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Almost 20-Failure to Launch

Posted by jetmom (My Page) on
Wed, Apr 7, 10 at 17:35

Background on my situation...divorced last year after 20 years of marriage, 3 kids...Daughter, almost 18, son 16 and son 13. I have been a stay at home mom since my daughter was born. I am now out of the family house (long story). We have joint custody but my ex resides in the family home, although I see my kids frequently. My daughter stays with me more than 50% of the time. I now am co-owner of a home with my significant other. I had the lump sum to put down and he has the income to support the mortgage. Last year when this opportunity arose, by happenstance, we found the perfect house. Big enough to accomdate all 5 of our kids (collectively) in and out. His two children are 21 and almost 20. My kids are minors, but live with their dad, my ex. So, the thought going forward, was we would have enough room for any or all to stay overnight, celebrate holidays, etc... UNTIL...his almost 20 daughter, more or less flunked out of her first year in college. She had to withdraw or something like that in February 09 and then again something similiar occurred in April 09. By June 09, she was 'coming home' as she needed to clean up her act before being readmitted to her school. (Her mom wanted to have nothing to do with her and wouldn't allow her to live with her. She blamed her for their divorce, totally unfair...but i think i understand the mom's point of view now)! At least that is my understanding. I might add that she barely got of high school for attendance reasons. So, we gained ownership of the house May 09 and his daughter moved in around mid June 09. The plan was to get her gen. ed. courses completed at the local junior college and grow up a bit and move on. Well, first semester last fall she registered for 10 hours...I am a college graduate and if I recall correctly a normal course load per semester is 15-16 hours. At the time I thought this was a little odd, but didn't say anything...UNTIL, one by one she withdrew from her classes without telling her dad and lied about it. I think she has 3 semester hours from last fall, but I am not even sure. He is her sole support. I might add that she has never worked a paying job and is almost 20. Her dad set her up with a debit card (for gas)last fall...another thing, she didn't get her driver's license until last September, after she was 19. I guess the deal with the bank was that it came with a credit card in her name. Evidently she had a grand time Labor Day weekend, as she managed to rack up $1600 in credit card bills in 3 days...that included a tatoo (which her dad was not in favor of, and she knew it) treating her friends to large admission fees to the local amusement park...etc. She got promissary notes from her friends, after the fact...it was quite humorous! Even my 13 year old wouldn't be so naive. Anyway, then we enter into this current college semester. Once again she signed for 10 hours...At this point I challanged her and she whined, I have to see what I am capable of...OMG I thought, how much more do we have to listen to. Her dad is a wonderful man and seems to have a real problem making her step up to the plate. Now, several months later she has once again withdrawn from 9 out of the 10 hours she orginally signed up for...one hour was for a choral group that she had to try out for! I just don't get it. She is extremely overweight, when she is home she is like a hermit in her room (which is fine with me), she claims she follows the Wiccon religion,and I overheard her last fall tell someone on the phone that she "knows for a fact" that she has been re-incarnated twice" Okay, I don't want to pass judgement on anyone's religious beliefs, etc. But I tend to wonder about someone who refuses or is unable to complete 3 courses at a junior college. Then I start to wonder what is going on. She comes from a good household with down to earth parents and one sibling, who is more mainstream. It is not the mainstream thing that bothers me, although, now it does. She lies to and manipulates her dad...she never raises her voice. She is quite deceptive in my opinion. Also is a complete slob. In the middle of all of this her dad was diagnosed with rectal cancer (last september)...I have been his sole support, emotionally. He has had chemo/radiation, surgery and a few life threatening set backs in the last two months...he had an infection and a major bleed, both which could have killed him, if not for the good medical care that he has. She didn't even know what hospital he was in and never asked me how he was doing (after surgery). I had to tell her to call her dad and ask him how he was doing. her claim was that she didn't want to bother him! But, she never even asked me how her dad was doing. My own daughter (who really cares and respects him) went to vist him, but not his own daughter. I know the writing is on the wall for me. I need to get my money out of this house (not to mention other monies I lent to him to bale out of his family home), because I just dont see this lazy, lying young lady getting out of here. I love this man, he has asked me to marry him and has given me a ring. I truly feel that he does love me, but I just cannot love or even like his daughter at this point. We all know blood is thicker than water, although he agrees with everything I say and has even been in tears asking for help with his dauther. I don't want to lose him, but I can't accept the daughter living here full time without working on becoming a productive citizen. Anyone in the same boat? Any feedback would be welcome. Since I am the mom of 3 teens, I know what they can be like. My 17 year old, who is hell on wheels will be starting college in the fall and could have graduated from HS at the end of her junior year...so I know lazy and I know motivated. I also know spoiled...my daughter is as well, but she has direction, as my two sons do. Help!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

