How lenient would you be? [long]

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Nell

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Jul 10, 2002, 1:49:38 PM7/10/02
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Okay, I need to know everyone's take on this. I know what I think but I
may be way off base, having seen my own son through his teenage years in
a different decade.

SD17 has become impossible to live with. She has been deceitful,
manipulative, contemptful and downright rude for a very long time now.
Probably about 8 months or so.

She doesn't talk to anyone, slips in and out of the house in stealth
mode, doesn't let anyone know where she is going, when she expects to
return, and until recently, whether she is going to be back for supper.

I finally put a chart on the inside front door asking her to fill out
her destination, estimate time of return and whether she'll be eating
here. She ignores the first two columns and has ticked NO to the third
for every day of every week for a while now.

She has a part-time job at her boyfriend's father's restaurant. We
suspect she eats there most of the time. She has failed two courses in
Grade 12 this year. Her average has slipped from an "A" to a "D".

When her TaiKwanDo team arranged a trip to Montreal's La Ronde
(amusement park), DH refused to sign the permission slip, telling her
that she had not earned this privilege. SD then asked the TKD people if
she could get her mother to sign it instead. They said that would be
okay so she telephoned BM (4000 miles away in B.C.) who then faxed the
signed form to TaiKwanDo people.

We found out about this quite by accident (when TKD phoned to ask for
SD's health card number). DH paid them a visit and told them how
unimpressed he was with their interference with his role as parent.

Needless to say, they were somewhat contrite and understood that she was
not to go.

However, on Saturday, the day of the trip, SD got up early to go,
anyway, on her own with her boyfriend.

DH heard her get up and asked her where she was going. No answer. He
approached the boyfriend who was waiting in the driveway as to where
they planned to go. He got no reply. SD came out of the house and
immediately began to berate her father, at the top of her lungs, calling
him every foul name in the book, most of them prefaced by the "f" word,
with lots of as*oles thrown in for good measure. I heard it through the
open window and it still makes me shake just to think about it.

I'm of the opinion that this behaviour has to have a consequence - and a
big one. I'm all for throwing her out since it's not just this one
incident that makes her unbearable to live with. DH is somewhat
reticent to throw her out since she is not yet 18 and I understand that,
to a point.

We have very little leverage since DH doesn't pay her an allowance
anymore and she thumbs her nose at any consequences he has tried to
impose - grounding, etc. The only thing I can think of is to confiscate
her belongings when she doesn't keep her room tidy (and it's a pig sty),
to generally make life unpleasant enough for her so that she'll want to
change, but, boy, I'm not hopeful.

So, my question is: how would you handle this? What would your reaction
be? How much abuse would you take in the name of 'parently an obviously
very unhappy teenager'. Is this normal behaviour? Are we stuck with
this until she grows up. The problem I see is that she is acting just
like her BM and it not likely to grow out of it at all.

Sidenote to this: SD does not want to live with her BM and would refuse
to get on a plane if she thought she had a one-way ticket. SD also
adamantly refuses to see a consellor.

Any perspective anyone can provide on this will be much appreciated.
The 'for better for worse' promise is starting to look like a prison.
I'm about to suggest to DH that I get me an apartment and we can date
until SD has grown up and gone.

Thanks for reading to the end.
Norma

Adrienne Dandy

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Jul 10, 2002, 2:31:47 PM7/10/02
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"Nell" <ne...@fritzy.ca> wrote in message news:3D2C73B2...@fritzy.ca...

> SD17 has become impossible to live with. She has been deceitful,
> manipulative, contemptful and downright rude for a very long time now.
> Probably about 8 months or so.
>
> She doesn't talk to anyone, slips in and out of the house in stealth
> mode, doesn't let anyone know where she is going, when she expects to
> return, and until recently, whether she is going to be back for supper.
>

Did she have issues with authority before 8 months ago? What else happened
in her life around the time this started? And what is her background, in
terms of how long she's lived with your DH, etc?


> I'm of the opinion that this behaviour has to have a consequence - and a
> big one. I'm all for throwing her out since it's not just this one
> incident that makes her unbearable to live with. DH is somewhat
> reticent to throw her out since she is not yet 18 and I understand that,
> to a point.
>
> We have very little leverage since DH doesn't pay her an allowance
> anymore and she thumbs her nose at any consequences he has tried to
> impose - grounding, etc. The only thing I can think of is to confiscate
> her belongings when she doesn't keep her room tidy (and it's a pig sty),
> to generally make life unpleasant enough for her so that she'll want to
> change, but, boy, I'm not hopeful.

How much leverage do you have with her employer? Does she require parental
permission to work where you are? Could you put pressure on her boss to fire
her, because obviously if her grades have sunk that badly, having a job is
not doing anything for her school.

How old is her BF, btw?

I don't think that making life unpleasant for her is going to help, quite
frankly. It's like with a smaller child... hitting a child in punishment for
hitting his brother really *doesn't* get the message across that it's ok to
hit, you know?

Ultimately, I think you need to figure out *why* she's acting that way.
There's a reason, and "she's just a b*tch" isn't it. But a solution is only
effective if it deals with the actual problem.. you can't treat for symptoms
when it comes to behaviour, IMO.

> So, my question is: how would you handle this? What would your reaction
> be? How much abuse would you take in the name of 'parently an obviously
> very unhappy teenager'. Is this normal behaviour? Are we stuck with
> this until she grows up. The problem I see is that she is acting just
> like her BM and it not likely to grow out of it at all.

Our situation isn't completely dissimilar, though it's in a very dormant
phase right now. She's pulled the screaming, the leaving without saying
where she'll be, the ignoring grounding, etc, etc. SD grew up bouncing
between her mom, dad, and grandma til she was 4ish and then lived with her
mother till she was ten. The rules were always different and she didn't
*have* any rules when she was with her mother. (In fact, she did most of the
"parenting" for her half-sister.) Now, at 16, she has a very difficult time
with the idea that there should *be* rules for her. I've talked to her about
this, and she freely admits that she feels that way.

She and her father have gotten into some real doozies of fights in the past
year or year and a half. He's somewhat authoritarian, and always has been
(which is like pouring oil on a fire when you have a kid who just doesn't
get that she should have to do what anyone else tells her to). We're working
on that. But like I said, it's started to get better now, because he
(prodded by me) is starting to deal with the underlying reasons for the
behaviour, not just the behaviour itself.

Adrienne


Tracey

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Jul 10, 2002, 3:41:08 PM7/10/02
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Short answers first, Norma, then longer comments at the
end.

>So, my question is: how would you handle this?

How would I handle your SD? A long time ago, actually.

>What would your reaction be?

My reaction would not be pretty.

>How much abuse would you take in the name of 'parently
>an obviously very unhappy teenager'.

None. No abuse whatsoever.

>Is this normal behaviour?

For some, it is. For others, it's totally abnormal.

>Are we stuck with this until she grows up.

Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on whether you can get to the
root of the problem and find effective ways to deal with
it.

>The problem I see is that she is acting just like her
>BM and it not likely to grow out of it at all.

That's highly possible, especially if her BM seems to get
what she wants by acting this way.

Long answer: I hope the short ones didn't come across as
flippant. You and Aileen seem to have a similar problem in
that your stepchildren are acting in ways that they have
been allowed to act for quite a while and now that they're
firmly entrenched in that behavior, you want it to stop.
Now. Unfortunately, after the behavior has become 'the norm'
for them, it's much, much more difficult to get the behavior
to change and it's basically impossible to get it to stop
without some pretty draconian measures.

I've been trying to think of suggestions for Aileen since
she first posted about her problem and I just can't seem
to come up with anything concrete to offer her that won't
violate a bunch of the 'rules' she (and her husband) have
seemed to make for themselves. I'm in the same position
with you, too. I can't even begin to offer any suggestions
as to what to do with a teen that walks out the door with-
out answering questions about where they're going or what
they're going to do other than to think about what would
have happened *to me* if I had done that to my parents
(i.e.,
my belongings would have been out on the front yard and I
would have had to find another place to live.) The thing
is, though, I never got to that place as a teen because
it was pretty firmly entrenched in my mind all the years
I was growing up that refusing to answer questions was
not an option for me. I answered. I might not have always
told the truth when I answered, but I *did* answer.

And, IMO, that's where you and Aileen have a very tough
row to hoe because it doesn't seem like your stepchildren
have had the basic building blocks that I had, that our
children had/have and that is a basic respect for the
rules that the parents have made. I'm not going to say
that I always followed my parents' rules and I *really*
don't believe that our children will always follow our
rules, but, at the same time, open rebellion against
those rules is not something that I expect will happen.
I'm fully prepared for a quiet rebellion though. :)

I'm still at a loss here as to what to say. I can't
even imagine what I would do if my child started acting
this way. My first instinct is that if one of our children
gets to the point where they seem to believe that they
are adult enough to totally ignore myself and my husband
and to even be verbally abusive to us and to exhibit the
other behaviors you've described, I would come to believe
that they couldn't live with us anymore. OTOH, I can't
imagine kicking one of our children out of our house.
And, on-yet-another-hand, I can't even imagine one of
our children *reaching* that point.

Tracey

Deborah M Riel

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Jul 10, 2002, 3:54:22 PM7/10/02
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>So, my question is: how would you handle this? What would your reaction
>be? How much abuse would you take in the name of 'parently an obviously
>very unhappy teenager'. Is this normal behaviour? Are we stuck with
>this until she grows up. The problem I see is that she is acting just
>like her BM and it not likely to grow out of it at all.

>Norma


Norma,

Here's a book you might find useful:

The Defiant Child: A Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder
by Douglas A. Riley

Check out the description on Amazon, and see if it sounds like it
could help you out. I have it, and have read a lot of it, but I
haven't had to deal with quite the extremes you have presented here. I
think this book is geared towards just this kind of behavior, and may
give you some ideas.

Deb R.

Nell

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Jul 10, 2002, 4:32:04 PM7/10/02
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Adrienne Dandy wrote:
>
> Did she have issues with authority before 8 months ago? What else happened
> in her life around the time this started? And what is her background, in
> terms of how long she's lived with your DH, etc?
>

I was going to include more history but I didn't want the post to be so
long that my ISP would choke on it.

The short version is that nine months ago, BM moved 4000 miles away,
telling the kids (at that time SD16 and SS14) that her job was done and
it was her turn now. For a month, there were no problems. Then one
day, out of the blue, SD stopped talking to us. We had no idea why and
it went on for nearly three weeks at which point we finally got her to
tell us the reason - she perceived that we were unreasonable with her
when she was painting her new bedroom, expecting her to finish it over
the weekend so that we could get the furniture out of the hall (and our
bedroom) before school on Monday.

The only theory we can come up with that makes any sense is that BM's
pronouncement to the kids has led SD to believe that she is now an adult
- i.e. she must be if Mom is finished with her. And hence her attempts
at independance.

Until nine months ago, SD was probably one of the most pleasant people
you would wish to meet. Sure she has a stubborn streak which surfaces
now and again, but nothing, nothing like this.

She has lived with us half time for about 9 years until now. She chose
to stay with us rather than move with her mother, probably because of
friends and school. (We're not flattering ourselves one bit that she
chose our house).

> How much leverage do you have with her employer? Does she require parental
> permission to work where you are? Could you put pressure on her boss to fire
> her, because obviously if her grades have sunk that badly, having a job is
> not doing anything for her school.
>

Her employer is her boyfriend's father who doesn't speak much English.
He is very difficult to talk to and we don't speak much Spanish. She
does not require parental permission to work, or see a doctor or
anything else actually. I suppose trying to explain the situation to
the boss might be something we could do.

> How old is her BF, btw?

Her BF is 19.


>
> I don't think that making life unpleasant for her is going to help, quite
> frankly. It's like with a smaller child... hitting a child in punishment for
> hitting his brother really *doesn't* get the message across that it's ok to
> hit, you know?

In my heart, I know you're right. It's just my own frustrations needing
an outlet.

>
> Ultimately, I think you need to figure out *why* she's acting that way.
> There's a reason, and "she's just a b*tch" isn't it. But a solution is only
> effective if it deals with the actual problem.. you can't treat for symptoms
> when it comes to behaviour, IMO.

