Difficult child, ALMOST 18, and wants to move out...


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Has anyone let their child move out before 18? She is practically begging to let her move in with friends. We are seeing a psychologist next week, as her therapist of 3 to 4 years just recently told us that she feels she might have a histrionic personality disorder. Her behaviors are escalating. Got a call yesterday from principal, she might be facing an out of school suspension for failing to show up for a detention. Two weeks ago, I spent 4 hours with her in the ER as she came home stinking drunk with a wild story about someone she didn't know taking her someplace and giving her shots of alcohol to drink. She was 2 to 3 times over the legal limit, but no other drugs found. She lost her job on Monday of this week. Can't get the while story, but it sounds like when the supervisor asked her how she was getting along, daughter proceeded to tell her how mean and rude everyone she worked with was. Already talking about how she doesn't want to keep going to school, that she hates it, and maybe she should do online...

I don't want to get in legal trouble by letting her move out, but all the drama she causes, it is really tempting! She doesn't keep friends long, so I know that she would soon be looking for another place, if she did move out.

I especially am worried what the court system would think, as this summer we have had problems with younger daughter. She snuck out at night to meet with a boyfriend and we called the police. The second time it happened, we had to go to court and she now has a court services person who sets curfew and checks on how things are going at school. She is doing good, but I wonder what the court would think if we came back in with more problems, but with different child. For all the trouble younger one caused it doesn't measure to the stress of the 17.5 year old.

Any advice on how to handle this? Or when she does turn 18? In addition to seeing a psychologist, we have an appointment for fetal alcohol screening in December. She was seen by a neuropsychologist for testing, but we did not learn much from that. IQ is 113, bur working memory and processing speed is in the bottom 13%.

She is on medications, but hard to get her to take them.

Thanks for letting me vent. Hope there are words of wisdom out there!! KSM


Active Member
It seems like a lot of people describe this as spiraling down. In our experience, it felt like "spinning out" instead. I don't know whether you should or should not let her leave. I can tell you my son's spinning out seemed more like a scream for help so he wouldn't devolve into a more troubled place. There is always the possibility that more will be revealed, I'm sure, for us and for you, but I wonder whether for your daughter's sake you should view it as a difficult time at least for now, if it hasn't yet become chronic. Of course, that depends on how bearable it is for your family. Our son was hospitalized twice for binge drinking, was doing drugs and druggie behaviors, and was becoming increasingly belligerent at home, insisting he would be better off living somewhere else. But he had not become threatening, violent, or self-harming. And he was slipping but still in good standing in school. He had not gotten in trouble with the law.

But in residential treatment, he was with plenty of kids who had done all of that. When they had a number of weeks away from their substances, peers and even school and family stresses, and with the help of therapists, peer support, etc, they were able to calm the f@#k down. And the parents were able to as well. I know for many on this forum, residential treatment was not the end of the kids' journeys for sure, but a lot of people seem to acknowledge that their kids did gain knowledge and tools from it.

I don't know where you live, or what is available to you, but seeking help for her and support for yourself may relieve some of the immediate stress of the situation. There are inpatient and outpatient programs, troubled teen counselors, wilderness programs, programs through area hospitals, youth AA meetings. In all of these things there are opportunities for your daughter to be with adults that she hasn't yet disappointed and peers who she hasn't been doing bad things with.

For parents there are books about how to support troubled teens, and al-anon meetings in which parents share their tools for detaching with love and living more peacefully at home. I have 3 kids as well, and two seem not to have their nails on the chalkboard of life, like my oldest. But, I have pretty much had a "one size fits all" parenting style for all of them. And maybe I shouldn't have. All teens are prone to narcissism and fantasy thinking, like how they will lead this great life outside the home, but the more intense (or troubled) teens are especially. Whereas before I would have just addressed the fantasy ideas head on, thinking I needed to disabuse him or teach something, I am now using techniques I learned from other parents in Al-anon to keep conversations from escalating to the point where my son takes it to irrational or disturbing levels. And from those parents and this forum, I have a better sense of how long and bumpy the road might be, which doesn't make moment to moment living easier per se, but it does make the unknown less terrifying. And I have a whole different perspective about what I should want for my son. I want him to be healthy and happy, period end of story. I'm not wringing my hands about the specifics of it anymore, and I think that has relieved pressure from him, but also given him the room to want things for himself some day, instead of always having his parents want everything for him first, or more. (My son chose online school this year, for example, and he is doing well). Putting in the effort to "clean up my side of the street" as they say, seems to be changing the balance for the better at home, but at a minimum it helps to gain some much needed distance so we (as parents) aren't clouding the issue ourselves.

If you can inject that distance a little, with or without help, it may help you to see your daughter more sympathetically. It sure did in my case.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
That is such a tough age. They really think they know what's best for themselves and just want to be free from the parents. My heart goes out to you.

I highly suggest attending Al-Anon meetings.

One thing I have learned is if they really want to leave they will, it doesn't matter their age or what we as parents want. The fact that she is "asking / begging" does show that somewhere within her she wants your approval and that is a good thing.
If it were me I would just keep trying to get her to see a therapist. Reinforce to her that she is loved.

It's a difficult road that you are on and I am so sorry for what you are going through but you will get through this.

((HUGS)) to you..............



Well-Known Member
ksm --- We booted our son out at age 16 following a particular police call to our home. He was on probation at the time, so we had to obtain permission from the probation officer (legally). Our son's older sister agreed to take him in and the probation officer agreed to it. It had gotten so ugly at home, we just could stand no other option.

Are there any current legal issues involved?

It only worked out with his sister for a few months, and then he moved to a series of homes (various family and friends) -- each ending the same way.........they all kicked him out.

