

Bill :

did. She needed a wake- up call and you gave it to her. It is basic. You have to get the parenting power back.

Customer :

But, I feel like I am treating her like a child and I hate doing that. But, like you said, she chose not to act like an adult.

Bill :

Is your husband helpful and involved with this?

Customer :

Yes, and honestly he has tried to withhold priviledges from her before se was 18 and still in high school and I was the easy one. She knew she could steamroll an manipulate me and she did it very well. I was just stupid by being so lenient and I know I was stupid and wrong.

Bill :

Okay- Now you and your husband have to be aligned. She split you earlier but you can get the control back. She created a triangle and worked it well. This is the result.

Customer :

But, now I'm at my breaking point and I know I've created a spoiled daughter who expects things to be handed to her with no responsibilities attached. It was my fault and I acknowledge that.

Customer :

She really is a good kid and hasn't been in any trouble but she can't go through life shunning authority, especially those who are trying to help her. I get it now.

Bill :

Calm down a little............spoiled does not mean a chronic medical condition. You just have to get the message across that you and Dad are on the same page.

Bill :

This is a phase, you have to nip in the bud. She is pushing it because she you have allowed it.

Bill :

Read the following article:

Customer :

So, I guess my overall question is... It is still acceptable to "discipline" a child who is 18, a college student, and of legal age?

Customer :

It will be hard to stick to the punishment but I know it is the best for her and us.

Bill :

Think of this as if she was a stranger. What would you tolerate. What would you expect.

Bill :

its not discipline it is setting it up so she makes the choice.

Customer :

You have been a big help and I knew what the answer was, I just needed to hear a professional tell me that I am on the right track. I didn't sleep a wink last night because this was on my mind. But, I will sleep much better tonight. Thank you

Customer :

Do you get this type of question or scenario a lot?

Bill :

Daily

Bill :

Hold a sec

Customer :

Sure

Bill :

Here is information on how to set limits - use it as a guide with your daughter.

Bill :

Set the structure - Email it to her (have you husband email it to her) Follow through and she will learn quickly that she is not longer in charge. The united parenting front is critical.

Customer :

Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it. I guess I thought I was supposed to lighten up since she is 18 and considered an "adult" but as long as I'm paying the bill then I have a say-so, correct?

Bill :

Let her get a loan/pay her own bills.

Bill :

Tell her how much everything is costing. Cancel her credit cards, phone, car, etc. It adds up and she is taking advantage of you.

Bill :

Stop being permissive. She need a strong parenting alliance .

Customer :

Perfect!! I will sleep much better tonight. Thanks again. We will read the articles. Thank goodness we haven't given her a credit card. I will promise to be stronger and stand in alignment with her father. I have made that mistake because I felt sorry for her. I won't make that mistake again. I'm just mad at myself for taking so long to get to this point. I have done both my daughter and my husband a disservice.

Bill :

You can always get back to me here my unique address is :http://www.justanswer.com/profile.aspx?PF=48585111&FID=0

Bill :

I wish you the best, Bill

Customer :

Thank you so much.

Bill :

Please click accept and I appreciate positive feedback.

Customer :

Absoutely. I will do that now. Bye

Bill :

Bye

Customer :

I accepted it but I can't tell if it went through.

Bill :

try clicking again as it doesn't show that it went through

Customer :

Ok. If I click the green accept button, will I still be able to see the chat we just had so I can get the links off of it?

Bill :

yes- it will be in your email.

Customer :

Great. Thanks. I'll try it again.

Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3705
Experience: 35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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Bill
Bill
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35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's