difficult child's Expectations

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dstc_99, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    So difficult child came up this weekend to welcome her father home. She met me at the welcome home party and proceeded to pretend like nothing had ever happened. I let it go for the first day because I wanted us to have a break and get the hubby home and rested before we talked. I have an odd feeling that difficult child was unhappy that I had packed all her things for her to take to my parents. I had told her when she left last Monday that I would pack her things for her but I don't think she expected it. She didn't mention it but she acted funny when she saw it.

    Day 2 we decided to go out to eat and I talked to the hubby about speaking with her. He is definitely the type to avoid conflict and I could tell he wasn't going to initiate the conversation. When we went to lunch I asked difficult child what her plans were and she stated go to finish high school and go to college. Great ideas that I am glad she is putting 1st. I asked about a job and she mentioned working at a farm for a family friend and volunteering at a animal hospital both of which are wonderful and will fit her well. I then let her know that when she turns 18 she will need to be earning enough to pay for her car, car insurance, and cell phone. She was not happy but she didn't say anything because we were at a hibachi restaurant where other families were sitting next to us. Sad but I had intentionally planned to speak with her there because she would be unable to act so hateful. I didn't push it any further since the hubby didnt add anything and I didn't want to cause a blow up in the restaurant.

    I spoke to the hubby for a second before we got in the car for the ride home and told him we needed to speak with her about what she expects from us and what our limits will be. Of course he doesn't initiate and difficult child starts talking about prom dresses from the back seat. Some girl is selling her pageant dresses on Facebook and we should look at them. An obvious hint that she wants us to buy her prom dress. Anyway I just flat asked her "what are your expectations from us now that you have moved out?" She said I don't know and acted confused. So I prompted and said well what about your prom dress are you expecting us to buy it? She said well I would think you would want to buy it and take me shopping for it. This is where it got ugly. She went on to say there was no way she could get a job to pay for her car, car insurance, and cell phone. That we were punishing her for moving out and trying to make her life difficult.

    In some ways I guess she is right. If she were living at home and abiding by our rules we would continue to pay for her things. But at the same time she can't stand to be around us and doesn't want to deal with her issues. She cant respect us and she doesn't want to live under our roof but she wants us to continue to do all the things we did before. I just don't know how to walk this tight rope. I don't want to enable her to continue to run away from things that require her to change or at least work for change. I don't want to make it easy for her to walk away from her family and make it perfectly ok for her to do it. I also don't want to run her off and make her never come back again.

    On the other hand why would I want to spend days pretending that life is fine and shopping with her for prom dresses if I am not allowed to say anything she doesn't want to hear? What is so fun about that? I have dreamed about being there for all these Senior year things for years and now in order to be a part of them I have to deal with my parents who I have recently lost a great deal of respect for. I also have to put on my happy face and basically be a walking smiling bank account. How do I do that and feel like a person?
     
  2. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hugs. Miss KT moved in with my mom for nine months during her junior year. You don't have to become a bank account, just find a compromise you can live with. What are you willing to pay for (or help out with?) In our case, Miss KT was just across town, and we felt that as long as she did what we wanted her to do (stay in school, be medication compliant, maintain a B average) we would continue to pay car insurance. Otherwise, I was pulling the keys.

    Are your parents asking for any kind of child support? I had to pay my mother the amount I got from Miss KT's father, even though we were still paying many of her school expenses.

    by the way, Goodwill often has great prom dresses. We found Miss KT's there for 10 bucks.
     
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    It sounds as if you and our parents need to have a conversation about who is paying for what and what is expected of you. You might decide on an amount you and husband feel comfortable with to be given to your parents for your daughter, or figure out a way to pay her bills yourself. I've had to do similar things and it's really always better, in my opinion, to have very clear communications about what everyone expects and what everyone is willing to do because it can go south quickly and create really bad feelings. This is already an emotional situation with loyalties shifting and breaking, so it will be prudent to figure out all of the financial stuff out quickly. Your daughter is old enough to pay for some of her own things, her choice to leave would have some consequences in that area I would imagine. Good luck with everything!
     
