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Old 11-23-2005, 04:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Everybody keeps patting me on the back and telling me what good and understanding and wise mom I am to my 13 year old.
I tell them that it IS hard. But , she needs to be responsible for her own life , she needs to want to do well in school or want to do what is good for her. And I wont guarantee good behavior etc. . . by being suspicious of her and monitoring her every footstep. If she is going to do something I dont approve of, I really cant stop her blah blah blah.
Well the calls from school were really starting to get me down.
Every tardy. The occasional missed class. The very occasional dress code violation. All "smallies" and if she wants to spend her afternoons and weekends in detention this was no skin off of my back so to speak.
But it does get wearing on a person. Society just plain EXPECTS parents to control their kids. Can you tell me how I am supposed to make sure she gets to Science on time?
But this weekend she was gone all weekend. She had permission to go to a concert and spend the night at a friends. I didnt check up, but she was supposed to have called and she didnt. And I didnt hear from her until I was wanting to go to bed on Sunday night. Just way pushing boundaries.
I told her that respecting her ability to choose what she does and treating her like an adult means expecting her to be responsible and to call etc. . . it is no more than I would expect from my dh or do in return.
But oh the constant mental turmoil of "am I doing enough" and "is she really going to be ok if I just trust her and trust that if she does make mistakes she will learn from them and still be ok"
Then today, when she was SUPPOSED to be in after school detention (again) I get a call from Kmart. Lucky me.
My daughter was caught shoplifting.
It turns out that her mistakes arent just learning opportunities to her. They are legal liabilities for me.
Thank goodness it was not a store like Walmart that automatically prosicutes.
I gave her the option of taking the natural consequence of him calling the police or accepting my authority. The foolish girl almost chose calling the police until the nice security officer explained the minimum consequences of probably 2 years on probation and countless hours of community service, as well as a possible ankle bracelet to keep her either at home or school. I know in my state the maximum is 5 years in jail and $5000 in fines.(or so the signs in some shops say)
So we're home. We havent resolved anythign because we need a day to cool off, and my DH has the flu and is unable to go the rounds with me to sort this all out (why I am HERE at 11 pm instead of sleeping)
And she even went so far as to throw a huge fit because she will probably not be able to expect to keep her plans for FRIDAY!! Which she also happenned to mention she "couldnt tell me" what they were exactly. Hmmm. "oh but its not like we are going to hang out and do drugs or something"
The REAL truth is I think that she was planning on having sex with the boy she likes this weekend. (I think this because my lovely DH found out that his adopted sisters biological mother was 13 when she was born, which prompted him to e-mail my dd and tell her that he knew she was going to do things we dont approve of sometimes and he really didnt want her messing her whole life up so she should tell him if she wants/needs birth control. The kind of talk I was hoping could wait till 16. But lo and behold, She bites.)
So this GD mama is just about to spontaneously combust. And I cant even discuss all of this with my dh right now because he is so sick.
It is to the point where I cant even address the shoplifting issue with my dd as a single issue because I am so frazled and convinced she has no business trying to run her own life at this time, given the trial run she has been having lately.
There are good things that have come out of the level of independance she has had. But for the life of me I just cant think of any now.
This kid is 13. She wont be 18 for 5 more years!
This is so sad. I love her so much but part of me just wants her OUT.
I want to be cooperative. I asked her to seriously think of some ideas of how we all can be satisfied regarding her paying us back the $250 some in fines this will cost us. How we can regain trust etc. . .
If she came back tomorrow with someting truly profound which really shows a willingness to take responsibility for he actions I will be genuintely contrite and willing to believe that maybe indeed she is ready.
But from her fit about friday night tonight, all I forsee is a long whine about why cant we just trust her again. She obviously won't be stupid enough to do it again and we should just trust that she has learned her lesson. (with no thought on how she can show this to us of course, or what steps she can take to earn back some trust)
I seriously would have let them call the police (to honor her right to make her own decisions and live with the consequences) except in the end it would still NOT be her being responsible it would just be MORE fines that DH and I are responsible to pay etc. . .
My brain is going to explode.
But thanks for listening to my rant, maybe now I can sleep for having gotten this out.
Joline
Fraud
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Old 11-23-2005, 04:33 AM
 
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Oh my, how does this make you a fraud? GD/AP parents never get mad? That would be tragic. No parenting philosophy delivers a trouble-free child and you are entitled to your natural reaction to her behavior.
A big part of the reason I am answering your post, even though I don't feel qualified to respond to all your concerns, is to tell you that when I was 13, 14, my friends and I frequently shoplifted. That's 30 years ago. It was stores like KMart, Walgreens, etc.,and it was merchandise that meant nothing to us. I was lucky to get caught, like your daughter, by a sympathetic security guard. We were also preoccupied by sex and daring each other to try things, altho none of us acted on it that young. I also ditched school. So while your dd IS engaged in really destructive behavior, I can offer you hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just don't give up on her and DON'T be so hard on yourself. I am sure it is tempting to just want to boot her.

Your dh definitely stirred the pot, and you two need to get in sync asap before your daughter gets any more conflicting signals.

I just received the book "Hold on to Your Kids" and just started reading it this afternoon. The author talks at length about how children today are overly 'peer oriented', defy their parents, and don't have any fear of the consequences of their behavior. There might be suggestions in here that would be helpful to you.
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Old 11-23-2005, 04:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johub
It is to the point where I cant even address the shoplifting issue with my dd as a single issue because I am so frazled and convinced she has no business trying to run her own life at this time, given the trial run she has been having lately.
There are good things that have come out of the level of independance she has had. But for the life of me I just cant think of any now.
This kid is 13. She wont be 18 for 5 more years!
This is so sad. I love her so much but part of me just wants her OUT.
I want to be cooperative. I asked her to seriously think of some ideas of how we all can be satisfied regarding her paying us back the $250 some in fines this will cost us. How we can regain trust etc. . .
If she came back tomorrow with someting truly profound which really shows a willingness to take responsibility for he actions I will be genuintely contrite and willing to believe that maybe indeed she is ready.
I admit to having a strong "conservative" streak as a parent but I don't think your 13yo should run her own life at this time period.