I smell some mental issues, depression? (low self-esteem , extremely overweight, would not leave her room, no motivation). she needs to see a professional ASAP.


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

From what I remember, 12 hours is "full-time" student. You need to talk with your husband, or else you will be blamed for this.

Either get good grades, and live by our rules and live at home...

Or get a job and move out.


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

Thank you finedreams. She has been to counseling in the past and sees a Dr. to renew her meds every six months. She is on an anti-depressant as well as something for ADD, which was diagnosed when she was a young child. She should probably have counseling twice a week, but the problem is that she doesn't seem to think she has a problem. I am not against medication for any type of mental issues, although I think it is over prescribed today and many use emotional/mental problems as a crutch. I've seen it with my own daughter at times. I think this girl is just plain lazy and has been allowed to get away with the easy way out/excuse after excuse, all her life.

Silversword...thank you for your reply. 12 hours probably is termed a full time student, but 10 isn't and dropping all but one class is probably not even part time! I have talked to my partner over and over and I am just about finished talking. Im sure the daughter hates me and already "blames' me because she knows I see right through her. I am all for 'get into and stay in school, live by our rules or get out.' That is what I have been preaching for months now. It is up to her dad to get her moving. Although I am sure she has overheard a number of heated discussions between he and I, I don't talk to her about it. I use to talk to her, but she has lied so much, to me it is useless to try anymore, especially since I am not her mom. She doesn't respect me very much although she acts respectful. I just wish she would come to us for help in school or other wise...but she doesn't want it. I think she just wants to march to her own drummer and unfortunately she's clueless about what it takes to be a productive adult and then march to her own drummer on her own dime!


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

so i was correct, so she is on anti-depressant, it does not seem to be working, she is clearly still depressed.

yes she has to work, and go to school full time and then she can stay with you, but I am not sure how to reinforce since she is mentally ill. i am not surprised she thinks she has no problems, most mentally ill think they are OK.


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

--I know the writing is on the wall for me. I need to get my money out of this house (not to mention other monies I lent to him to bale out of his family home), because I just dont see this lazy, lying young lady getting out of here--

Your life has really changed in the course of a year. Got a divorce, bought a house with another man, had a depressed angry young adult take up residence, and found the man you intended to spend your life with battling cancer. That's an awful lot to bite off and chew.

Downplaying the mental status of the daughter is not going to get you far. Your anger building towards her along with the heated 'discussion' matches that bring tears to dad's eyes are not going to do the trick either. She's a troubled young lady with issues. Sure there's lots of reasons for her issues, but none matter in that dad is going to turn his back on her or that your demanding she go to school/get a job is going to instantly fix. What's going on in the daughter's 'new' home is very likely feeding alot of her depression issues to the surface. She's sticking her head in a hole (hiding in her room) and wishing it all away.

Yep, she needs help (regular counseling and maybe med adjustments), but I don't see what's currently happening in your home going to make her get it.

I do feel bad for you that your year has been what it has, but surely you saw some of these signs coming at you when he bought the home and moved in? You can't compare this daughter to your own children and her issues did not develop just over night (they aren't going to be 'fixed' overnight either) and a education and job are not likely to be obtained until the daughter's issues are worked on.

She can't turn a switch because she displeases you and automatically become functional and self supportive, even if she wanted to or faced up to her problems.

