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How do you discipline an 18 year old? I need help please

(62 Posts)
lastnicknamefree Fri 02-Mar-18 15:08:00

I’m at a loss because I don’t know how to enforce any house rules on my older children. They are 22, 18 and 15.

I’m having an ongoing problem with the 18 year old and her dreadful laziness. Honestly she does nothing but sit on the sofa or on her bed playing on her phone when she’s at home.

She goes to college 3 days a week and the days she’s home it’s driving me mad. I’ve asked her repeatedly using reasoning/kind words, getting annoyed and making idle threats to having rows with her, to tidy her room, put her own washing on, wash up her dishes and most importantly walk her dog.

Today is a typical day. I’ve been to work. Get home she’s on the sofa, then goes off to sit in the bath for about an hour. When she comes down I ask her to go walk her dog which she’s been very slack at. She says she’ll do it later. This escalated into me saying she wasn’t being fair on him recently, he wasn’t getting walked enough and yes I know it’s snowing but she’s done nothing all day so she could really have taken him this morning. I remind her she’s not brought his food for weeks and if it were not for me he wouldn’t have had any, and that he’s her responsibility, if she doesn’t start looking after him properly I’ll have him rehomed. She starts shouting at me, and says she’ll move out with him. I say, ok that might be difficult as you can’t afford it or manage your time correctly either. She stamps upstairs shouting SHUT UP

This will lead to more sitting in her room with door shut, doing nothing and expecting dinner on the table later. No apology or discussion.
I don’t know what’s normal or reasonable for me to do in this situation?
I’m clearly rubbish at parenting teens, I feel out of my depth.

I’d just like her to look after her own stuff, I’m a single parent juggling work and younger children, and running the home single handedly with 5 of us. I don’t think I’m unreasonable to expect her to do her own washing and washing up, and look after her dog?
Whenever I ask her she makes me feel like I’m nagging and being horrible. Please could I get some advise? sad

Parker231 Fri 02-Mar-18 15:10:24

She either behaves as an adult or she leaves home. What is she doing the days she isn’t in college?

lastnicknamefree Fri 02-Mar-18 15:12:43

She does a few shifts at Wagamama but other than that, mostly at the BF or as I say, just lazing about here.

LetsGoBitches Fri 02-Mar-18 15:14:39

Your children over 18 are all adults.

Let them make mistakes. They should be paying rent.

Stop “managing the house yourself” - those adults need to step up.
The only children you have are the younger children.

You need family mediation. Get an accredited one.

lastnicknamefree Fri 02-Mar-18 15:20:17

Ok, thank you.
What should they be doing themselves at home?
My eldest is fine, she does her own washing and cleans up after herself. She also pays rent.

My issue is, if the other one just repeatedly ignores me and doesn’t do the things I’m asking her what are you meant to do? It’s all fine when they are younger and you can take away their phone or refuse to take them somewhere they were going. But at this age, I feel powerless to enforce anything

allthegoodusernameshavegone Fri 02-Mar-18 15:27:10

18 is too old to start getting them to help, they can do things around the house at a much younger age, load the dishwasher, make their own lunch boxes, beds, washing, vacuum etc none of the above will kill them if they start to help earlier it will just become normal, it’s part of life. Many hands make light work

gerispringer Fri 02-Mar-18 15:29:23

Do you give her money? Do her washing? Taxi her around? Cook for her? Just stop any of your “services”. It’s hard as a mum as you want to look after your child, whatever age, but she’s not really contributing much to the household she’s living in. Perhaps sometime when she’s not in a strop you could walk the dog together or sit down for a cup of tea and try to have a grown up conversation?

Aprilmightmemynewname Fri 02-Mar-18 15:30:24

No cooking /washing /ironing /no cash. Should see an improvement.
Give her paper plates etc.

1Strawberry Fri 02-Mar-18 15:32:40

Have you tried not doing her laundry/buying food for her dog etc? Running out of clean clothes/having to make a late night trip to the shop might give her a small taste of reality?

lastnicknamefree Fri 02-Mar-18 15:35:14

allthegood lesson learned. I will definitely put this into place with my son early on as I seem to have bred very entitled and spoilt teenagers.

It’s partly my own fault for mollycoddling I guess blush

geri I do pick her up from college etc yes, and cook dinner for her when she’s here. I stopped doing her washing and ironing ages ago, but do you know what she does to avoid doing it herself? Buys more clothes angry She’s always shopping for herself and hardly wears the same thing twice! So it just mounts up in her room.

I have tried talking to her nicely many a time. She just gets defensive straight away

PositiveVibes18 Fri 02-Mar-18 15:38:03

Stop doing everything for her including buying food for the dog and walking it.

Don't cook for her or do her laundry.

TittyGolightly Fri 02-Mar-18 15:42:25

Charge rent. Let her live as a lodger would, ie sorting themselves out. She’s not a child anymore.

