My daughter is almost twenty-two years old, but I don’t want her to go out with her friends nor her boyfriend, nor to stay out all night. I have gone to the extreme of threatening her and asking her to move out of my house, though I then wished I hadn’t. I don’t want to hurt her, but I don’t know why I feel such hatred when she says she’s going to a party and won’t be home that night. She is a very special young woman, and I love her a lot, but I don’t understand this horrible feeling that comes over me. I want to change, but I don’t know how.

Dear Friend,

We cannot be sure if the horrible feeling that you say you have is caused by anxiety for your daughter’s protection and safety, or by your disapproval of the activities that you believe she is participating in. It is also possible that you are afraid of being left alone at home overnight, or that you resent the fact that your daughter wants to be with her friends while leaving you alone. There are even more possibilities, but there is no way that we can know for sure what your thoughts and feelings are.

However, whatever you feel and think, you are ignoring the fact that your daughter is an adult. You admit that you threatened her and asked her to move out. This indicates that you have let your feelings dictate your behavior and that you have not exercised self-control in your interactions with her. We can imagine that you probably raised your voice, and that you possibly even came to tears in your attempt to control your daughter.

Since we have no way to know the circumstances, we will not comment on the advisability of your daughter’s activities. You ask for help for yourself, not her, and we believe that you are right to do so.

Any adult who lives in the home of her parents must follow the house rules. Those rules should concern the cleaning of the house, the cooking, the purchase of groceries and supplies, and rent that should be paid by any adult who is working. An adult who is a student might not be expected to pay rent, but should participate fully in the care of the household.

The parent has every right to give or to not give financial support to the adult child. If the son or daughter chooses a lifestyle that the parent does not condone, then the adult child may be asked to move out. However, an adult child should not be expected to ask for permission to go out, to travel, or to stay over with friends.

You are driving your daughter away by trying to control her. The more you try to restrain her, the more she resists. It could very well be better for her to live on her own in a place where you are not even aware of her daily activities.

However, if that is not possible, we suggest that you seek professional counseling. You need help with the process of letting go and adjusting to a new reality. You may have emotional needs that are not being fulfilled, and you may unreasonably expect your daughter to fill them.

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Is He your best friend? Have you asked Him to forgive your sins and give you a fresh start? Christ can give you the strength and wisdom that you need for every situation.

We wish you the best,