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I kicked my daughters out the house and now I'm conflicted about my decision.


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First, my daughters are from my first marriage when I divorced when they were 10 and 12. My ex-wife completely left the picture when we divorced, not a birthday card or call or anything. My current wife, their stepmother, completely stepped in and raised them (along with my three sons) as her own. My wife and I also have two more younger kids together.

My first daughter, "Amanda", a few years ago when she was 20, worked at a restaurant as a hostess, and she closed, so she often came home around 12 or 1 am.

One day, she went to work and while there, her stepmom and I went there to take her car to get minor repairs done and return it back before her shift ended. We always intended her to call her at work and tell her what we were doing, but the car wasn't there.

We called Amanda. She didn't answer. We called her job. They said Amanda didn't have work that day and they hadn't seen her all day.

My daughter was obviously lying. We agreed we'd wait when she came home that night to see what she'd say. She did at 1 a.m. and she lied that she had been at work all day.

Honestly, it pissed both of us off, me even more. We were trying to fix her car (really, the car we bought for her) and she was lying straight to our faces, most likely having sex with some guy. (It is a house rule of ours that we don't want our children being sexually active while living at our house.)

So, yes, that night I took her house and car keys and kicked her out. I admit anger may have been blurring our judgment here. I remember her crying, but we were so angry we closed the door on her.

I honestly, truly expected her to come home the next day. To cool things off and for us to talk it out. But she didn't. That was the last day I talked to her, and I figured she felt what she did was right and so did I.

A year ago, my other daughter, also 20, pulled something similar. "Sarah" worked at a grocery store, had a 11pm clock-out, but my wife and I were asleep and woke up in a panic around 1 am when we realized she wasn't home.

We called, got no answer, freaked. We went to her store, didn't see her car in the parking lot. Called again, she answered and said she was at work, and I realized another lie was going on. We waited for her at home, and in anger and disappointment again we kicked her out. Difference is we wanted to do something different and went back to get her. She was walking down the street, and she got in her car and we went back home.

The next morning, we had an event to go to as a family, but we offered that when we returned, she could either move out OR all of us can talk about what happened. Instead, after the event, she packed up her bags and left.

We looked into her laptop and could see we were right, she was sending sexts to a guy talking about their nights together.

Being a father is not easy. I've been thinking about this decision for quite some time now, and I go back and forth on why they chose what they did (from the lying to the disrespect to the choice to leave) and whether it could have been handled differently. I'm wondering what steps can be taken from here.

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So you and your wife over reacted and lost adult children. You could chose to apologize. Yes, they lied. No reason to throw people out the door. They chose to be adults. Good for them. At 20 they can chose to leave. They don’t want to live with your rules so they left. Totally acceptable. If you feel bad apologize. It doesn’t mean they will come back however . 

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What was also happening in the house and in your relationships with your daughters prior to those nights? 

Were there other instances of dishonesty or poor behavior?

It incredibly cruel and dangerous to just throw a person out of the house.  At any age. Where are they to go? Are or were you so set in your ways, their own safety was not a concern? 

Expecting people to control natural urges, hormones and acts because of your house your rules is pretty arrogant to say the least. 

As others have asked, what's happening now? Do you have any contact? 

I hope you find a way to exhibit better judgment with your other children. Ruling with iron fists doesn't work.  Children become adults and they decide for themselves who is in and part of their lives. 

Everyone has a breaking point. And as the saying goes, if you're not there when I need you the most, I don't need you at all. 

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I think you very much overreacted. #1 they are adults. My brother did similar. He makes my parents worry. But they didn't kick him out. They simply talked to him. They told him that they just wanted him to be safe. They told him how much they love him.

#2 you are not trusting of your adult children. Did you raise them right? If you did, then trust them. Okay, maybe she was having sex. At 20,those feelings are there for young adults. But hopefully you raised a smart woman who is using protection and being responsible. 

You can't keep punishing your kids at 20. I would understand if they stole something from you or were doing drugs, that they got kicked out. Something dangerous or detrimental to the family. Even sexting- they are young adults, they are horny, and learning about sex. It's going to happen either while they live with you safely or while they live away from you possibly unsafely. 

I think you need to sit down and talk with them. Tell them how much you love them. How you want to help them and will continue to help them into adulthood. Thus, fixing the car. And that you trust them to make smart decisions, not drinking and driving, having unprotected sex, no drugs and say that if they are dating someone, that you'd love to meet this person. 

I also think you should do some fun things together. My brother loves video games, my dad learned to play and they enjoy it together. My mom and I live movies, and we plan monthly movie dates. 

Grav some concert tickets and go for fun with them. Show them that you want to be a part of their ever changing world. And that you trust the adult you raised.

Will you always worry, yes! That's a parents job. But never ever kick your children out unless its necessary. You are kicking them out into a cruel world and they are naive young adults. 