Personally, I think you should take the lead. You are waiting for your dd to have the ideas about making amends and solving her own problems, you are hoping for something "profound" from her... Maybe you need to have the ideas, and be profound. You are so much wanting to cooperate with her, but what is there to call upon her to cooperate with you? Where are the boundaries if they are so permeable? Don't let her walk on thru them. And please don't act like the school is just irritation--it sounds like they are trying to alert you to ongoing problems that you should be dealing with more directly. This does sound serious, and I don't think your daughter can parent herself through it and be blamed for not doing so.

I was allowed to run wild as a teen and it got worse and worse and worse over the years. My parents were passive about it, they didn't know what to do, got upset, and gave up over and over. They blamed me, they blamed the school for not handling things right, etc. They did not know how to take responsibility as parents. I felt as if they didn't/couldn't/wouldn't care enough to bother making a sustained effort for our relationship, for me. Also, I am literally lucky to be alive. (I am sorry if that makes me sound too rude, as I have some strong feelings about this.)

Well, I end up trying to be very different as a parent--as many of us do in our own ways. I have to fight not be so uninvolved as my own mom was, as it is imprinted upon me to act the same. Maybe I go to far. My daughter pushes against tight boundaries where I feel she is safe, and earns wider ones when I see her comply regularly with the requirements/responsibilities of the privileges she has already.

Please try to see this as a sign that your daughter needs you to be more assertive with your attentions and general involvment in her life. I know that many people want to respect hteir children by being very hands-off, but there is a need to balance that especially in your current situation.

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Old 11-23-2005, 04:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Actually my dh is pretty great. I dont mean to imply that his e-mail to my dd was over my head or unwelcome. I knew he was sending it and I was grateful that he was going to because I am simply not emotionally ready to deal with the possibility.
I do not think that tellign her that if she insists on doing it here is how to be safe is the same as telling her it is OK to do it. We are actually on the same page on the value of what he did. And I even thanked him for doing it. He is even going to take her to PP to see a councilor so she can get the whole nitty gritty and all the gross info on all the STDs etc. . . I have been open and honest and discussing sex with her for years but she blocks me out.
I just couldnt bring myself to admit that she had reached that point or that need yet. I had my head buried neatly in the sand regarding sex.
But now that I know she IS interested, I am still not emotionally ready to deal with it. It doesnt mean I will encouage or support it. I will even continue to do what I think is necessary to prevent it. He also does not "condone" it. We are on the same page. But if he hadnt asked about it, I would never know she was even thinking about it.
WHenever I want to come down too hard on her he tells me to stand back and stop taking her behavior personally, etc. . .

I feel like a 'fraud' because everybody seems to think I have all the answers. And I am pretty darned good with disciplining toddlers. But I am so lost with my DD. I am such a huge advocate of GD and I preach it to all my friends etc. . even my MILs think it is just amazing how I deal with my dd and they commend me my understanding etc. . . And I feel ready to scrap it all. (positive, non punitive parenting that is) in favor of some tight restrictions and close supervision.
Thank you for responding!! I need so badly to hash this out with a grownup!
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deeporgarten
I admit to having a strong "conservative" streak as a parent but I don't think your 13yo should run her own life at this time period.

Personally, I think you should take the lead. You are waiting for your dd to have the ideas about making amends and solving her own problems, you are hoping for something "profound" from her... Maybe you need to have the ideas, and be profound. You are so much wanting to cooperate with her, but what is there to call upon her to cooperate with you? Where are the boundaries if they are so permeable? Don't let her walk on thru them. And please don't act like the school is just irritation--it sounds like they are trying to alert you to ongoing problems that you should be dealing with more directly. This does sound serious, and I don't think your daughter can parent herself through it and be blamed for not doing so.

I was allowed to run wild as a teen and it got worse and worse and worse over the years. My parents were passive about it, they didn't know what to do, got upset, and gave up over and over. They blamed me, they blamed the school for not handling things right, etc. They did not know how to take responsibility as parents. I felt as if they didn't/couldn't/wouldn't care enough to bother making a sustained effort for our relationship, for me. Also, I am literally lucky to be alive. (I am sorry if that makes me sound too rude, as I have some strong feelings about this.)

Well, I end up trying to be very different as a parent--as many of us do in our own ways. I have to fight not be so uninvolved as my own mom was, as it is imprinted upon me to act the same. Maybe I go to far. My daughter pushes against tight boundaries where I feel she is safe, and earns wider ones when I see her comply regularly with the requirements/responsibilities of the privileges she has already.

Please try to see this as a sign that your daughter needs you to be more assertive with your attentions and general involvment in her life. I know that many people want to respect hteir children by being very hands-off, but there is a need to balance that especially in your current situation.
Thank you so much for your response. Up until very recently I have been very "authoritative" with her. I had very clear boundaries. I called friends houses to make sure parents were there. I checked her internet access to make sure she wasnt contacting possible pedophiles. I picked her up from everywhere she went to make sure she didnt get some teen I didnt know to drive her home etc. . .

