I would recommend giving her time to process the decision while not living with you because she needs time to learn to be an adult, but I also recommend reaching out a lot to spend time in casual ways and let her know that you care about her, you are just not going to manipulated on this one issue. She may reject those efforts for a while, but then realize as she matures that her attitude is not good. it may take a few years but she'll come back around.
my story, which is a bit different, is that my folks divorced at 4, my dad remarried at 10, and my dad had always encouraged me to go to college, whatever college i wanted, and he'd pay for it. I ended up picking a state school in his home town so i could spend more time with him (had lived 500 miles away for 14 years). well, when it came time to pay the college bills, my step-mother stepped in and refused to pay for much of anything. and, she insisted on a budget and seeing all of my scholarships and work intentions and savings.
based on my scholarships and how much she decided i should work, she decided that they would give me $1,500 a year. that's it. $6,000 total for college over 4 years. At the time, i hated her and could not believe she'd step in and override my father's promise to me. i worked a ton in college and i believed that it was necessary and that it made my grades lower than they should have been, but she thought i worked by choice so i could have nice things and spring breaks.
anyway, over time, i realized that my dad was not very filled with resolve to have difficult conversations and had turned the money over to her to handle because he was not good with it. and i realized that i would do exactly the same thing with my own children; i'd want to analyze the costs of tuition and living and know how much they planned to work and work through a budget before writing blind checks.
It took some time, but i came to see her point of view. it would have been nice if my dad would have backed her up and they could have presented a united front, which i would have accepted their decision more quickly. Not that i always agreed with her, like later in life when she gave her 29 year old daughter full tuition to go to school a second time after dropped and failed classes, while i was in grad school at the same age with no help/all loans. I don't think they even sent $50 for a birthday during that time.
hopefully what your step-daughter will come to realize (and you can tell her and it will tick her off now but ring in her head) is that the nice thing about doing things on your own, or mostly on your own, however, is that you make your own choices, choose your own major, and run your own life. she and my dad tried to dissuade me from doing a semester in Europe for instance, or moving to NY or to ski towns after college. Since there were no financial strings and i was paying for it myself, i could say, thanks for your input, but my life, my money, so my decision!
My stepdaughter has lived with us primarily since she was 2 and now she is 18 and graduated. She was the easiest kid to raise until now, "I'm an adult". She is completely refusing to speak with us and moved back in with her mother since we made the decision to not pay for a very high priced college she and her mother chose. We were clear from the get go that if they did this then our daughter would have to get a loan for the amount above and beyond what we are helping with. We have financially supported her her entire life, health insurance, medical bills, braces, car insurance, providing a car etc etc. I am a high level professional and with no children of my own I was able to provide a very comfortable life. Her mother has had 4 children by 4 different men, divorced 3 times and works only part time. I really feel that she has taught our daughter to hold us emotional hostage if we don't pay for college. I am so hurt, angry, depressed, upset. My husband is a wreck. I would love any feedback, ideas. I think at this point her not living with us is actually good because I am too angry to see her on a daily basis now.
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