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Parenting an adult child. I'm so lost. Warning long rant.

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So, a couple things - how are you doing right now? Sounds like you have a lot of turmoil too and this is that "one more thing", kwim? The straw, the camel, the same old story.

 

Can you draw her closer? Could you get up early for devotion time with her and make it about both of you in your Bible, praying for one another, drawing closer to the Lord? There are some very practical things you could do to get the bathroom clean, etc., but I think that's probably giving cough medicine to stop an annoying cough rather than boosting the immune system to kill the cold, kwim?

 

Because if she draws close to the Lord, well, His Holy Spirit is so much more powerful than you, kwim? I'd focus on the root, not the fruit. ;)

 

This is super hard. I've really struggled with knowing what parenting looks like with just a twenty year old living at home so I have no easy, pat answers. I will tell you, even in a mentally healthy young woman who is doing well at school (and I'll leave the fact that she's expecting and getting married - notice the order) out of it, she has a *very* hard time juggling things and yes, cleaning really does drop to the bottom of the list. It's unacceptable and we've had our share of fights about it, but some kids really struggle with how to get it all done.

 

And, you know, I look back to my early adulting and I *really* struggled the same whether it was juggling work/home or school/home, I had a really hard time not wanting to crash when I expended so much energy outside. And, on the guy side of things, it is very powerful to a young woman when she realizes she *has* power over guys. She doesn't realize that she's hurting herself by giving away her heart or other parts. This is where her value in Christ comes in- to know that she is created in His amazing image and that He has a plan for her and for her life and that that is worth praying over. She isn't valuing or loving herself very much right now and she needs to know she is valued, has worth.

 

On the sexual side of things - is she acting out sexually? Was she an ADHD child? I ask because the physical outlet can be very soothing and because the impulsiveness is hard to resist if you don't know how you're hurting yourself, kwim?

As a Christian, I understand the advice to try to draw her close to God. My experience, however, has been that inadequately treated mental health issues makes a healthy relationship with God just as impossible as it does a healthy relationship with other people.

 

My husband is a very religious person, but when his mental health is poor he becomes incapable of seeing goodness and beauty and foregiveness and acceptance anywhere. At that point he only perceives condemnation from God, and only an improvement in his mental health can change that perception.

 

An illness that impacts brain functioning changes everything about life. Addressing the illness has to become the primary focus because success in anything else depends on it.

Edited by maize
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I think someone mentioned the idea of reverting to being the kid when at home. I totally do that and it drives my husband batty. My mom enjoys babying me (thought I'm 35 and have 5 kids) until it drives her nuts. Now that we diagnosed the problem, I do try to make more of an effort.

 

Emily

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I imagine her peers aren't actually grocery shopping, cooking, doing laundry or cleaning their bathrooms terribly often either.

 

It's perfectly normal (depending on size of wardrobe) for single adults to go laundry once every three or four weeks... Or more. You can tell the girls are out of clean laundry when they start wearing dresses for no reason.

 

Bathrooms get cleaned when *they* see mold, or can't stand their own smells. Take-out is far more common than home cooking. Even skipping meals is more common than home cooking.

 

Her peers don't "have to" do those things any more than she does... And they probably don't. It's a matter of priorities and capacities.

 

These issues go largely unobserved when people live alone, or unremarked when everyone in a home is in the same stage of life-and-mess. They mostly become *relationship* problems when some people have had their act together for years (that's a good thing!) and others are still waiting until life is genuinely unpleasantly filthy before they do chores that are equally unpleasant.

 

In your case, there are family wide small-but-frequent impacts of her choices that matter. It's not ok for her to continue... I just wanted to help with your mental picture of all the other first year teachers successfully managing homes and jobs. They probably aren't. Their mothers just don't have to watch them do it!

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As a Christian, I understand the advice to try to draw her close to God. My experience, however, has been that inadequately treated mental health issues makes a healthy relationship with God just as impossible as it does a healthy relationship with other people.

 

My husband is a very religious person, but when his mental health is poor he becomes incapable of seeing goodness and beauty and foregiveness and acceptance anywhere. At that point he only perceives condemnation from God, and only an improvement in his mental health can change that perception.

 

An illness that impacts brain functioning changes everything about life. Addressing the illness has to become the primary focus because success in anything else depends on it.