It was a rocky road with our relationship and our son's life for a number of years (he's now 25). However, enough reality checks, arrests, rehabs, and homeless days on the street eventually caught up with our son and he decided (well, he's still in the process of deciding.....but acting upon it tangibly) to surrender parts of his harsh life one at a time (like I said, still in progress).

I recall the very same feelings you expressed. You are not alone! I think most of us feel that at one time or another.

The thing I recall most is how incredibly relaxed I was finally able to be in letting down my guard in my own home. It was clarifying and healing.

Remember this........ No one (and I mean NO ONE) should have to feel on constant guard in their own home.

Sending you all best thoughts...... Take care!


Well-Known Member
We'll, we have survived another month, and honestly, things just keep getting worse. About a week ago she begged me to go to the courthouse and get "the form" sign it and let her move out. I told her I was too busy to do additional things for her, but she was more than willing to go to the court house and request such a form and I would sign it. I know it isn't the way it works, but am getting so worn down. If there was such a " form" there would be a line of parents for such a thing! I think she is speaking of a court order for emancipation... But she couldn't prove she is capable of providing for herself. And I will not abdicate my duties and be found negligence in providing for my dtr.

Just so tired of all of this. KSM


Well-Known Member

It does make one so very tired. Our Difficult Child stomped out one day, saying "I'm not taking this bull s*** anymore!" Even though, his dad and I were weary and stressed, we were sad when he moved out. He was a junior in high school. Within 6 weeks, his friend's family had kicked him out and he moved back in. Things were worse than ever. He always wanted to tell us how things would be. After awhile, we just pretty much ignored each other. There were years of his moving out/moving in. We changed the locks on our doors three times during those years because Difficult Child had a habit of coming back and taking things, or leaving a mess, etc.

Our lives and home became so much more peaceful after he moved out the last time.

So, while I most definitely feel your pain, I have no advice. If husband and I had to go through that trial again, I feel certain we would try something different - but I have no idea what. It is such a horrible way to live.

Stay close to the board. It helps.


Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
Just so tired of all of this.

I know all too well that feeling of being worn down and tired of it all.

I remember my son screaming at me how he couldn't wait until he didn't have to live with us anymore, how much better his life was going to be when he didn't have to follow our stupid rules. I'll be honest, I couldn't wait for that day either. I was so tired of the constant fighting, of him running away then breaking into the house while we were at work and coming home to find my house ransacked, the phone calls from school that once again he was not there, the trips to court, the trips to jail and on and on.

KSM, this too shall pass. You will get through this. I know that it may feel like it will never end and you will never have peace but it will.

It's just such a hard journey but you are not alone. I so wish I had found this site many years ago as I'm sure I would have detached sooner and not done as much as I did to try to get my son to change, to live a responsible life. I do not regret anything I did to try and help him or the money that was spent but I do know that I continued trying to save him for to long.

The day will come when your daughter will no longer live with you and you will experience some peace. That peace can be short lived however because as with most of our DCs there will be phone calls from them begging for help, they will be in crisis mode and they will suddenly want mommy and daddy to make everything ok for them.

Have you given thought to down the road as to how you will respond if and when she calls in crisis mode? Only you can decide how much of that you will put up with and how much help if any you will offer.

Let us know how thing are progressing.

((HUGS)) to you....................


Well-Known Member
I wanted to move out before I was 18.
It didn't happen.
I left home the day after my 18th birthday and didn't see my parents for 18 months.
I needed to not live with them.

Fostered children here have to move out of their foster homes when they are 16. Often they move into places arranged for them by social services.

16 is too young.

Nearly 18 was the right age for me.

Just so tired of all of this

What's the worst that could happen if she moved out?


Well-Known Member
Nij... The worst thing that could happen, besides her being hurt, would for my husband and I to be charged with child neglect or abandonment.



Well-Known Member
Is it illegal there for children to leave home before 18?
Depending on the State/Province, yes.
Some states have a special exemption for self-supporting kids aged 16 or 17 - the kind with totally dysfunctional/absent parents, who are earning their own way in life and looking after themselves. Otherwise - parents are generally responsible for their kids to age 18.


Well-Known Member
The legal age for marriage here is 16 and people can join the armed forces at 16. There is also talk of dropping the voting age to 16. It seems a bit bizarre to not be allowed to leave home until 18.


Well-Known Member
If she left on her own, and we did not report her as missing, then we would be responsible for anything she did. If we report her as missing, and they locate her and take her to a juvenile facility, then decided she was a child in need of care, she could be placed in foster care or a detention center, if she committed a crime. Then we would be billed for all her expenses... Which is usually more than what a court would demand of child support from an absent parent. They would garnish the money if we did not pay. KSM


one day at a time
Ksm it sounds like the decision is made. She has to stay In your home until she is of legal age to leave.

If she does not like that and will not accept that, can you sit her down with a lawyer and let them explain it to her and explain to her what she can do and when? Or even a judge or the juvenile authorities? Our DCs will not listen to us (and often not to anybody) but I would give that a try.

Another thought is for you to get some advice from the juvenile authorities about what your rights are when it comes to her and what kind of help and support you can get from them.

I don't know. Reading your posts makes me feel helpless too. You need outside help from someone with her. I am sure you have already tried every consequence known.

Thinking of you tonight and wishing I had some solid solutions for you. Hugs.


Well-Known Member
I'm sending hugs and strength. I know exactly what you're going through.
We gave our son a year to move out. He will be 19 in Dec. He is supposed to move out in June. He still doesn't have a job and is failing his senior yr in HS.
These kids act on their feelings. No plan. No logic. Just impulsivity.
It's so hard.