There are so many conflicting stories out there for parents. I have read SO MANY threads on here, from moms who were rebellius who swore that nothing their parents did could have stopped them. That rebellion would just have gone underground. That just seems to keep coming up as the majority opinion, that the more parents push, supervise etc. . . the more kids hide and sneak and the less influence parents have overall.
Add to that reading books like "Positive Discipline for Teenagers" which pretty much gives the same advice. I just feel so lost. Like I really dont know what to do to be effective with my daughter.
I was experimenting with this whole "Positive Discipline" thing the past couple of months and her behavior has gotten noticeably WORSE!
But really the school calls are a little overboard, I am not meaning to belittle what she is doing. But seriously I was a super good kid and A student and never once had detention or was grounded in high school. But I had the occasional tardy, and skipped the occasional class. (with dd we are talkign about missing gym twice when there was a substitute, not skipping whole days of school or a huge pattern of truancy) But enforcement at my school was different. So I really see no different in what she is doing regarding that than what I did. But she gets detention for every tardy and a saturday school for any class with an unexcused absence., whereas nobody noticed when I did the same thing.

If dd does not come up with her own ideas of restitution, yes I am prepared to put my foot down and let this be the end of this horrible experiment.
I have always had very straightforward expectatoins but gave her a lot of freedom as she was mature enough to handle it. I guess I was getting a little tired of all the follow through and follow up that type of parenting requires and I was hoping that the advice from all the posters here and good Jane Nelson that when we give children the independance they demand they are less likely to rebel even more.
I really do not want her having this kind of freedom at 13. But I feel concerned that she is demanding it and that if I come down harder on her it will just force her behavior underground and I will have a teen who sneaks out and runs away etc. . .
I am out of my comfort zone. I really feel I should have more control. But so many influences are telling me that that is a BAD thing.
I am so grateful for your post that I could cry.
I ask my daughter to work with me to come up with plans together to solve problems and she refuses. She shrugs me off. If I try to impose my will she resists me with all her might.
I thought my parenting style was wrong for her temperament.
Positive Discipline goes on and on about the damage it does to relationships when parents parent through fear. And that most of the mistakes they make will be "smallies" etc. It really seemed like "common sense" to me.
I just never imagined it woudl be so hard! Not just her behavior but knowing what the right response is.
Your post was really needed. Thank you so much!!!
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:51 AM
 
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My dd and I have a hard personality/style clash, also.

I think there is definitely a place for "positive" discipline, and that the logical consequence of losing a priviliege one is not ready for is "gentle". It seems hard that my oldest is still pretty high-maintenance. Older kids need a lot of attention still.

I do control my children, and my dd would not go to stores on her own any more if she had been shoplifting. If that meant reduced visits, supervised/chaperoned visits only for a while that would seem fair. Not punitive, but simply fair. Is your dd in a position to repay the money? Is it realistic? Maybe you can come into the conversation with a couple of your own possibilities, and also be ready to listen. I don't think it has to be heavy-handed, but just matter-of-fact. Heavy enough to show that it matters without blowing anything up. I would say if she refuses to work with you then she can wait a while to earn the privileges she wants, no big deal.

One thing I think of as positive discipline is to make sure that my dd is involved in organized, social activities during some of her time. She is in a traditional dance group with 6th-12th graders, they do some movie nights and some chaperoned trips and meet once per week to learn dances. She knows a lot of good kids that way and has constructive things to think about. It gives nice structure.

I do not know what may work for you, or what your dd needs most. But I do hope you can find a better balance between extremes.

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Old 11-23-2005, 12:02 PM
 
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I am going to reply...I got your pm....but now am



more later
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Old 11-23-2005, 12:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by shanagirl
I just received the book "Hold on to Your Kids" and just started reading it this afternoon. The author talks at length about how children today are overly 'peer oriented', defy their parents, and don't have any fear of the consequences of their behavior. There might be suggestions in here that would be helpful to you.

I haven't read this book but this is what I believe to be the problem with a lot of teens.
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Old 11-23-2005, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I will run out today and get that book and "Get out of my life but first can you drive me and Cheryl to the mall." by anthony Wolf.
I really liked his Secrets of Parentign because he is not the GD type that lets kids walk all over etc. . . Very authoritative and gentle at the same time. I cant wait to find out what he has to say about teens.
The good news is I have only been giving her the majority of the reins for about a month so while she will be really ticked, it isnt a long pattern of behavior between us.
And I am putting Positive Discipline for Teens away till she is 16 or so and has more maturity.
Thank you ladies, keep the thughts coming. I really need you today!
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Old 11-23-2005, 01:22 PM
 
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No words of wisdom - I can't even be a decent mom to my one 3 year old. But - you are NOT a fraud.

~Tracy

Rockin' mama to Allison (9), Asher (5) and Alethea (3), head over heels in love with my sexy husband, Tony.

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Old 11-23-2005, 01:43 PM
 
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oh, mama, you are NOT a fraud- you're doing great, 13 yr old girls are just oil and mamas are water!

i don't have experience as the mom, but as the kid- my mom and I clashed TERRIBLY as i hit my teens, she kept a super-tight rein, i hated it, but really, IMO, in the long run, it is best for your DD for you to lay down a bit more law (not probably as much as my mom, who had never heard of GD . i too was caught shoplifting (at Woolworths), junk i didn't need or use, it was just interesting to take it...a nice security guard caught me, gave me to mom to deal with. i had to return all the items, (no fines in those days) apologize to the store manager and my activities were seriously curtailed for a while, including no mall on my own, or any stores without mom right there for many months. was it harsh? nope- when you screw up as an adult, which is where you are trying to help her get to, you pay consequences of some form, whether it is legally enforced or not. I think it is great that you want her to assert herself and show independence, but I believe that is a privilege to be earned, not given at her age. she is not earning right now, and you really do owe it to her to not let poor decisions affect her life later if you can help it(which they really can...both with stealing, and especially with sex!) And for the record, my mom and I are great friends now, but we weren't then, and that is not all bad. With some kids, being a friend doesn't work, being the parent does, and your daughter may be one of those. i am so sorry you are dealing with this, though- i know it is in my future, (dd is already strong-willed and independent, and she's THREE!! : ) and would be very interested in what you decide to do!

