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A New Milestone
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Cindi    Posted 10-23-2004 at 12:24:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
Jake, 15, skipped school on October 7. Okay, kids do those things. At three o'clock that afternoon, I tried to get him on his cell phone. No answer, no answer. I finally called Jillian, my oldest.

"Have you seen your brother?"

"Well...not since this morning."

"Did you know he skipped school today?"

"I kind of thought he was going to."

"Well, he did! Why didn't you tell me?" I didn't give her time to answer. "What I really want to know is where he is!"

"The last time I saw them they were at our house, I thought maybe they were going to ride the school bus together."

"Them? They?"

"Yeah, his girlfriend was with him."

Gulp.

Can you say "premature grandmother"?

"What did they do all day?"

"I...ummm...I have no idea."

I drove home like a woman possessed. I walked in the door and there was Jake sitting on one couch and his girlfriend sitting on the other watching television.

"What...in the hell...were you thinking!?" I demanded of Jake.

"I had a field trip, Mom, I didn't want to go today."

"Did it ever occur to you to call me?"

"Jill didn't call you?"

"No! Since when is it her responsibility to call me when you decide to miss school?"

His girlfriend smiled at me for God's sake.

"And I don't know what you're grinnin' at!" I turned on her mercilessly. "You're in big trouble too, missy." I wagged my finger at her, wondering briefly how much I might look like my own mother at that moment. "I happen to know that your mother is frantic! Frankly, I wouldn't want to be you right about now."

"Yes ma'am." Eyes on the floor.

"You get your butt in my truck, I'm driving you home."

"Yes ma'am."

"And you." I pointed at Jake. "I'll deal with you later."

That's when he dropped the bombshell.

"I don't know what the big deal is, Jill took us to the mall in Sebring. It's not like we were here by ourselves all day."

"Your sister knew you skipped school...AND took you to the mall?"

"Yeah! It was her idea."

Could this get any worse?

Naturally I called Jill and read her the riot act.

"I'm in big trouble, huh?" She said shakily.

"I'll deal with you when you get home. All I hear from you is that I treat you like a child. Let me tell you something...nobody but a CHILD would think it was okay to not let an adult know that two minors skipped school all day, and then on top of that, drive them to mall thirty miles away! Then lie about it? Yeah, 'you're in trouble huh'."

Jake was on full restriction and his telephone was turned off. His girlfriend got her rear end torn up, was grounded and also lost her phone. I had the same punishment in mind for Jill when she walked in the door at 6:00 p.m.

"You don't drive for a week and your phone will be turned off. If you don't give me any more trouble I may let you drive to school and back. But that's it!"

"No." She said.

"S'cuse me?"

"I said no. You can turn the phone off if you want, but I'm driving."

"Not with four flat tires you won't."

"I have news for you. I'm only here to get my clothes. I'm eighteen now, and I'm moving out."

She turned eighteen on October 4. Three days later she's moving out. This has to be a record. I was furious but I was not going to beg her to stay. She was screwing up and I knew it, but I was not going to warn her. She was right. She was eighteen and she had a legal right to move out. Her Jeep was an eighteenth birthday present and it was in her name. I didn't have a legal leg to stand on.

"Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out." I said.

"Aren't you going to ask me where I'm going?"

"Nope. Okay, (yawn) where are you going?"

"I don't know (sniff) I'll probably be living in my Jeep."

"That's your choice."

"If I stay here, you'll ground me."

"Damn right, and if you come back next week, I'll ground you then. If you come back next YEAR, I'll be waiting and I'll ground you then! You were wrong and you know it. You demand to be treated like an adult, but you consistently show piss-poor judgment. This is a classic example. To avoid being punished, you are prepared to walk out the door with no place to go, and not even a nickel in your pocket. That's real maturity Jill."

She looked sick.

"Do what you want to do. If you stay, you're getting the punishment you earned. If you go, you can deal with the big bad world."

