Feeling Estranged from 18 yo Daughter

I have an 18 year old daughter who lives with me. Her father and I are divorced and she does not want contact with him. Although she is intelligent, she dropped out of high school. She does not want to go to college and has not taken the GED test yet but I think she can pass it. When she turned 18 she inherited 20 thousand dollars. She has tried to get a job without any success. She spends money on clothes and buys marijuana. She has lost a few important people in her life and she now seems unhappy. We were once close but now she leaves me messes talks back to me and will not talk to me about anything. I feel like the daughter I raised is gone and this horrible changling has taken her place. If I tell her to move I am afraid she will end up living with some awful abusive guy in an unsafe neighborhood. She goes out at night coming home very late or not until the next day. I want her to follow my rules but she does not and I don't know what consequences to impose. We don't have much and anything she owns she has paid for so I have nothing to take away. I feel helpless and a bit stupid for not knowing what to do. I am afraid she is going down the wrong path and is going to have a tough life and that makes me so sad. I cannot find a teen parent support group that is affordable but I need support. Help?

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You can't control her, so don't try. Don't expect her to follow your rules. Don't expect her to clean up her messes. Fighting with her about those things is destroying your relationship. At this point is more important to be loving and understanding. Try to find out what is troubling her so you can help her figure things out. You say she tried to get a job. Did you help? She probably needs help with her resume, her interviewing skills, her wardrobe. Ask her how you can help her, instead of trying to get her to bend to your needs. 

It is OK to have rules for anyone living in your house (I know many people will make this point). Consider AlAnon or NarAnon for emotional support and knowledge about addiction. Good luck to you and your daughter.

I can imagine this can be very difficult.  I have an 18 year old daughter too who was home all summer and doing a lot of things I wasn't happy about.  I decided that my biggest goal was to improve my relationship with her.  I don't think imposing consequences will have any impact except to alienate and shut down your communication further.  Probably trying to have calm talks, empathy about what she is going through, and communicating as parent who wants to know what her perspective is would get her attention.  After you develop a better communication style you can start to tell her what your hopes and dreams are for her and what you are worried about in a way that says "It's because I love you and want you to have a good life, I am concerned about what you are doing" and "I want you to know how this impacts me".  A really good book to read is "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Cohn.  While it may be more geared toward parents of younger children, it really emphasizes that the relationship building, talking about how their behavior affect themselves and others, rather than trying to "do something" like impose consequences to get compliance will have more impact in the long run.  Parenting is hard, and you do have to set limits, but you also need a lot of skill to make sure that the lines of communication are open. Also, if you can get family counseling, that would be a great help.

One thing my daughter (20 and usually on track) told me was that when I tried to give her advice or caution after something that had gone wrong, she had already figured out it was a mistake, and my saying something made her less likely to change. So, what I'm trying to do now is to be a consultant as much as possible, and give less advice -- which isn't easy :)   Also, I think after 18, rules are pretty useless, though you can ask her to be a good "roommate." Over time my daughter has become better about this, though the house is much more of a mess when she is home. I think you are right in letting her stay home, and not doing that "tough love" thing because you are holding space for her to grow into the next phase of her life. I agree about working on the relationship, because they are at the stage when they can decide whether or not they want us in their lives.