Dad needs to understand he's not helping her by , well, not helping her (not encouraging the counseling and a path to wellness) and you need to understand this daughter is not this way just to be a torn in your side and upset your life.

It's talk time (not heated discussion) time with dad on where you stand, what you can and can not accept (continue to live with), and what you and/or he is going to do about it. If you and dad can't come to agreement, you all are wasting your time and prolonging the situation. As you said above, the writing is on the wall, can it be changed and do you want to put the effort required to change it into it?


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

Food can also be a trigger for depression. If she is not eating healthy that could compound the depression. And your SO may not want to deal because he's been sick and she's been mentally unhealthy and physically unhealthy.

So, IMO, have a nice, quiet sit down with SO and tell him exactly what you want/need/expect in your household. Let him know that you don't feel comfortable going on as things have been, offer solutions, ask for ideas, and then give your ultimatum.

ie... I love you and love that you care for your children. I'm concerned for SD. I feel strongly that she is depressed and unhealthy and I'd like to help her get better so she can have a good life. Right now I feel that we are supporting her negative behaviors and that is making me uncomfortable. I'd like to figure out with you a plan for her while she is living in our home so that we can all be comfortable. I suggest full time student + 3.0GPA + curfew/cleanliness/part-time job to repay credit card/whatever = a room and board in our home. If not, full time job + curfew etc. + payment of $ X.XX = room and board in our home (you can always suggest saving the $ she pays you to give back to her when she moves out as a "bonus" but not telling her you will do that). OR... no full time student/no full time work = out in X # of months.

If we can't come to an agreement about our rules, I'm not comfortable living here. I love you and I would like to live with you, but I need a certain understanding/quality of life, and in order to have that, we need to come to an agreement about guests/family members.

I wish you the best.


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

"Right now I feel that we are supporting her negative behaviors and that is making me uncomfortable. I'd like to figure out with you a plan for her while she is living in our home so that we can all be comfortable. I suggest full time student + 3.0GPA + curfew/cleanliness/part-time job to repay credit card/whatever = a room and board in our home. If not, full time job + curfew etc. + payment of $ X.XX = room and board in our home (you can always suggest saving the $ she pays you to give back to her when she moves out as a "bonus" but not telling her you will do that). OR... no full time student/no full time work = out in X # of months."

I think Silversword has great ideas!

How did this girl do in highschool? I'm wondering if college is not for her, at least not at this point in her life. Maybe some kind of trade school would be better at this? I think the first thing to do is find a better combination of meds/therapy for her, as what's going on right now clearly isn't working. Until the root of her problems (depression, perhaps ADD, etc) is addressed, she is probably going to continue to flounder.

I would suggest a combination of school and working, but neither full-time. It sounds like she gets overwhelmed, hence the registering for classes and then dropping out. I wonder if she would do better with a smaller courseload, like maybe 2 classes (6 credits) and a part-time job, as well. She can always start out like this and work her way up to full-time student. Baby steps.

I think the idea of her paying rent is good, too, as it holds her accountable. Saving the money (secretly) is a good idea, too, and then you can present it to her when she does move out. Hopefuly, at that point, she will be able to have a nice little chunk of change.


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

I think she needs to be full time student to be on parents' health insurance. With her health issues, prescription etc she can't afford not having insurance unless parents are willing to buy her insurance.

although i believe that college students should work, if it is overwhelming or too difficult I would accept my child just going to school full time and not working.

I agree with love re baby steps.

This girl is clearly messed up mentally and is unable to keep up. I would take her to a better psychologist and get her on better medication and therapy and then help her choose something less academically inclined, something she can keep up with.

i don't think it is failure to launch since she seems very messed up rather than just lazy.


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

I am not so sure she is truly depressed...she has gone a week or more before she told her dad she needed her pills renewed. She is capable of dropping a prescription off and picking it up...i.e. she already had the prescription! ANd if she needed them that bad, she would have been on top of it. Se is almost 20 years old. Yes, she shows a lot of signs of depression, but I think mentally ill in other ways, is a possibility, or pathological liar...liar by omission? I agree with all that has been said above.

