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Dad having hard time with tough love

DEAR AMY: I have a daughter, 20, who basically won't do anything expected of her. She won't keep her room clean, nor will she do anything else I ask of her. And now she doesn't even come home at night. She keeps throwing in my face the fact that she is 20 and an adult with an almost full-time job (minimum wage, 32 hours a week). I have stated that as of next month I am signing her car over to her and she needs to start paying her own insurance. The month after that she will start paying $20 a week for room and board. I told her adulthood starts now. That did not go over well. Her mother kicked her out a year ago, knowing she had a place to live with me. If something were to happen to her because I kicked her out I would probably step in front of a truck, so I can't do that. Am I approaching this wrong? I don't know what else to do except kick her out.

-- Mike

DEAR MIKE: As long as you sincerely believe that your daughter being on her own would lead to disaster, culminating in you "stepping in front of a truck," she has you right where she wants you.

The fact is, if she is staying out all night, ramming around and basically defying you at every turn, her lifestyle is already pretty risky. It would be best if she left the household.

Signing the car over to her, along with its expenses -- is good. But charging her $20 a week for "room and board" creates a false economy, leading her to believe that $20 a week is all it costs to support herself.

Here's an action plan for you: You say, "Honey, it's been real. I love you very much. You have six weeks to find another place to live." She will act out. She will flail and rail against the injustice of it all. You should not react to this.

Help her research single rooms or apartments to share. Otherwise, let her handle it.

Warning: Do not do this unless you develop a spine. Making this statement and then letting her manipulate you out of it would be worse than not doing it at all.

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