I don't think this is a phase.
There have been many posts lately that I relate to in regards to disrespectful SD�s. I really do not think it is just an age or phase thing for so many of us dealing with SD�s who are 11 and 12 years old. If it is, then this is the longest phase ever, starting when she was just 2-4 years old. I guess this is more of a vent than anything, but just wanted to share that I am experiencing such similar things as others during this "stage".
I posted earlier this year, and at that point I still had some shreds of empathy or patience or connection with SD, but at this point, it is very nearly nonexistent. I just recently started counseling for myself because the situation was getting to me and I was getting anxiety attacks, and was unable to sleep on days when SD was coming back (DH is custodial parent). I struggle to not take personally the daily disrespect, arguing, complaining, talking back, whining, sneaking and lying. The counselor has been great at validating what I am feeling that much of SDs behavior is attention-seeking and manipulative, and she has given some methods to try to curb that behavior or not let it affect me so much, but it only works to an extent. For instance, she suggested a rewards/consequence system with SD, but that would only work if SD cared about losing out on rewards and privileges. It is more like a game to her.
She is constantly doing sneaky things and lying about them. Another post reminded me that I just recently caught SD spending extra money from her lunch account. She buys a ton of junk, then still acts like she is starving after school and sneaks snacks whenever she can. There are constantly wrappers stuffed in her drawers and underneath her bed. When I confronted her about her lunch account, she said well I knew that if I had asked you would have said no. I told her, yea, and if you ask me if you can smoke, drink or have sex I would say no too, so make sure you don�t ask� I guess that is kind of a leap, but it just showed me that she knows that she shouldn�t have been doing that, but chose to do it anyway. When we are struggling financially, it feels like she is stealing by doing that. And one of the things we keep trying to instill is the fact that she needs to do the right thing even if no one is watching and regardless if she is at her mom�s or not. The whole sneaking food thing is also aggravating because she is overweight, and is constantly jiggling her stomach at me, or telling me to look at how much skinnier and how much more stomach muscles she is getting because she has learned to suck in her abdomen.
This afternoon DH went on a quick run to the store, and things turned sour immediately. SD was in a weird mood all day, where if I say anything that needs to get done, she gets this strange pout, and whines "No, I don�t wanna." For every.thing. You can tell she is amused by herself, and maybe thinks she is being clever or cute, but she means it because it escalates quickly when I reiterate the request. Anyway, my husband left and SDs cousin came and complained that SD was talking/farting/making noises while cousin is trying to watch a movie (mind you cousin is 6 years old). This is after the day of trying to get her to stop all these behaviors. I had her sit in a chair and just be quiet, like time out. She wouldn�t stop talking. I said, ok, you have to write sentences � I will not talk when I am asked not to talk. She continued talking, acting like she did not know what I wanted her to write, sliding out of the chair, ripping pages from her notebook because she was confused about what the sentence was, and then saying she was wasting all her paper. I told her that would not happen if she would just write the correct sentence, and she says "actually, no this is more your fault because you are not telling me what I need to write." Miraculously, she figured out what it was after I told her she had more sentences to write about accepting responsibility for her own actions. The counselor told me, I just need to run down the list of consequences when this happens because she continues to escalate and not cooperate, and just be plain rude, so by the end she had lost her mp3, friend privileges and has to go to bed early. My sister was there in another room, so when DH came home she came and told me she heard SD yelling at me and talking back, so it was nice because usually SD does this when she thinks no one else is around or will hear her. There was a witness, so I think DH believed me more. When DH came home and supported me, SD�s smirky smug attitude disappeared and she was all tears and remorse.
This was not the worst day or worst incident, just the most recent. But, we do not get many reprieves. SD acts normal a couple days out of the week. It seems she has better weeks when she has just returned from her mom�s, but then the next week when she is going back to her mom�s, she is a jerk again. At a recent birthday party, there were some people who even questioned if she was "all there" because she was acting strange and hyper, and just flat-out not behaving like a 12 year old. After the party, SD was calm and cool as a cucumber again saying it is probably because she is bipolar and needs medicine because she just cannot control herself.
I think one of the main problems and the reason that these situations escalate and she does not care how many consequences she gets is because she has two other people in her corner siding against her dad and I, telling her that she does not deserve this treatment and she is all wonderful and sparkly just the way she is (in a nutshell). So, when she gets consequences, she knows she can just add them to her list and play victim with everyone.
She wants all these privileges like cell phones, makeup party, to go hang out at the park with no supervision, but she acts worse than a 5 year old. She has consistently broken trust by having a secret boyfriend, using facebook, and who knows what else � I think more lies come out of her mouth than truth.
I am just so worn out by trying to parent her � I feel more like a detective trying to figure out what the truth is or what is really going on, and I just feel like at this point I need to let go, and let her do what she is going to do � not worry about her grades or her character or anything else, just make sure that the basic things get done. I am not used to having someone in my life who argues for the sake of arguing or who pushes buttons for sport. It makes me feel uneasy and like I can�t relax or find peace in my own home or head since I spend so much time worrying about it.
I like the countdown idea, but it is still too far off for me to feel any comfort. Some days I wish she could just go live at her mom�s, but then I know that if she did that now, she would just be back in a couple of years, except way worse. It just seems that is the person she wants to emulate most, even though she has plenty of other examples to choose from.