DH and I have seen a counsellor who was helpful in that he got us to let
go. We had been trying to inforce rules and curfews and she was blowing
us off. The counsellor was able to make us realize that we could do
nothing about her behaviour and encouraged us to try to get her to come
with us. Needless to say, we struck out there as well.

Like I tell DH, I am totally unfamiliar with this silent treatment
thing. When my son was growing up, yes, he did some rebelling and
fighting authority. But he was always able to communicate what it was he
didn't like. We have no clue what it is that is pissing SD off except
the day to day attempts we make to keep in touch with her. She has
never been able to express feelings and I fear for her future. I sure as
heck fear for any man she marries.

> Our situation isn't completely dissimilar, though it's in a very dormant
> phase right now. She's pulled the screaming, the leaving without saying
> where she'll be, the ignoring grounding, etc, etc. SD grew up bouncing
> between her mom, dad, and grandma til she was 4ish and then lived with her
> mother till she was ten. The rules were always different and she didn't
> *have* any rules when she was with her mother. (In fact, she did most of the
> "parenting" for her half-sister.)

I hear you. BM had no rules when the kids lived half time with her. I
used to think that they enjoyed the structure they found at our house
and so far, SS is thriving. He's a happier boy now than I've ever seen
him to be.

Thanks, Adrienne, for your pov. Valuable. At times is seems so
hopeless, and then I read about other people with similiar problems.
Gives me strength to go on one more day.
Norma

Nell

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Jul 10, 2002, 4:39:53 PM7/10/02
to
Tracey wrote:
>
> >What would your reaction be?
>
> My reaction would not be pretty.

oooooooh... Me too. You don't now how many times I've nearly lost it.
Only once did I blow my top and that was about three weeks ago when SD
wouldn't come to the table to eat but hadn't said she was eating
elsewhere. (This was the incident that engendered the chart on the door
as described in original post).

> >How much abuse would you take in the name of 'parently
> >an obviously very unhappy teenager'.
>
> None. No abuse whatsoever.

You and I were obviously twins separated at birth.

> Long answer: I hope the short ones didn't come across as
> flippant.

Not at all. Pith is something we should all aspire to.

> You and Aileen seem to have a similar problem in
> that your stepchildren are acting in ways that they have
> been allowed to act for quite a while and now that they're
> firmly entrenched in that behavior, you want it to stop.

The odd thing is that SD was well-behaved up until 8 months ago, she
minded us and expressed regret when she ran afoul of the house rules,
etc. Nothing at all in her behaviour then presaged what we see now.

> Now. Unfortunately, after the behavior has become 'the norm'
> for them, it's much, much more difficult to get the behavior
> to change and it's basically impossible to get it to stop
> without some pretty draconian measures.

<nodding>

> The thing
> is, though, I never got to that place as a teen because
> it was pretty firmly entrenched in my mind all the years
> I was growing up that refusing to answer questions was
> not an option for me. I answered. I might not have always
> told the truth when I answered, but I *did* answer.

<nodding vigorously> My mother had a terrible weapon when I got out of
hand. She would cry. I would feel so sh*tty that it wasn't long before
I was apologizing.

> My first instinct is that if one of our children
> gets to the point where they seem to believe that they
> are adult enough to totally ignore myself and my husband
> and to even be verbally abusive to us and to exhibit the
> other behaviors you've described, I would come to believe
> that they couldn't live with us anymore. OTOH, I can't
> imagine kicking one of our children out of our house.
> And, on-yet-another-hand, I can't even imagine one of
> our children *reaching* that point.
>

Sounds like you understand exactly what we're feeling. Kick her out.
Let her stay. Kick her out. Let her stay.
<sigh>
Norma

Nell

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Jul 10, 2002, 4:41:25 PM7/10/02
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Deborah M Riel wrote:
>
> Here's a book you might find useful:
>
> The Defiant Child: A Parent's Guide to Oppositional Defiant Disorder
> by Douglas A. Riley
>

Thanks, Deborah. I shall indeed check it out. Ideas are what we need
plenty of and any source is welcome.
Thanks,
Norma

jane

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Jul 10, 2002, 5:18:18 PM7/10/02
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Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid without Losing Your Mind
Michael J. Bradley

jane

Caitriona Mac Fhiodhbhuidhe

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Jul 10, 2002, 5:35:19 PM7/10/02
to


I think you've got the root problem right there. She's been deserted
by her mother. Whether or not BM is completely out of SD's life, BM
has deserted SD by saying that her job's done now and just up and
moving 4000 miles away.


<snipped>


>>
>> Ultimately, I think you need to figure out *why* she's acting that way.
>> There's a reason, and "she's just a b*tch" isn't it. But a solution is only
>> effective if it deals with the actual problem.. you can't treat for symptoms
>> when it comes to behaviour, IMO.
>
>DH and I have seen a counsellor who was helpful in that he got us to let
>go. We had been trying to inforce rules and curfews and she was blowing
>us off. The counsellor was able to make us realize that we could do
>nothing about her behaviour and encouraged us to try to get her to come
>with us. Needless to say, we struck out there as well.
>
>Like I tell DH, I am totally unfamiliar with this silent treatment
>thing. When my son was growing up, yes, he did some rebelling and
>fighting authority. But he was always able to communicate what it was he
>didn't like. We have no clue what it is that is pissing SD off except
>the day to day attempts we make to keep in touch with her. She has
>never been able to express feelings and I fear for her future. I sure as
>heck fear for any man she marries.
>


I don't think you're dealing with typical teenage rebellion at all. I
think you're dealing with a very hurt child who feels abandoned by one
of the two people she's *supposed* to have been able to rely on to be
there for her, no matter what. You're dealing with the, "well, she
left, so when are *you* leaving?" thing. BTDT, still in the middle of
it.

As for how do deal with a teen who won't voice what s/he's
thinking/feeling? My methods aren't well thought of by some. I tend
to poke and prod and pester until they explode and tell me what's
really going on with them. It's exhausting, but when you've got the
strength and energy to do it, it works. (Thankfully, I'm finishing up
a 3 week vacation from all that work. The kids are all at other
parents' houses ATM. OS and I needed the vacation from each other.)

The silent treatment is hell. It's not something I deal well with.
But I'm more stubborn than our kids, so I usually am able to get them
to tell me what's going on, eventually.

But their only 12, 12, and 14.


Kitten
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
You can always tell a Texan, but you can't tell him much. - Chris Wall
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Courage, Real courage, is no quick fix. It doesn't come in a bottle
or a pill, It comes from discipline. From taking everything life
hands you and being your best either because of it or in spite of it.
-- Ty Murray
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Ruth S. Berry

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Jul 10, 2002, 6:06:43 PM7/10/02
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> Okay, I need to know everyone's take on this.

Norma,

I don't know if you've thought about this, but as I'm reading it, something
in my brain is screaming that she has either been raped, or she is in an
extremely controlling relationship with her boyfriend. Everything you write
about speaks of a very hurt young lady. Have you seen other behaviors that
would support this idea? I dont' know much at all about medical concerns
that could be the cause of this behavior, but it certainly seems she'd
benefit from some counseling. Could you all go?

These are the words of BD18: "I'd *make* her stop seeing the boyfriend, get
a restraining order on him. Make her quit her job, make her go to
counseling. and if she refused, she can go live with her mom." She said
it definately has something to do with the boyfriend.

Please keep us posted.

--

-----
Ruth Berry
Signature Images
http://www.berryimages.com

1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith
should not stand in the wisdom of men,
but in the power of God.


Nikki Murphy

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Jul 10, 2002, 6:28:43 PM7/10/02
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I'd say being abandoned by your mother aged 16 and her moving 4000 miles away
would be a thing to make a girl feel rejected, sad and angry. Sounds like she's
taking it out on you guys.

Does she pay rent?

Nikki

Nell

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Jul 10, 2002, 7:55:33 PM7/10/02
to
Caitriona Mac Fhiodhbhuidhe wrote:
>
> I think you've got the root problem right there. She's been deserted
> by her mother. Whether or not BM is completely out of SD's life, BM
> has deserted SD by saying that her job's done now and just up and
> moving 4000 miles away.
>
Indeed. But how the heck can we help her if she won't talk about it?
Before it got so bad, I used to be able to talk to her, by forcing my
way into a conversation with her so that she couldn't do anything else
but respond. At those times, she often had tears streaming down her
face all the while she was denying something or other. I told her that
her father and I knew she must be hurting and we wanted to do anything
we could to make the hurt stop, or at least to help her wortk through
it. Of course she denied she was hurting and refused to go to
counselling. Her words: "You'd have to drag me to the car, drag me out
of it, drag me inside and then I'd just sit there and not say anything."
She would, too.

> I don't think you're dealing with typical teenage rebellion at all. I
> think you're dealing with a very hurt child who feels abandoned by one
> of the two people she's *supposed* to have been able to rely on to be
> there for her, no matter what. You're dealing with the, "well, she
> left, so when are *you* leaving?" thing. BTDT, still in the middle of
> it.

Again, I agree with you. SD has to feel abandoned by her mother. No two
ways about it, especially since BM hardly phones at all. For the first
few months, SD would call BM regularly but now I don't know if she calls
much at all (except to ask to get permission slips signed - ha)

> As for how do deal with a teen who won't voice what s/he's
> thinking/feeling? My methods aren't well thought of by some. I tend
> to poke and prod and pester until they explode and tell me what's
> really going on with them. It's exhausting, but when you've got the
> strength and energy to do it, it works.

You know I think you might have just hit the nail on the head. The
times that I have found things out (like the fact that she had her
boyfriend call her in absent from school) was when I poked and prodded
and cornered her into telling me the truth, using her own logic against
her.


> (Thankfully, I'm finishing up
> a 3 week vacation from all that work. The kids are all at other
> parents' houses ATM. OS and I needed the vacation from each other.)

Sounds wonderful!

> The silent treatment is hell. It's not something I deal well with.
> But I'm more stubborn than our kids, so I usually am able to get them
> to tell me what's going on, eventually.

I'm not experienced with the silent treatment either but after this I'll
probably be an expert. Hey, maybe it'll be a new line of work. Yeah
right.

Thanks, Kitten, for the input. Appreciate it.
Norma

Nell

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Jul 10, 2002, 7:56:26 PM7/10/02
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jane wrote:
>
> Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid without Losing Your Mind
> Michael J. Bradley
>
> jane
>
So noted. Have you read it? Found it helpful? I'll have to see if it's
on Chapters.
Thanks
Norma

Lauralee Adams

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Jul 10, 2002, 8:13:01 PM7/10/02
to

Nell wrote:

> Her words: "You'd have to drag me to the car, drag me out of it,
> drag me inside and then I'd just sit there and not say anything." She
> would, too.
>

> Norma
>
Have you taken her to counseling regardless of her stated
disinclination? Maybe dragging her there against her will would give her
the freedom to get the help she needs without having to admit that she
needs it. A possibility?
Lee

Nell

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Jul 10, 2002, 8:25:13 PM7/10/02
to
"Ruth S. Berry" wrote:
>
> I don't know if you've thought about this, but as I'm reading it, something
> in my brain is screaming that she has either been raped, or she is in an
> extremely controlling relationship with her boyfriend.

Wow! Let me say that again. Wow! When I read your post to DH, he was
nodding his head, muttering something about "I've been wondering about
that myself."

Back in March, during a particularly nasty episide, I asked her point
blank, "So are you and ___ having sex?" She flung back at me "We had
sex a long time ago." I told her I was disappointed that she hadn't
talked to me before doing this as she had promised to do several years
ago when we talked about sex. Her reaction was "It's no big deal."
I felt so sad for her. Her first sexual experience and it's no big
deal. Who knows? Maybe he did force her.

Her boyfriend is from El Salvador and when I first met him, I thought
him rather nice. He has turned out to be enabling of her behaviour,
however. I think she can wield a good story and she has him wrapped
around her little finger. He's her knight in shining armour. He gets to
save her from her evil father and wicked step-mother. He gets to feel
macho and protective and this meets his needs at the same time as it
serves her purposes.