Brenda- Blessed wahmama to Sara(7) & Alex(5) 7/10 & 9/10 Living the crazy life with dh David & Charlie on our little urban farm!
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Old 11-23-2005, 03:01 PM
 
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I finally have my hands free for a bit.

As you know I had quite a bit of trouble with my dd who is now 15...and I, like you thought she needed freedom to make her mistakes. Well the choices she was making were down right dangerous. In fact she moved out with her drug addict dad and when that didn't work out moved in with my ex SIL and brother.

But she's home now and doing quite well...back in school(only got 2 credits in grade 9) seems to be on a better track, though not perfect.

Her grades are improving...brought me home to A's in math yesterday!

What I did...I got tough...I took away everything...friday and saturday nights at home with no computer, phone, rides to the mall were pretty darn boring. I got email addy's from her teachers and their reports at the end of the week made all the difference in how her weekend went.

I completely banned her from msn messenger..she maybe gets on there once a month for 30 minutes to talk to someone in particular...cutting off that drama made a huge difference.

I cut her off from my ex SIL as she was a terrible influence validating all the terrible decisions my dd made. She bought her nice clothes and spent a lot of time with her...treated her like a peer...problem with that is that she is very immature and makes terrible decisions herself therefore not an appropriate role model for a teen. I told her that I would get a restraining order against SIL if she let her stay with her or had any contact with her without my permission...that has made a world of difference.

But I made sure she understood that I was doing this because I loved her not because I wanted to rule her life. I must have said a million times..."it would be easier to let you run wild but it's not the best thing for you and so it's not happening"

I think taking so much time with her even though I have 3 other children made her realise I meant that.

We do a lot of bragging about her behind her back so she can hear it...telling Grandma on the phone what her grades are for example when we know she can hear. We emphasise the good things she is doing. we talk about how hard a worker she is and that she is responsible at her part time job. We don't have to make this up and it's getting easier and easier to find good things about her.

It's not easy...the first month was very LOUD. She still talks about moving out at 16 but we have a bit of bribery against that one as we have decided to buy her a car at 17 if she is doing well and we can afford it. She has that seed in her mind now and I hear the moving out thing less and less...she is also talking about college more now etc.

It's not perfect of course...she still picks onher 11 year old sister too much, has that attitude but it's such a relief...normal teen stuff I can handle...but excessive and dangerous behaviour must be dealt with. I think shoplifting is dangerous behaviour.

buy that book...I have heard great things about it. Even Dr. Wayne Dyer recommends it and I think he has 7 or 8 amazing kids.

I have to be honest...I think all bets are off when it comes to parenting teens. They are less mature at f13 then they are at 7 and think they are 25. This is a dangerous combination.

Also, so you know my dd now has a life...she can go to a concert... a parent will drive, a parent will pick up and it will be a parent who is reliable. A 13 yr old disappearing without calling is a dangerous thing.

I do discourage this "hanging out" thing..she now has to have a purpose for going out...a movie, a dinner, a party...she can do these things but I need to know where and with whom and I pick her up or a trustworthy adult will..

Oh and curfew...to the minute...this is something I have gotten really strict on...I don't think it is fair that I lose sleep worrying about where she is...she can get an extension on her curfew( Fridays she works until 9pm so I let her stay out an hour later) Since I am often driving her or picking her up it's only fair this be a reasonable time for me as well.

She came to me the other day and asked if I could arrange counselling for her...she wants to deal with her "jealousy" issues so I am looking into it for her. there is a free service for kids here that may be available for her.

Well that was random and all over the place but I hope it helps.

She will come through and you will too...she's just 13 and hasn't messed up that badly yet.

It's a balance...you have to give them freedoms and choices but they have to be tiny baby steps and you have to be willing to remove them again if they make the wrong choice(not small things of course, but shoplifting for me would mean no more mall)

As to the nit-picking of the school...I bought my dd a watch and told her if I got tardy calls there would be consequenses. Generally the phone...if I get a call re a tardy, that night no phone. It's helped a great deal. I know it's not logical but kind of it is. I am busy during the day...I dont need calls regarding late kids interrupting my routine...since it's the phone that bothers me it's the phone that goes...I know it's a stretch but it's working.

Dress code...I told the school I don't believe in dress codes personally so they can't be bothered to call now. Most of the dress codes were about the girls wearing things too "sexy" and the boys acting accordingly and that really rubbed me wrong.

ok...that's enough.

baby needs me ...gotta run!

Good luck mama
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Old 11-23-2005, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your thoughtful responses.
Dh is finally feeling better and we discussed it and we have come to some ideas.
This whole "you make your own decisions, you suffer your own consequences" is going to go. And the letting the school deal with its own problems is also going to go.
In a world where she can get detention and nothing happens at home, she is really getting the wrong message that "anythign goes". So if she gets detention, she is either grounded the day of the detention. (for an after school detention) or maybe the whole weekend any week she has detention. NOt really sure. But by stopping let all the "smallies" slide, hopefully she will be more discouraged from trying any "biggies"
Yes the "hanging out " think really ought to stop too. I think that after her grounding phase is over and she has repaid us (with work) her friends will be welcome to "hang out" here. But she cant just go out and about and go from one friends house to another etc. . Maybe I will even have to cut out sleepovers at other girls houses.
What was I thinking in teaching her to use public transportation!!!!
As for paying it off, I have a list of chores on the fridge of all the stuff that gets done (for the most part) around the house on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. I might tie a monitary amount to each and keep a running total.
DH found a shoplifting education program that we are looking into.
And we will hold on to allowances as well. Full restriction will be 2 weeks plus the time it takes starting then to earn the full amount and pay it off.
Which should give us plenty of time to adjust some of these habits.
As much time grounded as she had her greater freedom anyway.
My biggest problem I confesss is I have a very easy going personality and HATE confrontation and have avoided it my entire life at almost all costs.
So living in a battlezone with a teenager is something that is just so opressive to me I suppose I have made many mistakes in my attempt to avoid it.
I am so glad to have these great moms here to help me with this.
I have had so many influences to the contrary. I had so much anxiety over the decision to stand back. (check out "letting go is so hard" thread LOL) I should have taken that as mamas intuition telling me I was doing something wrong.
Joline
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:07 PM
 