She went.

On October 7, my baby, eighteen and three days old, left.


KellyGa    Posted 10-24-2004 at 13:04:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Woweeee...I don't know what to tell you. You know, I guess if it was mine, I would keep an eye on her from afar without her knowing, just to check on her. I guess she thought she was making a stand, and deep down she knows she was wrong, but is too stubborn and proud to admit it. Maybe, if you see she needs you, invite her to come have supper with you, see what comes of it. She may burst out and spill her guts to you, and want the comfort of Mama and Home.


RichZ    Posted 10-23-2004 at 19:26:11       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi, I sent you a couple of e-mails on this.


Donna from Mo    Posted 10-23-2004 at 17:18:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hardest thing I ever did was to tell my son, "Either live by my rules, or get out."

He left.


Cindi    Posted 10-23-2004 at 18:01:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
How did he do?


Donna    Posted 10-23-2004 at 18:08:55       [Reply]  [No Email]
He had already enlisted in the Army, so after a couple months of living on his girl friend's grandmother's porch, Uncle Sam got him. He was a daddy at age 18, and ended up marrying the mother of his baby. That marriage lasted 13 years. It wasn't a bed of roses, but we all survived, and we all get along.


Cindi    Posted 10-23-2004 at 18:37:07       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, that's a long time to last, and it's good that you get along now.


KatG    Posted 10-23-2004 at 14:00:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Lord have mercy Cindi...you must be hurting so bad...You know things have a way of working them selfs out but damn you wonder why...when...and how...
Seems like I have been going through a turmoil almost everyday this past week...felt like just withdrawing and have quite abit except to all of you on this forum...Like New-Gen said I tell ya'll things MAtt don't even know...
He use to be a bad acoholic and was very abusive..verblly never got physical...For the first 10 years of our marriage I wodered why didn't I just die and get out of all of this...Shocker huh???...He has been quite drinking almost 8 years now...yes he is still mouthy but not like he use to be...lest I can talk to him and he remembers..
I wake up every morning wondering if this will be the day he goes back to drinking...or if he goes to town by his self and is gone for atie...I think maybe he went to the beer store...
Why I am even talking about this I don't know...But I know what pain someone that you dearly love can deal you....I am trying to just live one day at a time now but that sure ain't easy...KAtG


Cindi    Posted 10-23-2004 at 14:05:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
Same reason I am I guess. I was not going to share this here, it's been over two weeks. usually I dump like a three wheeled wagon the minute something goes wrong, but I've been trying to deal with it on my own, hoping it would mend itself. Now I need advice.


Gerrit    Posted 10-23-2004 at 14:09:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would go and talk to her.. Try to work things out. Try to find out the real reason for her leaving home and find a way of getting the problem(s) solved..
I've never been in this situation though, but, yes, I would talk to her..


George in TX    Posted 10-23-2004 at 14:39:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
I agree with Gerrit, you need to talk. I'll bet there's more behind her leaving than just the fear of being grounded. Find out what's really bothering her and see if you can work it out.

If you need a little 'edge' ask her about the auto insurance. Don't be demanding but explain that the insurance is the kind of responsibility that comes with independence. If she chooses the independence then she should accept the responsibilities involved.

This is a tough call Cindi. Not knowing you both personally it's hard to give anything but general and, hopefully, logical advice. I just hope this all turns out for the best for both of you.


Gerrit    Posted 10-23-2004 at 13:41:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ayayay Cindi.. Hope she'll change her mind soon.


Sid    Posted 10-23-2004 at 13:15:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
Been there. I know it must be hard for you. It was for me. Still is.


Patria    Posted 10-23-2004 at 12:51:40       [Reply]  [No Email]
Have hear from her?


Cindi    Posted 10-23-2004 at 14:01:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
Yes darling, I see her, it's a small town. She's staying with a room mate. A girl of twenty-three who has three children and no husband. She relys on food stamps and child support.

