end of my rope

imamommyNovember 5, 2010

I love my husband dearly... and I don't know how it's gotten so badly, but the only solution to hanging onto MY sanity, is to divorce my husband or send SD to live with her mother... but it seems neither parent wants that. BM doesn't want it, she's been complaining that SD is having behavioral problems there & can't deal with it. I think BM deserves to be forced to deal with it... she created the monster. DH says SD's better off here, but he's as frustrated as I am (well, as much as he can be without having to deal with her as much as I do)

A few weeks ago, we went to her conference. She had F's in every academic class & a B in PE, D in study hall. They gave us a "BS plan" that of course, isn't going to work. SD won't 'study' for 30 minutes, let alone 2.5 hours. You can make a kid sit at her desk & stare at the book/paper, but you cannot "make" them study. She bides her time & does nothing. Fast forward to the two weeks before Halloween. She came home & was in a good mood. She had asked to start calling me mom & I guess she thinks that means she can start breaking the rules... after all, I guess she thinks I only enforce the rules when we are not getting along? I suspected the whole "let me call you mom" routine was a manipulation. I wanted to believe she meant it so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I even supported her in going to her mom's for the party & trick or treating on Halloween weekend because I saw her taking out her books * doing her work after school every day. She still wasn't getting the answers right, but I saw 'effort' which was more than before when she was lying that she had no homework or that it was already done.

So, Wednesday we gave permission for her to go to BM's on Halloween. Monday (after the 'fun' weekend) she brings me a detention slip marked 2nd referral in one week. It was dated the Thursday before Halloween. So, she held onto it & gave it to me after she got to have her fun at mom's. I also noticed that her grades have all dropped since we had the conference... yes, they are all still F's but she had 57% in a couple of classes which could have been brought up to a D fairly easy.. that is now a 42%, and her PE grade dropped because she's been hanging out with some boys & walking the mile instead of running the mile on test day. She lied to me & told me she was losing points for not wearing a ponytail at PE.

Honestly, I can't believe a word she says & I told her that I need to be able to trust the people I live with. I've told her that many times but this last time... finding out she got two referrals in one day (Thursday) after we gave her the benefit of the doubt... we had told her she could not go trick or treating if her grades weren't improved & it was DH's weekend, so we didn't have to let her go to her mom's. When I talked to DH about letting her go, he wanted to stick to what we said.. her grades were still down but I told him how hard I have seen her trying, etc. & I told SD that I was backing her up because I see her trying & want to give her the benefit of the doubt but she better not let us down.. I was TRUSTING her. So, the very next day she gets written up for using foul language & throwing a pencil at another student (the referral said it stabbed the other student in the neck) but she comes home Thursday & says nothing... then goes to her mom's on Friday to have fun. On Monday, we get the referral because detention is on Tuesday. Well, I decided I am not going to leave work Tuesday to pick her up so I called & scheduled to have her do her detention on Friday since her grandma picks her up Friday anyways.

Her school also has a weekly detention on Thursdays after school and it's only for completing missing assignments. If a student doesn't get an assignment done by the due date, they can attend this class, get it done & turn it in for at least half credit instead of a zero. When SD attends, she rides the bus after to the elementary school where I have always arranged to pick her up. Last week she went & my dad went to pick her up. He waited for an hour but no SD... buses came & left but she was nowhere to be found. He called me, I was worried & called the school. As I'm talking to the school, she strolls in & I ask her how she got there? She says the bus driver refused to let her off the bus at the elementary school so she rode the whole route that drops her at her regular stop. Well, I was upset with the bus driver because I didn't know there was a late route & I had been arranging to pick her up at the school for several weeks, so I was angry that the driver decided she had to stay on the bus. After talking to the bus supervisor, I was told they cannot let SD off the bus anywhere but her regular stops and if she was getting off at the elementary school, it was supposed to only be to switch buses & get on her regular route bus. So, that cleared up the confusion & from now on, SD will ride the entire route & get off the bus at my office. Problem solved? UGH!! NO.

