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I have an 18 year-old daughter who left home for 10 days after an argument...

I have an 18 year-old daughter who left home for 10 days after an argument. We thought she was staying with girlfriends. We found out she was staying with a 26 yr-old boyfriend that we never had met. Our niece told us that he was in jail for drug pushing. He bought her things and gave her a place to stay. I found her walking down the street last night and insisted that she come home. She did and threatened to leave home as soon as she could to be with him - because he makes her happy and does not pressure her like we do. What should be our next move? Should we take away her stuff? In particular her cell phone to try to find a phone number or where this guy lives. Or is it too late since she is legally an adult?


Hi B.,

Re: What should be our next move?

Help her move out.

Re: Should we take away her stuff?

No. She’s an adult now that needs to begin the process of leaving the nest.

Re: Or is it too late since she is legally an adult?

I think you have bigger fish to fry than worrying about her boyfriend. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to help her move out.

Remember, self-reliance is key. Whenever in doubt, ask yourself, “Will the decision I’m about to make foster the development of self-reliance – or inhibit it?” Clearly, keeping her from moving out will inhibit such development.

I understand you have heard that her “boyfriend” is a pusher. However, she will need to learn some life-lessons and make up her own mind whether or not this guy is the person she really wants to “hang” with. Don’t save her from this opportunity to learn a valuable lesson. She may fall …she may want to return home. If so, let her return briefly – then get busy helping her move out on her own again -- or help her begin college.


My Out-of-Control Adult Child

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The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen

The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.

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