Everything you write
> about speaks of a very hurt young lady. Have you seen other behaviors that
> would support this idea? I dont' know much at all about medical concerns
> that could be the cause of this behavior, but it certainly seems she'd
> benefit from some counseling. Could you all go?

As I replied to someone else, she has adamantly refused to see a
counsellor.

>
> These are the words of BD18: "I'd *make* her stop seeing the boyfriend, get
> a restraining order on him. Make her quit her job, make her go to
> counseling. and if she refused, she can go live with her mom." She said
> it definately has something to do with the boyfriend.

Wow. Your BD certainly doesn't mince words. I wish it were as simple
as that. Maybe it is and we're just wusses.

> Please keep us posted.

I shall keep you posted. My position is that by letting her continue to
live here and not imposing any penalties for her behaviour, we are being
co-dependant (politically correct word) and supporting her in her choice
of life styles. Therefore, we should offer her three choices:

1. She can go live with her mother.
2. She can move out and be the adult she thinks she is. DH will pay her
what he used to pay her mother in child support.
3. She can stay here but has to agree to go to counselling. If she
does not actively participate in counselling, the options get
reduced to #1 and #2.

The fly in this ointment is that she will choose neither and in her
passive-aggressive way will force us to decide for her. It could get
very nasty and when nastiness is in the air, DH tends to lie low and
pretend it doesn't exist. <sigh>

Like I said, I'll keep you posted. Thanks, Ruth, for the
thought-provoking response.
Norma

Lori

unread,
Jul 10, 2002, 10:36:54 PM7/10/02
to

"Tracey" <rbran...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:3D2C8DDC...@aol.com...


She's 17. She apparently believes she has the right to do and say whatever
she wants, and doesn't have to respect or obey the authority of the parents
in that house. I'd be saying to her "OK, you may now begin paying rent out
of the money from your job." Set it high enough that it hurts. If she
won't, or quits the job, then go limp. Do *nothing* for this girl.
*NOTHING*. She wants to eat, she gets it herself. She wants clean clothes,
she washes them herself. I mean literally do *nothing* for her. It will
either make her change her tune, or you will see that you have less than a
year to go, at which time if she is still doing this, you can legally say
she has to leave.
Lori

Lori

unread,
Jul 10, 2002, 10:38:07 PM7/10/02
to

"Nell" <ne...@fritzy.ca> wrote in message news:3D2C9B96...@fritzy.ca...

> Tracey wrote:
> >
> > >What would your reaction be?
> >
> > My reaction would not be pretty.
>
> oooooooh... Me too. You don't now how many times I've nearly lost it.
> Only once did I blow my top and that was about three weeks ago when SD
> wouldn't come to the table to eat but hadn't said she was eating
> elsewhere. (This was the incident that engendered the chart on the door
> as described in original post).
>
> > >How much abuse would you take in the name of 'parently
> > >an obviously very unhappy teenager'.
> >
> > None. No abuse whatsoever.
>
> You and I were obviously twins separated at birth.
>
> > Long answer: I hope the short ones didn't come across as
> > flippant.
>
> Not at all. Pith is something we should all aspire to.
>
> > You and Aileen seem to have a similar problem in
> > that your stepchildren are acting in ways that they have
> > been allowed to act for quite a while and now that they're
> > firmly entrenched in that behavior, you want it to stop.
>
> The odd thing is that SD was well-behaved up until 8 months ago, she
> minded us and expressed regret when she ran afoul of the house rules,
> etc. Nothing at all in her behaviour then presaged what we see now.
>


Are you absolutely positive you can rule out drugs or alcohol?
Lori

Nell

unread,
Jul 10, 2002, 11:20:28 PM7/10/02
to
Lori wrote:
>
> She's 17. She apparently believes she has the right to do and say whatever
> she wants, and doesn't have to respect or obey the authority of the parents
> in that house.

That about sums up her attitude all right.

I'd be saying to her "OK, you may now begin paying rent out
> of the money from your job." Set it high enough that it hurts.

somehow I don't think DH will go for making her pay rent while she is
still in high school (she has Grade 13 left to go)

If she
> won't, or quits the job, then go limp. Do *nothing* for this girl.
> *NOTHING*. She wants to eat, she gets it herself. She wants clean clothes,
> she washes them herself. I mean literally do *nothing* for her.

Well, she does everything for herself now. Both kids have done their
own laundry for about three years. Both are responsible for making
their lunch for school (except SD stopped taking one this year), they
get their own breakfast except on Sunday when we do a family brunch.
They are to do their own rooms. SS needs reminding but does it
willingly. Hers hasn't seen a broom or dustmop since Nov 2001 when she
moved into that room (I traded my big office for her little bedroom
since she was now going to be here full-time).

It will
> either make her change her tune, or you will see that you have less than a
> year to go, at which time if she is still doing this, you can legally say
> she has to leave.

I don't think I can take this for another year. I'll be a basket case.
Will keep you posted on developments.
Thanks, Lori
Norma

Nell

unread,
Jul 10, 2002, 11:20:05 PM7/10/02
to
Lori wrote:
>
> She's 17. She apparently believes she has the right to do and say whatever
> she wants, and doesn't have to respect or obey the authority of the parents
> in that house.

That about sums up her attitude all right.

I'd be saying to her "OK, you may now begin paying rent out


> of the money from your job." Set it high enough that it hurts.

somehow I don't think DH will go for making her pay rent while she is


still in high school (she has Grade 13 left to go)

If she


> won't, or quits the job, then go limp. Do *nothing* for this girl.
> *NOTHING*. She wants to eat, she gets it herself. She wants clean clothes,
> she washes them herself. I mean literally do *nothing* for her.

Well, she does everything for herself now. Both kids have done their


own laundry for about three years. Both are responsible for making
their lunch for school (except SD stopped taking one this year), they
get their own breakfast except on Sunday when we do a family brunch.
They are to do their own rooms. SS needs reminding but does it
willingly. Hers hasn't seen a broom or dustmop since Nov 2001 when she
moved into that room (I traded my big office for her little bedroom
since she was now going to be here full-time).

It will


> either make her change her tune, or you will see that you have less than a
> year to go, at which time if she is still doing this, you can legally say
> she has to leave.

I don't think I can take this for another year. I'll be a basket case.

Nell

unread,
Jul 10, 2002, 11:24:45 PM7/10/02
to
Lori wrote:
>
> Are you absolutely positive you can rule out drugs or alcohol?
> Lori

Barring a blood or breath test, I guess we're about as certain as we
can be that her behaviour is not drug or alcohol related. SD came home
drunk once, and only once. She said that someone had spiked her OJ. She
never drinks pop (hates the fizziness) so I suspect she'd not drink beer
for the same reason. Other than that one time, she has never looked or
acted intoxicated. She doesn't smoke cigarettes either so that's good.
Mind you there have been times when we've wondered but cannot seriously
pursue that avenue without something more solid to go on. Her attitude
stinks but it doesn't smell of whiskey or cannabis. At least not so far.
Norma

Nell

unread,
Jul 10, 2002, 11:25:32 PM7/10/02
to
Lori wrote:
>
> Are you absolutely positive you can rule out drugs or alcohol?
> Lori

Barring a blood or breath test, I guess we're about as certain as we

jane

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 10:57:43 AM7/11/02
to
>>Is this normal behaviour?
>
>For some, it is. For others, it's totally abnormal.

Pushing parents away and demanding autonomy seems perfectly normal to me. I'm
surprised by people's reactions to this. It's not like Norma's SD is doing
anything unusual for a person her age.

Norma, it would bug the shit out of me if you put that chart up on the door.
When I walk out of the house, I don't know precisely where I'm going or when
I'll be back or whether I'll be home for dinner. And your SD is more courteous
about it than I would have been as a teen.

She's not a little kid. In less than a year she'll have the right to walk out
that door and not tell DH where she is or what she does for the rest of her
life. In fact, realistically, she could do that tomorrow. She NEEDS to
develop judgment and skills to manage her own life. If I don't get the feeling
that you respect that, then I'm inclined to think she doesn't either.
I understand that you consider her actions hostile, rude, and abusive. Did you
ever consider that dispute resolution skills have to be learned? This may
sound harsh, but you might want to work on your own. You said, "I'm of the


opinion that this behaviour has to have a consequence - and a big one. I'm all
for throwing her out since it's not just this one
incident that makes her unbearable to live with."

What you're talking about is punishment. The behavior did have consequences;
it heightened the degree of hostility in the home. You're not talking about
how everyone can work through these issues better or solve some problems. *I*
see you coming here and talking things over and looking for ideas, but I don't
think SD does. I think she sees you trying to force her to do things your way
or else.

>
>>Are we stuck with this until she grows up.
>
>Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on whether you can get to the
>root of the problem and find effective ways to deal with
>it.
>
>>The problem I see is that she is acting just like her
>>BM and it not likely to grow out of it at all.
>
>That's highly possible, especially if her BM seems to get
>what she wants by acting this way.

Guys, this is whacked. It's a big, big mistake to tie what SD does as she
works through her child-to-adult issues with the stuff you can't stand about
her mother. That's wrong, wrong, wrong. Dragging your feelings about anyone
else (your sister, a friend, your mother) into your reactions to her is
something we've all got to work to avoid.

>The thing
>is, though, I never got to that place as a teen because
>it was pretty firmly entrenched in my mind all the years
>I was growing up that refusing to answer questions was
>not an option for me. I answered. I might not have always
>told the truth when I answered, but I *did* answer.

I'd rather my kid not answer than lie.

>
>And, IMO, that's where you and Aileen have a very tough
>row to hoe because it doesn't seem like your stepchildren
>have had the basic building blocks that I had, that our
>children had/have and that is a basic respect for the
>rules that the parents have made. I'm not going to say
>that I always followed my parents' rules and I *really*
>don't believe that our children will always follow our
>rules, but, at the same time, open rebellion against
>those rules is not something that I expect will happen.
>I'm fully prepared for a quiet rebellion though. :)

You know what, though, Tracey? I prefer open rebellion. I want my kid to say,
"Get off my back. I'm 17. I'll come home when I want and do what I want. Get
a life and stop sucking off mine."

That's communication. It may not be what I want to hear, and it won't be the
end of the discussion, but at least she'd be treating the relationship between
her and me with respect. It takes courage to be honest and to address the
issue directly.

>
>I'm still at a loss here as to what to say. I can't
>even imagine what I would do if my child started acting
>this way. My first instinct is that if one of our children
>gets to the point where they seem to believe that they
>are adult enough to totally ignore myself and my husband
>and to even be verbally abusive to us and to exhibit the
>other behaviors you've described, I would come to believe
>that they couldn't live with us anymore. OTOH, I can't
>imagine kicking one of our children out of our house.
>And, on-yet-another-hand, I can't even imagine one of
>our children *reaching* that point.

It's not weird or twisted for teens to think they're all grown up and can
handle everything on their own when they're dependent minors. And yet, we're
still responsible for them, even if they think it's stupid. This isn't an easy
phase of development, but neither is 4. We sign up for it when we decide to
have the kid. It's hard, but it's easier if you do it as a team.

jane

>
>Tracey

jane

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 11:06:25 AM7/11/02
to

Busted.

Not exactly. My SIL is. She loves it. She went out the other day and bought
a second copy so that she and her DH can read it at the same time. I get it
next.

From the reviews I've read it sounds like application of recent discoveries in
adolescent medicine to specific real life experiences. I recommended it
because it gives her hope.

jane

Kat

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 11:23:56 AM7/11/02
to
>1. She can go live with her mother.
>2. She can move out and be the adult she thinks she is. DH will pay her
> what he used to pay her mother in child support.
>3. She can stay here but has to agree to go to counselling. If she
> does not actively participate in counselling, the options get
> reduced to #1 and #2.

