My wife and I have 3 kids (19F, 15M, & 12F). Our 19-year old, Kate, graduated from high school last year but is still living at home. Despite getting into a few different colleges, she declined to attend as she wasn’t sure she wanted to go to college and wanted a break from school. We were ok with this but gave her some rules if she wanted to live at home.
These were pretty basic rules. She had to work at least 30-hours a week and continue to help around the house. I wanted her to pay a token rent which we would put away and give back to her when she moves out, but my wife disagreed as she wanted Kate to learn to save money on her own.
Kate has struggled with anxiety for the past few years and has been in therapy since her junior year of high school. She is also on medication. She also, like many 19-year olds, struggles with impulse control. This usually manifests in her spending habits. She will spend money as soon as she gets it. And she spends it on, in my opinion, things she doesn’t always need.
Her room is full of clothes she will wear maybe once or twice. Jewelry, makeup, salon and spa trips, etc. We’ve had many talks with her about being better at saving money, but it always ends up in a fight about it being her money and she can do with it what she wants. Which, I don’t necessarily disagree with, but if she’s still living at home and being fed and housed by us for free, I feel like we get at least some say in how much she saves. She’s saved less than a thousand dollars.
This past weekend Kate came home one day with bright rainbow hair. My son asked her how much it cost and Kate said it was $300. I asked Kate if she seriously spent $300 on her hair and she said yes. I told her that was a ridiculous amount of money for something like that. She said it makes her feel good and it’s important for her mental health.
I told her that if she can afford to spend $300 on her hair, then she can afford to pay us rent. She immediately got defensive and reiterated that it is her money and she will spend it how she wants. She said I don’t understand why this is important to her and that she hates that I am so controlling over what she does.
I told her that as long as she’s still living with us, I have a right to be critical of the choices she makes. She called me and asshole and stormed off to her room and slammed the door. My wife told me that I need to be more supportive of Kate and her choices, especially in regards to money. I told her that I am not going to continue to let her live here for free if she’s going to spend money so recklessly.
My wife said that Kate needs to learn this on her own. But I said that she’s had over a year to learn and she still spends money just as fast as she earns it. I told her that we need to have a conversation about Kate continuing to live with us because we have other kid to support and Kate is an adult and should be contributing something to the house if she’s going to stay here. Did I go too far here? Do you think my request is reasonable? Please don’t be afraid to criticize. Thank you for your time in advance.
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