Hi, I don't know what to do about my 25 year old daughter Paula. I am at my wit's end. Really this is a very long story and I don't want to bore everyone, but to put it simply she has been a problem since she was a teenager and she seems to be getting worse.
There is quite a lot of background history but I will try and condense it down and keep this as short as I can.
Basically, I split up with her dad when she was 3 and my son was 6 months old. He walked out saying he was too young for the responsibility (we were both 21 at the time). I brought them up more or less on my own, I did have a couple of relationships during that time but they didn’t work out. Paula has a history of running away from home since she was 14, although only for a day or two each time. She also has 3 kids, aged 6, 5, and 2, by 2 different fathers, all of whom live with their dads, because both times the relationships ended, she moved out and left the children behind.
My son Tom lives in my flat, which is 200 miles from where I live now. I moved here 2 years ago to live with my partner of 5 years. Tom has a friend living there and they both pay me rent. Recently Paula asked if she could move into the flat as she had split with her latest boyfriend, but she couldn’t pay any rent at first as she had to find a job. Tom and Mark seemed happy to let her move in so I said it would be ok, as long as she started paying rent within a reasonable time as this was only fair to the 2 boys.
She had been there for a week when I found out that she had set up a catalogue account using a mixture of her date of birth and my name and address. I managed to get this cancelled and the catalogue said they would investigate but they decided not to follow it up. Obviously I confronted her but all she said was she didn’t think it mattered, she only used my name as she wasn’t registered there yet. She wasn’t in the least bit fazed by the fact that she could have been done for fraud, she wasn’t at all apologetic, she just shrugged and said ok she wouldn’t do it again. I made it plain to her that if she wanted to live at the flat she had better start pulling her weight and not try any more stupid stunts.
2 weeks ago she rang to tell me she had found a job as a barmaid and that she would be able to start paying some rent. She sounded quite cheerful and said she was looking forward to the job.
Yesterday my son rang me, very upset. Mark had left some money lying around and it had gone. They asked Paula when she came in and she said she needed bus fare so she took it, but now she had been paid so she gave it him back. Earlier in the week Mark had given her his bank card and asked her to take some cash out for him while he was at work. He now checked his bank statement and saw that 3 lots of money had been taken from the account. Paula admitted it was her, and that she had been short of cash. Mark asked Tom to ring me, as he didn’t know what to do. He thought that because she’s my daughter and it’s my flat, I would side with her and throw him out. But I told Tom that Mark should do what he thinks best, and if that means involving the police so be it. She has to face up to her actions. I felt terrible saying this, knowing what the consequences might be. Half of me hopes that the police will get involved and maybe she will get a wake-up call, but the other half doesn’t want her to end up with a criminal record and ruin her life completely.
The thing is, she seems to be getting worse as she gets older. She just uses people and then moves on to her next “victim”. When she first moved in she made a play for Mark, but Tom told me he warned him off. She has now met a 35 year old man on the internet, who she describes as “minging but loaded” and has started having him round the flat when Tom isn’t there and sleeping with him in Tom’s bed, something he specifically asked her not to do. Apparently this guy has a huge house and a fancy car and she’s obviously set her sights on them both.
I know I must have gone wrong somewhere in bringing her up but I don’t know how. She does take after her father in that he too is selfish and irresponsible, but obviously it can’t all be down to that. Tom meanwhile is and always has been a good lad, yet I treated them both the same when they were kids and tried to do my best to bring them up properly. And I have never once compared them, or told Paula she should be more like Tom, or anything like that. My partner tries to reassure me by saying that people are just the way they are and I shouldn’t blame myself, but I do.
I don’t know what to do next. I haven’t heard back yet what Mark has decided to do about the money.
I would love to hear someone else’s perspective on things, who is removed from it and can maybe see things more clearly than I can. It seems to me that she does things she knows are wrong and wants to get found out, but I don’t understand why or what she hopes to achieve.
I know I said at the beginning that I would try and keep it short but I really don’t think I can leave any of this out, I have tried to cut it down as much as I can. If you have read all of this then I am very grateful and would love to hear what you think.
Well, as someone around the same age as your daughter (I'm 22) and being in a similar living situation (with my grandparents) I think this is rediculous behavior. I feel like it is so kind of them to have me living with them at all and I feel responsible for helping out around the house and would never think of stealing from someone who is helping me out so much. She obviously has never had to face real consequences for doing things like this and you need to be straight with her and do something about it. I don't think you need to call the police into it, but she should definately be made to pay back the money that was stolen and you should sit down with her and tell her exactly what she is expected to pay. If she is dating this guy with such a nice house and everything, why don't they spend time there? If she can't follow the rules of the house, she should have to leave. Plain and simple. Tell her what exactly is expected and let her choose. If you have to kick her out, do it. She is an adult now right?