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Love = money. Wise words needed.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have 2 daughters. My oldest is 17 & was by & large conventionally parented & my youngest is 17 months & has been APd. The difference is like night & day already. I am having all sorts of problems with dd#1 that I can almost directly track down to the way I raised her when she was younger.

The main problem with dd#1 is her total lack of motivation to do anything & the fact she has her hand permanently out & takes everything she can & more with very little concern about how she got it. Dh is her step dad & he is always going on about how manipulative she is & how lazy she is & so on. I never know what to do. She complains if she doesn't get x, y or z but will never do anything for them. She point blank refuses to help me around the house since "he" tells her she has to do it. He refuses to do stuff coz "she" should be doing it. So I get stuck in the middle trying to do everything & keep the peace & look after the baby & work & it all gets a bit much at times.

I can see that she has problems. I can also see that material things are not going to do anything to solve them. I can see that she needs to get off her butt & do things - more for herself really than anyone else. But I cannot for the life of me see how to motivate her to do them. I fail to see how being abusive or punishing her by taking something away will help. So what I am really looking for are constructive ways to get her to help herself.

I've tried paying her to do work, which doesn't work coz she only does it a few times then expects to get paid for nothing. For example, she has put clothes on layby based on what she is supposed to be getting. Then doesn't do the work so doesn't get paid all the money. Then when the time for her to have paid the clothes off comes up she gets all agro coz I have to pay for them or she'll lose the money.

More recently she left home to go live with the boyfriend about a month ago. This has taken some of the tension out of the house & cut down greatly on my housework load which is nice for me & the baby but has just moved the stress someplace else.

She wants to stay at school, despite the fact she doesn't go very often. More I think for the social aspect & so she does not have to work full time. This means she needs to get a benefit. You can only get a benefit here if you are under 18 if you are irreconcilably estranged from your parents. So she is trying to emotionally blackmail me to tell the benefit office I've thrown her out.

I give her food coz I worry about her & she gives it all to the boyfriend. Or she just goes & spends her money on more clothes as she doesn't have to budget for food anymore. I'm at a total loss as to what to do about it. She is at the state of motivation where she won't even go to school ( which is a whole mile away from where she lives ) unless she gets a lift.

Now I am all for gentle solutions. All her solutions involve me running around after her & paying for everything with no input or effort on her behalf. I don't dare ask most of the people I know IRL coz they are all too much into the abusive solutions. Anyone have any ideas or experience that could help me lovingly sort this situation out in a non-problematic, positive way. I'm not looking for a quick fix either. I appreciate this is going to take time & a whole heap of effort.
post #2 of 24
wow OceanMomma,
I have never been in anything like that situation since my oldest is 6, but I did watch my parents deal with my older sister in a similar situation. If it were me, I would stop providing for her- food money, lifts, etc. I know you are worried about your daughter and that she is still a minor but it sounds like you are enabling her to stay lazy. My guess is that very soon she will be coming to you to ask for things- I would at that point discuss with her what you expect of her if she wants help. Make your expectations very definate, draw up a written contract if you have to. (ie if you go to school every day for a week, I will buy $X worth of groceris for the week, etc) I don't know, I think you need to let her se ethe natural consequences for the choices she has made- no more free rides from mom.
post #3 of 24
The situation sounds very stressful. It also sounds to me as if you are trying to take some 'blame' yourself for your early parenting, and so are still trying to make amends. This doesn't make sense to me.

It's easier from the outside than when you are in the situation, but personally, I'd stop running around after her, giving her money, groceries or anything else. If she loses clothes because she doesn't have the money to pay for them - that should be her look-out. She knows the system, but knows that you will bail her out, so where is the motivation to be independent? She's not a baby - wow, many girls are raising their own children at seventeen, not being the baby themselves!

I think that the only way you can help her is to stop helping her to be helpless. I'd be clear to her, have a talk, tell her she's made her choice and is now out in the world. Let her fend for herself - you'll be doing her a big favour in the long run. Let her decide what to do about school. My hunch is that the more you chase her to go, the less inclined she will be to do so. And while she thinks that you will support her financially, there is little motivation to look after herself and her future.