This week, SD got two referrals from teachers for missing homework (these are different from the behavioral referrals ~ so that's 4 referrals in 7 days... for anyone keeping track!) She was attending the homework detention yesterday & rode the bus. She told the bus driver to wait for her at the elementary school & ran into the office frantically to call DH. She called him & said "Ima knows to get me from the elementary school, right?" and he tells her he'll call me. So, he calls me & I am annoyed that she got off the bus at the school instead of staying on like I arranged. I am annoyed that the bus driver LET her... they told me their policy is to keep her on the bus the whole route unless we sign a permission slip. I was on my way to the dentist & ended up calling to let them know I was going to be a little late. The receptionist asked if she'd have time to run to the bank, I said it was only going to be a few minutes because the school is just down the road. So, she was going to wait for me. I get to the school & no SD. I go into the office & they tell me SD came in to use the phone but went outside. So, I walk all over the campus looking for her, on my phone with DH because I'm not finding her. I'm frantic & looking on the playground & bathrooms, nope... she's not there. I go back to the office & call the transportation supervisor because they were not supposed to let her off the bus. I'm on hold when my daughter calls & tells me SD strolled into my office... she had gotten back on the bus & rode the route. So, now I'm relieved she's okay but pretty pissed off the more I think about it. Why would she call & tell DH she's at the school & then get back on the bus to her normal stop? So, I rush over to my dentist & now it's been 20-25 minutes & apologize that she had to wait for me & missed going to the bank. Then I'm told it has to be rescheduled because other patients had appointments & there isn't enough time to do what needs to be done. I've been waiting 4 days for this appointment & it gets put off until next Tuesday. I'm not in a lot of pain, but I have two teeth giving me discomfort. I get back to my office & SD walks over to me (with a smirk & not an ounce of remorse) to talk to me and in order for me to remain calm, I tell her NOT NOW. I am not going to talk about it while I'm at work. (& I wanted her to know that I am too upset to even talk to her at that moment) She smiles & goes back to her chair.

On the way home, I ask her what she was thinking. She says "I don't know". I'm telling her how upset I was, how it affected a whole bunch of people.. and she is looking out the window & saw something funny & started to giggle. I am just so done with her! I haven't figured out if she did that on purpose to inconvenience me or if she lacks the common sense to know if she calls dad, wait for the ride. But, it was the attitude after the fact of not giving a crap how it affected anyone else or that we were upset... I was not the only one upset & she seemed to not care one iota... she acted like it was funny.

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Ima, I don't know how you and DH have done it as long as you have. I think it's possible that your SD is just playing you all because she is confident that you will always be there to save the day and prevent her from falling too far.

If the situation has become that dire (and it honestly sounds like it is close to it, from what you've said) you may need to investigate the possibilities of having her declared incorrigible. You cannot lock her in her room until her homework is done - but the state can. You cannot lock her in her room if she doesn't come directly from school - but the state can. (Funny how that works, isn't it?)

I know that here CYS can schedule a "motivational" meeting between parents/guardians and children. I realize that is a very drastic step, and one that would be last resort - but your SD sounds like she is absolutely convinced that because she is a child, no one can really do anything to her. Well, yes, they can and they will. I think at some point everyone in her life may need to sit down and apprise her of that fact. I realize she may be very troubled but she's got to be protected from herself.

Don't divorce your husband! Move out for a while if you have to - but don't divorce him. When SD is grown you can come back and work through it. You wouldn't be the first couple celebrating a silver or golden anniversary who lived apart for several years. :-)

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 3:22PM
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I think it is unfair to you to deal with this crap. she isn't your child, you have your own to deal with. I agree with mattie, don't divorce DH. but I wish I have advice for you, i don't. this is just crazy, the girl is getting worse. heck BM does not work, why isn't she taking SD to live with her? yeah i know it is not a solution...

    Bookmark   November 5, 2010 at 6:53PM
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wow, what's a mess and I feel for you. In a way, you are trying to carry the weight of this girl SOLELY on your shoulder. Your SD is at a tough age where they try to gain independence from the parent by doing the opposite things we want them to do.

The best for you is not to take on the task because she is NOT your daughter. YOur SD knows it too and will use that to set you up in a triangle (you,her and her BD or BM).