>Like I said, I'll keep you posted. Thanks, Ruth, for the
>thought-provoking response.
>Norma


Norma,
Something really isn't right here. The fact that the mom left is certainly part
of it. Why, by the way did she leave and does she communicate with the kids at
all? If so...I'd be interested to know what things are being said there.
Also, Whatever her involvement is with the boyfriend, his family and her job,
its a tight circle she's created to insulate herself (from what don't know) and
to keep you out (of what...don't know). But the fact that she so adamantly
refuses to go and SPEAK up in a counselling session leads me to believe her
secret is big. This is especially worrisome that the change in her took place
in only 8 months.
I feel like drugs may very well be involved and don't kid yourself. kids are
really clever at hiding things they don't want you to discover. If nothing
else...literally drag her if you must...into a blood test. I assume your
husband can handle a 17 year old girl.

I don't know why...I just feel like you need to step up to the plate, force
issues with her and NOT abandon her right now. After all that's what the mom
did. SD may be testing how much you'd take before you do the same thing.
Take her to a blood testing center now.
Hugs and prayers!
Kat
"Bigabootee...you sticka by mya side."

Caitriona Mac Fhiodhbhuidhe

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 11:57:40 AM7/11/02
to
On 11 Jul 2002 14:57:43 GMT, janel...@aol.com (jane) wrote:
<snipped>

>
>You know what, though, Tracey? I prefer open rebellion. I want my kid to say,
>"Get off my back. I'm 17. I'll come home when I want and do what I want. Get
>a life and stop sucking off mine."
>
>That's communication. It may not be what I want to hear, and it won't be the
>end of the discussion, but at least she'd be treating the relationship between
>her and me with respect. It takes courage to be honest and to address the
>issue directly.


There's the difference. I don't see that as treating the relationship
with respect. I see it as *total* disrespect. There's no way I'd
take the type of treatment described from an adult, and I sure won't
take it from a child, especially one under our care.

Tracey

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 1:31:08 PM7/11/02
to
>Pushing parents away and demanding autonomy seems
>perfectly normal to me.

Sure it is, Jane. I did it. Only I didn't do it by
swearing at my parents (an inviting-death action in
my parents' home) or by refusing to answer questions
asked by them.

>I'm surprised by people's reactions to this. It's not
>like Norma's SD is doing anything unusual for a person
>her age.

Well, IMO, she *is* doing something unusual. The swearing,
the open defiance, the refusals is not something *I* did.
Sure, I had friends that did those things, but I thought
they were unusual, too.

>Norma, it would bug the shit out of me if you put that
>chart up on the door. When I walk out of the house, I
>don't know precisely where I'm going or when I'll be
>back or whether I'll be home for dinner. And your SD is
>more courteous about it than I would have been as a teen.

But you're an adult, Jane, and, as such, you have *probably*
shown that you're responsible enough to handle making those
decisions. <grin>

>She's not a little kid. In less than a year she'll have
>the right to walk out that door and not tell DH where she
>is or what she does for the rest of her life. In fact,
>realistically, she could do that tomorrow. She NEEDS to
>develop judgment and skills to manage her own life. If
>I don't get the feeling that you respect that, then I'm
>inclined to think she doesn't either.

Well, I've known for a long time that we don't quite agree
on this aspect of child-rearing. I'm all for giving teens
more and more autonomy on making decisions for themselves.
At the same time, I'm not going to give them carte blanche
and not going to just stop being a parent *in the way I
believe I should be a parent* just because someday they're
going to be able to make the decision on their own. I know
a lot of you hate the phrase, but...'living in my house,
following my rules' is the way I feel.

>I understand that you consider her actions hostile, rude,
>and abusive. Did you ever consider that dispute resolution
>skills have to be learned? This may sound harsh, but you
>might want to work on your own. You said, "I'm of the opinion
>that this behaviour has to have a consequence - and a big one.
>I'm all for throwing her out since it's not just this one
>incident that makes her unbearable to live with."

Not saying you don't have a point (i.e., Norma and her hus-
band might benefit from dispute resolution skills work), but
they also might do fine in that area, but SD might not
*want*
to work things out. If SD isn't willing, all of the skills
in the world aren't going to bring this situation to a reso-
lution.

>What you're talking about is punishment. The behavior did
>have consequences; it heightened the degree of hostility in
>the home. You're not talking about how everyone can work
>through these issues better or solve some problems. *I* see
>you coming here and talking things over and looking for ideas,
>but I don't think SD does. I think she sees you trying to
>force her to do things your way or else.

And that's a bad thing how? You know, Jane, I'm not talking
about having me wanting to control our children's every move
and decision, especially when they are teens. Our kids get
*plenty* of practice in making decisions for themselves.
At the same time, I *do* ask (even require) to know when
those decisions are being made, if at all possible, and,
at their age, I do lay out options for them, even when not
asked. They're younger, of course, but our son is only a
couple of years younger than Norma's daughter and he knows
that until he's living away from the house, he's going to
have to let us into his life and his decisions to a certain
extent. Where are you going, what are you going to do,
who are you going to be with, when are you going to be
back are questions he's going to have to have an answer
for.

>>>Are we stuck with this until she grows up.

>>Maybe. Maybe not. Depends on whether you can get to the
>>root of the problem and find effective ways to deal with
>>it.

>>>The problem I see is that she is acting just like her
>>>BM and it not likely to grow out of it at all.

>>That's highly possible, especially if her BM seems to get
>>what she wants by acting this way.

>Guys, this is whacked. It's a big, big mistake to tie what
>SD does as she works through her child-to-adult issues with
>the stuff you can't stand about her mother. That's wrong,
>wrong, wrong. Dragging your feelings about anyone else
>(your sister, a friend, your mother) into your reactions to
>her is something we've all got to work to avoid.

I *was* going to say something about comparing SD to her BM,
but I'm a little pressed for time here. My in-laws are
visiting.
You're right, Jane. At the same time (hah!), it's not so far
a stretch, IMO, to acknowledge that teens will look to
various
people (their parents, their siblings, extended family,
friends)
and see what actions/behaviors get those people what they
want
and consciously or subconsciously mirror those actions to
get what the teen wants.

>>The thing is, though, I never got to that place as a teen
>>because it was pretty firmly entrenched in my mind all the

>>yearsI was growing up that refusing to answer questions was


>>not an option for me. I answered. I might not have always
>>told the truth when I answered, but I *did* answer.

>I'd rather my kid not answer than lie.

Did I ever say lying worked?? It didn't. I had an older
brother and sister who had already used up all the 'good'
lies and my parents were pretty fast at picking up any
that I re-used or even thought up on my own. Not answering
a valid question and lying weren't acceptable to my parents.
Not answering brought instance consequences. Lying just
delayed the consequences. Eventually I learned that neither
one worked.

>>And, IMO, that's where you and Aileen have a very tough
>>row to hoe because it doesn't seem like your stepchildren
>>have had the basic building blocks that I had, that our
>>children had/have and that is a basic respect for the
>>rules that the parents have made. I'm not going to say
>>that I always followed my parents' rules and I *really*
>>don't believe that our children will always follow our
>>rules, but, at the same time, open rebellion against
>>those rules is not something that I expect will happen.
>>I'm fully prepared for a quiet rebellion though. :)

>You know what, though, Tracey? I prefer open rebellion.
>I want my kid to say, "Get off my back. I'm 17. I'll come
>home when I want and do what I want. Get a life and stop
>sucking off mine."

Maybe I should explain a bit. When I was talking about
'open rebellion', I meant Norma's SD's actions. Hostile,
abusive, downright 'in-your-face' 'I'm gonna do what I
want and you can't stop me.' I'll even include the state-
ment above. That is totally unacceptable and will be met
with equal 'force' from this side. An 'open rebellion'
of this type: 'Hey, I'm responsible. I haven't got in
trouble. I do good in school. Can I have a little slack?'
will be acceptable to me.

>That's communication. It may not be what I want to hear,
>and it won't be the end of the discussion, but at least
>she'd be treating the relationship between her and me
>with respect.

Sounds like we differ on what we consider respect then,
Jane. Any statement that starts with 'Get off my back!'
isn't respectful, IMO.

>It takes courage to be honest and to address the issue
>directly.

Sure it does. But 'directly' doesn't and shouldn't in-
clude disrespectful language, IMO.

>>I'm still at a loss here as to what to say. I can't
>>even imagine what I would do if my child started acting
>>this way. My first instinct is that if one of our children
>>gets to the point where they seem to believe that they
>>are adult enough to totally ignore myself and my husband
>>and to even be verbally abusive to us and to exhibit the
>>other behaviors you've described, I would come to believe
>>that they couldn't live with us anymore. OTOH, I can't
>>imagine kicking one of our children out of our house.
>>And, on-yet-another-hand, I can't even imagine one of
>>our children *reaching* that point.

>It's not weird or twisted for teens to think they're all
>grown up and can handle everything on their own when
>they're dependent minors.

No, it isn't.

>And yet, we're still responsible for them, even if they
>think it's stupid.

Yes, we are and yes, they usually do.

>This isn't an easy phase of development, but neither is 4.
>We sign up for it when we decide to have the kid. It's
>hard, but it's easier if you do it as a team.

Ah, but to be a team (I'm assuming you're talking about
being a team with the teen), all involved have to agree to
be a team. Norma's SD is being an 'Army of One' (one of the
silliest ad campaigns yet) and wants no part of being a
team.

But, all of this aside, I really don't think that this situ-
ation with Norma's SD IS normal teen behavior. By that, I
mean that this all started a certain time period ago and,
wonders of wonders, it's when her mother moved away. Since
her SD was a perfectly nice teen up until then, I don't
think it takes a psychologist to make the jump to the
abandonment by her mother being a driving factor here in
the recent behaviors.

Tracey

Deborah M Riel

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 1:54:00 PM7/11/02
to
In article <20020711105743...@mb-mg.aol.com>,
jane <janel...@aol.com> wrote:

>Pushing parents away and demanding autonomy seems perfectly normal to me. I'm
>surprised by people's reactions to this. It's not like Norma's SD is doing
>anything unusual for a person her age.

Agreed, to a certain extent. But, she's *still* a minor, going to
high school, living with other family members. She called her father
every foul name in the book. I don't think this is normal for a
person her age, and people's reactions to it don't surprise me at all.
I never expect to be called every foul name in the book. It just
isn't right to treat people that way.

>Norma, it would bug the shit out of me if you put that chart up on the door.
>When I walk out of the house, I don't know precisely where I'm going or when
>I'll be back or whether I'll be home for dinner. And your SD is more courteous
>about it than I would have been as a teen.

I really don't think it's out of line to ask family members to let one
another know, at least roughly, where they're going, when they'll
return and if they'll be there for dinner--especially if someone else
needs to plan, cook and clean up after that dinner. I like to know
where my teenaged son will be (approximately), when he'll be back
(specifically) and it's really nice for me to know whether I'm cooking
for him and me or just for me. After all, I can have eggplant and
tofu if he's not there :-) I actually think the chart is a pretty
easy-going way to handle this--it's not as if someone is standing at
the door grilling her before they'll step aside. If my son goes
somewhere before I get home, I fully expect a note or phone call
letting me know where, when, etc. I do the same for him. I let him
know where I'm going and when I'll be back when I go somewhere. I'd
never just walk out the door and let him wonder about all that.

>She's not a little kid. In less than a year she'll have the right to walk out
>that door and not tell DH where she is or what she does for the rest of her
>life. In fact, realistically, she could do that tomorrow. She NEEDS to
>develop judgment and skills to manage her own life. If I don't get the feeling

And at age 17, she's not an adult either. She's more like a big kid,
quasi-adult. You're right that she needs to develop judgement skills
to manage her own life, and I think those skills should include how to
live in a family without verbally abusing them and ignoring requests
made of her. Letting someone know where you'll be and when you'll be
back are just really small, simple things that go a long way to
keeping a harmonious family relationship.

>that you respect that, then I'm inclined to think she doesn't either.
>I understand that you consider her actions hostile, rude, and abusive. Did you
>ever consider that dispute resolution skills have to be learned? This may
>sound harsh, but you might want to work on your own. You said, "I'm of the
>opinion that this behaviour has to have a consequence - and a big one. I'm all
>for throwing her out since it's not just this one
>incident that makes her unbearable to live with."