I don't know if I'd bother to make 'deals' - I don't think the idea of reward and punishment works in the long term. I'd tell her that she's welcome to come home to dinner x times a week, and visit, just as any normal daughter would, but that the gravy train ends here.

I hope I don't sound too harsh, I am not meaning to be, but I agree with Khris that you are enabling her to be lazy and helpless. It sounds to me that you need to break a habit of a lifetime and it will take strength on your part to do it.

Good luck, it sounds like a very frustrating situation!
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanx so far for your replies. I did have a talk with her earlier on today about her life. I agree it is going to be hard for me to do but I shall just have to work on it. I also agree with BritishMum about the making deals thing. I am very against rewards & punishment as I think they just set you up for more problems. I am going to mention the coming home for dinner thing which sounds like a good constructive idea.
post #5 of 24
I have a friend who told me that one of the hardest things she has ever had to do is tell her daughter where the food bank in town was located. She had reached the end of her tether, and they both survived, and they ended up with a good relationship.

People who live together organise a form of economy together. If she isn't living with you, her finances are none of your business, and you should tell her that, nicely of course.
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
I know it all sounds good in theory but I have a little cute gorgeous toddler who mainstream people are always telling me is manipulating me into doing things like carrying her in a sling or bf or whatever & I s'pose I have problems with where the cut off line is. Like when did my big girl cease to be cute & beautiful like my toddler is & become manipulating if you get what I mean ?
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
OK I've worked out my problems with the show her the foodbank strategy. I try to give money to charities that do things like support the homeless, help the starving in third world countries & charities that help teens - especially the one that deals with youth suicide. To me it is a tad hypocritical if I then send my teen off to the foodbank.

What I am looking for is a gentle way to nudge her into taking care of business herself. A way to get her to take pride in her acomplishments. I don't feel getting the big stick out is going to work but will just further alienate her from life & it won't make me feel happy either.

I only give her lifts to places if I am going that way. I try to only feed her if she comes home. At the moment the boyfriend runs around after her if I don't. So me not doing it is only really saving me the hassle, not teaching her to look after herself. I just keep hoping she'll wake up one day & have one of those moments where it all clicks into place & the penny drops.
post #8 of 24
OM, I really feel for you. I have gone through similar things with my dd.

A bunch of my friends were together recently, we all have teens the same age and have known each other since the kids were all 3 yrs old and in play group. We were all kind of wondering what happened. Back then we thought that AP, BF, HS would solve all of our problems and our teens would not need to act out in any way. We were so naive. Not all teens are act-outers, but some are, and it is not really our fault. They just seem to be wired that way. It's their job to break away, and some of them think it needs to be a very violent break.

My oldest has had some adventures of her own, and I have had to be a really Mean Mom. For 4 months she was not welcome in my house. She finally came around and is back home. It got to be too much for her to be on her own. She will be 16 next week, not quite as old as your dd. Her dad is remarried (I am single) and she has big issues with her stepmom. It is very hard not to be in the middle, isn't it?

I just want you to know that you are not alone. Just do your best. Love her, be tough, get a thick skin to all the people who are criticizing how you are parenting.

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thankyou for your kind words jamminmommy

I s'pose my problem is I'm just not prepared to do the teen equivalent of CIO. I kind of think of all the girls I know that ended up heavily into drugs & what not whose parents had disowned them & had no where to go but down. To me anyways, parenting is about unconditional love. It's just finding the balance with the cheque book side of things & playing the political games with step parents & the like.

Well there is now some hope on the horizon. I have managed to get dd on a course doing conservation - well mainly marine biology. It's organised by the youth affairs dept & they get to do things like their open dive ticket, go diving, go skiing, do lots of stuff like native tree planting, rat baiting, beach cleaning ( aka making the environment more back to how it was & more friendly to native endangered birds ) they work at the zoo, they do their day boat skipper license, they learn marine mammal rescue on an inflatable orca whale & then go out & swim with the dolphins for a day. They get to do heavy duty bush / outdoor first aid. This is amazingly a free course. What I actually did was got her an interview & let her make up her mind if she wanted to go.

