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post #1 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 04:36 PM Thread Starter
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Stepdaughter nightmare - now what?

2/2/2017 ******UPDATE ON POST 54*****

NEW UPDATE ON POST 129 - case closed







If any of you have been on this forum for a while I'm certain that you have seen threads from me regarding one of my stepdaughters. I have finally reached my limit and I don't know what to do.

My wife did an amazing job raising 3 beautiful girls as a single parent. Unfortunately the middle child - now 22 - has been problematic to say the least.
Four years ago I bought her a used Nissan Sentra. It started to overheat and I told her to not drive it until the issue was fixed. She disregarded what I told her and drove it until she fried the engine. To keep her driving we gave her her sisters used Galant and put a down payment towards a new car for the sister. She apparently lent the Galant to a friend so she says and the friend wrecked it. She then borrowed her younger sisters car (without me knowing it) which I bought - 2004 Jetta- for 2 days. She did not return the car but instead drove the car to Miami (4.5 hour drive). At 3 AM Tuesday - 10 days later - we get a call from her telling us the car was broken down - 80 miles from our house. We had it towed via AAA to my house and it had no coolant secondary to a cracked coolant housing. She said it was overheating in Miami and someone told her she was leaking fluids and topped off her coolant. Never had it repaired!!! I replaced the housing but as you could guess it is too late. The engine will start but it is very loud (sounds like a diesel) and the check engine light, oil light and coolant light are all on despite a full load of coolant. It drives but very erratically. Essentially another fried motor. She does not work consistently and moves from friend to friend for a place to sleep. Now she has ruined a third car and is without transportation. My wife is very pissed but does not know what to do. I feel she should be left on her own whether or not that means being homeless with no means of getting to and from a job should she find one. Join the Army is my suggestion. At this point my blood is boiling with anger.

What would you do?

Should I give the Jetta to charity? I was about to buy the younger sister a new car as she is about to go away to college and I want her to have something reliable.

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post #2 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 04:59 PM
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It is unlikely that she will learn any sort of responsibility as long as somebody (you or your wife) keeps bailing her out. Maybe its time she learn all about public transportation!

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post #3 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 04:59 PM
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I would cut her loose and let her sink or swim on her own. She obviously has no respect for other peoples property so maybe it's time for her to try to accumulate some on her own and maybe she will respect it.

I know you are in a tough spot and it is very easy for me to say this, but I think it may be time for some tough love, but the saying "this will hurt me more than it hurts you" would certainly apply if I was in your shoes.

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post #4 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 05:02 PM
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I'd put "The Club" in each car and expressly forbid anyone in the house from giving her the keys......22 yo is plenty old enough to be on her own and out of the house....If you get my drift....After 18 you owe them nothing.

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post #5 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 05:06 PM
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Tough love. My daughter is almost the same way and she is 26, she is about to get a tough lesson when I take the car back!

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post #6 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 05:09 PM
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This is an extremely difficult thing to address as a parent, as I am sure you know first hand. I could tell you what to do, but that would be my POV without actual experience.

It sounds like you and your wife have done the right things as far as rewarding good behavior and 2 of the 3 are doing well. Unfortunately, some lose their way. How you deal with that is your call. I like to believe that I will have the nuts to turn them out at let them fly or crash on their own, but, like I said, I have not had to face that decision yet, and hope I never do.

I do recall hearing many on this board and others say that the best thing their parents ever did was to cut the cord and let them sink or swim on their own. It's just such a difficult thing to think about when you love your kids though.

I know one thing for certain, she would not be getting the keys to any of my vehicles until she proves that she can be responsible for quite some time.

Good luck to you in whatever you choose.


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post #7 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 06:16 PM
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I think by the time your "KIDS?" get to be 22 years old parenting is done.
Common sense is obviously not one of her Fortes either. So At 22 she should have learned what the repercussions of her actions are..ADIOS.....
Maybe make her join the Military?

Obviously I am not a parent.....I just wouldn't have the patience for it if I were. I'd probably have taken her to small claims court for the repair money.

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post #8 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 06:20 PM
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Cut her off NOW! My brother is 45 years old and is still sponging off my willing mother because she allows it. DON'T BE AN ENABLER!

Maybe do one last thing for her. Driver her to the Navy recruiter's office and participate in the discussion. Then leave her there and change your locks...again.

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post #9 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 06:58 PM
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Cut her off NOW! My brother is 45 years old and is still sponging off my willing mother because she allows it. DON'T BE AN ENABLER!...