I can't see throwing out a 17 year old girl. I agree that this would
be really counterproductive and could be dangerous to the girl. If
anyone had decided to throw me out of the house at age 17, I might
have liked it at the time (it would've been so dramatic) but my life
probably would've gone straight down the toilet and instead of growing
out of my 17 yr old state, I would've stayed stuck--or maybe ended up
dead.

It sounds to me, after hearing more about this girl and how her
behavior changed so radically in such a short time, that the posters
who have wondered about the mother moving so far away, or the
boyfriend being a factor might be right. But I *still* think there
should be some kind of meeting of the minds in this family about how
to treat each other. I also think that continuing to attempt
counseling is a good idea. Maybe there's some way to negotiate trying
counseling and committing to, say, 3 sessions and if it doesn't seem
to be working out, then it's off the table for now.

>Guys, this is whacked. It's a big, big mistake to tie what SD does as she
>works through her child-to-adult issues with the stuff you can't stand about
>her mother. That's wrong, wrong, wrong. Dragging your feelings about anyone
>else (your sister, a friend, your mother) into your reactions to her is
>something we've all got to work to avoid.

I fully agree with this, and I fully understand the temptation to do
just that. It's really hard not to tell my son that he's acting just
like his father when he does something that his father used to do that
would really piss me off or hurt my feelings, or just plain irritate
the heck out of me. And sometimes my son will tell me that I'm acting
just like his father (my ex) when I say or do something that pisses
him off. And I *don't* like to be told that, and neither does he. We
each like to feel that we're our own people and we haven't just
absorbed the personality traits that we dislike the most in someone
else. It's not fair to the person your saying that to, and it's not
fair to the person you're saying that about. It's just not the right
thing to do. I would *hate* it if I knew my ex was saying that about
me to my son. It's a really unfair thing to do all around.

>I'd rather my kid not answer than lie.

I'd rather my kid not lie, either, and if I catch him in a bold-faced
lie, that's where the consequences come into play. I caught him in a
blatant lie so now I've told him that until I can trust his word again
I need to know exactly where he'll be when he goes out so that I can
call him and talk to him if I want to. I've also told him that he
can't go to concerts for awhile, since going to concerts was
contingent on being able to trust him--it was a privilege granted to
him because I trusted him about certain things. If he breaks the
trust, there are consequences. I don't think that's a bad thing. I
don't see that as punishment, per se.


>You know what, though, Tracey? I prefer open rebellion. I want my kid to say,
>"Get off my back. I'm 17. I'll come home when I want and do what I want. Get
>a life and stop sucking off mine."
>
>That's communication. It may not be what I want to hear, and it won't be the
>end of the discussion, but at least she'd be treating the relationship between
>her and me with respect. It takes courage to be honest and to address the
>issue directly.

But it ceases to be respectful communication when the 17 yr. old calls
her father every foul name in the book. That's not honest addressing
of the issues, it's just rude.

>It's not weird or twisted for teens to think they're all grown up and can
>handle everything on their own when they're dependent minors. And yet, we're
>still responsible for them, even if they think it's stupid. This isn't an easy
>phase of development, but neither is 4. We sign up for it when we decide to
>have the kid. It's hard, but it's easier if you do it as a team.
>
>jane

Right--as a team. I don't see teamwork happening when a 17 yr old
dependent minor says "I'll come home when I want and do what I want.
Get a life..." when her family wants to know where she's going and
when she'll be home. Now if she was a year or two older and living in
her own apartment and they still wanted to know this, it'd be a
different story. But it's not. The keywords here are that she's
still a dependent minor who only *thinks* she's all grown up. She
still needs some guidance and structure through this rebellious,
finding things out stage of her life, whether she wants it or not.

Deb R.

Wendy

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 2:32:12 PM7/11/02
to

"Lori" <real...@bigfoot.com> wrote in message > >

> She's 17. She apparently believes she has the right to do and say
whatever
> she wants, and doesn't have to respect or obey the authority of the
parents
> in that house. I'd be saying to her "OK, you may now begin paying rent
out
> of the money from your job." Set it high enough that it hurts. If she
> won't, or quits the job, then go limp. Do *nothing* for this girl.
> *NOTHING*. She wants to eat, she gets it herself. She wants clean
clothes,
> she washes them herself. I mean literally do *nothing* for her. It will
> either make her change her tune, or you will see that you have less than a
> year to go, at which time if she is still doing this, you can legally say
> she has to leave.

Hmmm, you want someone to listen, so you do everything in your power to make
them feel shut out, until you can push them away. I don't buy it.

Nell, it's really easy as they gain independance to allow tensions and
battles of will to dominate the little time you have with someone of this
age. I'm not sure what to advise when there seems to be total communication
breakdown, but I guess I'd try working on rebuilding the good stuff and
letting the bad stuff go with an explanation of why it bothers me. For
example, when my children didn't tell me where they were, they learned that
it made me worry enough to ring all their friends parents looking for them.
When I was late home once, they were worried and that helped to reinforce
the point. (Being late was an accident, not something planned. :) I don't
think anything is won by trying to assert authority. I certainly think
punishments shouldn't be things thought up on the spur of the moment, rather
they should be clear statements of "consequence". Most of all I think that
you need to talk with them every chance you get about everything and
anything, and make home a place that they want to be.

Good luck
Wendy


Nell

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 11:02:54 PM7/11/02
to
Wendy wrote:
>
> Hmmm, you want someone to listen, so you do everything in your power to make
> them feel shut out, until you can push them away. I don't buy it.

Yes, I know. That's what so hard about all of this - the contradictions
I feel from one minute to the next. One minute I'd give anything if we
could all work this out, or at least start talking so that we could get
on the road to a solution. The next minute I remember just what she was
yelling at her father in the driveway and my back stiffens with resolve
to make sure she get the message that she can't get away with that.

> Nell, it's really easy as they gain independance to allow tensions and
> battles of will to dominate the little time you have with someone of this
> age.

Battles of wills are one thing. I'm well familiar with them having
raised my own son long before DH came along. I've heard enough slamming
doors to last me a lifetime. But you know what? I can handle slamming
doors, huffing and puffing and general expressions of frustration and
even anger. I've just never had to deal with such hostitily and contempt
before.

I'm not sure what to advise when there seems to be total communication
> breakdown, but I guess I'd try working on rebuilding the good stuff and
> letting the bad stuff go with an explanation of why it bothers me.

I keep trying to be as normal as possible (geez, it's tough, though).
Like when she comes downstairs (after getting up at 2pm), I try to say
"Good day" or "How are you?" or something equally benign that I would
also say to SS or DH. I call "Bye SD" when she leaves the house even
though she's creeping out so as not to be heard. Of course it all goes
unanswered. Today, for instance, I also said, "SD, how long is this
going to go on? Just what exactly is it that you think is mature about
not speaking?" I suppose I shouldn't have added that bit but gawd, it's
frustrating.

> Most of all I think that
> you need to talk with them every chance you get about everything and
> anything, and make home a place that they want to be.
>

One-sided conversations are very difficult to sustain, particularly when
the other party stares through you as though you were a window or worse
walks out the door while you're still talking.

> Good luck
> Wendy

Thanks. I'm taking up luck collections everywhere I can.

Nell

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 11:45:28 PM7/11/02
to
jane wrote:
>
> Pushing parents away and demanding autonomy seems perfectly normal to me. I'm
> surprised by people's reactions to this. It's not like Norma's SD is doing
> anything unusual for a person her age.
>
First, Jane, let me say thanks for your long and considered reply. I've
read it over quickly once and plan to come back and re-read later. As a
few others have said, I think, SD is exhibiting a little more than the
normal teenage rebellion. Unless, of course, hers is a particularly
virulent strain.

> Norma, it would bug the shit out of me if you put that chart up on the door.

Then how are we to know what to do about supper? Or other family plans?
We are just attempting to keep her safe by trying to monitor at least
partly where she spends her time and who she spends it with. I'd like
to know in advance if she's going to be driving to Montreal with friends
or is going to be spending the night at a girlfriend's house. We've had
too many nights when we had no clue where she was at 2:00 AM.

> When I walk out of the house, I don't know precisely where I'm going

We don't ask her for an itinerary. We merely ask that she give us an
indication of where she's heading (her first stop), where she might go
after that (party/restaurant/work, etc) and some estimate of her return
time so that we can know when to start worrying and when not.

courteous
> about it than I would have been as a teen.

WHen I was a teen, I had to tell my parents all this info verbally. She
gets to write it and leave, with no questions asked. I'd say that's
pretty fair. We've actually backed off quite a bit since all this first
started when she told us all she wanted was for us to stay out of her
life and leave her alone.

She NEEDS to
> develop judgment and skills to manage her own life.

Agreed, wholeheartedly. One of the skills she needs to develop is to be
able to tell people what it is she needs and why she needs it, then to
discuss mature ways of getting it.

> I understand that you consider her actions hostile, rude, and abusive. Wouldn't you?

Did you
> ever consider that dispute resolution skills have to be learned? This may
> sound harsh, but you might want to work on your own.

I can't begin to count the number of times through all of this when I
have had to remind myself that I'm the adult here. It's very easy to
let emotions rule the tongue and I've been guilty of it more than once.
The odd thing is that she is the first person I've ever had so much
difficulty dealing with. And I'm not ashamed of my dispute resolutions
skills in the least. The problem here is that we don't know what the
dispute is. She won't tell us.

> What you're talking about is punishment. The behavior did have consequences;
> it heightened the degree of hostility in the home.

That's the truth. She probably intended the behaviour to show us just
how grown up she is and all it did was the opposite.

>I think she sees you trying to force her to do things your way
> or else.

She probably does see it that way. She's probably forgotten just how
much we've backed off compared to where we started last fall.

> >>The problem I see is that she is acting just like her
> >>BM and it not likely to grow out of it at all.
> >
> >That's highly possible, especially if her BM seems to get
> >what she wants by acting this way.
>
> Guys, this is whacked. It's a big, big mistake to tie what SD does as she
> works through her child-to-adult issues with the stuff you can't stand about
> her mother. That's wrong, wrong, wrong. Dragging your feelings about anyone
> else (your sister, a friend, your mother) into your reactions to her is
> something we've all got to work to avoid.

Perhaps, but facts is fact, ma'am. BM is passive-agressive. In fact,
she wrote the book. SD has learned her lessons well and is a master at
the same techniques that BM used to use on DH. I'm not telling SD this,
of course, but it's there for anyone to see. Even SS has made some
comments to us that would seem to indicate that even he sees the
resemblance.

> I'd rather my kid not answer than lie.

I'm with you on this one. Unfortunately, SD has lied to us many times.
We have uncovered many of her lies purely by accident. How many more
there were, we have no way of knowing. Right now she's not talking to
us so perhaps it is a blessing. At least she's not lying.

> You know what, though, Tracey? I prefer open rebellion. I want my kid to say,
> "Get off my back. I'm 17. I'll come home when I want and do what I want. Get
> a life and stop sucking off mine."

You know what? That's what I want, too. I want her to get mad at us, to
tell us that we're old fogies who don't know jack. I'd give anything
for her to slam the door on her way out. Damm it. Like I said, I
understand that and I can deal with that. It's what I did. It's what my
son did. My parents knew I'd grow out of it. I knew my son would grow
out of it. But what I don't know is if SD will grow out of this. If
anything, it is become even more entrenched and I'm afraid she's growing
into it rather than out of it.

> That's communication. It may not be what I want to hear, and it won't be the
> end of the discussion, but at least she'd be treating the relationship between
> her and me with respect. It takes courage to be honest and to address the
> issue directly.

Yep. I'd give anything for exactly what you just described. If only we
knew what the issue was. A while back, when DH asked SD what she
thought he should do (in reaction to something that she had done), what
she would do if she were the parent in his shoes, and her answer (she
was still talking to us in those days) was: "I wouldn't have the problem
you're having. I'd be a better parent than you." And that was the end of
the discussion as far as she was concerned.

