Potetial confrontation coming up

wife and I have a potential confrontation coming up real soon. This morning, in fact. Or I should say a continuation of a confrontation, unless dtr had a change of heart over night.

Dtr has a day pass for court session. It's a hearing to revoke court supervision due to her default on a DUI fine payment plan.

She can pay the whole fine up front and put this chapter behind her, and get on with her recovery, if she so chooses. You see, she got a sizable tax refund/earned income credit payment. She qualifies for the EIC even though her dtr is not her dependent (because wife and I are raising her dtr).

I filed the return for her but only on the condition that the money be deposited in a separate account which she can't access except through me. It is understood that no one will touch the money except to give her reasonable and necessary expenses for her recovery, i.e. $30 a week for sundries; rent, food, and bus fare at a sober house for the first couple of weeks; and, of course, the fine. She agreed to this so the money is still there.

Well, she comes out on the phone to wife tonight and says she's going to tell them tomorrow that she can't pay the fine. She wants to tell them "I'm broke, but look, I'm getting help now" and rely on that to smooth her path and get the judge to agree to a new payment plan. Oh and she wants $100 because she "needs some stuff": a quick clothes shopping spree after court, she means.

wife said hold it right there, you have to tell them you have the money, or else you're lying. Dtr comes back, "it's my money and I can't spend it on a fine, I need it for recovery." In her mind I guess that makes it not a lie any more. wife tried to say, it's pay now or pay later so why not pay now when you have it instead of leaving it for later and likely coming up short. But dtr had already closed up and simply refused to listen and kept repeating "It's my money."

wife got off the phone and asked, "What can we do? It is her money, she's an adult, if she wants it we can't hold it back." I said, "No, but I can tell her that if she lies to the judge you are going to tell him that she's lying." (wife will be in court this morning but I can't; I've already burned too much personal leave time on difficult child this year.) wife said, "What if she wants to take her money and run?" I said, "We can't let fear of what she might do dictate what we do." wife agreed with me. So when I get dtr from treatment to put her on the train to meet wife for court, I'm going to tell her that if she lies to the judge then a) they will find out because her tax refund is public record and b) anyway, wife is going to tell on her. If shes says "then give me my money, I'm not paying", I'll tell her she has to go see wife because I don't have the debit card for the account, wife does. Actually wife can't withdraw it all either without going to a teller, even with the card. If she tells wife the same thing, then wife will give her what she can withdraw at an ATM and tell her that she won't be getting any help later when she possibly (probably) hasn't paid, doesn't have the money any more, and is facing jail. Dtr has to make the decision whether to pay that fine or not, and will have to face the consequences, whatever she decides. Hopefully that will be to pay the fine. If we tried to hold back her refund to force her to pay then we would be in the wrong, and if she doesn't do the right thing of her own free will then she's not really in recovery at all.

Am I wrong to have sequestered that account even though she agreed to this arrangement? Should I have simply had the funds go directly to her since she is an adult? Or should I have told her she was responsible for her taxes and allowed her to succeed or fail on her own? The latter, I guess, but she is doing everything she's supposed to so far and I hate to give her extra opportunities to fail, as it were.


New Member
I understand exactly where you are coming from and what you are trying to do, and part of me agrees that you shouldn't let her have the money and you shouldn't allow her to lie, but the other part of me says she's 26, if she chooses to lie, let her suffer the natural consequences and that you should just hand her the money, tell her it's her business what she does with it and then detatch yourself from her choices. I know as parents you are trying to protect her by not giving her the money because you fear what she is going to do with it, and you also want to protect her from what will happen if she lies, but like I said she's 26 and she has to start learning this on her own.

She is being manipulative right now and you shouldn't be drawn into it. Maybe husband shouldn't even go to court with her. Maybe he should hand her the money, say good luck at court and walk away.

Whatever you decide, you and husband need to both be comfortable with it and in complete agreement. Don't let her play one against the other.


Active Member
she is an adult, but she is not thinking clearly. when ant was under 18 I forced him to pay his fines by selling his car (it was in my name) and paying off fines. I also cashed in his savings bond to do that too.

now he is 23. he has fines. if he does not pay he goes back to jail. I do not even mention the fines to him anymore. his problem. ugh
You all are right. I shouldn't be managing her money. I basically shielded her from consequences. And who knows, maybe she would have handled it responsibly on her own -- we can't know if we don't give her the chance. The proper thing to do would have been to hand her her W2s when she was here in between the hospital and the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and say "I'm not going to deal with this for you."

That's what I should have done, but I didn't. I didn't practice what I preach.

So anyway, this morning the confrontation was renewed as predicted. I repeated the same arguments for paying the fine and she kept up the "it's my money and I need it for expenses" line. My retort was that the fine is one of her expenses too and it wouldn't go away just because she had other priorities. So when she got on the train it was still a standoff.

wife called after court and told me the rest of the story. J was in tears getting off of the train. She had thought it over and decided that we were right, she should pay the fine, and she was remorseful about the things she'd said to me. When her case was called she volunteered to pay off the whole fine. The judge said that the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) would suffice for the other requirement of her court supervision plan, that she get substance abuse counseling. So as long as she stays in the program all her legal problems are cleared up.

This shows a level of maturity that we haven't seen for a long, long time and is very encouraging. And I'm going to take you all's advice and turn the rest of the money over.


Well-Known Member
The other factor which is not address is does she or does she not
feel any financial responsibility toward her 5yo daughter? We
have paid the full freight for 20 years with difficult child's lst child. In
retrospect I think husband and I were so eager for him to have a life
of peace and love that we just avoided the confrontation about
dollars. Then...we inherited difficult child's 2nd child and have had him
for the last five years. GFGmom has contributed about $500 for
both boys since l987.