I totally agree. Continuing to enable her will ensure the status quo of her behavior until the day you die. I have first hand family experience of exactly that and even twelve years later, its something I cannot forgive. During my career, I also saw parents spend their life's savings trying to "fix" their kids' problems. Rarely did it work. They ended up broken hearted and broke.

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post #10 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 07:16 PM
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I think by the time your "KIDS?" get to be 22 years old parenting is done.
Parenting's never done. Just my humble opinion. However: I would certainly cut her off. Let her figure it out on her own. I would make certain she knew I would be there for her to give her guidance and nothing more. Make sure that she knows that she has exceeded her account of trust so to speak, and that from here on out she's to make her own adult decisions. If it were my daughter I'd make sure she also knew that with consistent good decisions and responsible behavior she could re-establish that trust account again, but she'll need to work and get her personal self-discipline and sense of responsibility corrected.

You can't fix anyone, anyways. It will either work and she'll pull herself together or it won't, and you just have to love on them anyways
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post #11 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 07:50 PM
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I think by the time your "KIDS?" get to be 22 years old parenting is done.
I disagree. Your kids are finally maturing enough, and seeing the real world, where you are not a dumb-ass anymore and what you say actually makes some sense to them because they are slowly getting some skin in the game. Parenting is never done, it just evolves to different levels and becomes less of a full time job.

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post #12 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 08:05 PM
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If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.

Definition of Insanity - keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.


Time to change your pattern...then she'll either change or figure out how to mooch off someone else.

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post #13 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 08:08 PM
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Skunkman, I was in the same shoes as you with my daughter. I finally got to the point where I cut her off before her antics started affecting the rest of the family. After I cut her off she would go from family member to family member, she hit everyone up including grandparents, until each and every single one of them cut her off. Finally she hit bottom and something clicked with her, right around the time she had a baby girl when she was 25. (2 years ago) I don't know if her daughter and the responsibility of caring for someone you love did the trick or she just got sick of having nothing. Whatever it was worked... Everyone is starting to warm back up to her but with a side of cation. She has a long way to go to earn everyone's trust back but she is working hard at it.

Sometimes you just have to cut the cord and like was said below, let her sink or swim on her own. It hurts to do it because deep down you are hoping it is just a phase they are in, believe me I know. But it has got to be done...

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post #14 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 08:14 PM
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Used Bicycle with solid tires. No more. Old enough to do it for herself.

Had a cousin who did the same for last 40 years. Everybody tried to help but he could never gather it together.
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post #15 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 08:20 PM
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I agree with dan, we have the same problem with my sister who my mom continues to help. and she doesnt appreciate anything. ive even bailed her out of jail. they will not learn unless its on their own. some people need a hard lesson in life to get their head on straight.

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post #16 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 09:09 PM
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Personally I would have cut her off when she fried the first car.

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post #17 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 09:14 PM
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Used Bicycle with solid tires. No more. Old enough to do it for herself.
Kinda along the same line of thinking ....

IF you consider buying her another car (and that's a BIG IF), there's lots of "beaters" around that would/could provide basic transportation. No where does it say everyone needs, should have or is entitled to a new-ish car ....

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post #18 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 09:30 PM
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You should get her a new car! Possibly a vette or new Mustang. You been getting her old used worn out cars.
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post #19 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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I agree with the "cut the cord." There comes a time when enough is enough. When the car came back unfortunately she came with it. I'm going to have to kick her out now.

If you don't think it's real, go ahead and step in front of it!

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post #20 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 10:23 PM
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I think a couple of guys have given the correct response. Between a bike and a bus pass she can get to any job. Heck, I remember when I was in college my and down on money I rode 8 miles to work and back every day. Best shape I was ever in was when I couldn't really afford to drive the car that I paid for in full before I took the keys.

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post #21 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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She actually has a bike and uses it all of the time to get around.

Today my wife told her she has to leave the house. I have to give her credit and I know she is doing the right thing. If she didn't kick her out I was about to.

Anyhow - back to the Jetta. What do you think is wrong. All warning lights are on and it sounds like a loud diesel engine.

If you don't think it's real, go ahead and step in front of it!

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post #22 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 10:58 PM
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I understand the issues, but also honestly at 22 and being a woman, I don't really know that I would expect her to diagnose and get repaired the car when its leaking fluids. (sorry to the girls out there.) I try to get into my wives car and drive it at least once a month to see what is going on with it because I know damn well she won't tell me if a light comes on or if its making a noise. She isnt a dumb woman, she just isnt mechanical at all and doesn't think in terms of that sound is an indication of a larger problem. If no one has ever taught the 22yr old different, I would expect her brain works the same, its over heating, I put fluid in it, and drove it. The expectation for them is that the car is going to do what its supposed to do and someone else needs to help maintain their vehicles.

