Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.
Please take a moment to read our updated TOS, Privacy Policy, and Forum Rules.

Disrespectful 20 year old

minnie9776minnie9776 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited June 2011 in Parents Forum
My Daughter is home from College for the summer. She is very disrespectful to her Dad and me. She will not abide by our simple rules of the house, and she knows it pushes my buttons. She talks to us like DOGS, and we cannot get her to treat us nicely.

What do we do? I know she is an adult, but we always respected our parents and never talked to them like she does us.

She is a very strong-willed person and always has been. But since she has lived away and come back, the disrespect towards us is unbearable.

Please help. Thank you.

P. S. We pay everything for her...car, insurance, tuition, etc., and yet she is very rude to us!!
Post edited by minnie9776 on

Replies to: Disrespectful 20 year old

  • milkweedmilkweed Registered User Posts: 665 Member
    If the goal is having a better relationship, I'd recommend inviting her to sit down with you to listen. I would suggest speaking from your heart and focusing only on how you feel (when she does x,y or z be specific) and what you need (?respect, consideration, better communication). If you can get her to agree to listen, I think you could have a first step towards improving the relationship.
  • saxsax Registered User Posts: 5,428 Senior Member
    Does she have a job this summer that she needs to drive to?
  • collegeshoppingcollegeshopping Registered User Posts: 1,935 Senior Member
    I certainly have some experience here and asked for the same type of advice many months ago.

    #1. Find a therapist for yourself (You have created this situation by allowing her to control you through her words and actions)

    #2. Cut her off financially on non-essentials. (If she is home for the summer and does not have a job, she does not need her car....take the keys....cut off her "fun" funds, but continue with tuition, etc) Her behavior will get so much worse when she realizes that she is lossing control, but control is what this about. Disrespectful behavior is not normal.

    #3. She should go to therapy too, but, and this is a huge but, when kids get like this, sometimes they will never see the light. Therapy will be labeled as "dumb" the therapist will be an a$$ (because....gasp...he or she will want to set limits and end the reign of terror)

    #4. This situation is difficult, horrible, name the word. I was very reluctent to grow a backbone with the child (now 22) in my life. He has not changed (actually got much worse when I started to change...but has leveled off), probably never will, but I have. When he lays into me (we both work in a family business...sigh) I simply walk away. He will literally throw a fit. Makes him look crazy, but I will not be his punching bag. I have now dealt with a few family situations where if he acted half way human he would have been a part of, but I refuse to have him in the house if can't promise his father or siblings that he will behave. (this means missing milestone birthdays and showers, etc) And I never thought I would say this, but I can live with these choices. Is it painful that he can't be there for our family?...yes. Is there peace?...yes. Everything has its price. My price for peace and respect is a small piece of my heart is torn, but I also have younger children and it is my duty to them to show them that respect and caring is not an optionial.

    #5. If you go to therapy and you get the right the therapist, be prepared for some serious reality checks. My therapist wanted to know what about the situation I thought was ok to let it get this far. My son's behavior even made him angry. In a way empowering, in a way, hurtful. If you can't be honest about just how horrible the behavior is (and I believe the way you describe your situation, the behavior is bad or you would not be here) make the change. It will change your life.
  • bajammbajamm Registered User Posts: 1,156 Senior Member
    I'd try what milkweed suggests first. If that doesn't work, then treat her like the adult she wants to be and stop paying her bills, except maybe the tuition unless it doesn't get better.
  • saxsax Registered User Posts: 5,428 Senior Member
    I agree with collegeshopping's post 100%. I was writing a similiar post and deleted it when I read her advice.

    This is the parents problem to solve in counseling. Please go. It will set you free. No need to include your daughter. She needs to find out the world no longer revolves around her.
  • gouf78gouf78 Registered User Posts: 5,824 Senior Member
    Is it her first summer home? Maybe it's an over reaction to trying to maintain her newly found independence. Parents tend to try to revert back to old behaviors (we're the adults and we're going to tell you what to do and when to do it) instead of trying to forge a new style of interacting. I go with milkweed.
    Read the withdrawal thread.
  • momofsongbirdmomofsongbird Registered User Posts: 1,236 Senior Member
    Respectfully disagree that this is in any way something the parents should look at in terms of "normal" re-entry issues after being away at school. Disrespect and rudeness on an ongoing basis are not acceptable.

    Agree completely with collegeshopping, who seems to know exactly whereof she speaks. Take her advice. (But meanwhile I would also cut off all funding except tuition, room and board for next fall. My message to daughter would be, "not only is it absolutely unacceptable for you to treat us this way, but it's going to cost you financially. I don't contribute to the finances of anyone, and that includes you, wou treats me this way."