Again, thanks, Jane. You've provided some great fodder for discussion
and thought.
Norma

Nell

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 11:58:55 PM7/11/02
to
Tracey wrote:
>
> Not saying you don't have a point (i.e., Norma and her hus-
> band might benefit from dispute resolution skills work), but
> they also might do fine in that area, but SD might not
> *want*
> to work things out. If SD isn't willing, all of the skills
> in the world aren't going to bring this situation to a reso-
> lution.

This is the crux of the matter, I think. You know the old saying about
leading a horse to water...

SD has always had difficulty expressing her feelings. I suspect she is
afraid to let her emotions show lest she appear weak and defenseless.
She doesn't talk about herself much, if at all. I can't remember her
ever saying "I feel" anything.

We have gotten the feeling lately that somehow she is enjoying this, as
odd as that may sound. I've caught a smirk on her face when she has
realized that she's shocked us or delivered a piece of news which was
totally unexpected. It's almost as though she wants to find ways to get
us mad at her, so that she can feel like a victim of evil parents.
Dunno. Just a hunch but not one I can back up with any real evidence.

> But, all of this aside, I really don't think that this situ-
> ation with Norma's SD IS normal teen behavior. By that, I
> mean that this all started a certain time period ago and,
> wonders of wonders, it's when her mother moved away. Since
> her SD was a perfectly nice teen up until then, I don't
> think it takes a psychologist to make the jump to the
> abandonment by her mother being a driving factor here in
> the recent behaviors.
>

<nodding>
Thanks for the thoughtful post, Tracey.
Norma

Nell

unread,
Jul 11, 2002, 11:58:39 PM7/11/02
to
Tracey wrote:
>
> Not saying you don't have a point (i.e., Norma and her hus-
> band might benefit from dispute resolution skills work), but
> they also might do fine in that area, but SD might not
> *want*
> to work things out. If SD isn't willing, all of the skills
> in the world aren't going to bring this situation to a reso-
> lution.

This is the crux of the matter, I think. You know the old saying about


leading a horse to water...

SD has always had difficulty expressing her feelings. I suspect she is
afraid to let her emotions show lest she appear weak and defenseless.
She doesn't talk about herself much, if at all. I can't remember her
ever saying "I feel" anything.

We have gotten the feeling lately that somehow she is enjoying this, as
odd as that may sound. I've caught a smirk on her face when she has
realized that she's shocked us or delivered a piece of news which was
totally unexpected. It's almost as though she wants to find ways to get
us mad at her, so that she can feel like a victim of evil parents.
Dunno. Just a hunch but not one I can back up with any real evidence.

> But, all of this aside, I really don't think that this situ-


> ation with Norma's SD IS normal teen behavior. By that, I
> mean that this all started a certain time period ago and,
> wonders of wonders, it's when her mother moved away. Since
> her SD was a perfectly nice teen up until then, I don't
> think it takes a psychologist to make the jump to the
> abandonment by her mother being a driving factor here in
> the recent behaviors.
>

Nell

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 12:09:26 AM7/12/02
to
Deborah M Riel wrote:
>
> If my son goes
> somewhere before I get home, I fully expect a note or phone call
> letting me know where, when, etc. I do the same for him. I let him
> know where I'm going and when I'll be back when I go somewhere. I'd
> never just walk out the door and let him wonder about all that.

Yes, we have never asked SD to do anything that we don't do ourselves.
SS always leaves a note saying where he's going if we're not home and he
also calls to say whether he'll be back for supper. Prior to all this,
SD did the same. She also, like us, announced her arrival home and
called Goodbye when leaving the house. Just good manners.

> I can't see throwing out a 17 year old girl. I agree that this would
> be really counterproductive and could be dangerous to the girl. If
> anyone had decided to throw me out of the house at age 17, I might
> have liked it at the time (it would've been so dramatic) but my life
> probably would've gone straight down the toilet and instead of growing
> out of my 17 yr old state, I would've stayed stuck--or maybe ended up
> dead.
>

I guess I'm from the old school or something. I went to university at 17
and so did everyone else I know. (We didn't have Grade 12 at that time
where I grew up) and 17 was considered sufficiently mature that nobody
worried about us moving out and taking apartments, etc.

> It sounds to me, after hearing more about this girl and how her
> behavior changed so radically in such a short time, that the posters
> who have wondered about the mother moving so far away, or the
> boyfriend being a factor might be right. But I *still* think there
> should be some kind of meeting of the minds in this family about how
> to treat each other. I also think that continuing to attempt
> counseling is a good idea. Maybe there's some way to negotiate trying
> counseling and committing to, say, 3 sessions and if it doesn't seem
> to be working out, then it's off the table for now.

We've been discussing (DH and I) how to go about getting her to
counselling. He won't, I know, physically force her into the car.
That's just not him and I can't say I blame him. We just don't want to
have to pay for a counselling appointment to which she doesn't turn up.
Yes, I know, we can have an appointment without her but BTDT.

> I'd rather my kid not lie, either, and if I catch him in a bold-faced
> lie, that's where the consequences come into play. I caught him in a
> blatant lie so now I've told him that until I can trust his word again
> I need to know exactly where he'll be when he goes out so that I can
> call him and talk to him if I want to. I've also told him that he
> can't go to concerts for awhile, since going to concerts was
> contingent on being able to trust him--it was a privilege granted to
> him because I trusted him about certain things. If he breaks the
> trust, there are consequences. I don't think that's a bad thing. I
> don't see that as punishment, per se.

Now see, this is the problem. SD has lied, etc. etc. We can't trust
her. DH denied her the privilege of the amusement park trip. She went
anyway, cursing all the way. And so far, no consequences because we just
don't know what the heck they should be (hence this thread).

Thanks for the considered reply, Deb.
Norma

Nell

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 12:12:27 AM7/12/02
to
jane wrote:
>
> From the reviews I've read it sounds like application of recent discoveries in
> adolescent medicine to specific real life experiences. I recommended it
> because it gives her hope.
>

I was at Coles Books this afternoon and while there I asked the guy to
do a search for me. I must have been speaking quickly because he thought
I said "Yesyerteen is crazy" or something. He asked me how I spelled
that woman's name. It took me a minute to figure out what he was talking
about. We finally got it straight and as it happens they already had
two copies of the book on order. I told him to put my name down so I
can check it out when it comes in. It's sure not cheap, though.

Hope? Yeah, I can use all the hope I can get my hands on. Luck is good
too.
Norma

jane

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 12:10:18 AM7/12/02
to
>On 11 Jul 2002 14:57:43 GMT, janel...@aol.com (jane) wrote:
><snipped>
>>
>>You know what, though, Tracey? I prefer open rebellion. I want my kid to
>say,
>>"Get off my back. I'm 17. I'll come home when I want and do what I want.
>Get
>>a life and stop sucking off mine."
>>
>>That's communication. It may not be what I want to hear, and it won't be
>the
>>end of the discussion, but at least she'd be treating the relationship
>between
>>her and me with respect. It takes courage to be honest and to address the
>>issue directly.
>
>
>There's the difference. I don't see that as treating the relationship
>with respect. I see it as *total* disrespect. There's no way I'd
>take the type of treatment described from an adult, and I sure won't
>take it from a child, especially one under our care.
>
>Kitten

I guess that is where we differ. I see no disrespect there.

jane

Nell

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 12:32:52 AM7/12/02
to
Kat wrote:
>
> Norma,
> Something really isn't right here. The fact that the mom left is certainly part
> of it. Why, by the way did she leave and does she communicate with the kids at
> all? If so...I'd be interested to know what things are being said there.

Who knows why she really left? She said she heard that it was cheaper
to live on the west coast (Canada). Also that there was a course she
wanted to take so that she could make a good life for herself.
Naturally, she has not enrolled in the course and from what SD19 tells
us, she has already spent the money she had saved for tuition.

She calls the kids sporadically. Probably once a month, on average. She
has gone as long as four-five weeks without calling though. They have
called her, more often in the beginning than they do now. The time
difference is difficult to deal with since they are going to bed when
their mother is just getting home from work at 9pm PST.


> Also, Whatever her involvement is with the boyfriend, his family and her job,
> its a tight circle she's created to insulate herself (from what don't know) and
> to keep you out (of what...don't know).

Yes, tighter than a drum. The boyfriend's mother, whom DH spoke to early
in the spring, also seems to think that SD has an attitude problem. She
has not been able to get her to talk either, it would seem.

But the fact that she so adamantly
> refuses to go and SPEAK up in a counselling session leads me to believe her
> secret is big. This is especially worrisome that the change in her took place
> in only 8 months.

SD told her grandmother back in the winter that she had made a terrible
mistake. Grandma was unable to get her to elaborate then or since. We
have racked our brains as to what she was referring to and DH has tried
to ask in both subtle and direct ways, expressing concern that she not
have to deal with problems by herself when she had could have help with
whatever it was she needed help with.

Some of our guesses include - mistake that she didn't move to BC with
her mother, mistake that she had sex with her boyfriend, mistake that ??
we just don't know. The last time Grandma talked to her about this, she
said that it was all okay now. But who knows? It may be okay simply
because she can't do anything about it and wants to sweep it under the
rug.

Until you mentioned it, I had forgotten about this. It may well be at
the bottom of all of this. Boy, I wonder if it would be any easier to
deal with if we were counsellors ourselves.

> I feel like drugs may very well be involved and don't kid yourself. kids are
> really clever at hiding things they don't want you to discover. If nothing
> else...literally drag her if you must...into a blood test. I assume your
> husband can handle a 17 year old girl.

I don't know what to think about drugs being involved. I have no
experience with kids and drugs, or for that matter, with adults and
drugs, if you don't count the stuff we didn't inhale back in the 60s
(cough cough). But seriously, I really don't think she's doing drugs.
She doesn't smoke. Doesn't smell of smoke (of any kind), her pupils
always appear normal (and she doesn't wear glasses that she can hide
behind), so for now, I think we'll let the drug thing be.

> I don't know why...I just feel like you need to step up to the plate, force
> issues with her and NOT abandon her right now. After all that's what the mom
> did. SD may be testing how much you'd take before you do the same thing.

Perhaps you're right. And I really don't want to throw her out, not
really. At least, I don't want to feel we have to. But, and it's a big
but, how do we allow her to stay if she continues this behaviour? I
guess what I want to find is a consequence for the verbal abuse that we
can impose and make stick so that we don't have to throw her out.

Thanks, Kat.
Onwards and forwards,
Norma

Nell

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 12:32:46 AM7/12/02
to
Kat wrote:
>
> Norma,
> Something really isn't right here. The fact that the mom left is certainly part
> of it. Why, by the way did she leave and does she communicate with the kids at
> all? If so...I'd be interested to know what things are being said there.

Who knows why she really left? She said she heard that it was cheaper


to live on the west coast (Canada). Also that there was a course she
wanted to take so that she could make a good life for herself.
Naturally, she has not enrolled in the course and from what SD19 tells
us, she has already spent the money she had saved for tuition.

She calls the kids sporadically. Probably once a month, on average. She
has gone as long as four-five weeks without calling though. They have
called her, more often in the beginning than they do now. The time
difference is difficult to deal with since they are going to bed when
their mother is just getting home from work at 9pm PST.

> Also, Whatever her involvement is with the boyfriend, his family and her job,
> its a tight circle she's created to insulate herself (from what don't know) and
> to keep you out (of what...don't know).

Yes, tighter than a drum. The boyfriend's mother, whom DH spoke to early


in the spring, also seems to think that SD has an attitude problem. She
has not been able to get her to talk either, it would seem.

But the fact that she so adamantly


> refuses to go and SPEAK up in a counselling session leads me to believe her
> secret is big. This is especially worrisome that the change in her took place
> in only 8 months.

SD told her grandmother back in the winter that she had made a terrible


mistake. Grandma was unable to get her to elaborate then or since. We
have racked our brains as to what she was referring to and DH has tried
to ask in both subtle and direct ways, expressing concern that she not
have to deal with problems by herself when she had could have help with
whatever it was she needed help with.

