Can I discipline my 20 year old daughter if i support her?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by sfombom, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. sfombom

    sfombom New Member

    My 20 year old daughter lives at home, drives my car, and uses my credit card, and goes to college on my dime, but when it comes to me having any control over her she says "you can't do anything I'm an adult now, I'm not a kid." But sometimes she acts very much like a 12 year old and not 20. She has begun using the credit card I gave her to buy gas (so she can commute to school, it's much cheaper) to buy other things. I let her use it to buy groceries and toiletries but she started going overboard. She uses it to go out to dinner and dunkin donuts all the time. I looked in her closet and it's filled with hundreds of hair products and tooth whiteners and other things like lotions and I know none of them come cheap. When I gave her the card we had an agreement it was for only groceries and gas but since you can buy groceries at the same place as toiletries (and many other things at walmart) she seems to be buying whatever she doesn't feel like using her own money for. I got the credit card bill last month and it was over $700. I thought I could just make her pay it but her bank account is empty, she has no money! She knew I had to pay it off anyway to prevent my credit score from going bad (it's under my name but has her name on, it so she doesn't have to deal with the debt, i do) but she still owes me money. Her solution to her owing me money is to ignore it. I tried to take the card away from her but she hid it. Can I punish her? Can I take away her computer even though she's 20?
  2. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome. Frankly, I think you've gone beyond a situation in which remedies can be found by punishing her. She is an adult and the relationship should contain the respect befitting a relationship between two adults. I certainly would withdraw my credit card immediately - if she has hidden it and refuses to give it back, I would cancel the account. I would also draw up a clear set of rules about what constitutes respect for each other or other family members within the home. I would encourage her independence and her moving out into being able to handle money and live within a budget. If she had to finance herself without help, she would do this. I realise she is your daughter but it sounds like she is exploiting you. It's not easy, I realise, to draw up clear lines but I really would, for both your sakes.
  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    If the card is in your name - cancel it. The company will let you do this since you are primary - you just tell them you need the card cancelled and reissued to YOU ONLY, and you pay the balance... And I hate to say this, but don't expect her to EVER pay you back. As for groceries - for food, you buy what you can afford, and if she doesn't like it, let her use her own money.

    Controlling her, well, no. However - your home, your rules. She doesn't like them? She can move out to somewhere else, where she LIKES the rules (and paying her own way). I lived with my parents till I was 21 (a while after that). I told them where I was going to be if not home. When I left my ex at age 28 and came home for a few months I abided by their rules.

    Take back the car keys. Let her find her own transportation. Buses are awful (in my opinion) and taxis are expensive.

    Is it HER computer... Or yours?
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I think at 20 years of age, you should take back your credit card and make her get a job to pay for her gas, etc.

    Set a reasonable curfew for your HOME (not her) and if she can't live like that, she can move out. But that means she's cut off from financial assistance. It's a pertty simple black and white issue to me.

    I would not take away her computer - she needs it for school, correct? Beside, that's treating her like an unruly child.

    She is declaring to you that she is an begin to treat her as an adult by allowing her to be responsible for herself and to others because that is what adults do. Mine used to say to me, "I'm an adult, you know!" and I would say, "Okay, than behave as an adult!"
  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    The others are right. She lives in YOUR house and lives completely off YOUR money so she may be chronologically an adult but has none of the responsibilities or maturity of an adult. I agree with paying for her college .... IF you can afford it and she is really going. YOU buy the groceries for the HOUSE, not for her. YOU put gas in the car FOR her. Cancel the credit card. The account is in your name so you can have her taken off the account and HER specific card cancelled. YOU control that. Do not give her any cash for any reason. I know this is going to be hard but she thinks she is in control because of her chronological age. You need to SHOW her that since she still lives under your roof, YOU are in control. She is the boss when she is on her own and supporting herself 100%.

    Sorry you're gong through this. some of these kids that think 18 is a magic number.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Logical consequences are always appropriate. Anything else doesn't work on an adult (well, usually doesn't work on kids either.)

    Abusing the credit card = no credit card. Pure and simple.
    If you wish to fund anything, limit her to one chain, and get a prepaid card that you can load remotely, and give her X dollars "for gas and groceries"... but when it's gone, it's gone. You can't control what she spends it on, but you definitely control how much you provide... and it can be "nothing", that is your choice.