  4. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    husband and I discussed it and decided we would send my father $400 a month in order to pay for the increases in household expenses and any necessities. Since I had to meet them in order to get papers notarized on Monday I went ahead and gave my father the $200 which he immediately handed over to the difficult child. I was not happy about that because basically she is now getting $400 a month to live on and he is footing all her bills with no help. If I had known he was just going to hand it to difficult child I would have set a lower amount because there is no way she needs $100 a week to pay for her basic needs. On the other hand I can't make him use the money to keep from having to pick up the difference in their bills and living expenses. So I think we may need to rethink the amount so that difficult child doesn't have a ton of extraneous money to get in trouble with.

    Maybe I can have husband contact them and have a talk with them but we do have a family therapy appointment on January 22nd and maybe that will be a safe place to discuss the issues.
     
  5. Maybe you can find some sort of compromise. Are you still paying her car insurance and cell phone directly or are your parents paying it now? I would make it so that you pay it each month until she turns 18. I might give her 3 months after she finishes school to find a way to make the payments before I put everything in her lap.

    Also, there is a good book by Gail Vaz-Oxlade about helping prepare kids to pay their own bills, etc.. It gradually eases them in to budgeting and managing money over a period of time. EX:. We are starting our easy child daughter (almost 14) with an allowance that will allow her to have her cell phone bill come out of her bank account, give her a small amount of spending money and enough money to cover the cost of clothing and school supplies. In September she will also begin budgeting for covering the cost of her dance shoes, tights, etc.. This might seem like a lot for her but she is very responsible.

    Maybe you and husband could sit down and set up a budget for her basic costs that your parents will pay for and supply them with grocery store cards for that (those won't go to difficult child, hopefully) and then you can estimate what difficult child needs for clothing and a bit of spending money, maybe even her cell phone bill and have that transferred directly into her bank account every month. If she spends it all she will be heading to Goodwill for the prom dress (not that there is anything wrong with that at all but she will be limiting her options). That will take the fight out of things. I would make it clear that it is her money to do with as she pleases but I'd also help her set up a budget so she gets an idea of what she can and can not afford. Then she can't come to you looking for an 'advance' because the transfer is automatic on the 1st of the month and 'out of your control'.

    Then when you go prom dress shopping it will be on her budget and you can enjoy the time without tension. If things are going ok you could take her out for lunch as a treat or maybe buy her a nice hair clip to add to her prom outfit as something special.

    I'm not sure if you should ask her what her expectations are of you. I think you should tell her what you are willing to do/not do.

    With our difficult child son who is choosing to be out of our home we only pay for his guitar lessons and his medication. That's it. He gets no other money from us. At Christmas I bought him bus tickets and grocery store gift cards. No cash. It's a little different because he is not looking to further himself or succeed at all whereas it looks like your daughter has some good intentions, plans and does want to succeed. It is also a little bit trickier because she is living with your parents. My difficult child is couch surfing with strangers and I don't feel the least bit obligated to cover the food/utilities he uses in their homes. I would if he was staying long term with my parents though. Tough spot.
     
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If my children defiantly decided to move out, I would only pay for the very basics. If I saw grandfather handing $200 checks of MINE to my daughter, I wouldn't pay anything. That was supposed to help them with the extra bills, not be a party for your difficult child. I personally think they are enabling difficult child. Did you want them to take her?
    This is very complicated, and I hope you can come to an agreement that you can all live with. I would tie it in with how your daughter is doing and how she is treating you. No respect, no cell phone, no car insurance etc. My own daughter has to help pay for those things when she is eighteen...we can't afford to continue after that. It's not a punishment for her. A lot of kids have to work, pay a little and also go to college. Not all parents can afford the endless freebies. She's lucky you can and are willing and should learn to appreciate it rather than expect it. JMO
     
  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys!

    Hopefully I can get husband to sit down with me and lay some of these things out. I really want us on the same page before I present it all to the grandparents at therapy on the 22nd. Right now husband has been asking for time to make the decisions which I understand because he just got home to it all. At the same time that just leaves us in limbo and gives everyone time to make assumptions that could cause a rift later on.

    I did not want difficult child to live with my parents. I felt they would enable her and that she should live with my in laws who not only don't have the money to enable her but also don't have the access to things she has access to with my parents. IE: no internet, no 200 channels of cable, no local spa, and they wouldn't spoil her. I was litterally put in the situation of taking my parents to court and fighting them to return my child or fight them to keep them from trying to take her back from me. Which in my opinion is freaking ridiculous! I don't beat her or abuse her in any way. She is in no danger at my house other than danger she puts herself in. Anyway enough of my venting.
     