 

 

I definitely don't disagree.  However, I will also add that a young twenty something who doesn't keep her home area clean but navigates work successfully is the norm more than an illness. (It's some kind of black hole for a while while they learn to master adulting.... some things they had previously master go backwards while they master other areas and bringing them all successfully together really takes a while longer and it being on their "radar" kwim?)

 

As for the guy thing - this really could be indicative of a much larger issue.  Or it could not.  I know an awful lot of women who have put a value on themselves that is flirting driven, sexually driven, power driven, man driven.... take your pick.  I am definitely offering advice on my own experience, as I suspect most here do, but I can tell you that devaluing one's self and being involved in a shallow relationships can definitely stream from a misplaced value on yourself and your identity, paired with bad social messages (several years in a sorority.)  While I am *ALL* for Christians getting help for depression, bipolar, etc., not all bad choices are rooted in mental disorder.  Mom didn't mention a lot of issues while she was growing up, especially in those super hormonal early teen years.  These behaviors and values seem to be acquired after time away in a different environment than home.  KWIM?

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Our hard headed, ADHD, and depressed son moved home for a time--and refused to take any medication, but experimented with many mind altering drugs (an post entirely). We faced many of the issues you have--not letting us know he would not be home, not showing up for supper (and then expecting something to eat when he got home) and being a pig.  He literally ruined a mattress because he would not keep sheets on it. Body oils and ick just build up. Gross.

 

We hammered out a few guidelines the first of which is 'Don't make the Mama Worry.' Which means if you are staying out late or over night, shoot me a text. My husband and I have odd schedules and we let each other know if we will be late or early or whatever. We consider that a courtesy. We tried our hardest to simply accept that notification from the son without judgement. Hard when you know they are hanging out with drug using creeps.

 

The supper thing....we asked to be notified by the middle of the afternoon, if someone was going to eat with us. It worked okay. We keep a full pantry and fridge--and everyone in the family has a working knowledge of cooking skills.

 

The cleaning thing we addressed too....my guys started doing their own laundry when they were in high school, so he knew how to do it. It often meant he wore wrinkly or smelly clothes, but not my problem. (I hate that it affected jobs, but I can't do all....)

We stated we did not want to live in a messy house. We pay the mortgage here and it is ours to be shared with those we love so pick up your dang trash.

Deep breath....what we did point out was that they needed to learn to be a good roommate and that included helping with a few chores. Paying someone else for your chores was an option, but one I hated. Everyone needs to know how to manage to bag their own trash, wash dishes, and clean a bathroom.

 

The depression made it worse, but eventually he found his feet and is a reasonable adult with a wife and daughter now.

 

Even a brain healthy young adult has to adjust to being a part of a family and a home when they move back. My youngest just moved back home with an apartment load of stuff. My house overflows---and he wanted to keep all 8 pairs of his shoes in the entry way, his keys and coins on my entry table. No. I like a neat tidy entryway and I'd grown accustomed to one with both boys out of the house. We requested, he ignored....back and forth until I mentioned anything in the entry the next morning would be gone. Everything disappeared before morning and there is (more) peace in the house. The bathroom....sigh.

 

My oldest is the type to pick up on any stresses in our home and act out. Sometimes we would not realize it until after things had settled back down, but it's something to consider.

Best wishes to you and your daughter. Do whatever you must to keep a relationship going with her.


 

 

 

Edited by Happy
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There is a lack of reasonable thinking in the way she is spending her money if she is not paying you any cost share (rent, utilities, groceries, property insurance, home maintenance, laundry services...) yet is free to spend money on recreational travel.

 

As for her possible mental illness, I understand she may be challenged due to trouble making good decisions, but I don't understand how enabling poor (and manipulative/disrespectful) choices helps. If anything, you setting clear boundaries could bring her more quickly to the realization that she does need help. Enabling her to continue as she is now going - from my limited point of view - just seems to be delaying the inevitable. She needs meds, perhaps, but she needs coping skills too. Those are not gained in a setting with a lack of boundaries.

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I definitely don't disagree.  However, I will also add that a young twenty something who doesn't keep her home area clean but navigates work successfully is the norm more than an illness. (It's some kind of black hole for a while while they learn to master adulting.... some things they had previously master go backwards while they master other areas and bringing them all successfully together really takes a while longer and it being on their "radar" kwim?)