LEt your H and BM decide what to do with her, ie, her education, her grade, her effort and how to discipline her. If she needs a ride home then have her arrange the rides w the dad or her mom. You only do it as an emergency not as a regular duty. Make sure that everyone is aware that you can only support her until 18 and that is it.

Just be a good friend to your SD, but not the ENABLER of ther bad behavior (this means don't bail her out because of her lack of consideration).

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 9:15AM
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Ima, hugs and hugs

I know you know more about criminal justice systme in your state (or anywhere hahah) than i do, but I really think now is the time to double back, with an attorney, if necessary, to get help as to how to deal wiht her.

If there are any support mechanisms that help deal with teens on a prevent basis, nows the time.

Good luck

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 11:56AM
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" I think at some point everyone in her life may need to sit down and apprise her of that fact. I realize she may be very troubled but she's got to be protected from herself."


(((HUGS))) Ima. How much of this does DH know, I mean in regards to your feelings? Have you considered a separation? I wonder if that would pull his head out of his @$$ and get him to recognize the severity of the situation.

SD is going to wind up pregnant, on drugs, in jail, or dead---I guarantee at least one of those things will happen. This is going to get worse and worse and worse, the older she gets.

I think DH gets it to a certain extent, but I also think he would get it *more* if he had this problem dumped solely in HIS lap. I know he loves his daughter but I fear your commitment to her has actually enabled your husband to let the situation become YOUR problem.

Ima, you have enough going on with your son and your grandson. SD, while you do care about her, is NOT your problem. Her PARENTS need to handle this, and we all know BM is not gonna step up. That leaves your DH.

I wonder if you moving out temporarily (or threatening to do so) would wake him up, make him realize the gravity of the situation.

SD is in danger, she DOES need to be protected from herself, and now your marriage is in danger.

I'm sorry. :( I wish I could give you a hug in real life.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 12:05PM
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having D in study halls tells me that she is not struggling with her work but practices work refusal. as long as you show effort in study hall, you get A. she gets D which means she is not doing anything there, probably just sits and chats with boys.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 3:59PM
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DH knows it's a problem. He doesn't know how to deal with her & I agree, he's let me deal with her because it's easier than trying to deal with someone that's exactly like his ex. She is like a mini BM & he has a problem with that. He avoids dealing with BM as much as possible & I know it's because he would rather not have the confrontation. BM is slightly taller than DH & she has a dominant personality... she's gotten by with pushing her weight around & has a big mouth. She's about a foot taller than I am, yet when I stood up to her, she told DH that she felt threatened because I must be a hard @ss because of the work I do. He's always been intimidated by her threats, so until he met me... he gave her whatever she wanted so she'd leave him alone. I know it's probably my fault she doesn't like me, because I stepped up & said "are you kidding?" when she made ridiculous demands... and he stopped giving in to her. I became enemy #1. So, that is a big part of why DH lets me handle things... if I back off, BM steamrolls him. I've seen it.. when I stopped going with him to exchanges because I was trying to disengage... she'd come out & ask for favors, make complaints, etc. Anything to start a conflict with him. When I go, she usually stays in her house & sends SD out with older sister to walk her to the car....(which is still ridiculous to involve the older sister in exchanges, besides, a 6th grader does not need to be walked out & be put in the car like a four year old, but whatever!)

I was watching a show the other day. It was about a girl that, when described, reminded me so much of SD. She got involved in drugs & a boyfriend. Her & her boyfriend ended up murdering a group of friends when they decided to rob them for a stash of drugs. Lovehadley, I know one of those things is inevitable. She wants her mom to pay attention to her. She wants more from her dad, but he's always at work... he's there as much as he can be but he is frustrated by her behavior so she doesn't get to do as much fun stuff with him as she'd like. She can't seem to connect the dots between her bad behavior & not getting to do the stuff she wants, even though we tell her all the time. So, I guess she may feel deprived of both her parents & that has been my weakness with her. I feel sorry for her but I can't make up for that. Even when DH spends time with her, she doesn't count it.. unless she had enough fun, which she never does. and I feel like time is running out. She's past her 'child' stage & going into her 'teen' stage. I really feel hopeless about it.

