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Morning all

Been a very short night here, so bear with me on the typing.....

My oldest has been making A LOT of poor choices over the past year or so....between the lying, stealing, breaking and entering of our houses, lost jobs, and now a speeding ticket for doing 81 in a 55.....I have about had it.

I am constantly finding money missing and she has even stolen one of our other kids checks and had it cashed.........she broke into my one house by breaking a window.

She was followed by a sheriff for doing 81 in a 55 zone through deer country.....he gave her a break on the ticket, but it will still be a pricey ticket for HER to pay, especially with no job again.

I have revoked her license until she turns 18 next month, the car is parked (I still own it legally, she defaulted on a written agreement for payment)......I had grounded her various times for the above mentioned actions, but it doesn't seem to sink in to her how serious of offenses these could be.

Of course the big blow up of an argument happened last night and she decided that her friends were right and she was going to stay with them.....I called her father and he came over to say good bye and try to talk to her....to no avail......I have told her that if she leaves and doesn't face here what she has done, that she only has one chance........she has two days to come to her senses and come home......but the ground rules will be in writing and she will have to abide by them, otherwise her step dad has said NO MORE OF THE CRAP.......and I can't blame him.......

Today I am on my way to the DMV and turn in her license......the car will be parked in the back yard and will be locked........I have new locks for my other house and the key for this house is no longer available......

I have been upset and sick about this all night long, but am at my wits end......I have been told by the authorities it is time for tough love and to stick to my guns.

Any thoughts???

Margaret
mom to stepteens
 

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I have nothing but what you have written, and since I'm not alltogether familiar with how the driving licence system works in the US, some things I might missunderstand.

But, if I were your daughter, (knowing how much I still tend to react negatively at authoritarian people) I'd probably feel that "My mom doesn't care about me, only that I do as she wants. She doesn't care what Ifeel, what I want" Yeah, I don't have the full story, but an ultimatum generally set me in this kind of thinking, and I do honestly believe that most other react similary.

What I would suggest, is that you acctually back down a bit from your demands on her behaviour. Sure, she should obviously pay the speeding ticket herself, and since you own the car, you are entitled to not let her use it. Not sure that I feel anyone but the legal system would have the right to revoke my licence, but then again, here you don't get a licence until your 18. But apart from that, she has to live her own life. You can't live it for her, or control it. If she makes bad choices, it's her choices to make, even if it hurts like hell to watch her do it. Let her see that you get hurt by her actions. Too often we hide our pain behind anger, and if she allready feels you don't care about her, being angry only cements that image for her. Being sad, and showing it, sends a different message, on that you do care. (Which you obviously do, but I'm sure you too can remember times when you felt your parents didn't care about you when you were a teen, even if you now can see quite clearly that they did)
 

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It's a tough age for sure. Are you her stepmom or her birthmom? If it's the former, there may be many more issues at play than if it were the latter. I only have experience being 17 not handling a 17 year old but...

I think it's okay to set boundaries (no car, driver's license) but you need to address each situation independent of the other behavior. What I mean is, it's okay to tell her that you're taking away driving privileges because you care about her safety not because she lied/stole/cussed/etc. Bringing up past wrongs will only fuel her anger.

Remain calm and refuse to get into a war. You'll both lose. If she can begin to see you as an ally she may be more open to sharing what's really going on and you can work from there. You don't need to be her friend or enabler but you do need to be the strong and rational one that she can turn to without fear of retribution when all else fails.
 

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I wanted to reply because I am also the mother of a 17 year old who has made my life, well lets say, interesting
I am still in the middle of dealing with a lot of things and my not have the best advice but I have to tell you "tough love" has never seemed that attractive to me. I just want to hold and love my children and let them know my disappointment when their actions are unreasonable. I try to find any underlying reasons for the behavior. Emotional, spiritual, hormonal, physical ... I don't know but I want them to know I am there for them no matter how out of control they feel. My dd has been thru some sh)* and brought us along with her for the ride. (you can read my past posts if you are interested in details) I just know I need to be there for her. I need to know she knows I am there for her. Maybe I am completely wrong and raising a spoiled brat, I guess only time will tell. But my instincts are all I have to go on, so that is what I will follow.
 

