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As some of you may know, I have an eighteen year old daughter living with me. I love her of course, and therein lies the problem...

Here is the long and short of the situation:

I cannot afford to support her anymore. Legally of course, I don't have to. Morally, I feel I can't just toss her out on the street. I am not sure she can make it on her own. She has tremendous computer skills, but no self initiation. She won't *do* anything unless someone tells her to do it, or unless it's something she's interested in (like anime or books). She claims she's lazy... I'm not so sure.

She was working at McDonald's for about four months. It seems that McD's was too stressful for her. Whenever they her she was to be trained in anything but working the counter, she had a panic attack. Once she cried for two hours. They sent her home that day. She also declared that working 32 hours a week stressed her too much (she's not in school BTW, she got her GED last April) so she asked them to cut her hours back. They did, first to three days a week, then to nothing. It may be my paranoia kicking in, but I half-believe she quit.


That was four weeks ago. She claims to be "looking" for a job, but I have a feeling she's not really trying very hard, and if she is "looking" for a job, she's being very selective about where she wants to work.

Of course, since my work is spotty right now I cannot afford to get her any therapy (as her manager at McD's suggested she might look into during the two hour crying jag) so I don't know if she's any flavor of MI. I'm really under no obligation to get her therapy as she is not my dependant. Again, morally I don't want to leave her hanging either. The public assistance in the current town we're living in (not the area - the *city*) sucks rocks. There is a two year waiting list for the Mental Health clinic.

The crux of the situation is that I feel if she continues to have me as a safety net, she's not going to make the effort to fly. However, I have this horrible conviction that if I push her out of the nest, she'll fall. She is far from stupid - one of the more intellegent kids I've met (not just a mother's pride talking). But, but, but...

What the hell am I going to do? I can't afford to take care of her any more.

I told her I would help her get on her feet before I moved on. I can't do that if she's not helping herself. It's tearing me apart because I can't have dead weight. I can't. I love her dearly, but she's adding to my already heavy load.

She doesn't understand that everything changed when she turned eighteen. She's not grasping the concept that she's an adult now and obligated to make her own way. I told her I would help her with that. But I can't do it for her. I don't know how to make her understand.

Any suggestions?

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here is my suggestion... my "real" mom (my best friend's mom who has been the most lovign and nurturing person i've ever known) is doing this with one of her adopted children right now... i think she is the best mom in the world, so that's why i think it is a good idea...

her daughter has MI and cannot easily hold down a job. so she said, fine, you can live with me, i'll help support you under the following conditions: you have to be going to therapy (there are plenty of sliding scale places and if she can't hold down a job, she might qualify for medical help), if you are assigned meds, you have to be taking them (if they don't work, talk to your doc, don't just quit them), you have to be doing SOMETHING that is a growing action (work, school, volunteer work, soem kind of class), you must follow the house rules (no illicit drugs in the house, no coming home at all hours waking people up, let people know where you are goign and whenabouts you'll be home, help keep things clean).

if her daughter continues to meet all of these, she's allowed to live there and have her food paid for and not pay rent.

so something along those lines might work for you. tell your daughter she has to be getting some kind of help. start working on getting on disability, if that's what she needs, start seeing a tdoc or pdoc in any case... and lay down VERY specifically what you are expecting of her, health care, rent, whatever.

hope that helps!


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Would that I could do that abifae... but I can't *afford* to keep her. She has to find work. There is no way around it. The rent prices around here have skyrocketed, and I can't afford to keep a two bedroom apartment just to give her a place to stay.

I've been pounding my head against the wall for months trying to figure out how to support us, and I came to the conclusion this morning that I simply can't. I can't do this alone. When she was a child, there were resources to tap into. Now that she's over eighteen, those resources are closed to me. I *may* be able to claim her on my taxes, but that's about it. It doesn't help me in the long run. She has to find work, even if it's part time.

