Are you and your spouse united or divided in your parenting? Consider the following dialogue:
Dad: "You're letting our daughter do anything she wants."
Mom: "You're too strict with her."
Dad: "She needs more discipline and structure."
Mom: "She needs more love and encouragement."
Dad: "She's becoming irresponsible and out of control."
Mom: "She's becoming insecure and afraid."
And you thought kids and teenagers had conflicts! ...
Question: What kinds of consequences are appropriate for a 39-year-old daughter who refuses to take responsibility for paying a college loan that her father and I co-signed in good faith?
Answer: First, let me say that I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I know that it can feel uncomfortable to be at odds with your adult child.
In this situation, your first decision is to approach your daughter in a vulnerable way and describe how her behavior is impacting you. You could say something like ...
Make no mistake. Your kids are under more academic demands than you were. For better or for worse, the learning curve is steeper, and they have to study more than we did. Subject matters are more advanced. Projects, reports, and term papers require much more advance planning and steady work over time. If you don't build boundaries with teens early, the situation can get out of control.
I (Dr. Townsend) can remember how jarred I was when my kids started bringing back homework assignments from junior high and high school. We were in a whole new world, and a much harder one. When I saw how far ahead my kids had to be planning their reports, I called my mother and said, "What do you remember about my high school days, like how far in advance did I write reports?" She said, "You wrote them in the car on the way to school."...