All I have to do is keep everything crossed that she will stick at it. She did go on the spirit of new zealand for 10 days just after Saffron was born. That's where 40 teenagers all go away & sail around new zealand on a boat. They have to get up at 6:00am & all help out. On the last day, they get to sail the boat all by themselves. She absolutely loved it so hopefully, from what I can tell, this course is more of the same except branching out a bit.
post #10 of 24
My sister had most of the same things going on with her daughter especially trying to get the welfare. My sis worked real hard at getting herself off of welfare and was not going to agree with willingly putting her daughter on to the system.

I couldn't help but wonder if my neice's eating habits had anything to do with her attitudes and lack of energy and motivation (low iron, B-12 or lack of fresh veggies). Personally I would have tried to get my neice to a homeopathic doctor, or have a nutritional assessment done or bought a "mother/daughter" package for a massage, etc. at a local health spa or massage therapist. I always wondered if maybe she was li'l low on self-esteem and needed to find adult ways of feeling good about herself. Plus I think it is real scary for them to break away and assert themselves. But what would I know.

And wow, Ocean! The Marine Biology sounds like a really good idea. Where can I sign up? (I might need this info for *later*)
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Actually, you sound like you know a bit dd is low on iron, never eats veges. Has a bit of an eating disorder. Tho' more of a public one. You know will starve herself to a certain extent & tell everyone she's doing it but then eat enough chocolate to keep herself alive. I do know that the times in my life when I've been all over the place mentally, I was eating total junk. Conversely, I've lived thru some total disasters & kept it together when I was eating healthy. I'm positive it's a whole healthy body is a strong & healthy mind thing.

I'm also quite sure it is self esteem issues. She's had a few incidents in her life ( beyond my control unfortunately ) like the m-i-l telling everyone she was her real grandchild until bil's partner had a baby & dd was very unceremoniously dumped as she was no longer needed at about age 14. Co-incidentally at the same time, she had a major drama with one of her best friends about an ex-boyfriend of the best friends. Things such as this do not help self esteem. Like I know they sound like small biccies to us but when you're that age, they are major dramas & cause all sorts of ructions. So I'm sure me getting all rejectional & tough if she doesn't do what I expect her to do is going to just further re-inforce these & other negative experiences she's had.

The course is run by the NZ govt so I'm not sure how much use it would be for you. Unless you come live here, which is probably not such a bad plan It is actually specifically designed to increase the self esteem of the participants & to teach them life skills. Along with a whole heap of other cool stuff.
post #12 of 24
Just a thought. But maybe she could use some one-on-one with you. You know kinda like a toddler (or whatever age) when they're "acting up"?

That's where the mother/daughter massage thing might come in. Or going out for lunch. Or to the zoo? A picnic?

Maybe inviting her on a family outing? Bowling?

Our kids act "rotten" usually when they want MORE attention. But I guess she'll be needing more adult terms like something mutually intriguing.

And I've read that low iron can make a person act absent-minded. And that a good source of vitamin C can assist the body in assimilating the iron that's available. How 'bout a fruit basket? As an "I love you" gift. Or a "housewarming" present.

Okay, now you really got me brainstorming!
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
I really like you Laila This is the exact approach I am taking. I took her to the zoo the other week actually. I take her out every sunday. We have to take Saffron as well but that's no big deal. It is just a difficult act trying to give her extra attention like you do with a toddler but coax her gently into being an adult at the same time. I've been focusing on activities like going to the beach & I'll buy her lunch. Rather than going to the mall & having her perform about wanting clothes. Altho' I have to say, I had big words about the finances & she's not asked me for any money or things since.

I also think the course is a step in the right direction since a month or so ago she had no interest at all in getting out of bed for anything. My dad used to say, you can lead a horse to the water but you can't make it drink. So I've shown her the water & we shall see. I think she realises what a gift this course is. We live in a land of student loans so if she had even worked hard & got the grades to get into uni or polytech, she'd then have ended up with a massive debt after she got her qualification. By & large, they still value experience over pieces of paper here so it would be a hard road I think.
post #14 of 24
Thank you OceanMomma!

you wrote:

"Rather than going to the mall & having her perform about wanting clothes."