 

As for the guy thing - this really could be indicative of a much larger issue.  Or it could not.  I know an awful lot of women who have put a value on themselves that is flirting driven, sexually driven, power driven, man driven.... take your pick.  I am definitely offering advice on my own experience, as I suspect most here do, but I can tell you that devaluing one's self and being involved in a shallow relationships can definitely stream from a misplaced value on yourself and your identity, paired with bad social messages (several years in a sorority.)  While I am *ALL* for Christians getting help for depression, bipolar, etc., not all bad choices are rooted in mental disorder.  Mom didn't mention a lot of issues while she was growing up, especially in those super hormonal early teen years.  These behaviors and values seem to be acquired after time away in a different environment than home.  KWIM?

 

The flip side is also true.  Sometimes mental illness is so well masked that no one knows until something awful happens.  For almost two years I secretly thought a family member was self-absorbed and lazy as well as being impulsive and depressed.  She had an awful boyfriend I thought was the root of most of her problems.  I won't go into detail and please don't quote for privacy's sake, but there was a near-tragedy last summer before I took it seriously.  She spent 10 days inpatient and came out with a new diagnosis and the right meds.  And I had no idea. The illness made her connect with the awful boyfriend who in turn reinforced and triggered much worse behavior with the illness.  I think it makes sense to explore and rule bipolar first, particularly with the red flags I see in the OP.  It's an awful illness, but she's doing better.

Edited by Barb_
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There is a lack of reasonable thinking in the way she is spending her money if she is not paying you any cost share (rent, utilities, groceries, property insurance, home maintenance, laundry services...) yet is free to spend money on recreational travel.

 

As for her possible mental illness, I understand she may be challenged due to trouble making good decisions, but I don't understand how enabling poor (and manipulative/disrespectful) choices helps. If anything, you setting clear boundaries could bring her more quickly to the realization that she does need help. Enabling her to continue as she is now going - from my limited point of view - just seems to be delaying the inevitable. She needs meds, perhaps, but she needs coping skills too. Those are not gained in a setting with a lack of boundaries.

 

I agree.  I think boundaries are important as well as the need to dig deeper into what may be going on.  

 

ETA:  I know it's difficult to decide what is really happening.  As a parent you don't want to overreact, but underreacting has consequences too.  And her behavior affects you too, so you second guess yourself and wonder if you're overreacting because you just want her to be easier.  I get it.  Good luck to you.

Edited by Barb_
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There is a lack of reasonable thinking in the way she is spending her money if she is not paying you any cost share (rent, utilities, groceries, property insurance, home maintenance, laundry services...) yet is free to spend money on recreational travel.

 

As for her possible mental illness, I understand she may be challenged due to trouble making good decisions, but I don't understand how enabling poor (and manipulative/disrespectful) choices helps. If anything, you setting clear boundaries could bring her more quickly to the realization that she does need help. Enabling her to continue as she is now going - from my limited point of view - just seems to be delaying the inevitable. She needs meds, perhaps, but she needs coping skills too. Those are not gained in a setting with a lack of boundaries.

 

Re the bolded, this kind of realization depends on rational thinking. Which is severely impaired in a brain that is not functioning properly.

 

There can and need to be boundaries. The boundaries may need to be entirely on the side of the parent/family members though and not work on the assumption that a personal with mental illness can or will change their behavior based on rationally thinking through and acting on potential consequences. 

 

For example, I think it is reasonable for the child to pay a cleaning fee, that would be establishing a healthy boundary for family members--they need a clean environment, and the money could pay someone to do the cleaning. This would need to be something the child agrees to upfront, though, not set up as a "if you don't do your chores you will owe $$ instead"--because she may not be able to rationally process and act on that kind of consequence. The same with "you need to do x, y, and z, or move out". 

 

Family members can set boundaries to protect themselves, but expecting the affected person to respond to boundaries by building better coping skills is not likely to happen. And making boundaries of a sort that can push a mentally ill person out on their own is not something to do unless you are comfortable with the very possible reality that they will completely crash and burn and you will lose them forever. If possible, support that will help the person get adequate treatment and learn real skills--through therapy, through scaffolding, etc. is what is needed. It is a hard path to take.