I talk to her occasionally.

I don't know what to do. Jill is still on our auto insurance. If I choose to cancel it, I have to provide them with a new address, and then she wil be forced to come up with five hundred dollars to get insurance on her own. The same with her phone. I had it turned off for a week like I said, but then had it turned back on. She needs to be able to call in an emergency.

Do I cut the cord for good and all and let her sink or swim? I don't know!


Seahag    Posted 10-23-2004 at 14:31:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
Boy thats a tough call. Sink or swim, sometimes you have to just let em go and see for theirselves that the world isnt always gonna treat them kindly. I raised 4 and they are all gone and married and have kids of their own. Cindi, there is still the possibility that she will wake up, and come home to take her punishment. I wish I could give you an answear that would make you feel better but I truly believe that you did the right thing and that you are continuing to do the right thing by sticking to your guns. To many parents say one thing and do another. They say they are going to do so and so and never follow through, the easy part is to give in honey, the hard part is to not give in. Just realize that from one old grandma here you are RIGHT in what you did and that I admire you for staying put in your decision. My youngest is pregnant with her second child and initially left her husband shortly after she found out she was pregnant when he decided to get a girl friend. She moved in with her sister and stayed until about last week, she is due in about 8 weeks. His girlfriend left him and she feels sorry for him so she went back to him. I dont agree with her decision, but its hers not mine. When she married this man we did not approve of him so she, in her infinate wisdom mouthed off to her father and told him to do something physically impossible to himself, consequently we did not attend the wedding. Her father does not speak to her and just now started to acknowledge her son as a grand child.

SOOOOO we have been there and done that and now she makes her bed and lays in it this is sticking to your guns honey, no help from mom and dad this was your choice. If you are starving I will feed you and your child will not suffer but we have to cut the lines somewhere.
I know its realllllly hard but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
I was always mad at my folks at 18 too but that passed with time. They have been gone 20 years and there is not a day that goes by that I dont miss them and wish they were here with me, they were only 61 and 66 when they died, too young too soon. One in October one in November so the fall is not my favorite time. But I had to go on and so will you. Keep your chin up Im here.


~Lenore    Posted 10-23-2004 at 14:16:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would keep the insurance for the time being.

If she does not abuse her phone minutes leave it on.
Give her a limit of minutes and tell her it will be cut off if she goes over it.
Dont cut the cord yet; give her some time to learn how the real world is.

It will be easier to heal things between you that way.


Cindi    Posted 10-23-2004 at 14:58:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have read all the comments and will keep reading them as long as they come. Thanks for taking the time to respond. To be honest, in the back of my mind I expected her to be back by now.

When I thought of writing about this I expected to have a happy ending to go with it. Maybe this is the happy ending. Maybe she's happier and down deep, that's all I really want for her. That's the goal isn't it? Granted the parting was done in anger but if she's ready...

I left home at seventeen and survived for six years before I had to go back home.


bruce    Posted 10-23-2004 at 16:27:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
You need to look at the other kids in the area of the same age. Treat her just like you would any other adult you know, with respect and consideration of the fact that you don't have any responsibility except those coming from your heart. Good luck.


tacon1    Posted 10-23-2004 at 16:09:43       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would talk to her as well and explain about the auto ins. and that she will have to pay it soon. The phone as well. I don't imagine the roomate will let her stay for free for very long either. The cost of being on her own will have to hit home soon and the longer others are paying for her needs the longer it will take for her to learn. Sounds a little harsh but tough love is tough (on both) I went through this with an eighteen year old stepson who was far worse than your daughter and to make a long story short I had to really lay the law down and give him the ultimatum. He wasn't working and pretty much had his mother feeling sorry for him. She felt I was being a bit too hard on him, but kept quite for my sake. Within three days he had a job an turned his life around. he found a new respect for both of us that I don't think he ever would have otherwise.