I know what you mean.

Having Saffron with you on your excursions should only reflect how important small people really are to you, and how important your older one is since you are taking time out for her.

It sounds like you doing great with what you have to work with!
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
to you for making me feel at least a tiny bit vindicated. & let's hope what I am doing will be enough. If it's not this time around, we'll just have to go back to the drawing board again.

The course starts tomorrow so my fingers are very crossed.
post #16 of 24
I think there's gotta be an answer for every problem. Sometimes we just have to try a few things before we get to the one(s) that work. You must have done a lot of things right in raising her. I'm not sure a lot of difficult or rebellious teenagers would even want to be spending time with the person that they tend to blame for their grief.

Maybe you could use a couple of hours at the spa. Massage, pedicure, pure oxygen, facial, whatever. These places let you pick which services you want. Kinda like summer camp for Mom! (My *dream*)

And also, like jamminmommy says: "get a thick skin to all the people who are criticizing how you are parenting."

Take good care of yourself so can take care of yours.

Warm thoughts your way,

post #17 of 24
OceanMomma, I have no advice or wise words. My only experience with 'bad teenagers' was myself, and I still have a long way to go with my own DD. I just want to let you know that I LOVE the way you're dealing with this. You seem kind and concerned, and if everybody had your kind of integrity the world would be a better place.

I understand that you're in a very tough position, and I admire your choice not to let her "CIO". If my parents had let me CIO when I was a meanie, I wouldn't have come back. It would have felt like they'd only support me if I was doing good or "what they wanted." I think that your trying to find something that gets some passion going in your daughter, like now the marine course, is such a wise and creative "solution." It's hard for teenagers to find something to grab their hearth and point it in a direction away from what everybody expects, and you're doing so fine.

And don't feel bad about traditional parenting when she was young. AP'ing is not only in the sling and the big bed, it's mostly in your heart. It's about listening to your child rather than what the child "should" be doing now, and it looks like you're doing one he!! of a jub at just that.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanx Laila & Simonee for your kind words.

The first day of the course went well. She enjoyed it. She was even up on time & didn't complain about being picked up down the road thru the short cut instead of outside her house.

I read the bumpf they got given on what they're going to be doing for the next 20 weeks & I am so going to forge my birth certificate. Maybe if I tell them I had a chronic sunbed habit ( which is why I look a tad older than 25 ) they'll let me go too. Seriously tho', it looked great. Hard work but so much fun. What I really like about it as well is they treat the kids like people not inferior beings. Oh & the instructor guy said I may be able to come out with them when they go swimming with the dolphins & he said I could take Saffron as well.

So everything crossed & I'll let you know how she gets on in a while.

Thanx again
post #19 of 24
I'm here today because I just dropped my dd (16) off at work. She cried all the way there. She had been asking for more money than I could give her for clothes and entertainment, so I helped her to get a part time job. Well, she hates it because she has to wash dishes, sweep the floor, and wait on demanding customers. I told her that if it was fun, she'd have to pay them to work there. She wants to quit.

I hear what all of you are saying. It's certainly not easy, even though I've always been there for her since birth, I feel like I'm the enemy now.

How are things going with your daughter, Oceanmomma?
post #20 of 24
Sometimes I find it so difficult not to say: "Well. When I was sixteen - insert whatever age - I....yadda, yadda, yadda......" (Fill in blanks with tales of superhuman feats.) But I wonder if young people aren't sometimes bombarded with pressures that didn't really exist on the same level at the time they were born.

The reality should be that when she finds another job, she can give these guys two weeks notice of her intent to quit/change jobs. Who knows, it could be something to look forward to after shift.

Maybe someone else here can think up another option or hang-in-there-words of encouragement? I'm sure there's gotta be others!

And I almost always cry when my children are *sad*.
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