 

The only time I could see moving a mentally ill child out of my home is if they are putting other family members at risk, but even then I would do my best to help them into a supportive placement.

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As a Christian, I understand the advice to try to draw her close to God. My experience, however, has been that inadequately treated mental health issues makes a healthy relationship with God just as impossible as it does a healthy relationship with other people.

 

An illness that impacts brain functioning changes everything about life. Addressing the illness has to become the primary focus because success in anything else depends on it.

 

I would agree with this, as this is what I've experienced as well.

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I can't offer suggestions regarding all of the issues, but I definitely agree with others who say if she isn't willing to do her part with cleaning, you should just charge her rent/cleaning fee. It would be up to you whether you wanted to keep all of it, or maybe keep half and put half away to give her as a gift when she moves out and gets her own place. Either way, the real world won't let her live rent-free. She has a full-time career, and should be paying something.

 

I have two adult children at home (well actually all 4 adult children and all grandchildren living here at the moment, but it's very temporary). Both do their part to keep up with their stuff, and contribute to the household in some way. They may pick up some groceries here and there, buy a big jug of laundry detergent, or help with a big household project. In addition, they do their own laundry, keep their rooms relatively clean (or at the very least contained to their own "area"), and keep me posted on what they are doing (within reason). I ask this of them because I cook meals daily and want to know if they need to be included, or if they have other plans. In addition, I just want to know if I should expect them to come home (both work 2 jobs, so they have crazy hours sometimes), or if they are staying with friends.

 

Anyway, I don't mean to ramble, but I would absolutely require some changes, or I'd be urging her to get her own place.

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I definitely don't disagree. However, I will also add that a young twenty something who doesn't keep her home area clean but navigates work successfully is the norm more than an illness. (It's some kind of black hole for a while while they learn to master adulting.... some things they had previously master go backwards while they master other areas and bringing them all successfully together really takes a while longer and it being on their "radar" kwim?)

 

As for the guy thing - this really could be indicative of a much larger issue. Or it could not. I know an awful lot of women who have put a value on themselves that is flirting driven, sexually driven, power driven, man driven.... take your pick. I am definitely offering advice on my own experience, as I suspect most here do, but I can tell you that devaluing one's self and being involved in a shallow relationships can definitely stream from a misplaced value on yourself and your identity, paired with bad social messages (several years in a sorority.) While I am *ALL* for Christians getting help for depression, bipolar, etc., not all bad choices are rooted in mental disorder. Mom didn't mention a lot of issues while she was growing up, especially in those super hormonal early teen years. These behaviors and values seem to be acquired after time away in a different environment than home. KWIM?

 

NM

Edited by Mom of 8 paws
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I'm not so sure about the cleaning fee, unless she actually hires an outsider.  It sounds like the OP is really not well enough to be doing her daughter's extra cleaning on a regular basis, and the son may or may not want to.  He shouldn't have to just because he will get paid.  And really, a hired cleaner isn't going to want to clean menstrual products off the floor either.

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She was diagnosed at 14. Looking back I can definitely pinpoint behavior ever since she was little but didn't necessarily know there was a problem. She had other problems but did not rebel, got great grades etc in high school. We homeschooled her 3-8th. She just seemed extra sensitive to any criticism and was hard to get along with (siblings etc) but I thought that was normal for her age but some of it now really seems like it was different.

Mine did too, but I thought she was extra sensitive, tightly wound, harder to get over things. She also used to say really odd things and has always been preoccupied with dark ideas. I thought it was just her rich imagination--which there's a lot of overlap there. Highly creative people are very often diagnosed with mental illness. You don't want to pathologize every odd behavior in a child, but in hindsight the behaviors follow a certain line of thinking that she has since articulated.

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Well, I don't have time to read all of the responses...but here is my take on having adult children living at home:

 

Rent: Adult children (post HS) pay rent. That can be one of two things: a) full-time school = no cost. b) full-time employment = 25% of your income comes to me in form of rent. (I plan to put that money away for them, but if in the future I need that money, I will use it.)  This is before or after college. So, she's graduated, WOOT!! Pay rent.

