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proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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Have 17.5 year old who ran away last week, and was caught shoplifting

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Have 17.5 year old who ran away last week, and was caught shoplifting and returned to my custody. She has continued to break her midnight curfew and I've grounded her from car priveledges for one week. My husband thinks this is extreme, in her fragile state of mind. wondering if structure isn't good when child is making poor choices?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 3 years ago.
Hello my friend. When your daughter runs away, where does she go and for how long does she stay away? Is she basically a "good kid" or not? What are her friends like? Does she have a boyfriend? Is she an only child? Do you ever just talk to her about why she is not following the house rules?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
She has only run away once, 2 weeks ago. She stayed with friends at their parent's house.
She stayed away for 4 days, then was brought home after being caught shop lifting.

She is basically a "good kid." No drinking, no drugs (to my knowledge). She has a friend/boyfriend she has been intimate with. She wants to be more, he wants to stay friends for now. She went on birthcontrol (without my knowledge - until after the fact). I've seen a dramatic shift in her behavior during that time.

She has some great friends - mostly from the local chapter of School of Rock. I know a lot of the parents to some degree. We don't all have the same house rules. Many don't have a curfew for their child. Some encourage co-ed sleepovers, which I'm opposed to but gave my daughter the benefit of the doubt and have allowed with supervision.

She has a younger brother age 11 living at home. He is watching all of this very carefully. Part of why I want to be consistent with my daughter is so that he learns from it too.

I have tried to talk to my daughter about why she doesn't want to follow our house rule of midnight curfew. She says she's old enough to be on her own. She does virtual online highschool from home (last two years - she is a senior). Doesn't see why she needs a curfew when she doesn't have to get up in a.m.
I said I was wiling to think about extending the curfew to 1:00 a.m., but hadn't done so yet. Given her nature, if I extend it to 1:00, she'll come home at 1:30.

Expert:  proexpert37 replied 3 years ago.
Hello my friend. Do not extend your daughter's curfew. She already has too much freedom. I think what you must realize and tell your daughter that as long as she is under your roof, she must abide by the house rules. When she is 18, she will be legally considered an adult and can do as she pleases though not living under your roof. If she wants to live elsewhere and support herself, then give her that option...but she probably will not take you up on that. You must be firm and consistent. Maybe she needs a complete month of punishment for disobeying. When she runs away, she is only running away from the problem. If she wants to "act" so grown up, then she must face the problems head on and communicate with you. If she cannot communicate with you openly, then have her write a letter to you about what makes her happy at home and what she dislikes. This will be a starting point for some serious communication.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Can you tell me if you are a parent of a teen? What is your background / qualifications?
I totally agree with what you are saying, however my husband (a scholar) will want to know where I got my information. If it's a trustworthy, knowledgeable source...

He wants to lift her curfew altogether, or extend it to 1:30 -2:00 a.m.

I agree she has more freedom then she knows what to do with, but I am alone in this thinking in my household.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 3 years ago.

I am an expert in parenting and education. I also have a Bachelors and Masters from UCLA. I have three children: 2 of them being teenagers. I have counseling experience for nearly 20 years with parents. I am currently a teacher with 19 years of experience.

 

If the curfew is extended, your daughter will end up coming home at 2:30 and 3. What does a teen do at those hours? Nothing good!!!!Laughing Hope this helps.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Here is what my husband just emailed to me:

I think if we can move toward expanding her freedom – she’s almost 18.
It would resolve almost all of the “threats to leave”.

I do not see any down side to expanding her freedoms to those of 18yo.

He has also suggested moving out to an apartment - with 2 bedrooms, so that if she runs away from me, she will have a safe place to go.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 3 years ago.

Sounds your husband wants your daughter to hurry up and be an adult. Is the apartment just for her?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No. He disagrees with my boundaries and rules. He believes it's "harming" her.
He doesn't want to her to run back to the streets, so he would live there too.

When she was arrested, I wrote her an email with my expectations. He completely disagreed and said it was conditional love and he cannot support me. I copied the letter and pasted it below. This all seems so crazy to me.