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post #23 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 11:27 PM
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One summer when I was home from college and borrowing the old man's Pontiac I blew it up... Sorta...

The genius engineering staff at Pontiac decided to put the oil pressure light on the passenger side of the dash. No joke: I'm driving along I-75 in the blazing Florida sunshine and the engine starts to get loud. I'm honestly looking down at the dash and back at the road for at least 30 seconds before I catch a glimpse of the light out of the corner of my eye. By that time it was too late. I pulled it over and had to have it towed home. We tore it down and it had "Thrown a clot", meaning a chunk of oily nastiness had broken free and worked it's way into a necessary oil passage and killed the oil pressure. We tore the engine down and it was a mess of spun bearings and galled pistons and cylinder walls. Wasn't worth fixing.

I have a really cool dad and it didn't even phase him. He thought that there might be a problem driving on the interstate because the previous owner had been a little old lady that only drove the car around town. He did get a little ticked off when I pointed out where the oil pressure idiot light was (not at me of course).

As far as your Jetta, do a compression test. If it really overheated you probably seized the pistons and galled the cylinders (and maybe spun some bearings). A compression test will show the galled cylinders.

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post #24 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-27-2013, 11:47 PM
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I understand the guys who say she's a girl and can't be expected to fix cars. So I would give a pass, as you did, on the first overheat and engine fry. But then there is the suspicious wreck. And then the second engine fry job. No, she can't fix a car, but she could have called you when the first symptoms showed up. If she had called, you would have done whatever was needed and the engine would still run. But she didn't call because she doesn't give a sh-t. Now she can walk. Or ride her bike. I am no great parent but,in her senoir high school year my daughter showed up 20 minutes late one night. I asked where she was and the explanation was actually fine but..we provided her w/ a cell phone. I told her, if she had called all would be well. I asked her for the car keys and she didn't drive for a week. After that she was home on time or called 5 minutes before she was late.

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post #25 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 12:09 AM
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I understand the issues, but also honestly at 22 and being a woman, I don't really know that I would expect her to diagnose and get repaired the car when its leaking fluids. (sorry to the girls out there.) I try to get into my wives car and drive it at least once a month to see what is going on with it because I know damn well she won't tell me if a light comes on or if its making a noise. She isnt a dumb woman, she just isnt mechanical at all and doesn't think in terms of that sound is an indication of a larger problem. If no one has ever taught the 22yr old different, I would expect her brain works the same, its over heating, I put fluid in it, and drove it. The expectation for them is that the car is going to do what its supposed to do and someone else needs to help maintain their vehicles.

LOL...I have to get in and drive my wife's car every once in a while as well. And I swear that almost every tie I do I find something wrong, or something about to go wrong. last time it was the tire pressure sensor. The light was on and and I asked her when she was going to get some air in the tire that was low. She said "Oh, I don;t know. I thought it would be OK for a while".... Argh!

for the times, they are a changin'.....
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post #26 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 12:49 AM
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Thanks for posting personal issues like this, it gives me a kick in the butt to grab my 10 yr old daughter and change the oil in mom's minivan!

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post #27 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 01:01 AM
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Sorry to hear but PLEASE don't push her to the military. It's not what it used to be and instead of fixing her, she'll more likely end up dragging more like her down as she falls, if not getting somebody killed. If she really screwed up, a bad discharge isn't much different than a felony. Best of luck, maybe a humanitarian mission group would help her see the light?

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post #28 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 01:25 AM
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Tough love time.

She's on her own from this point on. You've done your job. Time for her to grow up.

Jim

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post #29 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 01:34 AM
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...She does not work consistently and moves from friend to friend for a place to sleep...
I don't think a few dead semi-beater cars qualifies as a 'NIGHTMARE' in a stepdaughter scenario...

I'd be much more worried about your statement above...an unplanned grandkid is going to cost you a LOT more (both in $ and family stress) than a fried '04 Jetta... :-(

All for the making her bike/mass transit type solutions...but not sure totally kicking her out will prove to be a wise long-term solution.
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post #30 of 134 (permalink) Old 03-28-2013, 01:40 AM
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Thanks for posting personal issues like this, it gives me a kick in the butt to grab my 10 yr old daughter and change the oil in mom's minivan!
I'm thrilled that my 9-yr old daughter actually wants to spend time in the garage working on the cars...hoping she'll discover the engineer 'knack' later on...

It's my girly-girl 5-yr old that scares me! :-)
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