 

Why 25%? Because that is the amount of money we are told housing should typically cost. _I_ want my children to become successful and functional adults. If they are living in my home, it is NOT because it is the easy and cheap solution....easy, well, ya probably will always be. But, not cheap! If Junior is making $1000 a month, working full-time, then rent will be $250---not much. However, if Junior is making $4000 a month, then rent is $1000. Can you live on $1000 or less in rent a month? 

 

Follow up with that: if she can't maintain the bathroom to clean, you use part of her rent for maid service. I would first offer it to a younger sibling or myself; second hire a maid service to clean it. I have no problem hiring someone to come in and ONLY clean the one bathroom.

This is the primary rule. If you choose not to have full-time school or employment, you find a new home. I have decided to give leeway for both of my kids in that if they are unable to find employment because of their illnesses (neither can become overheated), then they can volunteer full-time.

Responsibilities:

Live in my house = chores. We all contribute. It might be time to sit down with her and ask HER what SHE thinks she can handle. 

Curfew: we discuss. Why? Because other people live in the home and coming and going at odd hours is rude. You work until 2am...then ya, you aren't going to be home by midnight. Please note: this isn't to say there IS a curfew...this is just to say, I'd like to have some idea when adults are coming in and out of my home. 

Behavior: Manners are important. You want me to treat you well, I expect the same. We are family, not roommates. 

Meetings: Adults have the right to decide a rule doesn't work for them. I, Mom, agree to listen to any discussion, if it is in discussion form. 

Open House hours: Past 10pm, friends need to get out or shut up. Wake me and I'm not. nice. at. all.

Booze and Drugs: Not In My House. (now this is less of a concern for my children, because Ky is and Lori will be on drugs for MS that will not allow either.)

18 does not Equal Adult: Attitude and Achievement ='s Adult; You want it; Earn it!

https://www.empoweringparents.com/.../living-agreement...

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I agree that it sounds like the mental health concerns are most pressing. I hope her doctor is able to listen to you.

 

Re: the bathroom, can you put in a larger, covered can? It won't be pretty, but surely they can't overflow that in a week. Alternately, make trash a daily chore. Dump it in the kitchen bin. If you think she's too fragile to force payment for cleaning, can you let DS use another bathroom so he's not stuck dealing with her squalor? And definitely stop doing her laundry! 

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I'd make her rent the cleaning fee for a housekeeper to do the cleaning, every week.

 

I wouldn't give additional rules until I'd spoken with both her counselor and her doctor, and expressed concerns about bipolar.

 

There are definitely ways to enforce good boundaries if she does have bipolar, but approaching it with all your hurt and emotions would be difficult, so figuring that out first is probably what I'd focus on.

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I can't comment on this since her medication and depression can definitely be playing a role into all this. What works for us and our almost 21yr old dd won't necessarily apply to what you are dealing with, they are really different situations.

 

It sounds stressful and complicated!!! Many prayers for you all. I hope you can figure out something to find a healthy balance.

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If you have a membership, Costco has nice, stainless, step-cans with soft close lids. They've been helpful here containing messes

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Yes she is taking meds. Maybe I will try calling. I have the feeling they won't let me talk to the doctor but I will try.

 

DS's doctor will take phone calls and LISTEN to what I have to say but will not respond other than saying "thank you for the information". In other words, he respects ds's adult patient/dr confidentiality but will listen to info to family to help with son.

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Folks, be careful calling what your adult children pay you "rent". In some states, that gives them tenant rights. For most, no big deal but if things become contentious and you decide to kick them out, they have rights since they've paid rent. Don't think it would never happen to you. A dear friend was having issues with daughter doing things against family rules and tried to kick her out. She had to go through the eviction process when daughter decided to fight it.

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I ditto the "call the doctor & tell them your concerns".   This could be just a very overwhelmed woman barely hanging on. 

But also....

I get the whole living at home to save money thing & we're doing the same w/ my adult dd but I think if I had to share a home with a slob, I'd ask them to pay for a weekly cleaning service to clean the bathroom & any common areas.  If she can't help clean the shared spaces she uses, she needs to pay to have them cleaned. 

Also, don't do her laundry or go into her room. Don't even look in. Kick things in & close the door. Assign a day when she's free to use the washing machine & that's it.




 

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Folks, be careful calling what your adult children pay you "rent". In some states, that gives them tenant rights. For most, no big deal but if things become contentious and you decide to kick them out, they have rights since they've paid rent. Don't think it would never happen to you. A dear friend was having issues with daughter doing things against family rules and tried to kick her out. She had to go through the eviction process when daughter decided to fight it.