I forgot to mention that she doesn't drive, so there are certain transportation limitations. However, since I found a job with those same limitations... she should have at least gone on an interview by now. I seriously don't think she's trying.

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I think there are a million parents in the same situation. How to respond to adult children who will not take the initiative to care for themselves. My sister is in the exact same situation and my mother does not have the heart to watch her live in shelters which is where she ends up left to her own devices. The only way she has any social assistance is because of me and with me being forceful in getting her some. It took a long time for her to get that and for that time my mother supported her. She refuses to do nothing. She does not show up for necessary appointments that will help her retain such income support. I mean absolutely nothing for herself. Laziness? I don't know. I think it is attitude. And some of it is abuse on her part. "why should I do anything for myself when mom will bail me out." One thing my mother does is to write lists for her on what she has to accomplish each idea starting with small steps that she can achieve each day.

It does not cost you for her to sleep on the floor which is better than a shelter, but tell her that is where she will end up if she does nothing to help herself. Of course saying this is a last resort. I take it the cost of feeding her is more of an issue. Go on strike. Don't cook for her, clean for her, don't grocery shop for her. She has got to find her way or else you are enabling her bahaviour problems. Now there are many mothers who are unable to give tough love so if you have trouble with this route you are not alone. I suggest you find out where the foodbacks are because that is where people who do not have an income must get food.

And let her go hungry. If she has more panic attacks with the increasing demands you are placing on her, then that is all the more reason for her to see a professional for assistance. If she is going to thrive, she is going to have to learn to fight for herself because only she can help herself. Mothers CAN'T and should not do everything for their children. Learned helplessness. She needs consequences and limits. My mother does none of this for my sister and I get so angry because I am the responsible one. I am starting to treat my mother like my sister does and now I expect mom to do everything for me, because why not? If she does it for her them why not do the same for me. Mom does not like this at all. I say why is it ok for her to be like this and not me? Cause sis is helpless in mom's eyes. Well that is not going to get her anywhere. A therapist will not treat your daughter as helpless and probably no pro will help her if she is not going for help because she herself wants it.

Tell us how things go with your daughter.

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patheral- your daughter has a couple of options. one is what L just said, that you can make her sleep on the floor/couch/whatever and not give her your food, and make her fend for herself, just using your place like a shelter. she'll be forced to work or live a terrible life.

another option is college. i went to college when i got out of school. with a GED, you can go to a school wtih boarding. if she's smart, she'll look at schools, take college entrance exams, and just go to college. there are worse fates. she'll need a degree in this world anyway to do more than work at mcdonalds. i was in school until i was 21, lived with my dad for awhile (6 months) while actively looking for a job (during this time i paid for my keep by working temp jobs and taking care of the household needs), and then i eventually found my first real job and moved out of state to that job. my dad was there for me, but i wasn't abusing the priviledge of being there.

tell her that your house is no longer a rent-free haven, it is now a shelter and if she abuses it she really will be at a shelter (and make good on your word if she does abuse it), or tell her to get her lazy ass into college (while she's sleeping on the couch/floor). as i said, in this world today, she's going to need a degree to get most good jobs. if i didn't have a degree, i never would have gotten the time of day with most employers i worked for. now is the time in her life to go to school and learn, not be lazy and mooch off of mom.


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Thanks to everyone who answered. I sat my daughter down this weekend and explained the situation to her. I flat out told her that when my lease is up in January I'll be moving to a one bedroom apartment or perhaps a studio. I can't really do anything until then anyway, so I may as well give her that much time.

I told her that she had until then to figure out her situation - college or a job. I explained that she was eighteen and an adult (this of course had been explained before), and I'm no longer obligated to take care of her.

I did concede that when I get a one bedroom she is more than welcome to sleep on the livingroom floor, but she can no longer make the demands of a child (what goes on tv, what to have for dinner, computer time, etc...). I'm pretty sure that I got my point across. She agreed that the best way to make her swim was to throw her in the deep end. We'll see what happens.


It's tough to be tough.

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