  8. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I would not, until firmer plans are in place, pass another large chunk (or any chunk!!) to your parents. While you didn't want your difficult child under your roof without her working to do better, you also didn't want her to go to your parents and if I'm recalling right (correct me please if I'm mixing up things, there are a lot of members so I may be confused) your parents just sort of jumped in and on the difficult child bandwagon and this was all beyond your input. Financial support obviously is an obligation until 18th birthday. Beyond that, if she still lives with your parents, I wouldn't feel bad at their CHOICE to enable and house her, they can foot the bill and obviously they don't mind. I would NOT however give cash to your parents that will be handed to difficult child. I would probably tell your parents (or send a letter if it is easier for your) stating that you are obligated to provide needs for difficult child until she is no longer a minor, and you get that. Her roof however is now provided by your parents by THEIR choice, NOT yours. That is then their financial responsability. I would try to figure out how much it has cost you on average for food a month for difficult child when she was at home. I would offer to provide that amount in form a gift card for their local favorite grocery store, to ensure YOUR money pays for difficult children FOOD. Period. I would send one package a month with 1 toothpaste, bar of soap, shampoo, a few razors and shave cream, box of hygeine products. I would let them know that all medical issues until her 18th birthday, they simply need to provide you reciepts and you will happily reimburse (plus use said reciepts if helpful at your tax prep time). I would be clear, SHE and THEY chose this living arrangement. You are NOT as a parent EVER obligated for the "fun stuff" and make it clear that difficult child is NOT participating as a member of the family now, and while at home was making life hades for everyone else anyhow. So at your parents as well as in your home, natural consequences for the difficult child behaviors are going to remain that the "fun stuff" she wants, she can work for, or live without. I would then state that if your parents want to enable and provide the NON NEEDS, it is NOT your business, and they are free to do so, but it is NOT their place to demand nor expect you to provide NON NEEDS. I may be a hard nut to crack here, but honestly? For me? A prom dress? Talk to enabling grandparents dearest difficult child because quite frankly you treat me and our home like garbage, you chose to leave and triangulate myself and my parents, you have no RIGHTS to anything beyond a roof (you have a roof, if grandparents choose to keep one over her instead despite that being NOT what you think is helpful, that is their issue. PERIOD) and food, and basic hygiene needs. You sent her belongings and clothes. You provided. She now lives out of your home, your obligation for even clothing is now OVER. However, between now and her 18th birthday, I would make it plain that if she expects you to provide clothes, you will accompany her to the local thrift shop and offer her basic clothing needs within the budget of the goodwill or whatever. Because there is NEVER a right to NICE nor TRENDY clothes. IF she can find nice and trendy at the thrift store, bonus. If not, well at least suitable clothing to cover her is available. I WOULD provide medically, for counselling, medications etc. I would NOT continue to do so beyond the 18th birthday IF she is still with your parents and if she is not acting as a loving daughter with at least decency toward you and husband and your home when visiting or in calls etc.

    This is NOT all said as a punishment for your difficult child. If I were in your shoes, I would do what I just typed because it would be a last ditch effort before she is 18 to wake her UP. She is NOT living in reality. Frankly, well intended I'm sure, your parents are NOT helping this situation. That doesn't mean you don't continue teaching the same lessons to wake her up, even if your parents are acting counter to what you hope to teach her.

    I make no apologies for the fact that when my son was a minor and opted out of our home for a period of time, life as he knew it from me would NOT be the same. As I would with an adult child, I provided birthday gifts and christmas gifts. But as is normal with adult children on their own, the gifts were not as lavish as when a younger child lived at home and you got more spoiled. I did those gifts with NO expectations and NO strings. Because I'm a mom and mom's do those things. THe one year my son was outrageously terrible to me and we had no contact other than he and his friends harrassing me in mean calls, I gave him nothing. He was 12. Not one thing. He is nearly 20 now. And he thanks me now.
     
  9. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Ok so how does this sound for guidelines? The only basic difference is the Money which is Item 1 and 2 under the options.

