College age daughter living at home


#1

I'm at the end of my rope, and would appreciate your thoughts and helpful input. :)

Our oldest dd (age 21) has moved home after being away at college out of town for the past 2 years. She now attends college here in town, works two jobs, has her own car and pays for most of her own expenses. Basically my husband and I only provide her with food and a place to live until she finishes school. She has been very responsible in following house rules, and is very helpful especially with her younger siblings, getting them to school, activities, running errands etc. whenever she can. So what's the problem?

It's not with her Dad and I, but with her relationship with her younger siblings. They are dd(20), dd(18), ds(16), ds(13), and dd(9). I see at times that the oldest tends to be bossy to the others, but she has always been that way, and she's trying very hard to change this behavior. However, the younger sibs (not really the 9-yo though) seem to be on a mission to oust her from the house by saying cruel things to her and making her feel generally unwelcome in our own home. It's one thing to deal with sibling rivalry when they're young children, but it's difficult to deal with such animosity when they get to be this age! When they are bigger, their fights get bigger. We've had family meetings over this which settles things for a while, but it doesn't take much to start another flareup.

I just feel so sad that they can't seem to get along and say such hurtful things to each other. :( Has anyone had a similar situation? How did you deal with it?


#2

Has anyone had a similar situation? How did you deal with it?

yes i have.

our younger kids tend to be very jealous of the freedom of a responsible older sibling at home. and it reads like your oldest is a pretty good young adult at home.

but you need to sit her down and tell her SHE's doing good, but her freedom and station are provocative to the youngers. remind her it's not her fault, in fact, she's earned good things BUT her siblings are incensed. so tell her the adult responsible thing is to NOT react to their provocations. when she's feeling frustrated by their behavior, she should tell you. when an older complains to me i ask, "tell me why THIS is your limit. what's the best way to proceed from here?" if older react badly to the sibs' provocations, i gently remind him/her the sibs got the payoff they intended.

my older at-home kids know-- so long as they're treating the younger sibs with respect and dignity, i will back them up. the younger kids know this and may try to get the olders to blow a gasket. the olders need to be as wise as possible. and i need to be careful to NOT put older in charge of resentful youngers as much as possible. let her do other errands and chores instead. you lived without her driving and sib-interaction for 2 years. try not to overdo it now.

this all will not make the situation disappear, but it can help reduce the reactiveness.


#3

[quote="monicatholic, post:2, topic:244388"]
yes i have.

our younger kids tend to be very jealous of the freedom of a responsible older sibling at home. and it reads like your oldest is a pretty good young adult at home.

but you need to sit her down and tell her SHE's doing good, but her freedom and station are provocative to the youngers. remind her it's not her fault, in fact, she's earned good things BUT her siblings are incensed. so tell her the adult responsible thing is to NOT react to their provocations. when she's feeling frustrated by their behavior, she should tell you. when an older complains to me i ask, "tell me why THIS is your limit. what's the best way to proceed from here?" if older react badly to the sibs' provocations, i gently remind him/her the sibs got the payoff they intended.

my older at-home kids know-- so long as they're treating the younger sibs with respect and dignity, i will back them up. the younger kids know this and may try to get the olders

to blow a gasket. the olders need to be as wise as possible. and i need to be careful to NOT put older in charge of resentful youngers as much as possible. let her do other errands and chores instead. you lived without her driving and sib-interaction for 2 years. try not to overdo it now.

this all will not make the situation disappear, but it can help reduce the reactiveness.

[/quote]

Very wise advice, indeed.


#4

[quote="monicatholic, post:2, topic:244388"]
yes i have.

our younger kids tend to be very jealous of the freedom of a responsible older sibling at home. and it reads like your oldest is a pretty good young adult at home.

but you need to sit her down and tell her SHE's doing good, but her freedom and station are provocative to the youngers. remind her it's not her fault, in fact, she's earned good things BUT her siblings are incensed. so tell her the adult responsible thing is to NOT react to their provocations. when she's feeling frustrated by their behavior, she should tell you. when an older complains to me i ask, "tell me why THIS is your limit. what's the best way to proceed from here?" if older react badly to the sibs' provocations, i gently remind him/her the sibs got the payoff they intended.

my older at-home kids know-- so long as they're treating the younger sibs with respect and dignity, i will back them up. the younger kids know this and may try to get the olders to blow a gasket. the olders need to be as wise as possible. and i need to be careful to NOT put older in charge of resentful youngers as much as possible. let her do other errands and chores instead. you lived without her driving and sib-interaction for 2 years. try not to overdo it now.

this all will not make the situation disappear, but it can help reduce the reactiveness.

[/quote]

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and encouraging words - this helps alot!

I suppose the situation will alleviate too when the 18-yo leaves for college for the first time this fall, and the 20-yo returns to her college as well. Most of the animosity occurs between the three oldest dds, but the boys sometimes get drawn into it as well. I realize that they all really love each other, just don't necessarily LIKE each other. It just makes for a great deal of tension around here when they're all home and gives their Dad and I more gray hairs. This too shall pass...

I just want all of our children to feel that home is a place they can always feel welcome and wanted by all members of the family.

Again, thank you for responding. It sure helps to get someone else's perspective. :)


#5

I don't really allow my kids to be mean or insulting to each other very much. A little is understandable, but generally I tell them they have a moral obligation to treat each other nicely.

Nobody is perfect, nasty things happen, sometimes horrible things get said to each other . . . this is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate (enforce if need be) forgiveness.

This is also a good opportunity to teach the importance of having a loving heart. We teach our kids intellectually and encourage sports, but it's equally important to instruct them on their hearts. (God/Jesus as the perfect role model.)


#6

It sounds like you have an over crowded nest with two or three of the little birdies that need to be out on their own.


closed #7

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