Some of our guesses include - mistake that she didn't move to BC with
her mother, mistake that she had sex with her boyfriend, mistake that ??
we just don't know. The last time Grandma talked to her about this, she
said that it was all okay now. But who knows? It may be okay simply
because she can't do anything about it and wants to sweep it under the
rug.

Until you mentioned it, I had forgotten about this. It may well be at
the bottom of all of this. Boy, I wonder if it would be any easier to
deal with if we were counsellors ourselves.

> I feel like drugs may very well be involved and don't kid yourself. kids are


> really clever at hiding things they don't want you to discover. If nothing
> else...literally drag her if you must...into a blood test. I assume your
> husband can handle a 17 year old girl.

I don't know what to think about drugs being involved. I have no


experience with kids and drugs, or for that matter, with adults and
drugs, if you don't count the stuff we didn't inhale back in the 60s
(cough cough). But seriously, I really don't think she's doing drugs.
She doesn't smoke. Doesn't smell of smoke (of any kind), her pupils
always appear normal (and she doesn't wear glasses that she can hide
behind), so for now, I think we'll let the drug thing be.

> I don't know why...I just feel like you need to step up to the plate, force


> issues with her and NOT abandon her right now. After all that's what the mom
> did. SD may be testing how much you'd take before you do the same thing.

Perhaps you're right. And I really don't want to throw her out, not

Nell

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 12:33:43 AM7/12/02
to
Kat wrote:
>
> Norma,
> Something really isn't right here. The fact that the mom left is certainly part
> of it. Why, by the way did she leave and does she communicate with the kids at
> all? If so...I'd be interested to know what things are being said there.

Who knows why she really left? She said she heard that it was cheaper


to live on the west coast (Canada). Also that there was a course she
wanted to take so that she could make a good life for herself.
Naturally, she has not enrolled in the course and from what SD19 tells
us, she has already spent the money she had saved for tuition.

She calls the kids sporadically. Probably once a month, on average. She
has gone as long as four-five weeks without calling though. They have
called her, more often in the beginning than they do now. The time
difference is difficult to deal with since they are going to bed when
their mother is just getting home from work at 9pm PST.

> Also, Whatever her involvement is with the boyfriend, his family and her job,
> its a tight circle she's created to insulate herself (from what don't know) and
> to keep you out (of what...don't know).

Yes, tighter than a drum. The boyfriend's mother, whom DH spoke to early


in the spring, also seems to think that SD has an attitude problem. She
has not been able to get her to talk either, it would seem.

But the fact that she so adamantly


> refuses to go and SPEAK up in a counselling session leads me to believe her
> secret is big. This is especially worrisome that the change in her took place
> in only 8 months.

SD told her grandmother back in the winter that she had made a terrible


mistake. Grandma was unable to get her to elaborate then or since. We
have racked our brains as to what she was referring to and DH has tried
to ask in both subtle and direct ways, expressing concern that she not
have to deal with problems by herself when she had could have help with
whatever it was she needed help with.

Some of our guesses include - mistake that she didn't move to BC with
her mother, mistake that she had sex with her boyfriend, mistake that ??
we just don't know. The last time Grandma talked to her about this, she
said that it was all okay now. But who knows? It may be okay simply
because she can't do anything about it and wants to sweep it under the
rug.

Until you mentioned it, I had forgotten about this. It may well be at
the bottom of all of this. Boy, I wonder if it would be any easier to
deal with if we were counsellors ourselves.

> I feel like drugs may very well be involved and don't kid yourself. kids are


> really clever at hiding things they don't want you to discover. If nothing
> else...literally drag her if you must...into a blood test. I assume your
> husband can handle a 17 year old girl.

I don't know what to think about drugs being involved. I have no


experience with kids and drugs, or for that matter, with adults and
drugs, if you don't count the stuff we didn't inhale back in the 60s
(cough cough). But seriously, I really don't think she's doing drugs.
She doesn't smoke. Doesn't smell of smoke (of any kind), her pupils
always appear normal (and she doesn't wear glasses that she can hide
behind), so for now, I think we'll let the drug thing be.

> I don't know why...I just feel like you need to step up to the plate, force


> issues with her and NOT abandon her right now. After all that's what the mom
> did. SD may be testing how much you'd take before you do the same thing.

Perhaps you're right. And I really don't want to throw her out, not

Wendy

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 2:53:23 AM7/12/02
to

"Nell" <ne...@fritzy.ca> wrote in message news:3D2E53EB...@fritzy.ca...

> We have gotten the feeling lately that somehow she is enjoying this, as
> odd as that may sound. I've caught a smirk on her face when she has
> realized that she's shocked us or delivered a piece of news which was
> totally unexpected. It's almost as though she wants to find ways to get
> us mad at her, so that she can feel like a victim of evil parents.
> Dunno. Just a hunch but not one I can back up with any real evidence.

Nell, don't get me wrong, but I'd smirk too at someone trying to assert
authority over me with totally ineffective methods. You don't teach people
house rules and appropriate behaviour in a few months, these are things
which are ingrained through repetition and consequence over years, just as
the knowledge that someone will put you as their first priority no matter
what is.

You and your DH need to find the opportunity to sit down with her and talk.
You need to convince her that you really care about her and that you aren't
just going through these motions because you have to. You need to bare your
souls to her and to tell her what's behind your trying to assert rules.
I'll tell you that no one ever got me to do anything by telling me I had to,
only by explaining what the reasoning behind it was. Chances are she's
getting that sense of belonging and feeling loved from somewhere else.

I have two BD, one 16, the other 11 going on 12. Don't think that I haven't
been at my wits end with them either, even though they are mine by birth.
Tidying rooms is still something that works best if I go in and do it with
them. I know they like it when it's tidy. I also know that if they leave
it long enough it becomes so onerous a task that they run away from it. The
older one is bright, but lazy. I tried working with her on studies. We
only rowed. I tried constantly reminding her of her responsibilities to
herself, she only felt nagged. In the end, we spoke about the consequence
of not working and left it to her to make her own choices.

She's a teenager. It's her job to be a pain in the ass. Your DH is the
parent. It's his job to be the nag and deal with it.

Try thinking of all the posistives. At least she's got a job. At least
you aren't going through a mood swinging menopause while trying to deal with
all of this. At least she hasn't run away.

Wendy

Jennaii

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 6:20:25 AM7/12/02
to
>Then how are we to know what to do about supper? Or other family plans?
>We are just attempting to keep her safe by trying to monitor at least
>partly where she spends her time and who she spends it with.

In all honesty: at 17 I was pretty much on my own. *BUT* I was quite
responsible. Is your SD? I had a full and part time job in the summer and a
part time job during school. The agreement was THIS: unless you hear
different, I won't be attending supper, and sometimes it was after 2 AM when I
got home, tho rarely..
I paid rent, for my own car, insurance, clothes, etc. and although it sounds
awful here, had a pretty good relationship with my parents.
I *DO* believe, however, if I would have EVER STOOD SCREAMING OBSCENITIES IN
THE FRONT YARD AT MY DAD I'd have found my stuff out in the street when I got
home.


"This time: gonna do it RIGHT!" -- Bob Seger
Jennaii

Amy Lou

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 6:26:03 AM7/12/02
to
"Nell" <ne...@fritzy.ca> wrote in message news:3D2C73B2...@fritzy.ca...
> SD17 has become impossible to live with. She has been deceitful,
> manipulative, contemptful and downright rude for a very long time now.
> Probably about 8 months or so.

This may seem like a dumb question but have you tried a family meeting where
you all sit down together and each get a turn to raise a topic of
discussion? You and DH get to explain why you need basic good manners in
regard to SD's comings and goings, set some limits regarding the verbal
abuse and SD gets to raise whatever it is that she wants from you.

Amy

Adrienne Dandy

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 6:57:13 AM7/12/02
to

"jane" <janel...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20020712001018...@mb-cg.aol.com...

> I guess that is where we differ. I see no disrespect there.

You wouldn't think it disrespectful if your daughter, having been told you
wouldn't sign a permission form for a legitimate reason, faxed it to her
father behind your back? I'm just curious.

Adrienne


jane

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 9:55:46 AM7/12/02
to
>It's sure not cheap, though.

I see it for less than $15 all over.

jane

jane

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 10:06:56 AM7/12/02
to

>>>You wouldn't think it disrespectful if your daughter, having been told you
>wouldn't sign a permission form for a legitimate reason, faxed it to her
>father behind your back? I'm just curious.
>
>Adrienne

Actually, we were talking about direct vs. indirect rebellion:


>You know what, though, Tracey? I prefer open rebellion. I want my kid to
>say,
>>"Get off my back. I'm 17. I'll come home when I want and do what I want.
>Get
>>a life and stop sucking off mine."

Would I consider it disrespectful if my daughter refused to accept my decision
that she couldn't go on a trip and asked her father for permission? If we have
joint legal custody, and either of us *can* give permission, I think that's her
right. No, I don't see how it would be disrespectful to me.

This issue is like the "marriage not stepparenting" problem for me. It's up to
the parents to maintain a cooperative relationship between them. It's not up
to the kids. What would piss me off in this situation was my ex not touching
base with me before he signed the slip. She has every right to ask, and he has
every right to sign it, but if he's not local he should get the lay of the land
before he does.

jane


Geri and sometimes Brian

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 10:25:36 AM7/12/02
to
>I *DO* believe, however, if I would have EVER STOOD SCREAMING OBSCENITIES IN
>THE FRONT YARD AT MY DAD I'd have found my stuff out in the street when I got
>home.

Same here, and I had a good relationship with my parents and was a pretty
responsible teenager. Of course, I never would have dreamed of even saying an
obscenity *in front of* my parents. I rarely do now.

Geri

--Don't order the vegetarian special at the local diner. Everyone will
instantly know you are a tourist. A vegetarian dish here is a steak cut from a
corn-fed cow.
- Excerpt from Memo From Nebraska Board of Tourism


Adrienne Dandy

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 10:38:36 AM7/12/02
to

"jane" <janel...@aol.com> wrote in message
news:20020712100656...@mb-bh.aol.com...

> Actually, we were talking about direct vs. indirect rebellion:

ah.. sorry.. misinterpreted Kitten's "type of treatment" to mean the OP's

> Would I consider it disrespectful if my daughter refused to accept my
decision
> that she couldn't go on a trip and asked her father for permission? If we
have
> joint legal custody, and either of us *can* give permission, I think
that's her
> right. No, I don't see how it would be disrespectful to me.
>
> This issue is like the "marriage not stepparenting" problem for me. It's
up to
> the parents to maintain a cooperative relationship between them. It's not
up
> to the kids. What would piss me off in this situation was my ex not
touching
> base with me before he signed the slip. She has every right to ask, and
he has
> every right to sign it, but if he's not local he should get the lay of the
land
> before he does.

Fair enough. I can see that.

For me, I'm coming from a perspective where, when I went to my mother and
asked, and she said no, I would never have gone to dad asking him to
overturn. Ever. First of all, to me, it *would* have seemed disrespectful of
mom's decision. Secondly, I knew damned well it wouldn't do any good. <G>

Adrienne


Elizabeth H Bonesteel

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 10:43:28 AM7/12/02
to
In article <3D2E50D8...@fritzy.ca>, Nell <ne...@spamfritzyless.ca> wrote:

>jane wrote:
>>
>> Guys, this is whacked. It's a big, big mistake to tie what SD does as she
>> works through her child-to-adult issues with the stuff you can't stand about
>> her mother. That's wrong, wrong, wrong. Dragging your feelings about anyone
>> else (your sister, a friend, your mother) into your reactions to her is
>> something we've all got to work to avoid.
>
>Perhaps, but facts is fact, ma'am. BM is passive-agressive. In fact,
>she wrote the book. SD has learned her lessons well and is a master at
>the same techniques that BM used to use on DH. I'm not telling SD this,
>of course, but it's there for anyone to see. Even SS has made some
>comments to us that would seem to indicate that even he sees the
>resemblance.

If I may slide my nose in here...what I've been trying to remind myself is
that the resemblance of a child to his or her parent is irrelevant. It
may be an interesting sociological point; it's very often distressing (I've
no doubt it is in your case). But you *can't* respond to the child the way
you would respond to the parent, even a little bit. When you react to the
resemblance, it's getting in the way of you responding to the child.

