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need quick help with appropriate consequences PLEASE!!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Meant to ask this earlier but work has been crazy busy today.  Probably because I was an hour & a half late.  Because of my step-daughter.


My keys are on a metal D-ring attached to my purse.  She asked to borrow them because she wanted to go check the mail over the weekend.  This morning I grabbed my purse, saw the flash of blue from the D-ring as I tossed it in my larger bag and went to work.  When I got to work I noticed the keys were not attached to the D-ring anymore.  The keys I need to open my desk drawer where my laptop is.  ARGH!!  She never put them back.  I call DF in a panic, he turns the car around to come get me (on the way to daycare to drop off DS), we go back home, I search frantically.  Not there.


I go back to work.  Nope, facilities does not have copies.  So, they can open it with a pry bar but then it will never lock again & I'll have to bring home my laptop daily.  DF calls the school and they get her from class and hey, guess what?  She has them with her.  Yes, I'm glad because where else would they be?  DF drives to the school and gets them and brings them to me.  All this driving around making him miss 1 appointment and be late for the second.


I was furious this morning, so probably a good thing she was at school.  I'm calmer now.  I have 2 hours before I go home.  I acknowledge that I should have confirmed my keys were there right when she got back from the mailbox.


What would you do?

post #2 of 14
I don't know if this comes too late but I would just remind her to put the keys back immediately after she is done using them and check for a while to make sure that you have all the keys in the future. I don't see forgetting once as a bad thing worthy of a consequence. At that age I also caused a hassle by forgetting keys, I locked them in the car while we were at a secluded natural hotsprings. My stepdad broke into the car while we swam and reminded me to always make sure I have the keys in hand before locking a door and it was never an issue after that.
post #3 of 14

I would just remind her to replace the keys.  My husband and I do stuff like this from time to time, and we're in our 30s!  I wouldn't give my husband a consequence for accidentally doing something like this, so I wouldn't for my child either.

post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks mamas!  We actually told her we hadn't decided yet.  She suggested locking her out of the house for 3 hours jaw2.gif Um no.  And wouldn't teach her anything anyway.  Today I'm thinking just have a talk with her later, and make sure she really gets just how big of a deal that was (thank gods my boss likes me, my last job this would've been more serious).


I also found out last night that she knew she had my keys.  She couldn't find hers so she grabbed mine.


But here's the root of the issue and maybe this is what truly needs to be addressed.  She is quite possibly the most inconsiderate, self-absorbed child I've ever met.  Yes, she's 13 and I hear all the time "teens are like that".  But I know that is not true all the time and honestly that just feels like a cop out to me.  DF pointed out to her yesterday that she has called him for the most minuscule things in the past if it was something important to her, but she never called to say "I can't find my keys, what should I do?"


Her acting inconsiderate is very common.  She doesn't think before doing things; doesn't pay attention.  I realize this is 12 years of upbringing in a different household and not an easy thing to change, but any suggestions?  The consequences (not discipline) are getting bigger and I need her to pay attention before things are truly important. 

post #5 of 14

I think it would be harmful to start imposing bigger consequences for normal small acts.  Overreacting to small things makes it less likely that a child will take you seriously when a big thing happens because they think everything is a big thing to you.  Pre-teens, and teenagers, often think they are the target of unfairness anyways and to actually make this true by imposing hard consequences out of fear it may push her away and cause her to do things that she wouldn't do if she felt connected to her father and you. 


If you are new to the picture then I think you need to stand back and let her father handle the bigger things while you get a handle on what is normal for a teenager and are able to react more appropriately.  I am not sure about good parenting book for raising teenagers but the pre-teen/teen board probably has some.  I do like the book Your 10-14 year old because it talks about the fundamental things that drive behavior at these ages.


It sounds like you have a lot of fears right now about your dsd respecting others.  I really recommend How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, it is a wonderful book for opening up the lines of communications and the method is very helpful for getting to the root of why a child doesn't care about things you think they should care about.  She may be a little old for this, but the book Raising A Thinking Preteen (my favorite book ever) has some great ideas for helping parents and children connect with each other while also raising emotional awareness for both parties.

post #6 of 14

I would have a spare mailbox key in the kitchen cabinet.   (well, that's what we do)


We have misplaced the spare mailbox key several times, so I can't imagine giving my teenager my main set of keys.  She's basically an adult, and I bet she wouldn't put them back.  


Anyway... I don't really think I would do anything more than tell her exactly what you had to go through because of her mistake.  But, then I'd drop it with her.


What a huge hassle though!  I would be super upset too.  

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks much for the reply :)  I often do stand back and let her dad take over, other times I'm actually the calmer/more rational one that she comes to.  We actually have a pretty good relationship all things considered, but her behavior in the past year has really tested everyone.  It has been acknowledged by all adults in her life (including her therapist before we moved) that she is emotionally much younger than her age and she has become extremely manipulative.  Well, she tries to be anyway.  I'll give those books a try.

post #8 of 14

I live in a house with 7 adults (and 2 children) we have a spare key in a lock box outside (like realtors use) because people forget/misplace their keys.  We also have several spare sets of keys in the house for guest, babysitters etc, which sometimes people take when they need keys because they can't find theirs.  I realize that this address the specific issue in your post (keys) and not the other issues you stated later, but sometimes I think taking care of the "little"/concrete things systematically, makes it easier to deal with larger/abstract issues.


I know many sets of adults who have taken their partner's keys by accident/on purpose when they can't find their own.  So it seems less an issue of being "immature" than something that just happens.

post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
I like the concept of having extra keys. In fact we had 2 spare keys. I say had because she has already lost 2 keys. I mean, do I keep buying new keys? How do I address the fact that it isn't important enough for her to keep track of? (not directing that specifically at any of the responses here) She hasn't lost her iTouch.
post #10 of 14

Could she be put in charge of getting and keeping track of some new spare keys?  Either she our you could pay (they wouldn't be that expensive) - but she could be in charge of taking them to the spot in the store, waiting while they're made, digging out several (preferably large and bright) keychains.  Hanging a tiny hook for them somewhere in the house.  Making sure that they get put there and that there's always at least one set there, for her or anyone else?  If it helps motivate her, make it out to be as a convenience for her (though it will obviously help everyone else, and hopefully prevent incidents like you had with your keys).    

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hmmm. I won't hold my breath on her keeping track, but making her go to the store and wait for them would be enough of a drag that it might solidify it in her mind. Thanks for the idea!
post #12 of 14

I did that to dh on Tuesday. I had borrowed his car the day before and left for work with his car keys on my key ring.

post #13 of 14
I really recommend How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk, it is a wonderful book for opening up the lines of communications and the method is very helpful for getting to the root of why a child doesn't care about things you think they should care about.


There is also how to talk so teens will listed and listen so teens will talk. It's the same principles as the kids version but the situations are probably more suited to your situation.


I like the idea of sending her to get a new key cut if she looses it. Is it possible to get a copy of you desk key cut too?

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yes, dh is going to take her & have her order 2 more house keys & my desk key. Then take her to the post office for another copy of the mail key.

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk, please ignore typos!
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