    Option 1



    1. Mom and Dad will send $200 to Grandfather every two weeks in order to assist Grandfather and Grandmother with paying household related expenses that have increased because of difficult child. These funds will decrease upon difficult child's 18[SUP]th[/SUP] birthday as outlined in item 8. These funds should be used to defer the costs of increased electric, water, veterinary, medical, and grocery related items.
    2. If at any time it is determined that the money sent to Grandfather is being given to difficult child and not used for expenses Mom and Dad will revert to Option 2.
    3. Any extra expenses such as clothing or non necessity items will be discussed with Mom and Dad but Mom and Dad are under no obligation to provide for them.
    4. Medical care will continue until age 21 if not enrolled in college full time or age 23 if enrolled in college full time. All non covered medical necessities will be paid for by Mom and Dad. Any medical bills for non necessities will not be paid by Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad will determine what a necessity is.
    5. Mom and Dad will pay for difficult child's car, car insurance, and cell phone until age 18.
    6. After age 18 Mom and Dad will no longer pay for the cell phone.
    7. After age 18 Mom and Dad will no longer pay for car insurance. Mom and Dad will contact USAA insurance and advise difficult child of the amount due monthly and set a date for it to be withdrawn from difficult child's USAA checking account. If at any time the funds are not available Mom and Dad reserve the right to obtain the vehicle.
    8. Upon graduation from high school Mom and Dad will assist difficult child with living expenses in college at a rate commiserate with the colleges housing fees. Mom and Dad will not assist with tuition. difficult child has the option to use Dad's GI Benefits for tuition until they are exhausted. Mom and Dad will provide $35 a week to difficult child's USAA account in order to allow her to pay for lunches at school and gas as needed. Personal expenses such as clothing and bathing items will be difficult child's responsibility.


    Option 2




    1. Mom and Dad will send $35 a week to difficult child's USAA account in order to allow her to pay for lunches at school and gas as needed.
    2. We will send one gift card a month for Kroger's in the amount of $50 to pay for bath items. These funds will no longer be sent upon difficult child's 18[SUP]th[/SUP] birthday as outlined in item 8.
    3. Any extra expenses such as clothing or non necessity items will be discussed with Mom and Dad but Mom and Dad are under no obligation to provide for them.
    4. Medical care will continue until age 21 if not enrolled in college full time or age 23 if enrolled in college full time. All non covered medical necessities will be paid for by Mom and Dad. Any medical bills for non necessities will not be paid by Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad will determine what a necessity is.
    5. Mom and Dad will pay for difficult child's car, car insurance, and cell phone until age 18.
    6. After age 18 Mom and Dad will no longer pay for the cell phone.
    7. After age 18 Mom and Dad will no longer pay for car insurance. Mom and Dad will contact USAA insurance and advise difficult child of the amount due monthly and set a date for it to be withdrawn from difficult child's USAA checking account. If at any time the funds are not available Mom and Dad reserve the right to obtain the vehicle.
    8. Upon graduation from high school Mom and Dad will assist difficult child with living expenses in college at a rate commiserate with the colleges housing fees. Mom and Dad will not assist with tuition. difficult child has the option to use Dad's GI Benefits for tuition until they are exhausted. Mom and Dad will provide $35 a week to difficult child's USAA account in order to allow her to pay for lunches at school and gas as needed. Personal expenses such as clothing and bathing items will be difficult child's responsibility.
     
  10. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I have a question:

    If difficult child is not living with you (and assuming she will not be living with you after 18) - why in the world will you keep her on your auto insurance policy?

    JMHO - but at 18, she will be an "adult" - let her get her own insurance policy.
     
  11. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    Because unless she buys her car from us we live in a state that requires car insurance. It would be our responsibility as the owners to ensure we had it. Leaving it up to her and not knowing if she has it could get us sued.
     
  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Oh! I didn't realize YOU owned the car...and let her take it with her to her grandparents' house.

    Maybe, in lieu of "child support" payments (if your parents don't need them) - you can just "gift" her the car? And after 18 you can be free of that obligation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  13. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    We would have to pay the car off in about 5 months and I don't think we can. Maybe we can pull it off and if we do gift it to her and not worry about insurance.
     
  14. MAttsmom - Wow! Well said!

    DTSC - I would go with option 2 from the get go. Your parents have already handed over the cash to difficult child and I see no reason why they wouldn't continue to do so. I'd go with Kroger cards or whatever grocery store you choose instead.

    Also, if you plan on letting her keep that car then I'd try to get it paid of asap and gift it to her - that way if she doesn't pay the insurance it is her problem, as well as the repairs etc.. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable keeping the car in my name and then having to rely on a difficult child to pay the insurance. By the time you found out she wasn't paying it might be too late.

    Otherwise I think it sounds like a pretty good plan.
     
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