OuchBollocks Fri 02-Mar-18 15:45:53

Tell her in writing so there can be no mistake that as of tomorrow morning, she is on a one strike amd he's out system with the dog. Meaning the first time that you have to feed him/walk him/buy food/care for him in any way, you will be straight on the phone to your nearest rescue centre and the dog is out. And mean it. It isn't fair on the poor creature. Never ever ever make idle threats.

As with everything else if she wants to bw treated like an adult, do so. Tell her (in writing again) that she needs to pay 15% of her wage in rent and you won't be cooking or giving her lifts any more. She is now a lodger.

Qvar Fri 02-Mar-18 15:46:06

Don't cook for her, wash her clothes or remind her about anything. Don't drive her anywhere. YOu don't have to be nice to her, she's not nice to you.

You've warned her about the dog, next time she neglects it, rehome it.

TossDaily Fri 02-Mar-18 15:46:20

Time to go on strike, OP.

It'll be a salutary lesson to your youngest one not to take the piss when they get older, too.

Veterinari Fri 02-Mar-18 15:46:41

How old is the dog - how is it hers?

She does sound lazy - stop enabling her with money/dinner/lifts etc

However if the dog was bought for her as a teen you should contribute - it’s unrealistic to expect a teenager to be fully responsible for a pet. However if it’s a dog she’s bought herself as an adult fair enough - her responsibility!

lastnicknamefree Fri 02-Mar-18 15:48:21

I guess I’m just afraid she’ll hate me even more then. She’s already thinks I’m moany and unreasonable because of course none of her friends have to do anything hmm
I just need to grow a pair and man up I guess.

GladAllOver Fri 02-Mar-18 15:50:40

You can't discipline an 18 year old adult.

But you can certainly tell them what the rules of your house are if they want to live there.

OuchBollocks Fri 02-Mar-18 15:51:04

OP she won't hate you, not really. But you are there to be her mother not her friend, and part of parenting is preparing them to be responsible adults. She'll rage against the new system for a bit, but when/if she grows up you can ease off the reins a little again. The current set up isn't working for anyone.

(You do need to get on the 15yo's case a little too)

lastnicknamefree Fri 02-Mar-18 15:53:25

vet the dog was not something I wanted or intended to have. It was brought home by her as a rescue dog she’d aquired. I said it needed rehoming as I don’t have the finances or time to look after a pet like this at the moment, and feel it is selfish to keep him.
She made all the promises of feeding and waking him herself, taking full responsibility etc. She did buy his food at the beginning but knows full well I’ll not leave him unfed! If it runs out, and she isn’t here which happens frequently, of course I’ll walk to the shop and buy more.
The walking has tailed off too. When she’s home she’ll take him out for about 10 minutes. But it’s roughly every third day which isn’t adequate for him and selfish. If I say I’m getting him rehomed for his own benefit, she says fine I’ll leave too shock

lastnicknamefree Fri 02-Mar-18 15:54:15

Thank you so much for the replies.

PatriciaHolm Fri 02-Mar-18 15:57:04

"If I say I’m getting him rehomed for his own benefit, she says fine I’ll leave too " - well, given she has no income, that's a idle threat isn't it?

As the others have said, you need to get hardline. No more running around doing her stuff like she's at primary.

snewsname Fri 02-Mar-18 15:59:37

Then let her leave with him for a few days. She'll be back.
At the moment there is no reason for her to buck up her ideas. Give her reasons.

IvorHughJarrs Fri 02-Mar-18 16:22:10

I think you need to think carefully about whether you would be willing to rehouse the dog and don't threaten it if you don't want to or would not be able to do it.

I think she should have learned well before now about chores, etc but, equally, I seem to remember 18 and 21 as being difficult ages with my own DCs. One of my colleagues, in desperation, gave her daughter a written contract specifying what her daughter must do (like leave kitchen tidy, clean bathroom, put clothes in wash, etc) and listed the things her parents would do if those were done (like lifts to college, cooking meals, washing clothes put in basket, etc). When her daughter didn't do it she was really hard in not giving lifts, not having food in fridge, etc and the situation improved fairly quickly

Postsynapticdensity Fri 02-Mar-18 16:26:06

Walking the10 mins every three days out of pure laziness is appalling.

She behaves like this because she can, because she knows you will pick up the slack because it's not the dogs fault and you feel ultimately responsible. I would give her an ultimatum and then contact a charity and look after him while it gets sorted.

Where is she getting the money to buy so many clothes she doesnt need to do laundry? Make her pay rent like her older sibling so she wont pocket all her part time job wages and is forced to think responsibly.

The most important thing is that you make a small threat and set a small boundary and enforce it come what may. If you say the dog goes, it goes. If you say she has to pay rent and she doesnt, tell her you will sell her stuff to get the rent and follow through. This is pretty obvious but a mistake Ive made so many times because you think the threat is sufficient and theyll comply but the first time it wont be, so you need to be prepared for the consequences.

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