Hi Em,
sometimes it's easier to talk over email then in person.
I hope you are doing alright today and that you plan to come home tonight. You know I love you and want you home. It's too soon for me to let go of you just yet.

Dad says you are afraid to come home for fear of punishment. I want to assure you I don't have punishment planned. However, you need to know that I do have boundaries and expectations of you while you live with us. Primarily, I want you to act more respectful to all of us in spite of your hormones, moods and problems. I am happy to help you sort things out - whether that means talking with Steve, or Debi, or going on meds or whatever. I don't want you saying such hurtful and desrespectul things all the time to us. It hurts every time you do. We all love you and want the very best for you. I realize our life isn't perfect. You don't have the perfect married parents, and you have a lot of emotional issues you are trying to sort out.

Every house has boundaries and rules. I need for you to agree to do your best to live within our framework: treat others' as respectfully XXXXX XXXXX can - even when on edge. Try to be courteous to Sam a little more often. Fulfill your obligations of school, job and SOR. Meet your curfew, and tell us where you are. Take initiative to do your chores without making us nag you.

I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I'm hoping we can put all of this behind us and move forward. I want you to be free and happy. I'm anxious for you to become an adult and experience all the freedoms that go with it.
I certainly don't want you to move out before you are 18. I have hopes that you will be a kind citizen, room mate, friend and spouse. Better than I am! I think you are highly successful and radiant. I have to reign you in from time to time and I hope you understand that's my job. It's all out of love because I want you to launch successfully and prepared for the world and the best you can be.

Please come home. We'll work it through.

Love you.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 3 years ago.
Wow.. your letter was excellent. You expressed all of your feelings perfectly. What was your daughter's reaction to the letter? I think the another issue is that you and your husband are not in agreement as to how to deal with your daughter. Would your husband live in the apartment all of the time? That is very perplexing to me.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My daughters response (pasted below) was pretty good. She loved being on the streets for 4 days. I picked her up and met with a counselor - we read the above letter together and she said she understands those are the rules…but still didn't want a curfew - at all. We agreed that we would work together to negotiate a possible extension at a later time.

Later that same day is when she was picked up for shoplifting and brought home against her will. No punishment issued other then a fine from the store and not allowed back. I felt that was sufficient humilation and have not discussed it since.

She missed her curfew this week - so that is when I issued the consequence of no car priviledges for one week. My husband was furious with me. Said she is in too fragile state of mind to issue consequences like this. He completely disagreed with my letter above - stating that it was not loving, and was sending message of conditional love. This baffles me. I feel like I was sending the opposite message "I love you, but I have rules in my house you need to live by."

Husband would be living in the apartment with her - because he cannot accept my terms. This sounds so whacky to me - but it is happening and obviously I'm desperate. My friends and family agree with me, but I really need objective advice from an expert. Below is the email my daughter sent back.

I love you guys too. Side note.. I have some packages coming to the house, could you please try and put them somewhere safe? And will you let me know when they arrive? The sale I made on etsy is a custom order, and the lady is sending me some feathers to use, I need to get to them as soon as they arrive. Thanks.



-----Original Message-----
From: kaul.us
To: emilykaul
Sent: Tue, Feb 1, 2011 6:58 am
Subject: Re: about coming home

Hi EM,
Thanks for your email. I'm so glad that you're safe and happy and having successes. i'm so glad that your willing to keep the lines of comunication open. I love you very much and I hope you can come home soon.

Monica Kaul XXX@XXXXXX.XXX




----- Original Message -----
From:XXX@XXXXXX.XXX
To: "kaul us"
Sent: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 10:22:19 AM
Subject: Re: about coming home

