I suppose it's difficult for anybody not to project their own experience into 'social politic' cases since experience is our teacher.
I moved out at 15 because my home life was hell. I worked illegally more than full time on top of going to school and renting a room and pretending
everything was normal so I wouldn't be arrested as a minor and dragged back home. So I have some idea of what it's like to be in that sort of
situation and that is "assuming" that it's even the case; the timing on this unfortunately gives no credence to the claim.
I currently have a 17 year old daughter. In compensation for my own childhood, I swore that she would grow up always knowing she was loved, she was
beautiful, and encouraged to be herself and be creative. As a single mom all her life (her dad lives in another country) it's been difficult for
sure, and part of me feels more martyred than anything, but I think it's an honor to raise an intelligent, compassionate, creative, constructive
human being. Which I believe she is.
And then she became a teenager, haha.
A friend of mine has been a high school honors teacher for a long time and she wrote me recently and said, about the parent-teacher conferences she's
had for eons now:
It's the unfounded anger and resentment parents feel from their children, whom they've given EVERYTHING, that is probably the
hardest to swallow. Our nation is raising an extremely entitled bunch of adolescent idiots.
She assures me everything we are going through is completely normal. That really, "wheels and bills" are the only points of leverage once a kid
reaches this age. If you retract or don't provide wheels, if you make them pay their own way for what they want and for that matter, get a bloody
part-time job and help with the bills, especially in a single-mom household, then maybe having to work, having to be more responsible, having to
develop some awareness of the money they feel so entitled to, will teach them something worthwhile.
If you do that, of course, they are sure that they deserve to be coddled and swaddled and it's your duty, and they take great umbrage about it all,
as if mysteriously after giving nearly 20 years of your life to their benefit, now you are mysteriously waking up in the morning with the sole intent
of making them unhappy.
My kid is currently behaving so unreasonably, never in her life has she been like this, and if I even dare voice an objection to her basically abusing
the house, me, my money, and being in general so self-centered "entitled" it's breathtaking, she then basically attacks verbally or indirectly
insisting that I am "mean" and "being a b----" and so on. She doesn't claim that I am wrong about her behavior, she claims that "it doesn't
So if I tell her, ok to buy a $20 curtain for her boyfriend when we are going by a store, and give her my card to run in with and I say, "Please try
not to spend much babe, ok," and she buys groceries for her boyfriend not us, buys stuff for his room (he's 21, works, lives at home, his parents
drive him everywhere, he's not hurting), buys some clothes, a variety of sundries and more, and then my carefully budgeted single-mom paycheck is now
suddenly minus a big chunk of money I hadn't planned on missing. Plus I'm sending her texts begging her to hurry up because it's taking forever,
I'm sitting in sub-freezing temps in a truck running out of gas trying to stay warm while waiting. I get upset about her inconsiderateness with 15
minutes taking 70 and with giving her a little and her spending a lot. I insist this amounts to theft if you don't clear it with someone first, even
if many of the things I would have said yes to if she had merely asked. But she doesn't give me the chance to be kind by asking, she merely steals it
basically and then whines, "But I NEEDED stuff!" as if major spending without asking the moment you have your mom's debit card for a few minutes --
and this is not the first time that's happened but I was so shocked I'd thought it was an anomaly! -- is perfectly acceptable.
I have known people with that mentality... they were felons, literally, because they thought stealing something was acceptable if they felt like it
was their birthday and they weren't getting presents from anyone.
She insists that it is my duty to ensure she has a long list of things (she sent me an email, lol!), and I genuinely agree with some (like getting her
braces now that I have some help with health insurance, I was a contractor most of her life but now am an employee). She says as soon as she's 18 she
is leaving and moving to Colorado, new land of stoner-gold, and I owe her a list of things that "if I were a good parent I would provide" so hurry
the hell up because there isn't much time before she's gone. She has a big fit about my making appointments for her. So I do, and she is busy or
wants to sleep then or whatever and I have to reschedule. The other day I had to take most of a day off work during busy season, a big deal for me. I
planned for us to go to her appointments, and have a nice day out, maybe a small lunch and maybe stop by the shoe store for her and in general, it
would be good. I almost never see her anymore and I want to spend more time with her. But she never shows up, and I can't find her, and she and her
boyfriend both won't answer my texts or calls, and then 24 hours later she comes home and breezily announces that neither of them "noticed" I was
texting and calling (and I said why right up front in a text so she'd know). Yes, they noticed. That's just a lame excuse, it was obvious even from
her voice and the way she reacted. It's so important to her that these things happen and allegedly I'm a failure as a mother if they don't, but she
can't be bothered.
She wants a job. I bought her the clothes she asked for so she'd have something to interview in. I got her online addresses for the places she wants
to apply and offered to help with anything written. She knows there's a drug test and I made it very clear that if she's getting high with her
boyfriend she's got to utterly stop, and that means no smelling it directly either, for 3 weeks minimum before she can pass it. And that if she fails
it, it's not merely that she won't get that job now. She won't get a job there EVER, plus that stuff I'm pretty sure reports to some agencies that
sell the info so she may very well not get a job much of anywhere even into the future as a result, either. She says getting a job is important to
her, yet she comes home smelling like it's going to be another 3 weeks at least... repeatedly.
She's mad because I can't buy her a vehicle. I offer to try and work out my schedule so I can drive her to a job if she can't get one at the nearby
count-them eight places within less-than-1-block she could work at and walk to (we live right off a main street). I will teach her. She has repeatedly
refused to go take the test when I've offered to use a rare lunch hour to take her, yet regularly rants it's my fault she doesn't have her permit
because ONCE, having given me no warning whatever, she announced she wanted to do it and I had a meeting with my boss and couldn't. I won't let her
use my van because it is zero bluebook and I cannot afford to buy another right now if something happens to it, and I've been carless multiple times
during her life for long periods and it was horrible, I won't set myself up for that again.
