I am asking this question on behalf of my friend, who has an 18 year old daughter. She has always been talking to me about her daughter, and whenever she talks about her, she cries.

The girl was like this since an early age, and now she has gotten out of hand. She talks most of the day to her friends on their cell phones, and whenever my friend tries to stop her, she gets full of rage and refuses. Even I have tried to talk to her many times, but her behaviour is not good at all.

She is never good to the guests, and is constantly involved in either chatting or phone calls. She never respects her parents at all, and is always ready to fight with them. She has isolated herself in a small room, chatting or talking, and closes the door so that no one can come in. Sometimes she behaves well, but the next day, the situation gets worse.

What should I advise my friend regarding her daughter, and how to deal with her?


3 Answers 3


This sounds very normal for an 18 year old.

She is at an age where she wants to be respected as her own human being and to make her own choices such as when to hang out with her friends and when to hang out with her parents guests.

Shes just trying to distance herself from her parents and be an individual. That does not make rudeness OK, but it is kind of a right of passage. Its also why the traditional age (at least in western culture) to move out is about 18.

You mention a lot about how you have all talked to her but you don't say what you've talked to her about or how you have approached her.

Have you met her on neutral ground and asked her how shes feeling and whats going on in her life?

OR have you sat her down, making this into a big discussion about the big problem, and asked her why her attitude is so crummy and how does she think her parents feel when she would rather talk to her friends than her parents guests?


As the girl is now 18 which in many countries is considered adulthood, treat her as an adult, let her have her space and freedom and don't be controlling. The foundations of a situation like this were laid way before now and short of the mother and daughter electing jointly to go to couple counselling or interpersonal relationship guidance, little can be done.

You could suggest that daughter explain how she feels in a safe non-judgemental environment and the mother do the same and that they share their feelings with openness and acceptance and endeavour to come to a common understanding.


You didn't mention who is paying the bills. Does the daughter have a job and she pays for her own cell phone or land line?

If she were my daughter, I would sit her down and tell her that I have noticed that when she spends a lot of time isolated and talking to her friends, she becomes very disrespectful and has a bad attitude. Therefore, I suspect that the time she spends on the phone may be the cause of her unacceptable behavior.

Therefore, because the privilege of having a phone always at her disposal is causing her to become rude, disrespectful and obviously not a happy person, mom is going to need to take it away until she is able to handle having a phone without letting it lead her into bad behavior.

By "blaming" the phone availability for her bad attitude, you shift from "you are a bad person" to "you are being corrupted by a bad thing". I think it's important to keep the focus on behavior rather than character. It also forces her to prove you wrong, namely, she must prove that she can have a good attitude even while being on the phone.

We had to do exactly this when my twelve year old son started having a bad attitude while spending a lot of time on the computer with his friends. It has been about a year since we instituted a "bad attitude = no computer" policy and it has been what I would consider a 90% cure for his attitude. He still has lapses but he is much more civil and all it takes is a reminder and his bad attitude gets mended pronto.

It is unfortunate that this has been let go so long. An eighteen year old is almost an adult, at least in theory. There's a big difference between restricting privilege for a twelve year old, who is completely dependent on you, and an eighteen year old who has more experience using leverage of her own and who probably knows how to push her mom's buttons.

If the daughter is using a land line, it's obviously a lot harder to restrict her than if she had a cell phone that you could simply stop making payments on, or restrict in other ways. One way would be to set up a "white list", which would mean you could control who is allowed to call you. That wouldn't stop her from calling out, of course.

Another option is to get rid of the land line altogether and rely entirely on cell phones. A bit more expensive (unless you already have cell phones, which most people do these days). I have never looked into it but I imagine you could also have certain numbers restricted through your carrier (white listing or black listing).

However she does it, your friend needs to understand that it is going to get a lot harder before it gets easier, and she may not be successful in altering the behavior of a person who is legally an adult. The fact that this adult is living in her home, probably without paying rent, gives her some leverage but she needs to think carefully before trying to move anything with that lever.

Don't ever bluff with your kids. Don't threaten something unless you are prepared to follow through with that threat. Eventually they will call that bluff and then you either have to follow through or be proved a liar. Once they know you are only bluffing all your leverage flies out the window.

Now, all that having been said, not enough was said for me to guess whether it is the phone access that is the bulk of the problem (as it was with my son) or if there is a bigger problem between the girl and her family. If they can afford it, I don't think counseling is ever the wrong answer. Any relationship, be it parent-child or husband-wife, can gain benefit from a trained professional who knows how to spot patterns of behavior and what to do about them.

  • There is a lot of difference between a 12-year-old and an 18-year-old. She is (in most countries?) legally an adult and should be treated as such. Threatening to cut the phone line (or doing so) would most likely lead to more arguing and the daughter moving out.
    – Libranova
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 10:03
  • I completely agree. Treat her like an adult. If there was an adult person living in my house, being given free food and shelter and clothing and all the other things that adults normally have to pay for themselves, and that adult person not only was ungrateful for what they were being given, they also treated me and my guests disrespectfully, I'd expect them to move out. Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 23:14

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