Frustration with 18 yo girl

mrs moose

New Member
What do you do??? ...How do you treat an 18 yo who has decided that if asked to do anything, she will do it in her own time. This usually means it never gets done. We are talking about the standard chores.. wash dishes-pots & prep dishes, help with the laundry, clean bathroom. Not a lot of time if done when should be done.
She says she is going to college in the fall. I would love to support the decision if she would help around the house. I know that sound hard but she has not put any effort to be part of the family.

Any ideas


Well-Known Member
I wouldn't tie chores to college, unless there is more to this story and she has been a problem f or al ong time or involved in drugs or other criminal activity. My daughter is pretty lazy and it never occurred to me to keep her home from college. But she is a really good kid and never in any trouble (other than being lazy at home). She got a job this summer and is working very hard and often, but still not a great housekeeper. She did well her first year of college.

I think it's common for teens to be busy and not be home all that much. Is there more to share about this young lady?

I kind of let them go at eighteen, preparing them to take their place in the world. It is inevitable that our "normal" teens, verging on adults, will no t be as close to the family as they were when they were young. I'm still close to my daughter, but she does not have to hang around the is her choice to do so when she likes.

Now if your daughter is in trouble a lot (not just refusing chores)s that is way different.
Not sure we know enough to give good feedback. Can you share more?

in a daze

Well-Known Member
Does she have a cellphone? Do you give her spending money? Buy her favorite drinks and snacks? Give her rides? Let her drive t he car? These things c an be used as leverage.


Roll With It
At 18, it is pretty easy actually. If she doesn't contribute, she does not benefit. Not going to do laundry? Her clothes do not get washed. Period. Won't help with dishes, cooking, etc..? She can eat what she buys, cooks, on dishes she purchases and with utensils she owns.

Won't clean the bathrooms? If she has her own, leave her to it and tell her she cannot use the others. Put locks on their doors.

If you cannot keep her out of the kitchen, lock the cabinets and leave one open with basic food she does not like. If she is a picky eater, purposely cook foods that the rest of you like and she does not. Isolate her dirty dishes and do what my mother did to my brother: Put them on his bed, upside down,with the wet, crusty, nasty, moldy food in them. With a girl you have even more options. Put them in with her makeup - some WILL end up ruined and don't replace them. Or in with her favorite clothes. Then have the laundry tied up for a few days wtih the rest of the family laundry. After all, she doesn't want to do laundry so she isn't "on the schedule" until 3 days from whenever.

Have you considered asking her to pay rent? It doesn't have to be much, but she is an adult now, and supporting herself is no longer your job unless you choose it. If you do, be aware that you may have to go through a legal eviction process if you want her to move out. Of course, you likely would have to do that anyway even without her paying rent if she calls and asks the court or the cops about it

does she have a clue how much life costs? I would insist that she take a class in financial responsibility. I know some insurance companies have them designed for 18 yo's so that they can be prepared to face the world. I would do a google search and find one and make her take it. Some classes are online and some are live, so you have to do some searching to find the one that would work for her.

Tanya M

Living with an attitude of gratitude
Staff member
It sounds like she's asserting her "I'm an adult now" card. I think this is pretty normal, unpleasant but normal. You may need to re-establish house rules. Our kids get it in their heads that the bedroom they occupy is "theirs"

She needs to be reminded that while it's true she is now an adult but with that comes responsibility. If she doesn't want to help with household chores then perhaps it's time she pay some rent. Doesn't have to be a lot, say $25 a week. Sit down with her and show her what your household expenses are, let her know that nothing in life is free.
Now is the time to set some clear boundaries with her.
They turn "18" and wanted to be treated like an adult even if they don't act like one. Part of being an adult is facing responsibilities.
Wishing you all the best!!


Well-Known Member
Well, Tanya, I don't really agree. That's unusual. I usually agree with almost everything you say!!! But hear me out.

Kids who want to act like adults actually are pretty good usually at doing the chores they have to do. Jumper doesn't LIKE to do chore and may grumble and her room looks like a tornado hit it (and I won't clean it as she is old enough and it's her mess), but she does her own laundry, makes sure her car has gas, gets her homework done, and makes her own decisions about life and they are not decisions such as "I will party all night and I don't have to call because I'm eighteen." She is mature enough to realize we worry and let's us know where she is going and when she'll be home, although she doesn't have to tell us where she is going because we can trust her.

I think not doing chores is selfish, however I would NOT attach a child's entire future (her ability to go to college) to just that. We don't know anything about this young adult other than she doesn't do chores. To me that's not enough for such a big step. I suspect there is more, but have to wait for OP to check back in...

I do agree she is old enough to pay for her own cell phone, car, gas, and her part of the car insurance. That's forcing responsibly on her and that's part of being an adult.


one day at a time
Many of us have "babied" our children for way too long. I know I did. Since we had just two children, and I had a housekeeper and we had a good two-person income, our two sons had basically everything they needed and wanting, including video games, clothes, cars provided (they had to pay for the gas), nice clothes, sports, classes, lessons, you name it. They both started part-time jobs when they were 16 and had to pay for gas and spending money. It was a pretty darn good life.

They were supposed to clean their rooms, but it was always a battle. I finally quit washing their clothes and they started doing that. I rarely could get their dishes and glasses from their rooms into the dishwasher, unless I did it.

I should have been more consistent, much tougher, and somehow found the energy to keep on pushing and pushing to have them assume more responsibility sooner and more consistently.

But I was tired. I had a full time business to run, volunteer work, my husband (their dad) was a high functioning executive alcoholic who worked all the time, and I honestly didn't have the energy I needed to have to enforce what I needed to enforce.

They smell fatigue and weakness, even the best kids, and they capitalize on it.

I do believe that attaching natural consequences to bad behavior is the right way to go. Every therapist I have ever consulted has advised this. Like inadaze and susiestar said----no work, no pay, no privileges. Natural consequences.

Many of our kids are just immature and lazy. Others have more serious problems. Most all of them will try this and see if it works. If it does, they'll push it even more.

If you can, start now, calmly, simply, setting a few guidelines. Don't write a book because you can't keep up with it and enforce it. Have a few rules and consequences, and stick to it like glue. No excuses. Cause and effect.

I wish I had done more of this, but I guess I did the best I could at the time. Most of us do, and it's okay that it's not perfect.

Hang in there. We're here for you.