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Joline -

I read a lot of your wise toddler posts! I don't think you're a fraud. I think you're having a difficult time with your older daughter. I don't think that invalidates any of your toddler advice! In fact, you say you say you've tried something and that it isn't working and now you're going to try something else. That sounds good to me.

My mom had 4 kids and parented us pretty much the same way. One sister ended-up an addicted drug addict and the rest of us were in the honor society, never missed school, etc. I think that was more about my sister's life path than our mother's parenting. Said sister has been in recovery now for 10+ years and is a great mom (with similar drug-free dad) to 3 beautiful children age 2-6.

I think you're doing great. You tried some things, they didn't work for your family and now you'll try something. That makes complete sense and shows your good judgement as a mtoher.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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Old 11-23-2005, 06:56 PM
 
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Joline

I have been following your posts about your DD. Why do you think it is happening? I hope you don't think that *you* caused it by your parenting style, because let me reassure you - you did not. Just like Ellien C pointed out - all 4 of them were parented equally, yet - the outcome is drastically different.

Do you think she is under peer pressure? What are her friends like (we all know that at this age friends provide wa-a-ay greater influence than parents)?

I actually wonder if ANYTHING can be done by a parent in certain situations and given a highly spirited child. Please don't take it as if I am advocating hands-off approach, in no way I am. What I am trying to say here - you seem to be blaming yourself for the situation. Don't.

I know you will (and I will if/when time comes) never give up and keep on trying different approaches to remedy the situation. But I believe the *true* remedy will come from within her.

I wholeheartedly hope that one of the approaches will make something "click" inside her rather sooner then later (for the sake of everyone involved)

Please keep us updated, to ease your mind, to hopefully get good advice and to teach us (yes, to teach us who either haven't delt with it yet, or in the process of dealing with it)

We saw many posts in this forum and GD forum. Some say "Oh, my life was all messed up because my parents were too harsh on me and I did all the bad things just in spite. I wish they would let me run my own life!". Some say "Oh, my life was all messed up because my parents were too lenient with me. I wish they were stricter with me and kept me away from all that!"

I for one had strict parents. I did my share of missing school, shoplifting, smoking, having sex early (15).

As I already said - I got super good at lying ("trained" by an ex-Special Forces daddy) And I am not the highest-spirited person on Earth.

So from my POV - I still believe in talking, discussing, teaching, and not in policing. Just from my experience - it did not do any "good" in my case.

Does teenage behaviour depend on parenting at all I often wonder? (barring extreme case, of course) If you gave them as much information you could? If you taught them to your best ability?...

<Sigh> Best of luck to you mama.
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Old 11-23-2005, 09:04 PM
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I've always found that no matter how much I do, I feel there is something more I could have done. Sometimes, ya, that's true. Most the time though I think it's just some good ol' fashion inbred catholic guilt! Slowly I'm learning to get over it. Key word: slowly. From personal experience having given my mom a real run for her money (much of it she deserved ), I am thankful for all the adults in my life that kept steering me the right way. I too stole from a store, got busted and had my mom come down to get me. Not too fun, let me tell you. No court was involved but I may have gotten off easier had they. Everything got yanked away- phone, TV, malling... But the thing that made an impression on me is my parents made me volunteer at a homeless shelter and at a nursing home. I felt pretty pathetic after that considering all that I had. But perhaps more than that, it gave me time to think. Our lives seem so fast paced that the fine art of ponderance is lost. Since I don't know your dd, it is hard to say what will work for her. It does seem that maybe things need to slow down in her life so she can think things through.

The other thing that came to mind was her school. I am not sure about the area you live in but maybe she needs a school that is more hands on and project based. She seems to be one of those kids that is an active learner! I also liked the idea of filling her time, with her input of course, with orginanized activites that someone else mentioned, either through school, church, or community ed or ???.

and JMO, sex at 13 is WAY, WAY too young. The teenagers' mind does not possess the ability to reason as fully as an adult yet. The part that controls that area is the LAST to mature in the brain. That is why we have juvenel (gawd I wish this had spell check!) law and adult law. They really physiologically can't think like an adult. There is an awesome PBS seris called the Brain that discusses this. It changed the way I think about my dd. Quite honestly, I am not looking foward to the day my dd takes an interest in guys!

Try not to be too hard on yourself and flexible enough to make adjustments when something is not working. We are only human even if we are moms
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Old 11-23-2005, 09:13 PM
 
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I think she's showing you that she's not ready to take control of her own life yet. I beleive that setting age-appropriate limits is part of good parenting. Remember that she's 13, not 18. I wouldn't trust an 18mo to hold my hand and not run into the street the way I'd trust a 3yo. It sounds to me like she's been having too much freedom and she needs some firmer limits (even if she throws tantrums when you set them.)

Personally, I would have flipped over the "gone all weekend" thing- at age 13 I wouldn't have let her go to a concert without adult supervision or sleep over at a friend's house without being in touch with the friend's parent.