A temporary separation isn't going to fix the problem with SD.. in fact, she'll just be older & maybe even more problematic than she is now... maybe with a couple of kids. Divorce would be my last option and my dad, who up until last week, has defended SD when I talk to him about how frustrated I am with her. He feels sorry for her situation & thought I was being too harsh & not understanding enough. He said he watched her demeanor as she watched me walk in after sending me on the wild goose chase, then as she came over to talk to me... supposedly to tell me sorry ~ but she was giggling & trying to keep a straight face. He says now he understands my frustration. He's been helping her with her math for a few months, she is still not turning it in & getting F's on her tests, even though she tells him she understands it & he works with her until he believes she understands it. Then, after the conference, she yelled "WELL NOBODY WILL HELP ME!!!" and when I told him she said that, he was dumbfounded.

I have decided that I am going to put everything to do with her on him. He has made me feel guilty before for trying to put more on him... he works an hour away & works for commission, so leaving work early or being late affects his paycheck. I am self employed & when I'm out of the office, my dad handles the office so it doesn't affect my income. So, I put her in school near me so I can 1. go to the school when needed, if she calls during the day or forgets things after school. 2. she comes to my office so I can now make sure she's working on her homework, which she appears to do. 3. it saves the cost of after care that we were paying last year. 4. last year, I had to hurry over to pick her up when after care closed & it was inconvenient to have to take the baby out of the car in the cold to go in & get her.... so there were a few different reasons. plus, it's a better school & would be easier for her to participate in activities because now she's in town, where her old school was out in the country... in the middle of nowhere. (another reason it was a pain to go back & get work from her desk or pick her up from after care)

I know I'm rambling & I know that the right thing (FOR ME) to do is let DH deal with her by himself. But, I also know that he helps me with DGS & it goes against my belief that we are a partnership, so I guess I feel guilty for bowing out& sticking him with all of it on his shoulders to deal with alone. I've raised 3 teenagers and the other day, my 20 year old daughter told me "mom, if I did as much as her... you'd _____" and then she stopped & said "no wait, I'd never even THINK of doing half the stuff she does!" But, I taught my kids what was or wasn't acceptable from day 1 & SD has had two very different parents running very different households with different rules & her mother (and her father) have allowed her to manipulate them. OMG! DH went into her room that night to find out what happened & she got teary eyed & was "but, I didn't know!" and was working DH, trying to drum up some sympathy for HERSELF! Forget everyone else that was affected by what she did!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 6:32PM
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Also, the one great thing about DH is that he is very open to my suggestions.... only I have run out of ideas and nothing I've tried has been effective with her. (and I feel like I've tried everything except completely walking away)

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 7:47PM
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Love said: "I think DH gets it to a certain extent, but I also think he would get it *more* if he had this problem dumped solely in HIS lap. I know he loves his daughter but I fear your commitment to her has actually enabled your husband to let the situation become YOUR problem. "

Ditto. Don't divorce him, just don't take on as much. Although I understand that it works *for the family* if you do these things.

SD needs a firm hand. Like, yesterday. And unfortunatly, Dh is the only person who can do this job.

I don't have any advice but you do have my sympathy. It's rough when your kids absolutely know what is right and wrong because they've been raised with it, and then to be confronted with a child who doesn't, because she hasn't.


    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 10:38PM
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well even teens, who know what is right and what is wrong and were raised with it, do crazy stuff and get in trouble or become difficult to deal with because that's a tough age. Tough on their emotions and on their bodies. The most wonderful children often become difficult as they reach certain age. That's why they often need interventions like seeing a therapist or similar measures.

To say that SD wasn't raised "with it" it is like to say that Ima and DH do not raise her well. Her mother has horrible negative influence on the child but SD is raised full time by dad and SM for as long as I've been on this site and before that she was 50/50. I really can't say that they do not raise her "with it", seems that ima employed multiple positive strategies and both dad and SM do their best.