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I think you are being SUPER punitive -- the way you are dealing with things is not GD IMO.

For one, the TURNING HER LICENSE IN part? Can't you just keep it with you? A 17yo cannot go get a new license without a parent, I don't think.

You cannot lock a minor out of his or her house. It is ILLEGAL to deprive your kid of the right to enter his or her home.

Also, could you describe how exactly she is "breaking and entering" her own home?
 

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Have you guys ever lost someone in a car crash, because of a driver who's parents should have turned their license in?


Mama, you're doing the right thing. She could have killed someone and should of lost her license through the authorities.
 

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Military school.

Only partly joking.

I think turning in her license is an excellent idea.

Best thing to do when you offer help and they shut you down, it to let them crash and burn. You can only do so much at that age. Just let her know you'll be there when she's ready to act responsible (or when she's ready to admit she needs help getting there) but until then, she's on her own.

I realize that won't be popular here, but I've been in this situation, both as the teenager and as the mother figure. Tough love sometimes just has to happen.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Synthea™ View Post
Best thing to do when you offer help and they shut you down, it to let them crash and burn. You can only do so much at that age. Just let her know you'll be there when she's ready to act responsible (or when she's ready to admit she needs help getting there) but until then, she's on her own.

I realize that won't be popular here, but I've been in this situation, both as the teenager and as the mother figure. Tough love sometimes just has to happen.
Oh god... I haven't been here in a while, but this comment struck home in two ways.

1) It's BLOODY SCARY to force yourself to stand back and watch your child "crash and burn".

on the other hand...

2) sometimes a parent can't do anything BUT watch their child crash and burn, their own pain going unheeded in their child's hell-bent path of personal destruction.

We think we raise your children well, give them choices, raise them to be independent, to THINK through things logically and to use their common sense. To become informed, to make informed decisions. And then they turn around, become ALL informed on drugs, and then TAKE those drugs, that alcohol, have that unprotected sex, go into those neighborhoods that are teeming with dangers and yummy lures that only serve to rob them of their sense of self.
They take all that we give them that is GOOD, and turn it into something UGLY and SCARY and DANGEROUS.

My daughter is 14 yo and I feel I don't know her anymore. She's not the little girl I birthed almost fifteen years ago. She's not the bright, vivacious, curious, personable, extroverted child that drove me crazy as she excelled at everything. Now, she's the sullen, getting-to-emaciated, strong-willed, opinionated, hate-filled, teenager who goes from yelling and swearing at everybody for anything and everything, to giggling at everything after she's smoked up.

I've called various organizations, and there is nothing I can do EXCEPT to watch her crash and burn. Only when she decides to break the law will somebody step in and force her to become clean and sober.

I've asked her if there will come a time when I'll meet her on the sidewalk and not recognize her because she'll have become something so emaciated, pock-marked face, unkempt, oily hair, tatty clothes, asking me, "how much?" because she's looking for her next hit and will do anything to get it. I won't be surprised if that happens.

My heart is shattered in my chest right now. I'm watching my child die emotionally from self-inflicted wounds that NO ONE seems to really care about. Not enough to DO anything, anyway.

I've tried Tough Love as a last resort, but that only pushes her more away. When I allow her back into the home, she takes my money, the empty 18L water bottles that can be cashed in for $10 (canadian). I've listened to her ramble on, held her when she cried. I've ranted and raged at her. I've threatened her with putting her in a foster home. It seems she is hellbent on self-destruction, whether she's realizing that's what's happening, or not.

I'm not trying to pull any attention from the original poster, just adding my own two cents and story to this post, instead of creating another one.

I'm feeling alone and misunderstood and judged as the parent of a such a child, like it's my fault, like I did something, or didn't do something. I can certainly find faults in my own parenting, as anybody can, if they looked. I'm not a "bad" parent; I'm a parent who's read the books and been to La Leche League, been a Leader with LLL, homeschooled, non-vaccinations, breastfed, vegetarian/health-conscious, reading labels, etc, you name it.
But all this seems to have backfired on me. She states that, because I've never taken them to a doctor, that she's healthy and her body can handle this abuse. I've tried to explain to her it's not the case; she'll hear none of it.
It's a back-and-forth, equal-force arguments.
 