I don't mean to be negative but sometimes it is very easy to get
overly optimistic when an adult difficult child gives the impression of being
an adult. There are a heck of alot of facets to maturity and my
pet peeve is the children getting the short end of the stick by
their bioMoms. DDD


New Member
The most important thing I see here is that when you did what you knew in your heart to be the right thing (stuck to your guns about the money issue and told her why), daughter saw the light.

Someone told me once that all the good things we taught our children as they were growing up are still in there. You have just received proof of that, I think. Your daughter knew you were right, knew what she should do ~ but if you had not reaffirmed that for her, she probaby would have taken the easy way and been in more trouble down the line.

I think she has shown positive growth, and I admire you for sticking to your guns about the money.

We never stop trying to teach them. The thing is, they don't listen. We are then left feeling like we must have been inappropriate teachers. That is the difference between a difficult child and a easy child, I think.

The difficult children don't listen.

Part of the strength evolved here on the site is the understanding that we HAVE parented correctly.

I know that must have been hard for you.

So scary, not to know what to do.

Good job.

I wish your daughter well. It sounds like she is beginning to step up to the plate.


Hi friends, I haven't been on the board in a while. Thanks again for all the encouragement and wisdom.

DDD you have a point there. Basically she has never spent a dime of money she had to work for on supporting her child. She has helped out by way of non-cash benefits she has qualified for from time to time, i.e. food stamps and state-paid medical. (This all ended once wife and I became guardians.) Cash benefits such as this EIC payment have always evaporated.

Well anyway, in the end I did not withdraw the remaining cash (after the fine) and hand it to her. But I did back off of making her justify every withdrawal. So, five days ago the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) let her out with two other clients so she could go to the county hospital to pick up her refills on her psychiatric medications. The night before she had called and asked to stop by my office and get $20 for this and that. Fine by me. She then called in the morning and said really she needed $50 because she needed some "personal items" and I said, well, it is your money (technically, if not morally) but remember when it's gone it's gone and I hope you're thinking clearly about the future. Well when all was said and done I handed her $100, with her repeatedly assuring me that she was going to be very very careful and make it last (not that I demanded an explanation, but just because I let her know I was worried).

My fears were justified. Of course. We found out last night that her group went to the flea market the next day -- I presume in order for the moms to find clothes and things for their kids (many of the clients have their kids there in the center with them) -- anyhow at the flea market she goes and spends her money on... getting her tongue pierced. I was so disgusted I about threw up. One step forward, one step back. She says she knew it was incredibly stupid but she went and did it anyway. Not very encouraging on her prospects of making it this time. At least she was aware that it was stupid, but what good is awareness if it doesn't stop her? Zip. Somehow she's going to have to figure out how to use that awareness to stop herself, and it's not happening and the program does not seem to be helping her in developing the ability.

To me this piercing business seems like a legally sanctioned (and socially acceptable, nowadays) form of self-mutilation. It's cutting in a different form, as far as I'm concerned. The center said that they provide psychiatric services, but she has yet to see a p-doctor since she went in 5 weeks ago.


New Member
difficult child's always seem to spent their money on things that make no sense to anyone else. I guess you should just be glad she didn't spend it on drugs. That is what a good friend of mine always reminds me when I complain about the stuff difficult child spends his money on, that he could be spending it on much worse.

The only thing I ever say to difficult child now when he tells me something foolish he spent his money on is, yeah you really needed that. Then I shut up!! Mine is working full time though and paying his bills, so I can't really complain, but he needs to learn how to save some money for emergencies. He lives week to week, or should I say minute to minute, as far as his paycheck goes. He always pays his rent first though :smile:


Active Member
I am thinking she is 26 and I would stop managing anything of hers. if she needs to be on a psychiatric disability, so be it and let her get housing and a guardian to manage her money.

my ex had to do that very thing once he wore me out. I married him at age 18, he was 19. his psychiatric problems unfolded more and more over the years. I spent 32 yrs dealing with it.

now he has an income from pscyh disability and a guardian. some one should have done that for him years ago. would have saved me a lot of anguish waiting for him to somehow be healed.
The thing that bugs me is not so much the wasting of the money, 'though that's bad enough, as the piercing thing. It seems to me like a form of self-mutilation. Even worse is the thought of our little one seeing her mom with the stud in her mouth and asking questions about it. difficult child never went much for tattoos and piercings before -- she has one small tattoo on her ankle, which bothers me not at all -- mostly because the money went for drugs instead, I think. But she's had this thing about tongue-piercing for a long time.

I had a battle with her seven or eight years ago about it. This was back when I was consulting and had an apartment up here, and she came to stay with me to get away from her crowd back home (which accomplished nothing since the underlying problem was and is with her, not the losers she hung with; she just found some new losers up here. But I digress.) I came in from work and she asked me, as casually as you please, if I could run her over to Erica's and oh, by the way, stop at this place to get her tongue pierced on the way? I didn't even need to go inside or wait for her, she'd call me when it was done. "Over my dead body", I said. "Fine, I'll walk", she said. I said, "If you do, you won't come back through that door again." I told her it was up to her whether tongue-piercing was more important than a bed, and then walked off my anger for the next three or four hours (in January, in Chicago). While I was gone she destroyed a model ship I had been building. I threw away the pieces and neither one of us ever brought the incident up again.

I drove my parents batty with my long hair and tattered jeans and the music I listened too in the 70s. I tell myself I have to tolerate generational differences. But the stuff I did wasn't permanent like a piercing or tattoo. I could change back into a clean-cut kid in a couple of hours with a haircut and a change of clothes. And the music advocated sex and drugs, but not sex and drugs and rape and murder like the gangsta music they listen to now.

I feel like telling her that she won't be seeing her daughter unless she takes out the stud (would it have to be cut out? I don't even know.)