Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Rochester, NH
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There's a lot here, but I do have to say that the school issues, the disorganization, the impulsive-sounding behaviors, even the lying, etc. would raise a red flag for me in terms of looking at ADHD and depression. I'm not saying that this is totally the issue, but there are some signs there. Have you spoken w/her pediatrician? Has she had any sort of an eval done at all?
However, here are our problems (don't want to go on forever and I feel like I will):
1) lying - consistently, since she was young. as in, stands in front of a pile of freshly folded clothes scattered on her bedroom floor sulking "but I DID put them away! why don't you ever believe me?" after I point out I can *see* the clothes I just folded on the floor. she hates that i don't believe her about stuff. yet she blatantly lies to me constantly, and i have trouble trusting her word on anything.
2) school - she just doesn't care about it, even though she chose it. doesn't want to be homeschooled. brings home 1 out of 4 points for effort, won't do homework, etc. colors things like she's in kindergarten. teacher's no help, says she won't babysit a fifth grader, that dd just needs to "do it" in regards to work, keeping track of homework, etc. but she won't.
3) keeping track of "stuff" - losing her electronics (mp3 players, etc) comes with natural consequences. however, losing 3 pairs of sneakers to i-don't-know-where is a huge and expensive problem for me. she doesn't have enough income to require her to replace them herself, and she needs them for gym class, for instance.
4) sleeping - her teacher has complained for months that she's sleepy in class. i put her to bed early; i check on her after she's in bed. i leave her door open so I can see if she's reading. finally i've begun going through her sheets each night. i'm finding candy (a HUGE chocolate bar i bought for smores tonight, last week a package of cocoa mix) under her pillow, and flashlights. i feel like invading her space this way is really damaging our relationship. i also have absolutely no other solution anymore.
~Katie~ married to J, mom to DD- A 13 yrs ,DS- L 7yrs , and my little nursling DD2- R 5yrs.
In some ways I agree with needing a counsellor - not because I think she needs counselling per se (her issues do not really soound extreme) but so you can get a fresh perspective. Have you thought of going to counselling solo on this? (as you ex won't agree to her going?) My friend has an 11 yr old in counselling - and, honestly, for the most part the counsellor counsels the parent who them implements changes with the child.
My own 11 year DD is causing me some challenges - so big hug to you! I commiserate!
I would like to address your above points - not to attack, but to give you a different perspective.
1. Do not give her the opportunity to lie. Do not ask her if she put away her clothes - go check and if she didn't, say "put away your clothes". Be very specific in instructions: "put all your clothes away". That way she cannot pull the "miscommunication card" in discussions. This is not always practical, I know. If you catch someone else lying (even a character on TV ) make a comment: "no one is going to trust him for a long time after the lying he did". I would make it about a secondary character as I bet she is unwilling to admit she lied - so talking about it directly might not get you very far . Secondary character are easier and safer to talk about.
2. Well, she didn't really choose it. She was torn between parents who wanted different things. She has a teacher who is acting like she can't be bothered with her. I am not suprised she is underperforming - she is probably messed up on the whole issue. Acknowledge that it is no suprise she is behaving as she is (take any blame you have on her off) and figure out a plan to go from "messed up" to thriving. I would start with an evaluation for LD to rule out that possibility. I think the school has to do one in a certain amount of time if you put your request in writing. Then, find her a kick-ass school and teachers. Not all teachers are going to be great, but until she has transitioned smoothly into school and is thriving, she needs good ones who will work with her.
3. Does she get an allowance? Make money in some way? If she doesn't - make it happen. Let her enjoy her buying power for about a month - get a feel for it. Then tell her that she is going to get one pair of sneakers until June, and if she loses them, she is replacing them. Yes, you may have to supplement if she loses beyond her allowance (and then she is in debt to you - no allowance until it is paid off, you might let her work off some of the debt). I can almost gaurentee she will not like losing her money because she lost shoes.
4. Why is she hiding chocolate? Does she not feel safe eating in front of you (like you might judge it or take it away?). Hiding food concerns me. Bring very little junk food into your house, but let her eat it (even all at once) when it is there. Let her buy candy with her own money (as long as she is not in debt to you for shoes!) and eat it in front of you. No one should ever be put in the position of hiding food.
I am not sure what to do about the flashlight. You can't really make someone sleep, yk? Maybe let her read until she is sleepy - I tend to think her eyes will eventually droop (mine do!) and she will sleep. Determin if you think she has sleeping issues: What time does she fall asleep and when does she make up? Does she seem tired to you during the day? If she does not appear to have sleeping issue, stay out of her room, and ignore the flashlight. If she does seem ot have sleep issues, well, hopefully someone else will advise. I have not really dealt with sleep issues.
Good luck, mama!
We set clear boundaries; there are consequences when she doesn't meet them. She doesn't really care much about whatever consequences I've set down, though, and I can see the "f-you" set in her eyes and the anger when they get set. Given the choice between a well-behaved, angry child, and a happy, disorganized child who fails at school, I'll take the happy one. I don't want her to be angry all the time. She's sincerely hurt that I don't trust her; what I'm doing is not changing the behavior -- so continuing to do the same things seems like a bad option.
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