Is it wrong of me to ask my daughter to pay us back for senior year if she doesn't graduate?

I’m a mother of 17-year-old twin girls. When I was married to my ex-husband (not their father), he was abusive in every way possible, wouldn’t hold a job. It took me a long time to get away from him. During the time with him, we moved a lot, the kids changed schools etc, because I was the only one contributing to the household income, and I couldn’t do it all on just my income. During this time, my girls were strong; they helped me a lot, were honor students, all of that. This was their middle school years, 6th-8th grade. They started high school, we moved once more, out of district. Their school allowed them to stay, since they only had 2 years of school left, and gave them special permission. The youngest of the twins was showing signs of depression. I sought therapy for her. She sees a psychiatrist, has medication and sees a therapist. When the pandemic started and the kids went virtual, both of the girl’s grades started to drop. The oldest of the twins has since gotten herself together. She dropped AP classes and is focusing on her grade level graduation requirement. The youngest of the twins just doesn’t seem to care. They’re in talks of revoking her special permission, with 5 months left until graduation. No matter what I do or say, she just doesn’t seem to care. We have had meetings with the school, counselors, teachers. The school even tried an intervention for her where they sat me, her, the principal and all of her teachers down together. She has been told a dozen times by a dozen people that graduation is in jeopardy. She has a support system. Her grandparents on my side, her dads side and both step-parents are involved. As are her aunts and uncles, both parents and step-parents. So, am I an assho!e mom for telling her that if she doesn’t graduate, she has to pay her parents back for the money that we have shelled out for senior year? At this point, we have spent (for both girls) $800 for senior pictures, $200 on yearbooks, $120 cap & gown, $250 on class rings. Her step-dad and I spent $2000 on the rental for senior week. I want my kids to experience and enjoy everything possible during their very unusual senior year and keep it as normal as we possibly can for them. She was diagnosed with depression, social anxiety, OCD, and ADHD, but we are actively treating those issues. And she has no issue getting up and going to work, no issue doing what SHE wants to do.


If shes that depressed she wont care if you tell her she has to pay for senior year. Does her therapist ever say why shes so depressed? Maybe switch therapists. Is there anyone she really respect and confides in? Sounds like there is something else going on that you dont know about. What does her twin think is happening?

She is struggling mentally, she didn’t actually chose this. Covid screwed everyone. Don’t cause her more issues.


It is absolutely wrong. While kudos to you for being an active participant in your child’s life you have not walked a mile in her shoes. You listed a laundry list of very serious issues that she is dealing with right now and yet you’re more concerned with the cost of senior activities than you are for why your child may not graduate. You talk about all these people that are supports in her life like because she has them she shouldn’t be struggling but clearly you don’t know what its like to feel alone in a crowded room. Be her mom, not her landlord.


When kids change suddenly and drastically there could be drugs involved.
ALSO…a friend’s daughter went from honor student to not going to school. Parents went off to work & she would go back home. The school called the mother after the girl was absent for almost a month to see if she was okay.

When they confronted her, they found out she had been raped at a party and she didn’t want to face any of her friends in school that were also at the party.

So please know it could be many different things. .


Seems to me that something at work is filling her “need hole” inside of her that home and school aren’t. Like the way she is treated or the way the people are. This could be a good or bad thing. In my case, it was a very bad thing. When I did those things to my mother… she didn’t punish me financially. She had to trust me, offer advice, and pray I didn’t fall too hard. Shes about to be a “adult” in her head. You’re losing control and she’s happy about it because she seems angry and uninterested in anything but what makes the pain better (or worse sometimes. Depression is weird.) So, yea idk if taking money will make a difference to her. Itll just make YOU more of the enemy and whomever is filling her with what she currently wants at work (good or bad attention) they will be even more of a hero. Right now is when my mother treaded very carefully on how she tried to force things on me as I was pushing away HARD.

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You are wrong to want any money from her for the senior year.

My opinion is if she’s not going to go to school she needs to get a job. Do not make her pay back any money, but you can start charging her room & board and demand she get a job if she’s not going to school nor even trying.
Also, Get her a different councilor. The one she has doesn’t seem to be doing the job. Get her on antidepressants too!