RN    Posted 10-23-2004 at 16:08:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
Did she graduate high school? Find a job? Not doing drugs or drinking? Sometimes go to church? Not working in a Wh---house? A couple of yes answers and you can relax a bit. If you think she needs a bit of discipline and training, try getting her into Army or Marines for 3 or more years, let gunny straighten her out. Suggest it to her as possible government paid travel. You know where she is, you can feed her if needed, you have people in small town to warn you if worst starts to happen- let her try on her own mostly while you watch for a couple years. At age 18 you don't have much legal choice. You survived -have to let her try, just be available if she comes back. RN.


Cindi    Posted 10-23-2004 at 18:08:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
No freakin' way! And leave her boyfriend?

Now this is an up side. As soon as her boyfriend's parents found out that she wasn't living at home anymore they cracked down on him and he in turn cracked down on her! It was made very clear that she was not going to be living athis house. They have been together for two years this month. He told her that she would finish school or there was no chance of them getting married. He also told her he thought she was out of line for leaving when she had punishment coming.

The more I think about it and based on the input I think I will give her notice that she needs to find insurance and phone service. I'll give her two months or so, because she is not independent and you can't have your cake and eat it too. I never did.


Pitch    Posted 10-23-2004 at 18:59:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cindi, My folks had 5 kids and one brother and myself were the only ones to leave and stay gone the first time. My brother to college and Viet Nam and me at 16 to the wonders of the road. The rest of them were in and out several months or even years at a time before everyone went. Just give her some time. Talk to her when you see her. Remind her what time Sunday dinner is on the table at that she is always welcome. You don't have to back down from your rules to do this but don't shove it in her face either. It probably won't belong before she finds out that the world is a lot meaner than mom.


jeanette    Posted 10-24-2004 at 04:07:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
my son turned 18 this past sept.. i've been joking with him about giving him luggage, we got him a car. i told him that as long as he is in school that we would help him with insurance and gas. i think you are doing the right thing if she is adult enough to move outta the house then she is adult enough to pay her bills, although i don't see how any kid can pay those outragously high insurance rates. give her a couple of months to figure out that she can't afford to move out!!


BSer    Posted 10-23-2004 at 18:47:44       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Cindi,I,too live in hardee county and feel your pain.My son finished high school and wanted to lay around. After months of not trying to find a job,i told him to get a taste of the real world and he moved out. He spent 10 years in drugs,etc,etc.We are now close again. I'll never do this to my youngest;tough love isn't worth the heartaches it causes. Kids nowadays mature slower,they need the nest to protect them from the worlds vices and the guidance of elders to talk things out with. Reach out,find where you and her went wrong and fix it. A kid is too precious to ut at risk. I beg you,mend this.


Cindi    Posted 10-23-2004 at 20:13:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
Are you SERIOUS? WHERE?


Jimbob    Posted 10-24-2004 at 07:36:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Guess we were are too soft- one kid moved back after they completed college & been out in the world for two years. After a year, we saw less & less of him. Kid makes excellent money- go figure wanting back in.

Other: (girl) who thought we were about as dumb as they come & talked bad about us all over town during her teenage years. Now, after going to a large state college for 5-years ending up not achieving a real degree- she has only an associates degree or about enough to get a bank teller job. Guess we were dumb that she deceived us and spend the money we were sending her for education on other things.

After they got married (still did not know she was not a degreed teacher), their car blew up. I gave them an 8 year old minivan in good condition for transportation. Well, her husband sent the clear title van over to his dad to payoff a $2.5K debt a few weeks later & they bought a 2-year old Jeep on credit. His dad sold it with-in a week for a reputed $2.8K.

One year later- husband is a deadbeat that can't keep a job, and so forth....... They are filing bankrupty now. I only guess they have 1000s of dollars of debt. They have more secrets than a mystery book.

Cindi, not much you can do about kids once they made up their mind.


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