Grumble, I'm not making myself very clear here. Teens are *very* good
at pushing buttons, and it's not surprising that the ones most effective
with us are the behaviors we despise most in the other parent. It's so
easy for them to provoke the automatic response... but we *have* to choose
not to engage in the dance. If we engage, we've been effectively sidetracked
from what's really going on - which may be the child's goal, but surely isn't
ours.

Jane is right, and I'm thinking of tattooing her paragraph above backward
on my forehead so I can read it in the mirror every morning. It's often
incredibly difficult for me to separate the feelings about the child from
the feelings about the parent, but it's *essential*.

Liz


--
li...@world.std.com
"No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and
spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable - and we believe they
can do it again."
-- John F. Kennedy, 6/10/1963

jane

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 11:24:13 AM7/12/02
to
Pasting from Google, so the quote designations are wrong.

From: Tracey (rbran...@aol.com)
Subject: Re: How lenient would you be? [long]
Newsgroups: alt.support.step-parents
View this article only
Date: 2002-07-11 10:31:09 PST

>Pushing parents away and demanding autonomy seems
>perfectly normal to me.

Sure it is, Jane. I did it. Only I didn't do it by


swearing at my parents (an inviting-death action in
my parents' home) or by refusing to answer questions
asked by them.

>I'm surprised by people's reactions to this. It's not

>like Norma's SD is doing anything unusual for a person
>her age.

Well, IMO, she *is* doing something unusual. The swearing,


the open defiance, the refusals is not something *I* did.
Sure, I had friends that did those things, but I thought
they were unusual, too.

[Response: But the thing is, Tracey, whether or not you did it and whether or
not you approve of it doesn't determine whether or not it's "unusual."]

>Norma, it would bug the shit out of me if you put that

>chart up on the door. When I walk out of the house, I
>don't know precisely where I'm going or when I'll be

>back or whether I'll be home for dinner. And your SD is

>more courteous about it than I would have been as a teen.

But you're an adult, Jane, and, as such, you have *probably*
shown that you're responsible enough to handle making those
decisions. <grin>

[Response: But I don't have significant sensitivity to being treated like a
child now. When I was a teenager it would have driven me nuts.]

>She's not a little kid. In less than a year she'll have
>the right to walk out that door and not tell DH where she
>is or what she does for the rest of her life. In fact,
>realistically, she could do that tomorrow. She NEEDS to
>develop judgment and skills to manage her own life. If

>I don't get the feeling that you respect that, then I'm

>inclined to think she doesn't either.

Well, I've known for a long time that we don't quite agree


on this aspect of child-rearing. I'm all for giving teens
more and more autonomy on making decisions for themselves.
At the same time, I'm not going to give them carte blanche
and not going to just stop being a parent *in the way I
believe I should be a parent* just because someday they're
going to be able to make the decision on their own. I know
a lot of you hate the phrase, but...'living in my house,
following my rules' is the way I feel.

[Response: It's easy to say this kind of stuff when you're not living in this
situation. The problem with that old canard is that it's not always
practicable. Norma can *say* that if SD lives in her house she follows her
rules, but that doesn't make it so. This kid is a dependent minor. Norma's DH
and his ex are still responsible for her maintenance. They pretty much have to
provide her food, clothing, and shelter.]

<snip>

>What you're talking about is punishment. The behavior did
>have consequences; it heightened the degree of hostility in

>the home. You're not talking about how everyone can work
>through these issues better or solve some problems. *I* see
>you coming here and talking things over and looking for ideas,

>but I don't think SD does. I think she sees you trying to

>force her to do things your way or else.

And that's a bad thing how?

[Response: SD has a life to lead. She has lessons to learn. Norma can't do
those things for her. It's not in SD's best interests to substitute Norma's
judgment for her own until 18 and then walk out the door with no judgment
calls, mistakes, and lessons under her belt.]

You know, Jane, I'm not talking
about having me wanting to control our children's every move
and decision, especially when they are teens. Our kids get
*plenty* of practice in making decisions for themselves.
At the same time, I *do* ask (even require) to know when
those decisions are being made, if at all possible, and,
at their age, I do lay out options for them, even when not
asked. They're younger, of course, but our son is only a
couple of years younger than Norma's daughter and he knows
that until he's living away from the house, he's going to
have to let us into his life and his decisions to a certain
extent. Where are you going, what are you going to do,
who are you going to be with, when are you going to be
back are questions he's going to have to have an answer
for.

[Response: When your son is 17 I assume and hope that he will chose to let you
into his life and his decisions to some extent. However, to a very great
extent he will not have to. He won't have to tell you where he's going, or
stay in when you tell him to, or come back when he says he will. In some
places he will be able to drop out of school, get married, work, and drive
without your permission. He will be able to lie, have sex, use drugs, steal
things, and have children anywhere.

[You *can* resonably expect to be involved in your kids' lives through their
teens. I'm not saying you can't. I'm saying that you can't just mandate it.
They are partners in the relationship. They have needs and desires. Your
control of their lives is very limited, as is your control of the relationship
between you. You're dealing with another whole person, and a big part of that
person's job at that point is to push away from you.]

<snip>

Did I ever say lying worked?? It didn't. I had an older
brother and sister who had already used up all the 'good'
lies and my parents were pretty fast at picking up any
that I re-used or even thought up on my own. Not answering
a valid question and lying weren't acceptable to my parents.
Not answering brought instance consequences. Lying just

delayed the consequences. Eventually I learned that neither
one worked.

[Response: I inferred that you felt that lying was more respectful.]

>You know what, though, Tracey? I prefer open rebellion.
>I want my kid to say, "Get off my back. I'm 17. I'll come
>home when I want and do what I want. Get a life and stop
>sucking off mine."

Maybe I should explain a bit. When I was talking about


'open rebellion', I meant Norma's SD's actions. Hostile,
abusive, downright 'in-your-face' 'I'm gonna do what I
want and you can't stop me.' I'll even include the state-
ment above. That is totally unacceptable and will be met
with equal 'force' from this side.

[Response: I hate the idea of being that reactive. I don't behave that way in
*any* relationship. Equal force from my side is rarely he appropriate response
to hostility. On a good day I go straight to "Wow, that was hostile; let's
figure out where that's coming from." On a bad day I may have to step off
until I am certain I can avoid the temptation to meet hostility with equal
force. I'm not looking for a fight or a power struggle. I'm looking for a way
to work through the problem with the other person.]

An 'open rebellion'
of this type: 'Hey, I'm responsible. I haven't got in
trouble. I do good in school. Can I have a little slack?'
will be acceptable to me.

[Response: That's not rebellion.]

>That's communication. It may not be what I want to hear,
>and it won't be the end of the discussion, but at least
>she'd be treating the relationship between her and me
>with respect.

Sounds like we differ on what we consider respect then,


Jane. Any statement that starts with 'Get off my back!'
isn't respectful, IMO.

[Response: I really don't understand why not. I appreciate directness. Look
at the gyrations Norma is going through trying to figure out what in hell is
going on with her SD. I think in many ways it would be easier for her if her
SD said, "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you. You don't understand ANYTHING.
All you do is tell me everything I'm trying to do wrong and treat me like a
fucking child. It's my life, MY life. Why don't you just stay the fuck out of
it?"

[When you get this kind of "abuse" you can shut the kid off and tell her never
to speak to you that way again. But is that really what you want? Is that
really going to get you where you want to be? Because I want to hear about the
ANYTHING that I don't understand. The cursing and shouting are part of the
communication and appropriate to expressing extreme anger and frustration. Not
to say it's necessarily the best way to express anger, but you've got to
prioritize here. And at this point I think that understanding what's going on
with SD is more important than teaching the girl that people often respond to
hostility and anger with hostility and anger.]


>This isn't an easy phase of development, but neither is 4.
>We sign up for it when we decide to have the kid. It's
>hard, but it's easier if you do it as a team.

Ah, but to be a team (I'm assuming you're talking about


being a team with the teen), all involved have to agree to
be a team. Norma's SD is being an 'Army of One' (one of the
silliest ad campaigns yet) and wants no part of being a
team.

[Response: But that's so common! Team building skills are what make leaders
leaders.]

jane

Tracey

jane

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 11:31:36 AM7/12/02
to
>Grumble, I'm not making myself very clear here.

You did a hell of a lot better than I did.

jane


jane

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 11:43:32 AM7/12/02
to
>es, I know. That's what so hard about all of this - the contradictions
>I feel from one minute to the next. One minute I'd give anything if we
>could all work this out, or at least start talking so that we could get
>on the road to a solution. The next minute I remember just what she was
>yelling at her father in the driveway and my back stiffens with resolve
>to make sure she get the message that she can't get away with that.
>

Can you work it through some? You've got goal A, resolution of a family
crisis, and goal B, making sure SD knows that she can't yell at her father.

As I've said elsewhere, goal A seems far the more pressing, so I'd try to focus
my primary efforts there. Besides, you really can't do jack about goal B, as
it doesn't involve you.

> But you know what? I can handle slamming
>doors, huffing and puffing and general expressions of frustration and
>even anger. I've just never had to deal with such hostitily and contempt
>before.

Yep, it can be demoralizing.

jane

Tracey

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 12:27:54 PM7/12/02
to
>But seriously, I really don't think she's doing drugs.
>She doesn't smoke. Doesn't smell of smoke (of any kind),
>her pupils always appear normal (and she doesn't wear
>glasses that she can hide behind), so for now, I think
>we'll let the drug thing be.

Not to beat this subject into the ground, but there are
*a lot* more things than just pot out there you know.
And most of them leave no telltale odor around.

Tracey

Nell

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 2:24:24 PM7/12/02
to

I just got a call from the bookstore. The book is in (and I only asked
about it last night.) It's $31.00 (That may well be $15US). I shall be
going to have a look see later this aft. I'm hoping it will have
something to offer that will be helpful.
Norma

Nell

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 2:27:36 PM7/12/02
to
Amy Lou wrote:
>
> This may seem like a dumb question but have you tried a family meeting where
> you all sit down together and each get a turn to raise a topic of
> discussion? You and DH get to explain why you need basic good manners in
> regard to SD's comings and goings, set some limits regarding the verbal
> abuse and SD gets to raise whatever it is that she wants from you.
>

Not a dumb question at all. We used to have family meetings regularly
where everybody got to say whatever it was that was on their mind,
things that they liked about the way the family/household was run,
things that they didn't like, suggestions for change, etc. We used to
discuss curfews or lack of same at these meetings, responsibilities,
privilieges, etc. You name it, we discussed it. And it worked well.
That is, until SD got mad at us last December and has been mad ever
since and now is not talking.

Heck, she won't even eat with us anymore much less sit at the table for
a discussion.

Norma

filipic...@osu.edu

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 2:38:41 PM7/12/02
to
In article <3D2F1ED6...@fritzy.ca>, ne...@spamfritzyless.ca wrote:

>
> I just got a call from the bookstore. The book is in (and I only asked
> about it last night.) It's $31.00 (That may well be $15US). I shall be
> going to have a look see later this aft. I'm hoping it will have
> something to offer that will be helpful.
> Norma

I hope so, too. If you're not sure after glancing at it, why not check the
library? That way you can take it home, read the whole thing and then then
decide if it's a keeper.

You may have already tried the library, but I thought I'd mention it just
in case you hadn't.

--Martha

Nell

unread,
Jul 12, 2002, 2:35:39 PM7/12/02
to
jane wrote:
>
> Can you work it through some? You've got goal A, resolution of a family
> crisis, and goal B, making sure SD knows that she can't yell at her father.
>
> As I've said elsewhere, goal A seems far the more pressing, so I'd try to focus
> my primary efforts there. Besides, you really can't do jack about goal B, as
> it doesn't involve you.
>

Good advice. However, I must interject here that Goal B does involve
me. Having someone around who curses and swears poisons the whole
atmosphere of the household. Everyone walks around wondering when the
next shoe is going to drop. Not healthy, imo.