A bit more background...she told my daughter that she flunked out her 1st year at school(away) because she was busy partying too much. As far as sticking he head in a hole, she is on the PC most of the time I presume and emerges for food from time to time. She turns her nights into days and days into nights. She has one good friend that I know of (her friend stayed her for about 3 weeks) and the others that she has brought around or we know of have different backgrounds. Let's just say they might be termed 'on the fringe' of society. She 'dated' some guy when she was 16 and still is friends with him...my SO calls him the jailbird...yes he was in jail for some juvenile stuff...not once but twice! I don't want to sound rude about some kid making mistakes (the jail guy) but she seems to surround herself with others that are off the beaten track. Her friend that stayed here was pleasant and has had a tough background. She is also grossly overweight, but has really had some tough things happen in her life...she's only 21. I like this girl and found myself putting my arms around her with tears in my eyes when I heard her story one evening. I am not a total meanie! I just guess I am at the end of my rope...I feel sorry for my SO. Regarding a plan and timeframe to move out....SO claims he gave her a time frame and that would have been in the past week. He even typed up a contract for her to sign. We never got to the signing part the evening that we talked to her as the conversation started to deteriorate. And, it was never picked up again, as far as I know. So we/he has had conversations with her. It's strange he cannot seem to raise his voice to her. Not that I think that is the solution, but I think she needs to know he means business...he is a very calm guy. It's great, but when you have to take a stand you have to at least sound firm and follow up all the time. He has asked me for my opinion many times, I have given him ideas and he has agreed with everything! But it seems so difficult for him to get tough with her...i.e. call her bluff. The last straw came when the junior college sent something home last Friday...another Withddrawn...this time it was by the school, reason...'stopped attending' class. So, if she really wanted to get that education and was struggling, there are so many avenues to turn to. Last semester she told us she dropped one of her courses because she didn't like the teacher and that the school encourages them to drop a class if the student doesn't like the teacher. Well, that was a new one. My 17 senior in HS laughed pretty hard at that one. It just seems that the lies keep coming. BTW, the house was purchased before her fall from grace the 1st year in college, so that is kind of a mute point. As far as depression and the divorce of her parents...she has suppported her dad in the divorce situation, at least outwardly...I don't think she got along too well with mom and prefers dad...now I know why...he is easy going and has probably not questioned her much up to this point. The high school question...she barely made it out of high school her senior year due to attendance. I remember ther mom calling dad pleading with him to come to the family home and make her go to school. I could hear all the drama going on over the phone. The daughter was sobbing about something and refused to go. Personally I would never have allowed my kid to go away to school and co-sign a student loan with that being her history. Dad has agreed no more school on his dime...she has already blown close to $1500 on courses that were paid and she will get no credit for...that just this year. Who knows about last year...dad doesn't either. That is what bothers me more than anything, that he thinks because she is 19 almost 20 she doesn't need to be monitored closely. She acts like a 10 year old with her lack of responsibility. A note on comparing her to my children, etc. It is the irony of life. Yesterday would have been my 21st wedding anniversay. The marriage was never an extremely happy one to begin with...he told my mom to shut up on our wedding night! Anyway, water under the bridge. He worked, made a good living and I was lucky enough to stay at home and raise the kids, while he pursued his career. As my daughter reached the teen years, she got extremely difficult to deal with.She's always had a sharp tongue for as long as I can remember. But once puberty hit, wow, it really got tough. Ex Husband would come home from work and he would side with the daughter. Right or wrong, I believe parents have to work together for the benefit of the child. You don't put down the parent in front of the child. You pull the parent aside and talk about what you don't agree with how they handled the situation. Again, ironically, this was the frosting on the cake and I couldn't take the marriage anymore. I was not a parent, but looked upon as some worker who lived in the house, or that's the way I felt. We nevwer seemed to be able to be partners and work together. I would never blame my daughter for the divorce, I blame the former spouse and myself for not dealing with issues reagarding her behavior, in the proper manner. Now, it is a differnt story. He calls me almost everyday and complains or vents about things that are bothering him about our daughter. I have nicely said, I wish you hsd seen these things before. Again, water under the bridge. Interestingly enough I have become a lot closer to my daughter since the divorce. Getting away from the husband has allowed me to deal with her more calmly and (most times) her with me! So, it is a great thing! She also had some extreme emotional issues about a year ago and is also on anti-deppresants, so I am not a stranger to mental illness. I also see how (at times) she uses that as a crutch and also see how she sometimes pits myself against her dad. I guess what I mean, when dad says no she comes to me and visa versa. Finally the ex and I are working together and agree on many issues with her and are working together to have a united stand. She is about to go off to school this fall and I am confidnet that she will do ok, but everytime something doesn't go her way she can't cave. Otherwise she will be home going to JC. Learning to become an adult is a process and you have to take the lumps with the joys of youth. Anyway, I see my daughter morphing into an adult...most days! Just dont see that with SO's daughter. Anyway, wanted all of you to know I have dealt with some of these issues with my own daughter. Back to the irony...I feel I am in the same boat now, someone's elses daughter, different issues, and seemingly no solutions with the father. Although my SO is totally respectful of me and my opinion. I also feel bad for him having to deal with this crap and cancer as well.
I didn't mean to go on and on, but it feels good to get this off my chest. I sincerely appreciate all of your suggestions and agree with everyone...just have to figure out a way to get the ball rolling. Another aside, she is an animal lover and seems to have a bit of knowledge about the habits of animals, both domestic and wild. I have on more than one occasion mentioned that she should consider going into that field...vet's aid? But, she considers herself a singer, writer and artist. So, you can see her interests run into the arts but you have to learn the basic stuff also!