If my dd did what yours did this week, she'd be grounded for all of Thanksgiving weekend- and I'd spend the time trying to re-connect with her. I trust that your heart will tell you what the appropriate action is for your child.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 11-23-2005, 10:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by johub
My biggest problem I confesss is I have a very easy going personality and HATE confrontation and have avoided it my entire life at almost all costs.
So living in a battlezone with a teenager is something that is just so opressive to me I suppose I have made many mistakes in my attempt to avoid it.
Joline

Boy this resonates with me! I wonder sometimes if I actually believed that I should let her find her way or if I was just avoiding things. I mean maybe this would work for some kids but my kids went through a messy divorce, their dad became a drug addict adn has been up and own with contacting them, disappearing for monthes at a time, bailing on Christmas day, etc. etc. Now he has moved 2500 miles away and is never around when they call although at the beginning he was calling constantly...that lasted about a week.

Then my DH and I got together and bought a house 20 minutes from her home city(on purpose), had another child, then another,her best friend attempted suicide, my ex SIL was a terrible influence, her dad ditched her again for drugs when she moved in with him, my brother and SIL that she stayed with seperated...it's been one thing after another.

BUT it is stable and boring here, she is starting to see that this is more desirable, seh isn't really admitting that but is seeing it.

Have the arguements, do what needs to be done and you will get your daughter back. It's hard to do but it's well worth it!

Keep us posted!

BTW...you are not a fraud...there are no guarantees when raising children in any way but I think the way you are parenting increases the odds of success.
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Old 11-24-2005, 01:50 PM
 
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It sounds like you have a very reasonable plan Joline.

~Tracy

Rockin' mama to Allison (9), Asher (5) and Alethea (3), head over heels in love with my sexy husband, Tony.

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Old 11-25-2005, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everybody,
There have been ups and downs.
Wednesday was a nightmare but it also gave me a really clear view of her rationality and problem solving skills (almost entirely absent).
I asked her to come into the discussion having thought of some ideas to deal with the money repayment, the appropriate punishments and the trust issue.
SHe didnt want to start because she hadnt really given it much thought except her hopes that she would still be able to go out Friday night. She did suggest, withholding her allowance and having a Sunday "work day" where she worked for us, but this was hoping she would be free during the week etc . . .
So when we started talking and telling her what we thought etc. she completely lost it and actually tried to tell me that I told her "maybe we can work something out" regarding being able to keep her Friday plans. Huh wah? There is no way in Hades I said or implied such a thing as I was wary from the first moment of those "plans".
SO she lost it and ran from the room and refusd to discuss it. So I put it all on paper. (that way we would have no "but you said!!!" ) and gave it to her to read in her room. (still preferring to talk but her preferrign to rant and scream in her room)
She was very upset and screaming and hitting the walls and banging the door. I did go in and tell her that if she continued to throw herself against her door she would lose it and I went ahead and made dinner while my 2 year old asked me "Meghann so sad??" I was worried I'd have to call the guys in the white coats. But shortly after she came out and calmly sat down at the computer and started playing solitare. (I took away her internet connection but let her keep her Solitare) And then she even joined us for dinner. (made me a little nervous though).
We managed to have a nice Thanksgiving after all. (surprised me again).
But she was upset again last night and had me in her room for 2 hours. She has come to accept the grounding and that it is right and she completely deserves it. But she is really upset at me "boxing her in" and taking away those freedoms.
She said that she would have done it anyway even if she didnt have that much freedom and she really didnt understand why I was changing my parenting style. This is what I told her.
I know that she did not steal because she had lots of freedoms. But in stealing she showed poor judgment. Her having lots of freedom relies on good judgment and concern for her own well being.
This talk showed me beyond any doubt that she is in no way emotionally ready for any of the responsibilyt she has had.
She swore to the ends of the earth taht she was always exactly where she was supposed to be. And I told her that that is just fine, next time though I will just check.
I learned last night that not only are our temperaments so different, but it is like we are speaking two different languages entirely. She told me that I am just so judgmental and that is why she can never tell me anything and that I belittle her feelings etc. . . And we sat and talked and looked for examples and she reacted very strongly to some of the most onnocuous things I said.
She doesnt see why me putting more restrictions on her will make any difference. I told her that if she is dead set on doing somethign she shouldnt I will not be able to stop her altogether I know that. But if I can reduce her opportunity a great deal then that is just that much less of a chance she will get in serious trouble overall, than if she has constant opportunity to make poor decsions.
But it was wrong of me to think that she would make decisions in her best interest if only she was free of the need to rebel from me.
Seeing how a teenage mind works is scary. I completely believe all that brain development stuff. It is mind boggling sometimes.
Anyhow, thank yo uso much for all of your support.
Joline
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Old 11-26-2005, 03:05 AM
 
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it is scary how the teen mind works...honestly I think there should be laws and curfews strictly enforced for teens for their own safety and that of others.

My daughter does that "but you said..." thing with me all the time and it's so frustrating because it stops you for a second and gets you thinking "did I say that" Then you have to convince yourself before convincing her that you didn't say it...it's like banging your head against a wall. I love that you got it in writing

I really think they hear things differently...one day I was musing "gosh it would be nice to go to Florida for Christmas" and a few weeks later she asked me if we were still going to Florida for Christmas...I said " I never said that" and she argued and I truly believe she understood it that way.

So I have 4 daughters and I am really getting scared....what if they all are like this? I am so terrified...Martina will turn 20 when I am 60...boy will I deserve to retire then uh?