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8 hours ago, FatherLearning said:

 I'm wondering what steps can be taken from here.

Don't be as horrible to your other kids even if your wife encourages abusing the stepkids. Hopefully they'll move on with their lives free from your anger and abuse.

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Being a father is hard, but being a dictator is easy....? Jokes aside, I think your rules were basically draconian and your daughters probably felt they had to lie for a reason. They were both adults so really they could do what they wanted. If you didn't want them to invite a guy to your house, sure, that's your rules as it's your place. But to say that at 20 years old they aren't allowed to date or have sex with a guy, of course they're not going to like it. They probably felt that their only option if they wanted to have a boyfriend was to lie. Really you left them no other choice.

You actually kicked them both out just because they were seeing a guy. Something that a lot of parents would be fine with their ADULT children doing. Of course you can express concern and say something like: "I hope you're using protection and I'd like to meet this guy". But to simply forbid them to date guys, you can't really do that. 

If you're religious or very traditional and don't believe in sex before marriage, that's fine. Obviously your daughters don't share your beliefs. Your rule was they can live with you as long as they don't have sex. Obviously they didn't want to follow your rules anymore so that's why they left.

I recently watched a documentary about a religious cult on Netflix and some people escaped from there too lol

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47 minutes ago, Tinydance said:

Being a father is hard, but being a dictator is easy....?

Agree. While after 18 you don't have to house them,  it's illegal to simply lock someone out of their current residence without a formal eviction because their stepmother is inciting a riot and you're raging. You and your abusive wife need to watch your step. Hopefully they sue you for illegal eviction.

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I am noticing this more and more lately with fathers and adult daughters. You think you have a parent/child relationship with them…but they are not children, they are adults. So until you give them the respect they deserve, you will not get any respect back from them.

Honestly, if I were them, I would’ve left as well. They are likely going to keep you at a distance until you learn how to have a respectful relationship with the adult versions of them.

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15 hours ago, bluecastle said:

I'm having a bit of trouble understanding where things currently stand. Am I correct in that both of your daughters are now out of the house, with one kicked out a two years ago and the other a year ago? What is your relationship like with them today, and why do you think you're reflecting on all this now? 

At the heart of this seems to be a house rule: that they can live with you so long as they remain sexually inactive. If I had to guess, your daughters found themselves in a bind as they grew up, and into themselves, and realized they wanted to participate in romance and sex. They've probably known from a very young age that you didn't approve of this, and that you would come down on them very hard if they broke the rule, and so they kept this part of their life a secret, lived with a lot of fear, and told lies to keep the peace. 

Your anger and disappointment at their lying is understandable. But I have to say that your reaction to it tells me that both your daughters were choosing to lie for a reason: they wanted to find some way to explore their truths and live their lives without becoming homeless. Lying was their way of finding some safety in an environment where they didn't feel safe to be themselves. At 18, for example, Sarah watched you kick her sister out of the house. Perhaps in your ideal world that would have guaranteed she remain sexually inactive and completely honest, but people rarely respond to attempts at control that neatly. She followed in her sister's footsteps for as long as she could. 

I don't think there was anything "disrespectful" in Sarah's choice to leave. You gave her two stark options, and she was not comfortable talking to you. And, really, why would she be? What precedent did she have to trust that you would be understanding rather than punitive? These are questions I'd try to explore with some humility today. The hard path she'd been lying to avoid—carving out a life where she could set her own rules and live without fear of punishment—became in that moment the easier path.

Deep in your heart, do you feel you made the right choice in kicking them both out? Do you feel you were maybe harsh, cruel, and/or that your rules were maybe unrealistic? If so, I think you could share that with them, along with an apology and letting them know (if this is true) that you miss them, accept them in whatever choices they're now making as adults, and would love to find a way back into their lives. 

How they react to that—and this, I suspect, is going to be the hardest part for you—is their choice, not yours.  

Read this again and again if you need to. So, so true.

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If these daughters were such "adults" could they not have said, "sorry, I didn't realize blah blah blah, here's what I'll do next time instead." (or whatever the situation is)?  

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25 minutes ago, waffle said:

If these daughters were such "adults" could they not have said, "sorry, I didn't realize blah blah blah, here's what I'll do next time instead." (or whatever the situation is)?

That is a very tall order when the gun of homelessness is being pointed at you by your parent, especially once you know that your parent is trigger happy.

Given that that gun, in some form, existed all through their childhood, one would expect some repercussions in adulthood, like a struggle to confront the moment in the manner you laid out. 

You are, in essence, asking why two 20-year-olds could not be more grounded and mature than the person who raised them. 

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My experience has been that when one party can de-escalate, by apologizing for breaking the house rules, for example, when you're in the wrong and you know it, it usually (I'd go so far as to say never) doesn't get to the point of being tossed out.