Hi Mom,
email is a good idea, but I only have wifi when I'm at someones house or in a coffee shop, so text me when you get this. I'm currently sitting in Whole Foods downtown right now, I picked up breakfast here, and I just finished my entire Science class. I am doing really good, I went to work yesterday, then took the bus to school of rock, helped Linda out a bit there, did some vacuuming and cleaning, then went to band practice. Practice ran until about 10, because, *good news* we got accepted into battle of the bands!!!! We are one out of only 4 bands that made it! almost 40 bands auditioned, pretty cool I'd say. I was going to stay with Noura last night again, but since band practice ran so late, Linda took me in last night, and I stayed there, I was pretty exhausted and I fell asleep as soon as we got home. Galen had school this morning at 8, so we got up and after Linda took him to school she dropped me off at a max because I wanted to go downtown and work. So that's how I ended up here. I've been very productive, with school, and work. I also made my first etsy sale this morning! Someone emailed me and said that they thought my work was beautiful, and asked me to make them a pair of custom earrings, and they would provide the feathers even! Awesome! I'm getting 15 bucks out of it, pretty decent I'd say, for minimal work. I've been communicating with dad, so we keep in touch, and I try and let him know where I am..roughly (I move around a lot) and what the plan is, roughly. I'd like to be able to say I want to come home.. but, I have to think about it a lot. Mom, I'm really sorry for saying things that I do, and I love you all very much. I'm really happy right now though. I'm really happy living this way for a few days. I think I'm going to stay with Noura again tonight. They've been great, her dad gives me rides whenever I need them (though I try and take the bus most places, I hate having people waste gas on me...) and he'c been cooking me loads of lentil soup!! They're family said I'm welcome as long as I want to stay, haha, they even said I could stay until June! I won't of course... but it was nice. I've got so many friends who came at me with open arms. I'm in very good hands. Anyway, I have to go.. I've been here for almost 2 hours, and they only provide free wifi for 2 hours max. I'm off to NW 23rd now to check out some shops, grab some tea, and enjoy the sun. I did 5 lessons in school today =) and I did the dishes this morning. I also finished science with a B! Woo. Anyways, much love, Em.



-----Original Message-----
From: kaul.us
To: emilykaul
Sent: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 11:30 am
Subject: about coming home

Hi Em,
sometimes it's easier to talk over email then in person.
I hope you are doing alright today and that you plan to come home tonight. You know I love you and want you home. It's too soon for me to let go of you just yet.

Dad says you are afraid to come home for fear of punishment. I want to assure you I don't have punishment planned. However, you need to know that I do have boundaries and expectations of you while you live with us. Primarily, I want you to act more respectful to all of us in spite of your hormones, moods and problems. I am happy to help you sort things out - whether that means talking with Steve, or Debi, or going on meds or whatever. I don't want you saying such hurtful and desrespectul things all the time to us. It hurts every time you do. We all love you and want the very best for you. I realize our life isn't perfect. You don't have the perfect married parents, and you have a lot of emotional issues you are trying to sort out.

Every house has boundaries and rules. I need for you to agree to do your best to live within our framework: treat others' as respectfully XXXXX XXXXX can - even when on edge. Try to be courteous to Sam a little more often. Fulfill your obligations of school, job and SOR. Meet your curfew, and tell us where you are. Take initiative to do your chores without making us nag you.

I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I'm hoping we can put all of this behind us and move forward. I want you to be free and happy. I'm anxious for you to become an adult and experience all the freedoms that go with it.
I certainly don't want you to move out before you are 18. I have hopes that you will be a kind citizen, room mate, friend and spouse. Better than I am! I think you are highly successful and radiant. I have to reign you in from time to time and I hope you understand that's my job. It's all out of love because I want you to launch successfully and prepared for the world and the best you can be.

Please come home. We'll work it through.

Love you.

Monica Kaul XXX@XXXXXX.XXX
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 3 years ago.
You and your husband must be on the same page when it comes to parenting styles. You and your husband may need to seek some type of marriage counseling because your daughter seems to be becoming between you and your husband. It is very odd that your husband wants to be away from you, his wife, and live with his daughter in an apartment. That is not a healthy marriage at all. You come before your daughter in a family organization. Until you and your husband agree, nothing really will change. The best scenario would be to let your daughter stay in the apartment when she turns 18 WITHOUT your husband. Then she will be responsible for her actions. You are not wrong by enforcing your rules of your household. Your husband is setting your daughter up to manipulate him and you.
proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience: Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
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