Thanks to all who have read this far! I really appreciate the forum to just vent! Thanks again!


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

Again, stop comparing the two different daughters. Whatever happened with your daughter, whatever worked for her...it does not matter...this other female is a totally different person. I'm sure you're aware there are different types of depression, different severity levels blah blah.

--"I am not so sure she is truly depressed...she has gone a week or more before she told her dad she needed her pills renewed. She is capable of dropping a prescription off and picking it up...i.e. she already had the prescription! ANd if she needed them that bad, she would have been on top of it. Se is almost 20 years old. Yes, she shows a lot of signs of depression, but I think mentally ill in other ways, is a possibility, or pathological liar...liar by omission? --

It's not your call to make. You, yourself, don't have to be 'sure'. If she's been under a drs care in the past and put on meds and past counseling, I will assume there was a reason for it. And yeah, she can have other problems/issues going on (personality disorders for example)but that's why the daughter should be in ongoing treatment. There could very well be a combination of things going on and stopping her meds/failing to take as prescribed is one of the things people do during times they feel better and/or dislike possible side effects of the meds. It's important to take the meds as directed.

--"So we/he has had conversations with her. It's strange he cannot seem to raise his voice to her. Not that I think that is the solution, but I think she needs to know he means business...he is a very calm guy. It's great, but when you have to take a stand you have to at least sound firm and follow up all the time. He has asked me for my opinion many times, I have given him ideas and he has agreed with everything! But it seems so difficult for him to get tough with her...i.e. call her bluff."--

I'm not sure what you mean by 'call her bluff', but if this girl is seriously fighting depression, on and off meds, and dealing with all the changes that can trigger her (divorce, expectation failures, serious illness of her dad), you'd best work with a her drs and gain a very real understanding of what's going on BEFORE YOU 'CALL HER BLUFF'. I'd hate to think it backfired and caused a major down spiral.

As stated above, baby steps. Maybe dad could attend a visit with the daughter's dr to discuss with the dr with the daughter what is going on. If dad lets daughter know he's aware and informed of her issues and goig to help her get the treatments/counseling/support she needs and then follows through with the suggested course, it's doing much more than 'raising his voice to her' will ever do.

'Getting the ball rolling' might mean getting dad into some counseling himself so he can clearly see and understand.

Touhg stop you've landed in, I wish you (all of you) well.


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RE: Almost 20-Failure to Launch

just because she wouldn't take her meds does not mean she is healthy. please don't diagnose people unless you are a physician, she clearly is unwell.


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