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Our Daughter Can’t Handle Her Own Life

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From the U.S: 25 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER, WITH A FIVE YEAR OLD SON, CAN’T PAY HER BILLS, ALWAYS HAS DRAMA, CONSTANTLY ASKING FOR HELP WITH EVERYTHING FROM RENT OR FIXING HER CAR, WHICH WE OWN. WE’VE BEEN HELPING HER FOR TEN YEARS WITH HER PROBLEMS. IT’S ALWAYS SOMETHING. I.E. HER HOURS WERE CUT AT JOB, CAN’T PAY HER RENT, SHE HAS TERRIBLE CREDIT, CAN’T GET A CREDIT CARD, SHE HAS A MISDEMEANOR ON HER BACKGROUND CHECK, CAN’T FIND ANOTHER JOB.

IT JUST NEVER ENDS AND WHEN WE BALK AT GIVING HER MORE, SHE JUSTS SAY SHE’LL BE HOMELESS WITH HER SON AND HAS NO WHERE TO GO. I CAN’T STAND THE STRESS ANYMORE AND SHE IS FINANCIALLY DRAINING US TO THE POINT WHERE WE ARE GOING TO EVENTUALLY GO BROKE. HELP!

Our Daughter Can’t Handle Her Own Life

Answered by on -

A.

Let’s be clear. Until she was 18, she was your responsibility. But she’s an adult now, with adult responsibilities. I’m concerned that she is using the threat of your grandchild being homeless as a way to leverage you into doing more than you can afford to do. It won’t help either of them (or you) for you to go bankrupt. With all good intentions you have taught her that you will always be there with the checkbook. But it won’t help her grow up if you continue bailing her out.

I suggest you talk to a local therapist about your options regarding your daughter and your grandchild. Explore whether it is possible for you to take custody of the boy while your daughter figures out her life. Explore what services are available for adult women, including mental health services, financial counseling, and shelters. There may be a program that would help her get on her feet. Emphasize that you love her and that you are always happy to see her and her son but that (1) you can’t/won’t provide any more funding and (2) you are unwilling to see a 5-year-old suffer the consequences of her poor decisions.

There’s no easy alternative here. Breaking a pattern of dependency isn’t easy. Taking on raising a child isn’t easy either. But neither is the current situation.

Sticking to a plan will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. But continuing the course you’ve been on isn’t any easier. You are probably going to need some support. That’s a legitimate use of therapy.

I wish you well,
Dr. Marie

Our Daughter Can’t Handle Her Own Life

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Our Daughter Can’t Handle Her Own Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 16, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/08/30/our-daughter-cant-handle-her-own-life/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.