Question:I am at a loss as to what to do with my 20 year old daughter. She lives at home but will not do anything to help out. She will not clean, and she only works part time at night. She doesn't think that she makes enough to help out with the bills but will not get another job. I am a single mother, recovering from addiction, and have decided to follow the Lord. I know that in a year the changes in me are significant enough for her to see that I have changed truly for the Lord. I can't undo my mistakes and my addiction from the past. I need help setting some boundaries and talking to her. She seems to be resentful or something. Nothing I say gets through. Any suggestions would be most grateful. I trust the Lord will get us through this, but I have made a lot of mistakes and want to lead her in the right direction, back to the Lord.
Thank you for contacting us and congratulations on your new life. Taking the step to overcome addiction is one of the biggest steps you will ever take. And although you cannot change your past, you have made the right step in determining the direction of your future.
You are correct in recognizing the need for boundaries in your relationship with your adult daughter. In fact, one of the recommendations I have for you is to read the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. The book is a wealth of resources regarding establishing boundaries in all areas of our lives including physical boundaries, financial boundaries, emotional boundaries, and others. I think you will find the book extremely helpful.
You are also correct in identifying that your daughter needs to contribute to the household responsibilities. Even the smallest of children need to have some responsiblity or they will never learn how to ultimately care for themselves.
I suggest drawing up a contract of sorts that explains what you are willing to provide and under what conditions. For example, your part of the agreement could look something like this:
I agree to provide:
- reasonable amount of food
- Safe, drug free environment
- Spiritual leadership
In return, you agree to:
- Maintain your hours, increase them, or go to school
- Do your own laundry
- Keep your room clean
- Pay your own phone bills
- Pay for your own gas & insurance
- Find an apartment of your own within the next 12 months.
- Go to church
If you agree to these (negotiable), you are welcome to live here. If not, you are choosing to live on your own.
Remember, this is just an idea of what a living agreement could look like. You will want to tailor it to your specific situation. It may seem extreme, but I have found that the more clearly you spell out the terms, the more likely you are to have harmony. She may not like your decision, but if you stick to it, it will only help her in her adult life.
Blessings to you as you journey on in your new life in Christ. Remember, he doesn't bring up old sins and mistakes. Leave them in the past and walk forward in his Grace.