Honestly, I'd be livid as a parent.  But then I've also had the state police show up on my doorstep to tell me "your daughter has been murdered." So yeah, we can sit here and giggle to ourselves that these young ladies are being adults by sleeping with whoever and lying about it and telling Dad to suck it up and "be an adult" for having rules and enforcing them, but if the rule is the parent(s) wants to know where you are and who you're with, darn straight you better not lie about that info and if you do, make it right as a young person because the ball is in your court where that's concerned.

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I don’t think anyone is giggling, but kicking kids out of the house is drastic. Doesn’t sound like dad apologizes for much . Even as parents we should do that. I would never throw my son out ( he is disabled) and I have apologized as a parent . No parent is perfect . I will agree they should have said where they were but the parents’ don’t seem to inspire that atmosphere. My husband’s parents were like that and my husband was every parents dream child. He was still hammered and his dad was never wrong. He grew up with severe confidence and self esteem issues that still plague him at 53. 
 

At 21 I went out until 4 AM and crawled home . My mom was waiting in my bed for me. She had a really choice screaming fit but she didn’t throw me out. 

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3 minutes ago, waffle said:

Honestly, I'd be livid as a parent.  But then I've also had the state police come to my house to tell me "your daughter has been murdered."

I'm so, so very sorry for this.

4 minutes ago, waffle said:

My experience has been that when one party can de-escalate, by apologizing for breaking the house rules, for example, when you're on the wrong and you know it, it usually (I'd go so far as to say never) doesn't get to the point of being tossed out.

I agree with this, at least as the goal to conflict resolution between humans. But it's hard for me to see the cruel, dismissive, and judgmental way OP phrased things two years after the fact ("most likely having sex with some guy") and not imagine what it must have been like for this daughters as they explored something deeply human and, ultimately, essential to humanity.

22 minutes ago, waffle said:

So yeah, if the rule is no lying about where you are and who you're with, darn straight you better  not lie about that info.

But this wasn't the rule, as OP stated it. The rule was that his daughters remain virginal and sexually inactive so long as they lived in the house. So I can't really imagine a scenario in which a 20-year-old woman who spent her girlhood being told that no sex is allowed, and who dealt with every moment of sexual curiosity with feeling torn from her parent, could in good faith believe that calmly apologizing for breaking a house rule—"Sorry, dad, I lied to you tonight in order to have sex"—would result in deescalation but rather the opposite. 

This is from OP: 

18 hours ago, FatherLearning said:

So, yes, that night I took her house and car keys and kicked her out. I admit anger may have been blurring our judgment here. I remember her crying, but we were so angry we closed the door on her.

I honestly, truly expected her to come home the next day.

While he admits anger "may" have blurred judgement, he kicked his daughter clear out of the house, closed the door on her while she was crowing, and "truly expected" her to come home the next day. To which I ask: Home to what

 

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31 minutes ago, bluecastle said:

While he admits anger "may" have blurred judgement, he kicked his daughter clear out of the house, closed the door on her while she was crowing, and "truly expected" her to come home the next day. To which I ask: Home to what

Back to same overly punitive environment that was intolerable enough for the second daughter, too?

How has losing access to these sisters impacted the other kids in the family, and can you see how this has harmed them, too?

When control is more important than preserving a relationship, it makes no sense to 'expect' another to want to preserve the relationship.

After losing daughter 1, why expect different results with daughter 2 without changing your strong-arm approach?

You doubled-down instead, so I hope you can see now the error in that and offer your daughters a complete 180 change in your apology and expressing your love for them. Maybe they can forgive you, but none of us can know that.

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I can actually understand how the daughters would have felt because my parents were overprotective and controlling too. Though actually not to the same extent because they didn't actually say I couldn't date or kick me out, but they tried to control what I was doing. When I was 18, I had a boyfriend and they'd say I couldn't stay at his house. He actually lived with his parents too but they didn't have a problem with me being there. My parents would say I could go and visit him, but I couldn't stay the night. Which in a way didn't make sense because whatever they were worried I'd do at night, I could do in the day as well lol Being controlled usually has the opposite effect where the person really wants to rebel. So what I'd do is I'd put my overnight  backpack on and I'd simply just walk out the door.

Also my parents would do things like if I was going on a date with a guy, they'd say: "OK we're going to drive you there and meet this guy". This was when I was 18 + as well. I didn't actually need a lift from them or anything. I had a cell phone so they could contact me anytime.

One time they grounded me because I went to a night club. I was also over 18 because you have to be 18 to actually get in the club. So next time I went to clubs or bars, I actually just didn't tell them. I just lied and said I was at a friend's place. And I didn't tell them if I was going on a date with a guy.