Considering it’s clear you fully understand that your daughter is struggling with mental health issues the fact that you even are contemplating making her life more difficult by possibly asking her to pay you back just baffles me. You’re daughters have had almost no stability in their lives, depression and anxiety don’t just go away with the flick of a switch. It runs so much deeper than that. She’s been a twin her whole life and probably compared more often than she would like to her twin and that is unfair. She’s very much her own person with her own strength and weaknesses. Work is likely the one area she feels completely in control of herself. At this point if she’s struggling so much she should be seeing a psychiatrist and a counselor specialized in dealing with teens with depression and anxiety. You need to be made fully knowledgeable on of your daughters diagnosis and what that means exactly. I don’t say this lightly, I say this as a mother whose daughter struggled with depression and anxiety that resulted in a suicide attempt. Don’t make things any harder than necessary. Your the parent who was providing her with the senior experience don’t make her regret accepting these experiences from you.


I wouldn’t. If she is already struggling with mental issues, this will just add to her list of what to stress about. Instead encourage them about how far they’ve come and how much a diploma is worth the hard work. Let them make the decision to work hard for it, without having to stress about money. Just remind them that you love them and that it’s harder to go back to school, Than just doing it the first time. Try giving them a reward they will look forward to, if they do graduate. Like some cash, or a cool gift that will make it worth it…


Depression is debilitating at times, i advice that you stay focus on getting her help, Depression takes time to manage, perhaps talking to her doctor regarding the best possible next steps…Having her pay you back for her graduation isnt going to address the real issue at hand.

She seems to be struggling. All of you have been through a lot but not everyone can “get it together” as quickly as people around us. It would be horrible to punish someone for having a hard time struggling. Maybe she won’t graduate, and that’s something the she will have to come to grips with and reconcile when she is able and willing too. I don’t think telling your child to pay you back for anything is ok unless they are an adult and has asked to borrow money. I pray she gets the healing she needs and the desire to do better and I pray you all find a way to continue to help her, and are able to create some healthy boundaries.


Once I started working in high school I focused more on that than school and my grades dropped and I barely graduated but I did. I did all my work at the last minute just to get enough of a gpa to graduate, but I did it. If she hasn’t talked of dropping out maybe trust her she will do what needs done to get that diploma. Maybe it’s not ideal and you want her to graduate with a good gpa and all that but at this point she’s going to do what she wants to do. Put some faith in her that she will do what it takes to graduate, even if it’s the bare minimum. I still got into college and that high school job is what taught me work ethic. :woman_shrugging:t2: it is what it is, she will be fine. Parents always want the best but school is not everything.

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I wouldn’t have her pay you back, in fact I would get her a tutor and invest more to have her graduate.
The virtual learning may actually be a issue for her especially with attention issues. She may truly require extra 1:1 help.


Why would you ask her to pay you back? First thing she you should be asking her to do is quit her job. You said she has no problem going to work well obviously she needs to focus on school tf?

Maybe this comes from me being a child like that, or the fact that I am a mother now…but do not compare your children. Twins or not. Also you need to realize that something from years ago can affect kids. Having her repay you may make her despise you and make matters worse. Maybe she needs some 1 on 1 time with you, and you not talking about her failing. Build her up. Ask her how you can help, show her you love her. That can make a difference.

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I think you should consider switching her to home studies which is completely different from distance/virtual learning, it may help her get through her senior year successful. I have a sophomore who was mental health issues and is struggling to stay afloat during distance learning. I may be switching him over next year to play catch-up. I also do not think you should have her pay you back for anything, maybe just do the necessary things until things start improving.

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she obviously has mental issues that you are addressing, but at the same time it sounds like you re feeling betrayed because of all the sacrifices you have made more pressure on her wont help

You’re so wrong, you don’t even realise you’re making the situation worse. You know her issues but don’t understand them. To be fair, there’s no way you can. You’re adding an extra layer of pressure onto someone who is struggling to cope as it is.

Yes it is very wrong and very unfair to your daughter seems like she is struggling enough. Support her dont make things worse. You are probably the reason why shes being like this especially when you think it’s okay to ask your own daughter for money back for things like school pictures! That’s something a scruff would do


She’s feeling this way because as much as you were there for her she couldn’t handle the years of disfunction. She doesn’t have the head to think about how she’ll pay you back. Thats not the most important thing going on in her brain. From experience Depression is exhausting and hopefully she’ll find her way out of it. Just love her as much as you can without the added pressure. Good luck!!