To say that SD is not a teenager yet so it appears that it is too early to display teenage behavior. But I remember ima saying that she developed early, she already is into boys. Seems awfully early.

I feel for DH having to work so many hours and not being able to be around and feel for imamommy having to deal with it on top of having to deal with a grandson. Plus she has her own kids. It seems way too much for one person to handle.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 10:44AM
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PO1, this is what Ima said:

But, I taught my kids what was or wasn't acceptable from day 1 & SD has had two very different parents running very different households with different rules & her mother (and her father) have allowed her to manipulate them.

That's what I mean by "raised with it". It is not like they didn't raise her well and doesn't mean they didn't raise her well.

Don't put words in my mouth.

The difference between a child who is raised with a concrete set of expectations (with one parent or two) and a child who is raised with conflicting sets of expectations is that the first child will know what is expected of them and the second will flounder about, trying to see where the boundaries are.

It doesn't matter if Ima and DH were the best parents ever. They were not her only influences, and she was not raised with clear expectations of behavior. It only takes a second to unravel hours of hard work.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 1:51PM
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well even if she taught that what is right and what is wrong, her kids still made some mistakes, some mistakes are as serious as the one causing her to be a guardian of a grandbaby. My point is sometimes parents work hard at teaching kids the right thing, yet at certain age or actually at any age kids make mistakes. Yes good parents are less likely to produce majorly troubled children (unless we talking about medical issue or disability) but there is no guarantee, no rules. And we do not really know what causes SD's behavior. I saw so many different teens in my life so i know, there are no rules.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 3:20PM
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Well, I feel for Ima. It's more difficult to teach right and wrong to a stepchild with one divisive parent and one whom is working so much all the parenting falls on sparent.

Her son made a bad choice of partners and has a commitment that requires him to be out of the country so he can't care for his child. That's unfortunate, but doesn't, IMO, equate to the exceedingly bad choices this child is making every day. It's apples and oranges.

Many of us here have made poor partner choices, which is why we are stepparents or have spouses who are sparents.

Every child makes mistakes.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 6:39PM
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silvers maybe you weren't on this site but ima shared previously that her children made some mistakes (not in choice of partners), made poor choices and didn't want to follow the rules, dropped out, didn't want to work, didn't want to go to school etc they corrected their mistakes and got on a right track, and hopefully SD will. So even children of responsible parents like ima make poor choices. So just because you do your best as a parent does not mean your children will not make exceedingly bad choices. I hope not, but there is no guarantee. So no apples and oranges.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 9:25PM
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The choices that caused me to take guardianship of my grandson was my son's poor choice in partners & his decision to join the military & not be able to take on parenting when his wife couldn't do it.

Yes, my kids made poor choices as teens. I accept responsibility for my part in that, but I also have stated that I was not always consistent with them & learned from what I did wrong as a single parent. I had to work extra hard to turn them around & I have put more energy into SD alone than I had to spend on all three of my kids. I believe the reason is that I raised my kids from day 1 with core values that I have always believed in... treat others the way you want to be treated, tell the truth & follow the laws/rules, work hard for what you want, pray for those less fortunate (no matter how poor we were, there is always someone worse off) and I thought those were basic ideas that everyone had. I don't think it made me a great parent, but I was very involved in my kids life. I made time to cuddle & watch movies, we had family traditions & it always involved helping a charity during the holidays & stopping to pray when we passed an accident on the road, saying thanks at all meals, etc. When my kids were making poor choices, I worked hard to be consistent with them & stuck to it & fortunately they did turn around. But, my kids also cared what I thought of them... they still do. SD could give a crap what I think. I even wonder if she is trying to get back at her parents, especially her mom but I know she wants more from DH & is never happy with what he does... and he does try.

