Should I Tell My Daughter She’s Cut Off at 18 Now or Wait?

Dear Penny,

I’ve decided to basically cut off my daughter once she’s finished high school, which will be just over five months from now. She didn’t do anything wrong. I’m not eager to be rid of her, and I could easily continue to provide her basic needs, but I won’t.

I myself lived with my parents into my 20s, but I feel like this did me no favors. I’ve come to believe in “sink or swim” and “hard knock” life philosophies. So please don’t argue about this decision.

My only question is when and how to deliver this news to my daughter. I don’t want to ruin her birthday or the rest of her senior year, so I may wait until after graduation to tell her she’s on her own.

I’ve been trying to instill frugality, budgeting and saving, but my daughter doesn’t yet know how important that will soon be for her. If she knew now, she might be better prepared, but I can see how the stress from this might actually be detrimental overall.

My daughter and I have a tender, loving relationship, and I’m sure she will be surprised to find out she’s being turned away. Or maybe she will surprise me and fly the nest without being pushed. She actually told me months ago that I shouldn’t pay for college; that is actually what got me started down this road.

I hope to still have a relationship with her after this, but I will understand if she doesn’t speak to me for a while. Should I continue to gently lead my daughter toward independence without letting on that it will be forced? Or do I Need to inform her now that she will be on her own come summer? Again, my decision is firm in that regard, so please don’t argue there.


Dear B.,

I think your daughter could reasonably conclude that she’ll be able to transition into adulthood, as is the norm today. You yourself only decided to send her to the School of Hard Knocks months ago. not argue against a terribly thought-out plan.

But if you’re really, REALLY determined to give your daughter the…

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