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Anasay, Hugs to you (((( )))). I have also been LLL leader, homeschool, no vacination, vegeatarian, etc. My daughter is 13.5.
I firecely love her but also realize I must keep her very closely supervised. She at times does not get enough rest or eat properly. She needs lots of mothering and love is often acts like a little girl. When she is not trying to look 18.
It is exhauting and emtionally draining. I have had to be very firm like we will contiue to homshcool-you are not allowed to hang out with kids who do durgs without my supervison. She does go to a movie once a week but we are there the minute it lets out. I keep her phone calls brief and watch the MYSpace stuff. We take the phone and computer at night. She is now on a competive volleyball team which will help channel her energy.
I don't take it personally -if I was more mianstream she would be vegitarinan, not wear make-up,etc.
I have set limits around tatoos and piercings. She has 5 on each ear -great to express yourself but also not allowed more than that until she is on her own.
To me this is all consuming as toddlerhood-maybe more. I have to watch her triggers. She is very sensitive and very easily overwhelmed and overstimulated. She needs lots of rest. She has had a lot of changes lately and those transtions are alwys challenigng for her.
Some boundries are important to me-I choose my battles but I am more of a gentle,nurturing, support your intersts, love my daughter fiercely and advocate for her type of mom.
Sallie
 

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anansay: you need to start your own thread. I think a lot of people would like to talk to you directly.

When we are teenagers, we all go through separation from our families. It is a way to become an independant adult and to learn about our own authority and autonomy. Some of us need to have a larger rift than others. It is nothing personal against our parents (although we will tell you it is!!)

We don't have any rites of passage anymore except our 18th birthday and first sexual experience. I think some kids could really use a very vivid line to show them where they are in life and a difficult passage to cross it (like 3 days alone in the wilderness).

Other kids are looking for someone to love them enough to say, "NO! That is not OK, and I won't let you do that."

It is not your fault. She is who she is and at 17, it is time for her to separate phsically and emotionally. I agree with several people, taking away her license and car are good consequenses. Don't hide behind anger. Show her you love her by saying "NO" to her bad behavior. Let her know how to gain back her privilages and how you are willing to help her get started in the world (you can have your bed and personal belongings, a few dishes, and help with deposit on your first place. We won't pay for your lawyer when you get arrested for theft or vehicular manslaughter. If you get pregnant, we won't let you move back in, but will pay rent for 1 month after delivery. etc.). Be specific and follow through.

She isn't a child anymore. It really isn't your job to teach her anymore (unless she asks). She is almost a legal adult and is ready to be on her own. It is time to let her do what she needs to do.

(Of course, I am a mom to young kids, not teenagers. But I have helped to raise several teenagers. )
 

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I would try tough love.

I would send my daughter to live in a cabin in Northern Wisconsin.

I would send her to live with my mean sister in law.

I would send her to military school.

I would do ANYTHING at all to get her through these few years until she starts to use her head. I would NOT allow her to drive. She clearly is not acting responsibly.

Her life is SO much more important than a few years of feeling like "My parents are so unfair".
_______________________________________________

Unfortunatley you don't have much control over her at this point. Short of driving her to and from school and work, once she leaves your car, she has to make her own choices.

Tough love includes removing everything from her room, including the door. But, unless you suspect drug use, or that she might hurt herself, I don't reccomend taking her stuff.

BUT, take her computer and phone. Put those out in the Family room, so she can use them, she just wont have privacy. Also, install a program that allows you to read everything she writes.

Tell her to get a job, and keep it. Take her to see apartments. Make her do the homework, so she knows how much it will cost her to live in that apartment. (with a friend, or alone) Help her to see the costs of living. Food, insurance, utilities, etc. Don't leave anything out.

This isn't to scare her. It is to give her something to work towards. (it will scare her a little) Start buying her gifts for christmas that she will need when she moves out. (silverware, pots, cups ETC)

Then let her know, that at 18, she is an adult, and if she continues to make these dangerous choices, she will be moving out even if she isn't ready to move out yet. BUT, if she starts making better choices, you WANT her to stay.