Cheers

Carolyn
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Old 11-26-2005, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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well I think that Temperament has a LOT to do with it.
I was never like that as a teen. But I did not , shall we say, choose wisely, when it came to the other half of my daughter's genetic code. (wisely for me, being meek and laid back)
My DH is just like me so I pray every day that the deck is stacked in our favor for when they hit their teens.
ray
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Old 11-26-2005, 02:22 PM
 
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wow. your are NOT a fraud, you're a mom who is doing her best to help guide her child. i have no advice, with the exception of counselling which might help guide you, but pick and choose carefully. i wish you all the best with your dd.

Midwifery student , Mama to my 4 amazing kids. treehugger.gif

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Old 11-26-2005, 03:10 PM
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Thank you so much for your response. Up until very recently I have been very "authoritative" with her. I had very clear boundaries. I called friends houses to make sure parents were there. I checked her internet access to make sure she wasnt contacting possible pedophiles. I picked her up from everywhere she went to make sure she didnt get some teen I didnt know to drive her home etc.
It sounds like you made some pretty radical changes in your parenting... that's got to be tough for all of you. The thing is, I don't think you can expect a kid who has been parented in a very authoritative style for 13 years to suddenly act like a kid who has been parented in a more gentle and harmonious style all along, just because you've changed your style... she's still operating under the old rulebook, even though you've changed the rules. If you'd started with this kind of parenting, the freedoms she had now would be a natural evolution of the freedoms she had at 10, or 8, or 6... but now they're really coming out of the blue, and she's telling you pretty clearly that she's not equipped to handle them.

If you truly are committed to a less authoritative style, I would focus more on having her demonstrate that she's able to handle certain freedoms, and less (a lot less) on punishment. The idea that she's not able to go out unsupervised makes sense - if she's breaking laws and stealing, she's demonstrating this pretty clearly.

While I don't "check up on" my almost-13 year old, we're in pretty close contact, and it would be hard for her to be lying about things. If she's at a friend's house when I call, sometimes I have a question for her friend's mom (like, "What was the name of that yarn store she mentioned the other day?" or "Can you see if she can drive you home after theatre next week?"). It's not a set-up - they're real questions - but our lives are interconnected to the point where these things just come up. Our good computer is in the living room, and while I repect Rain's privacy, I also talk about who she's chatting with, or what she's reading... she's not always willing to show me, but she'll generally let me know *why*...

And Rain also does the "But you said...." thing. I'm glad it's normal - I really was half-thinking that I was losing my mind. I think it's a combination of her not paying attention and hearing what she wants to hear, and me being distracted and not clearing answering her questions sometimes... but we need to start getting things in writing.

Dar

 
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Old 11-26-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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i have a 13 yr old daughter named Unity. she is gorgeous, smart, funny, athletic and unforunately for me, built like an 18 yr old! so far in her 13 yrs Unity has never so much as even given me a reason to give her a time out, much less a "real punishment".
A little bit of background, her father and I are divorced and have been so since she was 5. We had an extremely amicable separation, no drama, no yelling and absolutely no violence. When we decided on separation/divorce I was in the midst of a very severe career change, I was leaving early childhood education for law enforcement! It was a very tough move for me and my family. However I did it, and asked my husband for a divorce at the same time.
Move ahead 8 yrs and now I'm the one with the open mind, Steve, who was a peace loving, vegetarian, leftist, atheist, is now the most conservative man i know! He even voted for bush! 2 times and converted to Catholism!
Now that Unity is growing up, Steve and I have had several discussions regarding what she is allowed and not allowed to do. I love live music and she and I happen to like the same music, so I take her to live shows. She wanted to wear makeup, I' m not big on it, i think she's beautiful the way she is But! I want her to express herself and I "discuss" that with Steve.
Long story short! I am a police officer and ride patrol on night shift, Unity stays with her Dad at night and I see her after school.
This summer I had a schedule change for 30 days and I trusted her to stay with her 3 yr old brother while her stepdad, who also works nights, slept in the apartment.

I was going through my cell phone account, browsing my pics of Unity and her brother to print, when I came across a picture of breasts, (that were definately not mine!).
As I scrolled down I saw a picture of Unity with a finger to her mouth as if to say shhhhhh.
Upon further research I found out she had sent about 6 nude pics to a male in New Jersey! We live in Texas! I had to contact the police dept, who in turn contacted the FBI. The FBI confiscated our computer and my cell phone which she sent the pictures from. The end result was she was not "victimized" by a sexual predator but on the contrary, she sent the pictures to a 13 yr old boy.

I was so devastated but tried not to show it. I had a lot of "where did i go wrongs" cross my mind. I tried to explain to Unity that her body is beautiful and the person she shares it with should be more than an email address.
Of course my family, including Steve and my current husband, looked to me as if it was my fault. "You shouldnt treat her like a best friend!, she's your daughter!" What was I to do? I dont know how to punish one of my best friends! I felt angry, snowed, and hurt. How could she do this to me? I have always treated her with respect, I listen! I fought for her to wear just a little make up! I fought for her right to see Weezer and Green Day in concert! I listen to the "daily news of middle school"!

Now I'm the one who feels like a failure, how do I trust her again? For Gods sake I'm a cop! and a good one! How did this happen and now what do i do?
Of course there were consequences, no radio, no concerts, no school dances, no phone (ouch!) and no make up.
She has been without these "privledges" for about a month, and I think that its time for her to get a few of them back. Steve and I talk about what she can do. However I have started to let her talk to boys on the phone, and she has radio rights back.
My husband says I am giving in, but what is enough? When do I start to trust her again, can I ever? What in her Fathers eyes can she do to win back trust? Steve seems to think the more sheltered she is the less trouble she will get into. I am a realist and I know what i did at a young age. I was sexually active at 14, I drank and smoked and lied to my parents untill i was at least 18!. I love Unity and miss her company as a friend!


