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 Post subject: guidelines for 18 year olds at home
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 11:57 am 
EP Member

Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 4:35 pm
Posts: 24
What type of guidelines does a parent need to consider when having a newly turned 18 year old living at home? James says to give them alot of freedom---what exactly does that mean? Run everynight of the week and come in when you want to as long as you can get up the next day for work? In a household with younger children in it, it seems like not the best idea. What types of freedoms is James referring to? If you have them pay rent aren't they going to say I pay rent here I can do what I want? We have a no phones after 9pm policy in our home, we feel it is rude to call people after 9pm---they can purchase a 250 texting plan if they wish to, there is no phones, tv or computer in their bedrooms. Is it unreasonable to have 18 year olds go to their bedrooms at 10:00pm like the rest children in the house? I tell them they can sit up in their rooms doing whatever til whenever in the morning if they so choose to. I just have an awful knawing in my gut as our 18 year old is testing every limit we ever had on her. She honestly needs to move out---she has a job and has the money to, however her father says you don't kick your kids out! He was allowed to come and go as he pleased while allowed to live at home rent free. I said that wasn't the right way for your parents to handle that. He didn't move away from home then until age 23--when we got married. I am the 18 year olds target and have been for the past 3 1/2 years---so when she hears her father saying she is 18 she can do what she wants? And Mom saying no she can't while living under our roof? Of course she is going to side with him. I have asked him to stop saying stuff like that in front of the kids. Well a person gets pissy and then out it comes and you can't take it back!! Any advice on how to handle the rules for 18 year olds? Thanks.

 Post subject: Re: guidelines for 18 year olds at home
PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 1:03 pm 
Experienced EP Member

Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:29 am
Posts: 153
Dear Betty:

James Lehman writes that a living arrangement you develop with an adult child should allow for adult privileges. “. . . if the kid is working and being responsible, then your agreement with him should be very flexible. On his day off, he can sleep all day for all you care. But he can’t stay out all night without calling you because you’re going to worry, and it’s his responsibility to let you know he’s safe. If he doesn’t want to do that, then he should move into a more independent living situation. You don’t get complete freedom and the support of living at home at the same time.” This general recommendation from James does not give specific suggestions of things such as bedtimes, etc. How the living arrangement looks in your own home is up to you and her father. You’re right that it causes a problem when parents disagree on house rules because the child will choose which parent she prefers to listen to—in this case, she prefers her father’s rules. It’s going to be important to work directly with your husband on the house rules you can agree on.

There appears to be a separate issue here where you describe yourself as being the ‘target’ of your daughter for the past few years. You say that sometimes things are said that you can’t take back. Here we’re talking about managing angry feelings in more socially appropriate ways. We all get upset, but how we handle that upset makes the difference. It’s tough to interact with someone who uses attitude, for example, to get to you—very tough. But remind yourself that the purpose IS to ‘get to you’, to discourage you from speaking, or to control the situation. Do your best to continue to state your expectations and then walk away from attitude so that you can remain in emotional control and things don’t escalate. Use James Lehman’s phrase, “It’s not okay to speak to me that way” and then turn around and walk away—get away from the confrontation and take a break.

For more techniques from the Total Transformation Program, see James Lehman's article "Anger with an Angle": Is Your Child Using Anger to Control You?

Carole Banks
Parental Support Line Advisor

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