It is my understanding that this can be an issue even if you don't charge rent. There are legal protections in most places that prevent a person from being kicked out of a place where they have established residence without following certain protocols.

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Folks, be careful calling what your adult children pay you "rent". In some states, that gives them tenant rights. For most, no big deal but if things become contentious and you decide to kick them out, they have rights since they've paid rent. Don't think it would never happen to you. A dear friend was having issues with daughter doing things against family rules and tried to kick her out. She had to go through the eviction process when daughter decided to fight it.

 

This doesn't matter if they are paying rent or not. Simply having a verbal contract with no money exchanged, rent = chores, equates to renter's rights.

 

If you are going to have the problem, you are going to have the problem.

 

Kris

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Okay, so I read the couple of posts after mine....

 

If she is depressed and you feel the need to create a household contract, make an appointment with the therapist for mom/dad and daughter. Daughter doesn't have to give the therapist permission to talk to you for you to talk to both of them. Make sure this is NOT a gang-up-on-daughter event. Simply make this a "come-to-Jesus" moment between members of a household.

 

Kris

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I ditto the "call the doctor & tell them your concerns".   This could be just a very overwhelmed woman barely hanging on. 

 

....

Also, don't do her laundry or go into her room. Don't even look in. Kick things in & close the door. Assign a day when she's free to use the washing machine & that's it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Establishing a contract for adult children living in your home will actually HELP the "overwhelmed" woman. If she knows what is expected of her, AND that she has agreed to it, there are fewer surprises. 

 

The second part I agree with....for the most part. Wet towels and food products in the house make a bigger problem that affects the whole house. Plus, if she's sharing a bathroom with a sibling, that just won't be acceptable.

 

Kris

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Folks, be careful calling what your adult children pay you "rent". In some states, that gives them tenant rights. For most, no big deal but if things become contentious and you decide to kick them out, they have rights since they've paid rent. Don't think it would never happen to you. A dear friend was having issues with daughter doing things against family rules and tried to kick her out. She had to go through the eviction process when daughter decided to fight it.

Legally I believe the proper term is "cost sharing."

 

ETA actually I think this is how the recipient must phrase it to avoid having to declare the rental income for tax purposes. I am not sure what the tenant's rights would be.

Edited by Seasider

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Re: the dating behavior. 

 

I'd be really sad if one of my kids were making those sorts of reckless choices. I don't know what I'd do .. .  but I'd be very tempted to send a note to her therapist and psychiatrist with a very brief summary of my concerns. Probably a terrible idea, but I'd be tempted, especially if I felt like her actions were dangerous. (TINDER!?!?)

 

Re: the mess.

 

I think that the gross bathroom is really out of line. However, it's fairly small potatoes. I think you could tell her that you've hired a cleaning service and that she now needs to pay $200/mo starting tomorrow (or wherever seems reasonable to hire someone to do some cleaning a couple times a month), and hire someone to clean for a few hours every other week with that 200/mo. Have them do that bathroom thoroughly, of course, and have them do some other annoying chores as well -- that'll take some pressure off you and maybe make you not mind as much the rest of the messes she makes.

 

Honestly, her disgustingness sounds like mental health stuff. So, I'd probably try to put up with it (by hiring a cleaning person on her dime, not by YOU doing it) and focus on more significant issues.

 

However, if she's not making progress towards getting well, and she can afford to travel willy nilly . . . seems to me like she could afford rent in a shared apartment somewhere. I think she might need to do that . . .

 

(((hugs)))

 

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Definitely talk to the therapist. I don't know what kind of document you have, but at the very least the therapist should be able to listen to what you have to say even if they won't discuss your daughter with you.

 

Have you asked her if she has thoughts of suicide? If she has plans? Sometimes people don't volunteer stuff but it does come out of you ask. It sounds like she is in a bad way.

 

If you are concerned about self-harm it is possible to force a hospital admission.

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The plan to move to Florida may be depression driven--people reach a point where they just want to escape.

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This is just a small bit of practical advice but in your shoes while getting the mental health addressed, I'd wipe down that bathroom every day to keep it from getting too nasty.

 

 

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