I'm not sure what you organised about your daughter's car getting fixed, but it sounds from your post like you and your wife just turned up to your daughter's work unexpectedly. Even that in itself is overbearing in my opinion. When I was 20 I wouldn't want my parents just to come to my work without any notice.

You have to understand that when your child is actually a young adult, they crave their independence. And really that's normal. They want to live their own life and have relationships just like older adults do, because, why wouldn't they? If you get worried about your kids then you should try to create trust so that they actually feel comfortable to tell you about their life and what they're doing. 

When you're faced with negative reactions, obviously the gut instinct is to avoid those reactions. For example, my parents were also racist (my Dad still is) and if I went out with a black or Asian guy, they'd say I can't date him. Or one time I introduced my Mum to a guy and she was like: "Well he seems nice and he's cute but I think he's not for you. He's a labourer and not studying at university or anything." So basically because of these kinds of comments I would stop trusting my parents to tell them what I'm doing and just do it in secret.

 

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Interesting how people are so different. Ok I am a guy but my parents were always like sex and relationships are normal even from a young age (using protection of course), the opposite is abnormal. I find it so absurd that someone would kick his kids out because of this. Maybe the OP is religious or something, not that this would extenuate his actions. 

Different strokes for different folks. 

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On 7/18/2022 at 7:52 PM, FatherLearning said:

One day, she went to work and while there, her stepmom and I went there to take her car to get minor repairs done and return it back before her shift ended. We always intended her to call her at work and tell her what we were doing, but the car wasn't there.

We called Amanda. She didn't answer. We called her job. They said Amanda didn't have work that day and they hadn't seen her all day.

My daughter was obviously lying. We agreed we'd wait when she came home that night to see what she'd say. She did at 1 a.m. and she lied that she had been at work all day.

Honestly, it pissed both of us off, me even more. We were trying to fix her car (really, the car we bought for her) and she was lying straight to our faces, most likely having sex with some guy. (It is a house rule of ours that we don't want our children being sexually active while living at our house.)

First off, she is 21. An adult and if she's dating, she does have that right. The kids realize you don't want it done 'under your roof', so they'll find another way around it!

Second, did you guys inform her you were coming to pick it up to get something fixed that day?  If not, then she was not aware of anything ( that's on you).

By reading this, it sounds like you & the wife just decided to pop by & grab the car- so no warning?

Think about all of this....

What were YOU up to by that age?  Can't tell me you were not sexually active by your 20's. ( sex by that age is normal!  Parents cannot stop this stuff from happening).

My parents raised 6 of us and I was the oldest.  Yes, we all had secrets, ( drinking, sneeking out and bf's), of course. And no, it never came down to them kicking us out, we left on our own... threats or acts like this don't do anything 😕 .

Also, for what reason are you going through her things? ( laptop?). That is HER personal belongings- so lack of respect there.  You as parents need to learn more respect with your kids.  Is not like she is a troubled 13 yr old.  She is a grown woman.

So, learn from this, to back off & respect your kids a little more. 

Fine, if something was actually arranged that day for p/u of the car, but if it wasn't, then let it go.

 

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 . . I can't imagine

I understand if you have young adults living under your roof, you're entitled to have rules.  But the rules need to reflect the ages of these young adults.  Respect goes both ways.  You can't treat them as if they are 12 and expect them stay in line and want to stick around.  Have you asked yourself exactly why you felt your adult children lied to you about their whereabouts? 

There was never any proof of having sex, only an assumption.  They were kicked out over an assumption.  Not to mention that young adults will want to have sex.  It's a perfectly natural course of life. You should be concerned if they didn't.

They will ultimately move out and away.  You could have facilitated that in way that honors and respects them, but instead they left under duress.  Not sure why you are surprised that after you kicked them out, they have now distanced themselves.  Apparently, you hadn't thought this through.

The whole scene about showing up at the daughters work and taking her car for repairs seems very much like a helicopter parent.   When I was 17 and bought my first car, my dad taught me how to change a tire and schooled me on scheduled maintenance, etc.   I took my own car in for oil changes.  I can't imagine at 20, my parents running off with my car while I was at work without my knowledge.    Do you not trust that she can think for herself? And if she can't, why exactly is that?

As a parent, if we've done our job well, they will want to move out and be independent. Your adult children were doing what's natural, making choices for themselves.  Unfortunately, in the end your kids just wanted to be away from you.  I think you still have more children at home?  I get you are second guessing yourself here.  I hope you handle things differently with the rest.

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Obsessing over your adult daughter's sexuality is pretty ****in' weird.  It's not like they're bringing strange dudes over.  It's literally zero effort to simply not ask or wonder, and that 100% would be just that.  How instead your mind wanders into what the bits inside their pants are up to is very thankfully beyond me.  

Frankly, I don't know what dimension we'd have to exist in where them strategically lying to you wouldn't objectively be the smarter decision for their parts.  

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