Trying to be a good mom, but failing. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 04-02-2013, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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3 years ago we adopted a teenager. He is 17. We have all these issues that come up and that I feel like we handle okay, but then more come up.

He was doing horrible in school, so we homeschooled him (at his begging). Now, he's in college classes but won't go! He skips all the time and we paid good money for those classes.

He was smoking pot. He suffers from anxiety and depression, so we understood why he was doing it (even though he has a counselor and medication for the issues). So we didn't give him crap about it and even started looking into a medical marijuana card for him.

The other day I was looking through his twitter messages and came across one where he is asking another friend where the "narcs" are. He says he didn't send the message, a friend sent the message under his name.

He lies all of the time, about everything! I could ask him if he ate a sandwich, and he would tell me no, even if I knew he ate a damn sandwich! And it's not like I would care if he did!

He goes to parties even though I told him I don't want him to. He and his friends smoke in my car. I'm losing it. WTH do I do???

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#2 of 10 Old 04-03-2013, 10:55 AM
 
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Just from what you've written here, it sounds like your son rules the roost. While I recognize that bringing a teenager into your home is a major adjustment, it sounds like you are bending over backwards to make things pleasant for him, rather than setting clear boundaries and enforcing them.

 

My son suffers from depression and anxiety too, so I understand how that aspect of your situation makes things so much harder.

 

He did poorly in school - and rather than find out why he was doing poorly, hold him accountable for his grades, working with his teachers - you took him out of school. It seems like you made a lot more work for yourself (being his teacher), to make things pleasant for him. Not a better fit - if he isn't taking the college classes you signed him up for (presumably with his consent?), he's not doing better.

 

You list his pot smoking as a problem - but want to get him a medical marijuana card? Is this so he can still do it, without getting arrested? Seems to me it would be better for him to stop, rather than for you to make it easier for him.

 

He smokes in your car, against your wishes? In my house, he wouldn't use the car any more. Period. He can follow the rules, or he can find another way to get around.

 

Lying isn't acceptable in my house. Look at preschooler boards to see how parents deal with younger liars. Mostly you don't give them the opportunity to lie (don't ask "Did you have a sandwich?" when you already know the answer).

 

I know I'm coming across as harsh, but you need to implement some tough love with this kid. He could be looking for boundaries and limits, and he isn't finding any.

 

I suggest you see a counselor together. I think you need help setting limits for your son.

 

Hugs and best wishes. I really do understand how hard it is to deal with all this. For those of us that lived with our kids through their early years, we've already been through school issues, defiance, setting limits, developing a respectful relationship - you're getting hit with it all at once (with baggage to boot). Good luck.


If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

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#3 of 10 Old 04-03-2013, 11:19 AM
 
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Krisnic, someone recently bumped a thread you started a year ago about your son, and the replies you got then still apply now - you need to be the Parent, set some limits, impose some consequences, and stop letting him walk all over you.

 

I do understand that it's hard to be the hard-nose - and he won't take well to it, after 3 years of being in charge himself.

 

The right choices are hardly ever the easy ones. Find yourself some help - counseling, parenting classes, a friend with teenagers, something.

 

You said "We adopted a teenager" - where does your DH fit into this? Does your son play you against each other, or are you both wishy-washy? You need to take a united stand for your son.


If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.

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#4 of 10 Old 04-03-2013, 11:22 AM
 
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Well, that was a very brave and wonderful thing to adopt a 14 year old.  Most older children don't get adopted so I think it was great that you and your husband opened up your home to this boy.

 

Having said that, though, I have to agree with the above poster that you are letting your son get away with too much.

 

You have to let him suffer the consequences of his actions.  If he won't go to class, stop paying for them.

 

You need to enforce punishments and take away privileges.  I'm sure there are plenty of things that you give your son that can be taken away as punishment.  Do you give him an allowance?  Do you let him drive your car?  Does he have an xbox, playstation, TV, etc., etc.?  Take those things away.

 

Don't tell him you don't "want" him to go to a party.  Tell him he is not allowed.  And when he goes anyway, (I'm sure he will because he does not respect you) take away something.

 

Also, what is your husband doing to help?  It sounds like the lion's share of the parenting is falling on you and I think your husband needs to step up and do more. 


Divorced mother of two DD15 and DD7
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#5 of 10 Old 04-06-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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First of all, you are not failing. hug2.gif Please do not be so hard on yourself. 

