Freshwoman in College drops out/returns to Daddy's home - FamilyEducation
Freshwoman in College drops out/returns to Daddy's home
04/15/2009 at 12:44 PM

My stepdaughter went away to her first year in college. We (my wife and I) battled with her father to find a way to get his 1/2 of the tuition and Room and Board paid. Finally, when all of that seemed under control...she drops out after the first week of her second quarter (back in January). She has her excuses, like "It's just not the right place for me...", but the real reason is because she met a young man her age from our home town and wants to be near him. We told her if she chooses to leave school and come home, she must work, and must provide for herself, coming up with a plan for school if she chooses to continue with college.
Long story short, she chose to live with her dad, without transportation (although he has since promised to buy her a car this summer!). She lied about the 'refund' on her tuition and room and board, and stuck her mom (my wife) with a $2k bill for a dropped housing contract and tuition. 'Dad' got a partial refund but refuses to share it with his ex-wife! She is enrolled at a Junior College and now wants to attend a culinary school ($30k/year)for 2 1/2 years to pursue her desire to be a pastry chef. The new boyfriend lives three blocks from us and while she visits him two or three times a week (he drives her around) and actually stays at his home overnight (with his parents' blessing), she has visited us three times since January (two in the last two weeks, as she needed her mom to take her 'shopping', (and you can imagine how much that cost!).
It is pretty clear to me she is abusing and using her mother (for everything!), who is about to cave on the tuition for the culinary school. What can I do to show or tell her mother that this young woman is abusing her love as a mother?

My soon-to-be step-daughter dropped out of college as well. Her father insisted that she pay him back for the tuition. She then wanted to get a certification as a certain medical assistant. Her father agreed to pay for the cost of the certification as long as she kept making payments on the original tuition. He did not give her one thing that she did not NEED while she had no job. If she wanted make-up, clothes, gas money etc. she would have to get a job. She did get a job because she wanted those things and she did make payments on the tuition. Our young woman is learning how to survive and succeed on her own rather than depend on others to take care of her. She is much better off struggling now while she still has the shelter of her fathers home than to learn this lesson later when she is on her own. Your wife should NOT give her the tuition for culinary school until she repays the money she wasted. Otherwise, I would safely bet that she will blow off culinary school if it gets too tough... what's to lose really? Your wife might miss her daughter and want (like me) to give her child all the things she needs to be successful. The truth is, she won't be successful until she earns the things she wants/needs. Your wife is hurting her daughter by not teaching her to be independent,capable and responsible. It's so much harder to make our kids grow up than it is to just do everything for them, but it's really selfish to take the path of least resistance. Give a man a fish and he eats for a day ... teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Don't let your daughter down, teach her to fish...

But the question of how to convince your wife of this is much harder. Part of the problem is that Daddy is taking the path of least resistance, which sets up your wife to look like a mean, selfish witch-woman. If you could get Daddy on the same page with you and mom it would be much easier. Maybe THEY could all (Daddy, wife, daughter) go in to the counseling office of the cooking school and get statistics about how many kids drop out when they are not held accountable by the person who is paying the bills. This takes you out of the middle of the fight. Even if the culinary school route is where she ends up, see if the divorce decree makes your wife responsible for more than in-state tuition at your state university. If it does, hire a lawyer to revisit that issue in family court.

I agree w/ tamz. Don't give your step-daughter anymore $. Encourage her to be independent and maybe even live on her own for a yr. I went through this. My first yr of college, I goofed around. After that my parents told me I'm on my own. They said if I lived at home I had to work and pay rent. Otherwise, I had to find an apt and work all these things out for myself. I opted to stay at home and pay my way through college. I applied for financial aide, and I worked. The only regret was not being out on my own 100% (w/out a roomate) before I got married. I think then I wld've become a lot more independant and self-reliant a person. Being on your own also helps build confidence. If you're forced to make it on your own, you will find a way. It may take longer to reach your goals of finishing school and starting a career, but there's also a sense of pride that goes along w/ this. Acitez, I agree. Mom needs to be strong and not give in to her daughter so easily. If she wants her daughter to be a confident, independent woman, she shld not jump to her every desire. As for the boyfriend, I only hope he is motivated and ambitious. Together they can push each other through school if they really wish to have a successful future together. I'm not saying they have to go to school, but if they do, I think it'll make their lives a lot easier in the long run.