    Best of luck to you.

    Collegeshopping, great post. I admire the tough choices you've made.
  • SmithieandProudSmithieandProud Registered User Posts: 3,038 Senior Member
    Agree, an excellent post by collegeshopping.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Registered User Posts: 82,625 Senior Member
    My message to daughter would be, "not only is it absolutely unacceptable for you to treat us this way, but it's going to cost you financially. I don't contribute to the finances of anyone, and that includes you, wou treats me this way."

    Yes, yes, yes!

    No car, no cell phone, no pocket money....just tuition until she "gets it".

    I would deliver this message in a neutral zone...like a restaurant where she won't blow up. I would simply start by saying that her behavior has been unacceptable..and include a few examples. I would say that you understand that she is now an adult and that's fine. But, adults are responsible for their own expenses....so that's the deal.

    If you've been giving her pocket money (or paying for her credit card or debit card)...then that has got to stop.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,555 Senior Member
    I tend to agree with milkweed's approach, but with one more refinement.

    Using the word "disrespectful" when you speak to her about the problems that have been occurring may be counterproductive because some young people react badly to this word. It has heavy connotations of "I'm the adult and you're still a child," which doesn't feel right to many 20-year-olds.

    What if she were not your daughter but your sister or cousin who was staying with you for the summer? You would still find her rudeness and unwillingness to conform to house rules unacceptable, but you wouldn't use the word "disrespect" to describe the problem. You would describe it in different words. Maybe it would be a good idea to use those other words when you talk to her about the things that are going badly and the changes you need her to make in her behavior.
  • shyparentalunitshyparentalunit Registered User Posts: 340 Member
    I agree with Marian that the word "disrespectful" may push her buttons. Perhaps talking about "mutual common courtesy," while also emphasizing momofsongbird's comment, "I don't contribute to the finances of anyone, and that includes you, who treats me this way."

    I'm sorry you are going through this.
  • Smitty900Smitty900 Registered User Posts: 47 Junior Member
    This kid needs a wake up call, perhaps an intervention. I would attempt an open and honest dialogue first, to review the house rules.

    If tht doesn't work, I would kindly ask him/her to leave with escort out of my home like I would ANY belligerent adult who came into my house and acted that way.

    My kids would not be welcomed into my home if they treated my wife with any disrespect. If you want to be an adult, then out of my house you go, get a job, live on your own, and make your own rules if you you can't follow ours. Its been that way from day 1, and they know they always have the option to leave.

    None of this 'continue to pay for tuition?' NO way. she's on her own until she figures it out. You have to be ready and open to therapy; or hit rock bottom, or it doesn't work.
  • Classof2015Classof2015 Registered User Posts: 4,202 Senior Member
    Minnie -- you took the words right out of my mouth, but my daughter's 18. Same behavior (not all the time). So rude it takes my breath away. Mean and hurtful (especially to me).

    Collegeshopping -- you are 100% correct. Boundaries, expectations, and ramifications. I am kicking myself for not doing this sooner, but maybe you're like me -- you wanted to make their life nice and not stress them out by asking them to do chores or housework because the whole college process was so stressful. And why make them empty the dishwasher or take out the garbage when they had SATs to study for?

    I realize now I created this monster (and she's not a monster all the time, and very rarely in public) but I didn't do her or me any favors by letting some of her behavior go unchecked.

    Recently she was very rude to me so I told her: you finance your own fantasies (wanting to get her hair "done" in the city for graduation after the bill for the dress, dinner, shoes is already close to $1000). It's as if as soon as I say "yes", thinking she'll be sweet and grateful, she finds something else to whine about and if I don't give in, she flips out (or runs to Daddy, who takes her side).

    Sorry to go on, but I second everything collegeshopping said, especially the therapy piece. A friend of mine told me that another friend of hers went, early on, because their strong-willing daughter was controlling and warping the family dynamic. They will if you let them.

    Good luck.
  • gamomof3gamomof3 Registered User Posts: 396 Member
    My suggestions would be to give specific examples when you are discussing the situation with your daughter. I know with my kids it helps to say when you do this etc..
  • Brave UlyssesBrave Ulysses Registered User Posts: 671 Member
    Respect is an behavior pattern that is learned from a very young age.Disrespectful adults are often disrespectful children.

    The question: is this "attitude" new behavior or was there always an underlying issue?

    Respect should be earned and should be a two way relationship.
    Give respect , get respect. And do not tolerate disrespect.
This discussion has been closed.