When SD was younger, DH never has done any of those things with SD. My connection with my kids has always been strong. Since SD has lived with us full time, DH does more with her but it still lacks that close bond that I have with my kids. He's not a touchy feely person, not big on hugs, etc. SD just reminds me of a lost child, like she has no connection with either of her parents. Her mom used to pawn her off on us when we were dating. She treats SD like a mini adult, sharing relationship problems & court stuff... but beyond that, she has always treated her girls like they are all friends on the same level. DH has always treated her like a helpless baby. Even now, I have to sometimes tell him... she can cut her own meat, she's in the 6th grade! He is open to my suggestions but really has no idea what a kid should or shouldn't be doing at certain ages. He knows she's too young for make up & sexy clothes but those are the things her mom allows. There is just such a huge contrast in parenting styles and they should try to find a middle ground, but BM will just tell DH what he wants to hear... then do whatever she's gonna do. You can't co parent well when the other parent lies through her teeth and does exactly what she says she won't... and I think it has more to do with her not liking that DH doesn't agree with her, than thinking about what's best for their daughter. Of course, that woman can't even figure out what's best for herself so how can she do what's best for her daughter? I mean she's nearly 40 & had a baby to trap her boyfriend... that's the role model she is. Now, she's leaves the baby with whoever so she can go out partying with her boyfriend.

I think it is apples & oranges. My kids had a mom that made mistakes (like lots of parents) but they were raised with core values. SD has a mom that places a high value on having a man to take care of her (she left her kids for one & chooses him over spending time with them & had a baby to keep him),not working (why work when you can find others to support you & you can hang out at the pool & work on the tan?) being hot & sexy... SD talks a lot about how important it is & BM shows it by spending a lot of time dieting & hanging out at the pool/river, etc. and her idea of getting SD cute clothes is trashy.. an 11 year old doesn't need leopard print panties that are 2 sizes too small but that's what BM sent her home in last week. DH has a great work ethic & tries to do the right thing, but where SD is concerned I think he's clueless about kids, especially a pre teen that wants to be like her mother.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 11:31PM
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"DH has a great work ethic & tries to do the right thing, but where SD is concerned I think he's clueless about kids, especially a pre teen that wants to be like her mother."

I would agree with this. I think DH needs a wake up call somehow; not saying he is a bad guy because I KNOW he's not, he's trying to do the best he can.

I was recounting some of this to my DH to get his *male perspective* (HAHA, because all men should take advice from my hubs, yes? ;) and he said it almost sounds like your DH needs to take a leave of absence to focus solely on SD. I know that is probably not feasible financially but I do agree that if there is ANY way DH can re-focus his life to be on her @$$, that would be good.

I think he needs to SHADOW her. Pick up from school right at dismissal. Straight home. Straight to homework. Etc. Etc.

I say she has lost ALL privilges until she earns them back. I know this is hardcore but have you thought about stripping her bedroom of EVERYTHING but the bed and a lamp? I mean, take everything---all toys, all electronics, all fun and games, all extras.

Tell her that the trust is simply lost and SHE is the only one who has the power to gain it back. And she is going to have to show you, not tell you.

Each time she does something *right* or something that earns a bit of trust, she earns something back. A DS, or a dvd player, whatever.

I don't know. This girl is in some serious trouble and she has got to understand that.

I almost wonder if DH should sit her down and be more truthful about her mother.

Not in a mean way, but in a "Look, I know you love your mom, but do you think she makes good choices? Is her life what you want for your life?"

It's SAD. This poor girl desperately wants her mom to love her---I think THAT is at the root of her behavior---but she's barking up the wrong tree. I know it's hard, and it's sad but I almost think she needs some more harsh reality about the fact that her mom is not dependanble and does NOT have her best interest in mind. YOU and DH are the only two people she has in her corner, and I think she needs to recognize that.

It's tough. :(

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 8:09AM
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I think that there's a couple of problems. First is the difference in core values. I know exactly what you mean, about assuming that everyone had at least some basic values; I too have found out that that is not the case. DH has raised SS with these values - but SS is still very conflicted. Not just does BM tend to excuse or ignore violations of basic values, she's been known to demean the values themselves (only a fool would work hard to achieve X when they could lie and have it handed to them).