    I'm not sure from your post if she is abusing her car priveleges or not... if she is not, then I wouldn't touch the car priveleges.

    As far as "house rules"... make it clear that these are HOUSE rules, not "rules for HER". Everybody in the house must abide by the rules. Consequence to not fitting in to house rules? You don't get to live at the "house" anymore.

    The computer doesn't seem to be the source or cause of problems at this point... and is a necessary tool for her education. I'd leave it out of the picture.
  7. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    OMG don't cancel the card! It'll affect your credit score. Just call them up and tell them you lost it, need it replaced and get the replacement with only your name.

    Then, if you still want to help her out, put money into an account for her, give her an allowance so to speak. If she spends it on stupid stuff, then she walks to school or starves. She'll learn how to budget better if you give her limits. She has no limit right now.

    Does she have a job? You indicate she has her own money, but I don't see a job mentioned. I totally get the theory that she's a student and that's her job, I'm just wondering where her money is coming from.

    Punishing her? Oh please. She's an adult. Do you remember when you were 20? I sure do. I was going to college and living at my mom's, but also had a couple part time jobs. I didn't tell her what I was up to most of the time, but also didn't get supported with extra money because my family didn't have it. If you treat her like a child she's going to keep acting like that. This is the time in her life that she's allowed to be irresponsible and live it up. She's out doing things you don't really want to know about, but this is the time she needs to do them, learn from them, mess up and pick herself back up or whatever.

    You enabled her by giving her the card to begin with. Change the number, give her a paycheck for her "job" and let her budget her own money. Then, let her do her own thing. Don't worry about her when she gets home late or not at all. She'll figure it out, but needs the opportunity to do so. Who knows, maybe she'll get a student loan and/or a job, move out and become the adult you want her to be.
  8. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    allhaileris, we're not telling her to close the account. We're telling her to simply cancel the card on her account that has her daughter's name on it. I have something similar and if I were to cancel MY card, the account holder would still have the account open.
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    No - don't close the account - but yes, cancel the card. And when you do, make sure her name is removed from any part of the account, too. :wink:
  10. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I agree with everyone... call the credit card company and cancel her card. Remove her name an authorized user of your account, and get a new card number. ASAP.

    She's an adult, who has the privilege of living in your home. She's right, you can't tell her what to do. However, you can tell her what will happen if she doesn't live by your house rules. Then it becomes her choice: abide by the rules, or find some other way to support herself.

    I'd like to invite you over to the Parents Emeritus section of these boards, where there are many of us who have "been there done that" with adult children.
  11. compassion

    compassion Member

    Welcome to the boards! In my experince as a mom of a 19 year old very implusive, who also acts more like 12 , she cannot handle her own money. I dole out to her a bit each day connected to her doing stuff. It is what is realsitc. She has spent thousands ,very simlar type stuff. I have to lock my credit cards in a safe and she does not live with me. This is what i do: she gets a pack of cigs for taking am medications and one for pm medications. She gets 15 dollars for attending her community college class. She gets 5 dollars for going to AA or NA. She gets 30 dollars in a shopping spree for attending p-doctor, t-doctor or lab appts.
    She has a new p-doctor and as on her june 14 appointment., the p-doctor wanted me to let her handle her own money and administer her own medications. Well, I tried it for 3 days, she took the 30 dollars and bought mj with it. She almost got Baker Acted becasue she did not take her nighttime lithium and was drving erratically, crashed into BMW. She has a permit , not a license for this reason (instability/not sober). Since then, she has not driven my car. She is learning to navigate the bus system. I also give her coupons for fun stuff like a Busch Gardens pass, restruant coupons, and movie passes.
    Realsitcially, her going to school is what she can handle, it is a bit of a strtech, depending on the day.
    She did work at Plato's closet for 7 days last month before shcool started but handling that on a regular basis ,not realstic. She did finish two reading prep classes in 7 weeks, that is huge for her. She is taking writing prep during summer B. My experence.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Of course! If it's your money, you cut off the funds.
    No credit card for her.
    No key, either. No extras.
    Whatever you own, belongs to you, not her.
    She must follow your rules.
    She is totally taking advantage of you.
    Now I'm going to scroll up and see what everyone else wrote.
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My definition of an adult: A person who is of age, acts like an adult and is self-supporting. What you have is still a teenager in spite of her age...and a spoiled one. Agree with the others.