She is the most accident prone person I ever met, it's a standing joke. I can't trust her to open a plastic package without injury, or to remember a
shopping list of TWO items for more than 60 seconds, and more than one information stream at a time makes her freeze like a deer or freak out from
overload, and if she's emotional (which is common) it's like all linear thought process ceases, so the thought of her behind the wheel of a vehicle
scares the crap out of me, and it should scare everyone in town. I'll help her learn and help her get one but gosh I sure hope it's an old tank and
has airbags is all I can say.
Anyway, I'm getting an attitude lately. Like why should I put up with her basically abusing my trust, my house, my income, and my person? I think
it's because she seems more like an adult now, so I actually do expect her to ACT like one. She'll be 18 in just a few months. She wasn't always
like this. She was a much nicer person previously. She spends a lot of nights at her boyfriend's house (16 is the age of consent in the state we live
in) and I don't like it and while I've nothing against him personally, he is 21 going on 13, his sole goal in life appears to be "death metal and
video games" (which his parents, who house and drive him everywhere still, appear to be encouraging as opposed to any shred of responsibility -- like
he works at walmart but won't bother with even the nearby jr. college or votech or anything else). I could throw a hissy fit and insist she be at
home (and he not stay with her when she's here), but I feel relationships are important especially at that age, and I have very little leverage; I
have to choose my battles wisely.
But I'm losing patience for why I should let anyone victimize me in several ways, let alone the person I've dedicated my whole life to raising. She
wastes my grocery money on things she demands but refuses to bother eating, leaves tons of food out on counters, leaves such a huge mess everywhere
the house is gross within 24 hours after the housekeeper I can barely afford has left, refuses to clean it up when I get upset and then leaves for two
I told her recently that if her actual goal was to make me WANT her to move out because I was sick of her, it was starting to work pretty well. If she
had any guilt about leaving mom alone and moving out of state, well, no worries, mom may have to push you at this rate!
Although I can't imagine her suing me, because in part she is a bit socially anxious so not proactive that way, she has certainly moved in a similar
"I'm entitled, I'm unhappy, everything in the universe is your fault, and you owe me, so pay up!" mode, that makes me have some sympathy for the
parents in this story.
"Wheels and bills" are the only leverage at this age. They wanted her to come home. They quit paying her school likely so that she would come home.
She won't come home but she still wants her bills paid.
Although I will probably be a willing doormat for my girl till I die, I tell her that at 18 she will either participate in house expenses majorly, OR
have a job AND be in college which if it's online or local JV I will pay for, OR be living elsewhere at which point she is on her own. She was aghast
at the thought that I might not buy her a $200 makeup airbrush for her birthday if she had already turned 18 and moved out. I started laughing, that
was so absurd -- because that's a life necessity, right, and my tight budget owes it to her -- it was too absurd.
I'm convinced now that some teenagers are just insane. It must be something hormonal that seriously interferes with emotional and brain function. She
seems less mature now than when she was vastly younger. She seems like she has huge suppressed rage, yet I've worked my ass off to give her a life
that if anything has been so ridiculously easy I have no sense of where her current scathing, patronizing, insulting, vituperous emotion comes from.
She not only expects me to continue being the loving parent while she acts like my worst enemy, but if I defend myself she then throws a huge fit
about how I am attacking HER. I totally can't win.
Far as I'm concerned when someone is 18 they are responsible for themselves, period. Ideally their parents would be in their life and help them all
their lives if they could or needed it. But also ideally they would not treat their parents like crap, you know? Because it's gotta go both ways. And
a lot of teens apparently just didn't have the same discipline and stresses in their life, that made me the person I became, where I saw hard work as
an opportunity not a threat, where I saw drugs as a distraction not a chronic solace, where I saw school and 2nd jobs as an opportunity. I don't know
how to get her from where she is to where I think would be better, but I remember the words in that Linkin Park song Numb, saying "I just want to be
more like me and less like you." So, ok. She is not me and that's fine and good...
She is who she is, and underneath all this BS I believe she is a good person and I hope that I did well enough that she will make decisions that will
let her survive and thrive, with or without me. But her current behavior is over the top in my view, and so far I have limited myself to an occasional
rant, but it's going to turn into something a lot more contentious soon. At 18, I wouldn't want to say my way or the highway because I'm afraid
what would happen to her on the highway, if you know what I mean. But letting her behave like this is a horrible lesson she shouldn't be harmed by
learning and I shouldn't be harmed by enduring.
I share all this personal stuff I normally wouldn't, because I think the 'real world' of living with an apparently sense-of-entitled nearly 17 year
old girl relates to this, and maybe a close-up look at one real case will evidence that sometimes it isn't all the parents. I'm sure I'm part of it
somewhere, and I'm sure she's better than she's behaving right now, but most of our issues right now are literally "her behavior" and I can't
magic-wand change it. If I had bought her a car and she treated me as bad as that girl did her mom in email I'd take it back too!
Even if the parents were monsters, still at 18 she's on her own. Her parents aren't obliged to pay for her school unless they choose and given how
horrible she was to her mother in emails, I'd say the mom isn't scary. I had abusive parents and many people I know did; kids don't treat abusive
parents like crap, they are afraid of them or disgusted with them and they go out of their way to NOT talk to them most the time or not about
contentious things. It a huge sense of safety that lets a kid actually treat their own mother badly.