It's one of those horrible situations that the family court system does not seem set up to deal with - if you and DH were to tell SD that BM's "values" should be ignored, it would be alienation. So you're stuck in a position where BM's "values" are given equal weight to those of most people. It's kind of like watching a political round table where one participant is so far off to the fringe but everyone else nods seriously and agrees that yes, there is a possibility that the leader of the opposition party is in fact a space alien but checks and balances will prevent the Martians from taking over, instead of someone standing up and saying "You whacko! Are you out of your freakin' mind?!" We all know that a forty year old woman whose career path consists of remaining "hot & sexy" and becoming pregnant is going to have a rude awakening soon, but will that happen soon enough to help SD?

I think the second part, and I'm not sure how to put this, is SD's apparent sense of entitlement that she is sort of owed restitution for what she seems to perceive as her parents' neglect of her. I was thinking about this over the weekend. I know someone who was sent to boarding school at age eight, and never came home except Christmas and summers from that point on. I know someone whose father worked double shifts for twenty years, and so almost never saw him. I know plenty of people who had nine, ten or even twelve kids in their family - so once they were of school age, they were deemed old enough to take care of themselves and were pretty much left to their own devices. I know people whose parents were military, and so were deployed for long periods. And none of them have expressed a particular feeling that something should have been different; their parents did what they thought was best or what had to be done, and that was that. I think sometimes that parents feel such guilt over a divorce and the kids can sense that, and sometimes take advantage of it. Your SD may feel that some grave injustice was done to her, and that thus she is "owed".

I wonder if it would help at all to have SD involved with volunteering (whether she likes it or not). First, it would expose her to people outside of her family who thus have no ties to either DH or her BM. I think if she develops any kind of casual relationship with unaffiliated parties, if they give her advice she may be more inclined to listen because they'd have no reason to mislead her.

When I was in high school I was questioning the value of education (due to simultaneous parental lay-offs). The "work hard, go to school and prosper" theory did not seem to make sense to me; why spend money and time to go to college or even graduate high school to work at a minimum wage job when one could simply drop out and work at a minimum wage job? Luckily for me, I met a group of adults who did exactly that, and they were all adamant about my not following the same path they had. My parents could have talked until they were blue in the face about what would happen if I didn't finish school, but these other adults told me what did happen - and why I didn't want to live like that if I had a choice.

Secondly I think perhaps SD needs to see that things could be a lot worse. I'm not belittling her problems, but at the same time, we also all know that having even one caring parent, decent health and intelligence, a roof over one's head and food on the table, is something that a lot of kids are going without, and it may help SD to realize that.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 9:31AM
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PO1: "well even if she taught that what is right and what is wrong, her kids still made some mistakes, some mistakes are as serious as the one causing her to be a guardian of a grandbaby."

"silvers maybe you weren't on this site but ima shared previously that her children made some mistakes (not in choice of partners), made poor choices and didn't want to follow the rules, dropped out, didn't want to work, didn't want to go to school etc"

PO1, what exactly are you trying to say? First you say that "some" of the choices were serious enough to leave IMA raising her grandbaby, then when I protested that statement as the particular circumstances you're bashing her son for weren't particularly mistakes/bad choices other than poor choice of partner you say they made mistakes that don't have to do with choice of partner.

OF COURSE kids make mistakes, regardless of how good their parenting was. ADULTS make mistakes. I make them, and more often than I'd like to admit. I remember IMA saying her kids made mistakes. I remember her saying she wasn't the BEST PARENT EVER. Who is?

The difference here is that Ima was fully in control of what she did. When she decided she needed to change the way she was parenting there was no hierarchy. She decided, she made the change.

Now she's dealing with a committee. BM, Dad, Ima. There are conflicting opinions and ideas of how the child should be raised. And she doesn't even have a full vote. All she is is the enforcer.

Tough job.

Ima, I agree with Mattie that some volunteer work might be great. Talking to people who do not have as much, who got bad grades and wished they had worked harder, who got pregnant too young, etc.

And I agree with Love, DH needs to shadow her. She needs a really tight leash right now.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 11:40AM
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"Now she's dealing with a committee. BM, Dad, Ima. There are conflicting opinions and ideas of how the child should be raised. And she doesn't even have a full vote. All she is is the enforcer."

lol, add MIL to the committee. When SD can't complain about rules to BM, she goes to MIL & she has her own opinion on what I'm doing wrong... funny how she doesn't put it back on DH since he's the parent... nope, not HER son!