 

Parenting a transition-aged youth (TAY), particularly one with - I'm assuming - a traumatized past is NOT easy.  You need a big support system and some training/education on working with such kids.  This is a great podcast about working with traumatized teens, particularly transitional-aged teens.  I also suggest reading about how early childhood trauma affects the brain.  The more you know, the better you will be equipped to deal with and, ultimately, understand your son's behaviors. 

 

You stated that he has a counselor... are you talking about a school counselor or a therapist/psychologist?  If he doesn't have a therapist/psychologist, then I highly recommend you find him one... one that is trained to work with transitional aged, traumatized youths.  If he does already have a therapist/psychologist, then I suggest you arrange a collateral session with his therapist to discuss these issues ASAP.      

 

Setting and maintaining consistent boundaries/rules and clear, concise consequences are imperative.  I know it can be difficult and there will be A LOT of resistance to your boundaries/rules in the beginning, but it will get easier.  Check out Kline & Fay's Parenting Teens with Love and Logic.  Your son's therapist/psychologist should also be able to provide you with some suggestions, resources and support on how to deal with his behaviors. 

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#6 of 10 Old 04-12-2013, 08:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post

First of all, you are not failing. hug2.gif Please do not be so hard on yourself. 

 

Parenting a transition-aged youth (TAY), particularly one with - I'm assuming - a traumatized past is NOT easy.  You need a big support system and some training/education on working with such kids.  This is a great podcast about working with traumatized teens, particularly transitional-aged teens.  I also suggest reading about how early childhood trauma affects the brain.  The more you know, the better you will be equipped to deal with and, ultimately, understand your son's behaviors. 

 

 yeahthat.gif

 

www.fosterparents.com is a supportive forum for families with your type of situations. Typical teen parenting styles and strategies will not apply to a teen with limited attachment, trauma history, all the issues that come with adoption. Please check out their informative articles and welcoming community. Also, check out www.childtraumaacademy.org  for a very interesting explanation of WHY a different parenting style is called for.

 

I am willing to bet that you have tried setting limits, taking away privileges, offering rewards, consequences, and all that. Standard parenting just isn't going to work. Can you find a therapist with specific adoption related experience? it really is a different experience, parenting kids in situations like this.

 

Besides the above suggestions, you may enjoy reading The Explosive Child, by Ablom and Greene. Even if your child isn't "explosive", their philosophy and attitude are useful.

 

You are not failing. And it is not too late.hug2.gif


Rhu - mother,grandmother,daughter,sister,friend-foster,adoptive,and biological;not necessarily in that order. Some of it's magic, some of it's tragic, but I had a good life all the way (Jimmy Buffet)

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#7 of 10 Old 04-13-2013, 07:37 PM
 
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I've enjoyed the book "Hold onto your kids" by Gordon Neufeld. It speaks about the peer-orientation vs. adult orientation.  I am a foster parent, and I got a lot of useful information from it.

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#8 of 10 Old 04-15-2013, 05:12 PM
 
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Pot can exacerbate depression and anxiety. I don't know if and how it interacts with prescription meds.

 

I don't have any specific suggestions beyond get professional help.

Sorry -- I see that you didn't say you did foster adopt. Disregard anything that isn't relevant.

I know a couple of former foster kids. By 14, a lot of damage had been done, and just providing love, alternatives to traditional education, and meeting physical needs more than adequately was not enough to repair it. Both are now in their 40s and still walking wounded. The lying is probably an old coping skill that served a purpose at some point.
 

If you were not given a realistic picture of what his needs would be and ongoing support for meeting them, it's a travesty. Kids who've been in foster care have the highest rate of ptsd, higher than combat vets. I know nothing about his history, but my experience is that at lot has to be wrong for kids to be removed, and that he was not able to be reunited with family is telling. This is probably not just a behavioral modification situation. You need outside help. I do see that he's being treated for depression and anxiety. This is a family issue at this point.

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#9 of 10 Old 04-18-2013, 11:45 AM
 
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I just wanted to say it sounds like you are being an awesome mom!!!!! The son sounds like he is being a naughty child, even though maybe he is an adult now.  You did all you can do, once they are in college, you can be done with your duties.  Doesn't sound like he is appreciating you.  Don't be his door mat.

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#10 of 10 Old 04-18-2013, 11:47 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SplashingPuddle View Post

I've enjoyed the book "Hold onto your kids" by Gordon Neufeld. It speaks about the peer-orientation vs. adult orientation.  I am a foster parent, and I got a lot of useful information from it.

I totally agree!  At this boy's age, would it be too late?  Maybe she can go away with him alone to bond, camping or something. ??

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