Love Her But Stick to House Rules

Annette Nay, Ph.D.

Copyright 2004

My daughter has a job as a waitress two -three days a week.  I can't track her money.  I feel like her jailer, but since she is 30 years old, it's impossible to keep her home.  She's on probation has been in trouble with the law 3 other times, and has to have a job or she is in violation of probation.  I don't want her to work and could control her comings and goings easier since we live in the country and she has no car.  But because of her probation, I take her to work.  She goes out late at night when everyone is sleeping to do drugs. Not everyday, but we can tell when she is high.   My husband is her stepfather and I know he wants her to leave.  We are both pastors, have 4 other special needs adopted children, and my daughter who makes it very hard for both of us to stay in agreement.

She has nowhere to live except with us, and I don't know what to do.  She is in drug counseling, but I am sitting here now at 4:25 A.M. waiting for her to come back home.   

She is not to be trusted, and I cry every time I think I might have to tell her to leave.  I love her so much and struggle not to worry when she is gone.  I manage each time, but I am always so happy when she comes home.  She has not stolen from us for a long time.  It's just that my husband is not happy with her here, and I have been a buffer and I am getting worn out. None of the family will allow her to live with them.  When she is away from us she always calls for help and we think she is going to change. 

Mother Under Stress


Dear Mother Under Stress,

Your daughter is in the business of destroying her life.  In that process she will destroy yours as well, if you let her.  You and I know that your daughter is not going to change, until things get so bad that she is forced into it.  Leaving your the door open to her, without expecting certain behaviors, as the condition of her being able to stay with you, is allowing her to continue this path.  You are enabling her to do drugs.  I know that sounds harsh, but it is true. 

Your husband and you need to sit down together and draw up reasonable rules for her behavior in your home.  Tell her if she breaks the rules, she has chosen to leave.  She may not come back until she is ready to abide by your rules of your home.  It is as simple as that.

Yes, it will hurt like crazy not knowing where she is and what she is doing, but you cannot allow her to destroy your marriage and erode house rules so that the other children in your home think they can do what they want.  Even though these children are beloved by you, they need to follow rules or except the consequences.  That is the way God has set up this world for us.  It is a good template for us to use to set up our own homes.

God still loves us even when we make mistakes, and He is always there to accept us back when we are ready to do what is right, but He will not enable us to continue in wrong-doing.  Let your daughter know that you love her and the door is always open when she is ready to accept the conditions of being under your roof. 

She may not understand why you are cracking down after all this time.  Tell her that her behavior is causing problems with the whole family and your husband.  That to be able to live together harmoniously, that everyone has to follow the rules. 

When she walks out that door, and she will, love her.  Stay in contact as much as possible.  Invite her out to lunch, every now and then, and then pray like crazy that God will be mindful of her and help her to make wise decisions. 

When we engage in destructive behaviors, the Lord lets us hit rock-bottom so that we have to look to Him to get out of the messes, we created.  It will not be a pretty process for you to watch your daughter hit the bottom, but know that there will also be no other way for her to go than up.

I pray that both your daughter and you have the strength and the guidance of the Lord to do what you must as the time come for you both to do it.


Annette Nay, Ph.D.

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