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Old 11-26-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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Mel...thank you for sharing with us

I think part of the problem is that they have so many things to tempt them. I mean, maybe I would have emailed a nude pic of myself to someone as a teen had I grown up in an environment that bombards young girls with the types of things these girls see. I mean it used to be cell phones but now it's cell phones with cameras and there is msn messenger with web cams etc. etc(I hid my daughters when I saw how she would do the makeup and push up the boobs etc.and talk to boys on it) It's too much...I have seen adults with internet/chat room addictions, there are probably some on here that have affected their real lives. My daughter doesn't get msn time anymore because it was taking away from living real life and they can be "perfect" online but then don't want to deal with real people because their flaws show.

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Old 11-28-2005, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like you made some pretty radical changes in your parenting... that's got to be tough for all of you. The thing is, I don't think you can expect a kid who has been parented in a very authoritative style for 13 years to suddenly act like a kid who has been parented in a more gentle and harmonious style all along, just because you've changed your style... she's still operating under the old rulebook, even though you've changed the rules. If you'd started with this kind of parenting, the freedoms she had now would be a natural evolution of the freedoms she had at 10, or 8, or 6... but now they're really coming out of the blue, and she's telling you pretty clearly that she's not equipped to handle them.
Dar
ACtually it is kinda wierd. It is almost like she had more freedoms when she was like 10 or 11 because she couldnt get into that much trouble kwim?
SO when she was 12 I let her start taking the city bus that stops right outside our house two miles to the library in preparation for taking the city bus home from school. And of course I would let her to go the neighborhood park to swing on the swings with friends and climb trees and all sorts of kids stuff. If a friend asked her to spend the night, these were girls she knew from early childhood so I didnt feel the need to clear everythign before hand.
But in Jr high, her friend groups changed, I didn't know the parents or the girls since they were 5. She went from being allowed to be at the mall unsupervised with a friend for 3 hours in the afternoon to spend Christmas money, at 12 to wanting to "hang out" at the mall till it closes with her friends.
She was allowed to use the city bus and I taught her to look up the buss schedule, and now she doesnt see any reason why she just can't go anywhere she can get to on her own on the bus.
It is like there are the freedoms she earned slowly when she was a child but her expectations and what she would do wiht those freedoms changed over time.. I felt badly trying to restrict her MORE than when she was 11 or 12. And I have been having a hard time keeping some boundaries firm.
(yes you can take the bus to the library on Friday Afternoon. But no you cant take the bus to a mall 10 miles away on the same friday afternoon and expect to just "hang" at the mall till close.. You can go to the mall with one friend and some spending money, but you cant go to the mall at night with 10 friends and no money. The context of what she wants to do has changed so subtly and it is hard to enforce rules that just seem arbitrary to her.)
So I felt really uncomfortable with needing to double check on everything. I enjoyed the freedom we had earlier when her desires were simpler and her social circles were smaller.
So it isnt that she had never had freedom and I had thrown the doors open, it is only that I had been exercising more control since she started adolescence and then got lazy.
She was ALWAYS the kid who was allowed to do everythign first because at a little girl she had more brains and sense than any of the other kids. I could trust her to walk to the QT to buy a candy bar and come back and be OK. I could trust her to go to the library, check out a book and then come back.
I think I really made a mistake in underestimating the change that adolescent brain growth makes in a child's mental processing, problem soliving and impulse control. She actually used to be pretty good at these things.
Now she purposely chooses to do things that she consciously and rationally knows are bad for her "just because".
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Old 11-28-2005, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh and Mel! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing your story!!
What an emotionally greuling experience!
IT is amazing the things they can think of to do when we arent looking.
Joline
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Old 11-29-2005, 04:04 AM
 
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Wow Mel- I do think that it's appropriate for her to earn back some freedoms, but slowly. Wow- I never would have thought to do something like that when I was 13...then again, we didn't have the technology to do that, did we? I mean, I did have phone sex at 14/15.

Joline- now that you've described what your DD was like when she was 12, I'm scared! Seriously, I think the best way to handle this would be to try to get her to understand your POV. She sees the rules as being arbitrary, so perhaps if she understood where you were coming from, she'd be more accomodating.

Also, if she doesn't already have one, getting her a cell phone would be a good way to get ahold of her wherever she might be. I'd suggest getting her one without a camera built in though!

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 11-29-2005, 01:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been trying to get her to understand my POV. The problem is not that she doesnt understand the risks of doign things that are dangerous for her. Every rule we have or have had is discussed thoroughally as to what risks it pertains to etc. . . What "might happen" .
She finds any speculation that something dangerous might happen to be like a personal insult. And everythign comes down to "you dont trust me". WEll first of all, I have a difficult time explaining to her that if she is at a party with no adult and boys and alcohol that she is in a position to be a victim and it isnt about trusting HER all the time but trusting the situations she wants to be in.
Appealing to her through rationality and logic is not working. Believe me because this is and always has been my primary tool.
For example, when she was a very small girl I used to smoke. She nagged me and went on and on about the dangers of smoking and how gross and bad it was and how I should quit. (I did when she was 8). She knows how bad smoking is for the body. She knows it makes you wrinkly and makes your breath smell bad and coats your lungs and causes cancer. She even knows it can ruin her singing voice. (she loves music) In addition, she knows that I think smoking is unacceptable and that I was very lucky in being able to quit because many family members have not successfully quit despite constantly "Trying". She has as much information as is possible in the situation. And yet, she chooses to smoke when among her friends. (I have not "caught" her, but she got caught at school).
The risks of her behavior and my personal feelings about it appear completely irrelevant to her.
I have made it a rule to never be arbitrary with her, for her entire childhood. But I have had certain basic firm rules that were always fully explained etc. . .And they still are. But it doesnt prevent her from feeling that the rules are arbitrary because she doesnt agree with me.
And now that she is 13, she agrees with me less and less. :
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