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Ryan LCSW, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience:  Master degree and Licensed Social Worker.
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Out 21 year old daughter lives with her 24 year old sister

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Out 21 year old daughter lives with her 24 year old sister (phd student) as she completes community college credits needed to transfer to 4 year university . She completed 1 year at university that was out of state but missed being home so moved in with sister and attended community college for 1 year to get credits to transfer to university closer to home. She applied to several in our state including the one her sister attends (this one is very hard to get into so will be a reach for her). We support her financially. Now she is ready to transfer back to university but seems to be afraid of going back to school if this means starting over in a new town and moving from sister. The two sisters are close and this also concerns us as they have stopped going out with friends/dating and spend most of their time together. She wants to continue to live with sister and has asked we continue to support some of her expenses if she does not get into the school near her sister while she works part time and takes classes hoping to get into this competitive school next year. We have told her we cannot afford to continue to support her if she delays college another year. Should we be concerned that she is hiding from 'growing up'? In many ways she is very independent but wants to live close to family
DearCustomer- It is entirely up to you and your spouse as to whether you want to continue to support an adult child. You have no legal obligation to do so and there is no legal requirement that anyone must have a college education. So as a lawyer I can only say there is no legal question involved in all of this and it is simply a personal, family decision. As a father and grandfather I have to say that at some point you have to allow your children to be responsible for themselves. It's no different than when they learned to walk. At first you would hold their hand and help them along but sooner or later they had to stand alone and walk by themselves. Adulthood is no different. You want to assist as they transition from being teenagers to young adults but you also have to decide when enough help is enough. Only you can make that decision. Sometimes "growing up" needs a parent to let go as much as it needs a parent to give a helping hand.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I asked to speak to a parenting counselor and not an attorney. Please direct me to the correct person
This was posted under our legal section and I saw nothing about a counselor. I will opt out and refer your question.
Thanks for your question,
I can understand your concern about your daughter and her need to stay close to home. It's good that she is independent in many other ways, and even though she may be a little overly dependent on her sister, it does sound like in many ways that her sister could be a positive influence on her. The desire to stay close to family is not necessarily a bad thing unless it is preventing her from growing and becoming the person that she wants to be. If she is generally happy and well adjusted, then it is possible that there isn't anything to be overly concerned about despite the fact that she isn't as social as other young adults.
It seems fair to connect your financial support with her education, and if you don't want to support her financially when she isn't attending school you are still providing her with a better situation than many young adults get by helping her when she is in school. If you are concerned that her relationship with her sister is stifling her personal or social growth I would certainly encourage you to have that conversation with her. In some ways it can be great that they have such a close relationship, but if they are somehow holding each other back from moving forward with their lives, that is an understandable concern.
Overall it seems like her dedication to her studies and getting into a competitive school would be the priority right now, and if she does seem focused on that, it is possible that things will start to fall into place once she starts to get organized and on a career path for herself. Despite the fact that she spends a lot of time with her sister, if she is going to continue to be put in situations where she is interacting with other people, that will help her grow. It does sound possible that she is using her sister as somewhat of a crutch right now, but as long as she remains focused she will soon be in situations where she is forced to think for herself and stand on her own. I definitely with you the best with all of this and if there is anything else I can do to help just let me know.
Ryan LCSW, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience: Master degree and Licensed Social Worker.
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