Promise her that no matter what, when she is ready to make better choices that you will ALWAYS be waiting with open arms. Make sure she understands that you TRULY want her to stay. But, not under these circumstances.
 

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I have clicked on this thread more than once, and I have though alot about it. My daughter has broke my heart and put us through the ringer. No, she has not been arrested, she has not stolen from us. But her behaviors have pushed us to the brink. She did "steal" our car, when she didnt have a license, then crashed it, left the scene, then ran away. We looked all over and found her ourselves, with me driving, my husband on lookout, culminating with him jumping from the van while it was still moving, him running after her, jumping over a fence, me circling the block, him picking her up and throwing her in the back of the van and me tearing off. It took us dipping into our 401K to get her out of the pickle, she did community service, we basically took every priveledge we had away from her. I slept on the floor of her room for 6 months to keep a close eye on her, we put ourselves in counseling, with her going weekly alone. I also, and I say this not with pride, but I basically took her down. I, um, got physical with her after the police had left. I am about 5 inches taller than her and, well, I told her that if she was going to ruin her life she wasnt going to take us down with her. That she was a minor and I was responsible for her. That she had a personal responsibility for her own behavior. That what she did effected all of us.

I also told her that I wasnt her friend, that I was her mother, and that I would do everything possible to save her from herself. I told her that there wasnt anything she could do that would make me stop loving her. That if she didnt love herself enough, no matter, her father and I did.

I kept her on a tight leash. GD? Nope. But she is now 19, doing well, gettings A's in college. She still falters a bit, taking two steps forward, one back.

But there has to be a line in the sand somewhere, and we must teach our children accountability.

I still worry about her constantly, but I just love her so much. As for how she feels about what we had to do for alm ost 3 years? She thinks what we did was "awesome", that she never doubted we loved her.

I am not advocating tough love, because we all have to do what we have to do. But if being an authoratarian saved my daughters life, well so be it. And if she has an issue with authority, well, I just dont care, because she is still here, living and breathing and doing well. I also want to add that I would probably never throw her out, as I feel children are not disposable. However, I have never been stolen from, or anything like what the OP said.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sweetbaby3 View Post
I have clicked on this thread more than once, and I have though alot about it. My daughter has broke my heart and put us through the ringer. No, she has not been arrested, she has not stolen from us. But her behaviors have pushed us to the brink. She did "steal" our car, when she didnt have a license, then crashed it, left the scene, then ran away. We looked all over and found her ourselves, with me driving, my husband on lookout, culminating with him jumping from the van while it was still moving, him running after her, jumping over a fence, me circling the block, him picking her up and throwing her in the back of the van and me tearing off. It took us dipping into our 401K to get her out of the pickle, she did community service, we basically took every priveledge we had away from her. I slept on the floor of her room for 6 months to keep a close eye on her, we put ourselves in counseling, with her going weekly alone. I also, and I say this not with pride, but I basically took her down. I, um, got physical with her after the police had left. I am about 5 inches taller than her and, well, I told her that if she was going to ruin her life she wasnt going to take us down with her. That she was a minor and I was responsible for her. That she had a personal responsibility for her own behavior. That what she did effected all of us.

I also told her that I wasnt her friend, that I was her mother, and that I would do everything possible to save her from herself. I told her that there wasnt anything she could do that would make me stop loving her. That if she didnt love herself enough, no matter, her father and I did.

I kept her on a tight leash. GD? Nope. But she is now 19, doing well, gettings A's in college. She still falters a bit, taking two steps forward, one back.

But there has to be a line in the sand somewhere, and we must teach our children accountability.

I still worry about her constantly, but I just love her so much. As for how she feels about what we had to do for alm ost 3 years? She thinks what we did was "awesome", that she never doubted we loved her.

I am not advocating tough love, because we all have to do what we have to do. But if being an authoratarian saved my daughters life, well so be it. And if she has an issue with authority, well, I just dont care, because she is still here, living and breathing and doing well. I also want to add that I would probably never throw her out, as I feel children are not disposable. However, I have never been stolen from, or anything like what the OP said.

