Ask Rene: How Can We Get Our Daughter Back?

Teenage girl rolling her eyes in front of angry parents

Ask Rene:
How Can We Get Our Daughter Back?



Hi Rene,

Wow, I remember when you were local here in Dallas! Good to know you’ve done so well. I’m sure you must tire of these mother/daughter/boyfriend questions but I have one. My daughter, who was actually a very well behaved, responsible, senior in high school, of course, has a boyfriend, who is 20; no ambition, lives with parents, works part time, loser guy. She turned 18 one month ago and the next day WITH NO WARNING of this coming, moved out of our home. She has been accepted to three different universities, is still working and has been keeping her grades up… but I am so worried and concerned for her future. Even more confusing is this; do we help her with college if she actually goes? We did not let her take her car and hardly any clothes. We turned off her phone. Do we sell her car? Do we help her at all? She clearly believes she can handle all this alone, she says her plans are still in place. I’m so confused about what my new role should consist of? Please HELP.

 Desperate in Dallas


Hi Desperate:

Hey thanks for the nice words; it’s always great to hear from folks back home and yeah, I consider Dallas to be that. And I see home is the theme here in your letter. You’re right about this much, I do get a lot of these letters, more than I ever thought I would. Having said this, please understand they never get old nor do I get tired of answering them because I know there are real people with real problems on the other end. So, let’s dive right into this one shall we? Here are the things I’m thinking and what I would do if I were you.

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Creative Commons/Tim Easley

Creative Commons/Tim Easley

I know, I know.. I always start with this but it’s because it’s the most crucial step. A lot of times there are misunderstandings or miscommunications that can be cleared up simply by asking questions. The problem is that you have to be prepared to hear answers you might not like. Are you ready to hear your daughter say she’s moving out because she’s tired of how controlling you’ve been (which may or may not be the truth)? Or worse yet, that she just doesn’t like you? Get ready.

Read more:  Good Enough Mother: How I Hit The Brink – And Found My Way Back!

Creative Commons/a.d.miller

Creative Commons/a.d.miller

These next steps are not going to be easy, no matter what happens. If she decides to stay out of your house, you are going to have to work on developing the next phase of your relationship. What that looks like is anyone’s guess, but I suspect it will involve you relating to her more on an adult level as opposed to mother-child.



Creative Commons/

Creative Commons/

Should you pay for her college? Well that’s totally up to you. If it were me, I wouldn’t. You said your daughter thinks she can do it all on her own, so let her! People do, you know. They take out loans and work part-time jobs and go to school. If you do decide to pay for her schooling, will there be strings attached to that money? I mean, if I were shelling out 40 grand a year I would expect some return on my investment. I would want to be able to see grades, to be able to talk to her about her choices and, of course, what she thinks of the future. I’m not sure how you do that with someone who is not living under your roof.

Read more:  Going Social: Disney Social Media Moms Day 2


And now two quick things: you say your daughter’s boyfriend is a loser? To you, he very well may be but he’s 20; how many of us had our acts totally together at that age? I know I didn’t. Perhaps your daughter sees something in him that you don’t, something she is willing to grow and nurture. I would suggest you stop harping on him because being negative is only pushing her closer to him. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

You want to get your daughter back? You can do that…  by letting her go. One of the great parenting paradoxes is that we work for 18 years to teach our kids to be strong enough to make their own decisions and then when they do that, we freak out a little. Your daughter’s future belongs to her. Period. You can be concerned, you can worry about it, but there’s actually very little you can or should do. She’s going to make mistakes and she will learn from them.. if you get out of her way and let her.
Trust that she’s smart, learned from the best (you) and will ultimately figure it out. Just like we all do.

Good luck, Mom!

Do you have a question for Rene? She has an answer. Click here and fire away. And don’t forget to follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

More from GEM:

Where In The World Is Good Enough Mother? Marfa, Texas, Baby!

Ask Rene: My Daughter’s Throwing Her Life Away With This LOSER!

Monday Morning Motivation: Make An Effort Or Make Excuses.. What’s It Gonna Be?

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Rene Syler is a wife, mother, breast cancer advocate and television personality whose burning desire to tell the truth about modern motherhood led her to create . When not spending time with her family or burning something for dinner, Rene travels the country as host of Sweet Retreats on The Live Well Network and Exhale on Aspire.

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