I hope if I ever am in your postion, I will remember this post. I pray that I never have to, but I would do exactly what you did.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
I hope if I ever am in your postion, I will remember this post. I pray that I never have to, but I would do exactly what you did.
Thank you.


And for all of the moms and dads here that are struggling
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by momtostepteens View Post
I have been told by the authorities it is time for tough love and to stick to my guns.
That sounds like the best advice to me. I was an unruly teenager from about age 14-17 and then I straightened up when I finally quit school and decided I wanted to work FT instead of getting my education. I learned real quick how to stop acting up and depending on other people to bail me out of things and learned to work, go back to school and become an adult fast.

My parents were tough on me without putting me in a juvenile school or something but sometimes I think I almost needed to be put away so I would learn my lesson. I'm glad I learned it pretty much on my own though once I found out in the real world you can't use and abuse those around you like you can your own family. It's just not that easy. You have to grow up and learn to take on things like an adult.
 

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I can only offer my experience as a 17 yo...

At 17 and completely disregarding my parents rules (not to mentions society's or laws), my parents told me that they were cutting me off. They had done everything they could do to mold me into an adult and now it was time for me to live, I was my own person.

They continued to let me live in the house until I was 18, they continued to buy me food, but that was it. I made my own rules, I bought my own clothes with my own money from my job, etc. I went a little crazy there for a while, doing whatever I wanted: being out at all hours, breaking laws with drugs, having lots of sex, I crashed (and I mean totaled) 3 cars in a row and wracked up heavy debts... My friends were all jealous.

But you know what? It was SO hard. I realized that now I was in charge - *I* and only *I* was ruining my life. It took me about a year until I shaped up, but I did. I didn't end up moving out of my parents house when I turned 18 because I had changed my tune so much. I followed my parents' house rules because I respected my parents and their wishes, not because they told me to. A lot of things changed and I think the fact that my parents cut me off had everything to do with it.

Sometimes "tough love" really *IS* needed. I wouldn't suggest doing something like what my parents did to someone younger than at least a very mature 16 yo though. As my parents put it, I was an adult in everything but name and so ready to make my own choices and suffer the consequences - they could no longer protect me from myself. But someone at 14... they are NOT an adult, and I think a version of "tough love" where you are even MORE involved in their lives would be more beneficial at that stage.

Just my two cents...
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Synthea™ View Post
I realize that won't be popular here, but I've been in this situation, both as the teenager and as the mother figure. Tough love sometimes just has to happen.
ITA w/this statement. I have a almost 15 yo son and a toddler so I am literally dealing with both ends of parenting. I think in theory its great to strive to be GD but sometimes its not possible and in the case of the OP, GD and natural consequences are not a option IMO. Since the natural consequence of her current behavior could include her being responsible for her death or the death of someone else. Frankly I'd rather have a pissed off kid who gets over it in a few years rather than a dead or incarcerated child.

I think that I'd agree that now is the time for tough love especially when she is so closed to adulthood yet you know that even though she will legally be an adult that she does not have the maturity level yet.

Shay
 

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I just want to give you a big hug. And I have to honestly say that I believe sending her away (military school or whatever) sounds like a bad idea.

I know at times in my parenting, when I wanted most to be far far away from my child, if I tried the opposite...going towards them...it worked out far better. And yes, I have a teen (17) who doesn't always live with me but not because I don't want her to.
 

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I read the OPs other thread from last summer, which contained some background info. The girl in question is her bio daughter, and the OP remarried 3 years ago. She has two teen bio-kids and 3 teen stepkids. From reading this thread and the other one, it seems that there are some major family issues here, and although your daughter is currently the one acting out, the problems are deeper than that. I'd start with family counseling, for all of you...

I think we, as parents, owe our children love, respect, a place to live, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I also think that if they call us and are in trouble, we need to go pick them up, any time of the day or night. This we owe them, no matter what they do. Besides that, I think we have a right to set boundaries on what we're willing to do for them.

Dar
 
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