This morning, I reminded DH about taking SD to school. He started to get upset & tell me I'm being ridiculous. Her bus picks her up a couple of blocks from my office at 7:15 & I get to work at 7. He leaves at 7:30 & she can't be on campus until 7:30 so he has to leave about 7:20 (10 whole minutes earlier) and drop her off at the school. He protests "WHAT GOOD WILL IT DO, TO HAVE ME TAKE HER INSTEAD OF YOU?" and I calmly looked at him & said "Because it takes it off my shoulders. She is YOUR child, not mine & it shifts the responsibility from me to YOU." and he had nothing to say. He said okay and went back to getting ready. I then left & drove away feeling guilty & wondering how this is going to affect my marriage. I realize how easy I have made it for him to take me for granted.

I've tried to get SD involved in a church youth group, her mother threw a fit & ranted about how SD is not going to do anything with my church. She claims SD is Presbyterian (even though DH is Catholic but she said religion follows the mother) so she does not want SD involved in any religious activity with us. BTW, her argument over religion following the mother is stupid but it caused such a conflict & SD was in the car with her at the time, called DH back to apologize for telling her mom that I was going to take her to the church... it wasn't worth the fight. I had the same fight when I signed her up for girl scouts & karate. BM refused to give up her weekends for SD to be in baseball. As for volunteering, for the past year I have worked 7 days a week & have had to adjust to having a baby to care for. She was spending time with my dad & he was kinda having those kinds of talks with her... we both have related to her from our personal experiences & how making the wrong choices made life harder, etc. My dad really thought he was getting through to her & was shocked to see how she acted the other day. He has been very supportive of her, was helping her with her school work & defended her when I hesitated to believe anything she tells me. He saw firsthand how manipulative she has become.

DH can't pick her up from school. He gets home at 6:30pm. Last week, she was grounded & since I get home at 5:30pm, I fixed her dinner, fed her & had her take her shower after she said her homework was done (I didn't check, I decided it is less stressful for me to not check it & if she gets a zero or an F, then she will have to deal with that)... and she was to go to bed early so she was in bed or about ready for bed by the time DH got home.

She has nothing to remove from her room. She has a bookshelf full of books she never takes down to read & she has games she never plays. She lost her TV & stereo because she has straight F's. Nothing seems to faze her.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 1:51PM
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"She has nothing to remove from her room. She has a bookshelf full of books she never takes down to read & she has games she never plays. She lost her TV & stereo because she has straight F's. Nothing seems to faze her."

This may sound extreme but have you considered those bootcamps?

I KNOW that some of those are bad, and abusive, and you would need to look CAREFULLY, to find the right one. Just because one claims to be "Christian" does not mean it is. KWIM?

BUT--I know there are reputable, tough love places out there. I also think they are expensive, so it may not even be an option; but it may be worth looking into.

I think what bothers me most is this girl's disrespectful behavior. I grew up with a lot of emotional abuse but I turned my problems inward---an eating disorder and just generally being very passive.

I was really well behaved and did well in school, so my problems were more underneath. Self-harming, if that makes sense.

SD is harming herself most of all, of course, but she seems to have a manipulative, angry streak that causes her to lash out at others----namely, you. And THAT is not okay and THAT is what I fear will cause her to wind up being arrested/in trouble with the law.

And this selfish perspective she has will cause her, if she becomes pregnant, to be a crappy mom. And then who will THAT responsibility fall onto? You and DH.

I also agree with Silver that your son's choices are mistakes EVERYONE---or most---people have made. He made a poor choice of a partner to have a child with. Mistake? yes. But it is not on the same spectrum as what SD is doing and the path she's going down.

Your son is unable to parent his son RIGHT NOW because he's on active duty! Not on drugs or just a deadbeat.

There is a world of difference.

I agree with Parent that ALL kids, regardless of parenting, make mistakes; just as all parents make mistakes. But parents don't have to be perfect----just good enough.

I think it IS a core value thing, too. SD is, IMO, self centered. Entitled. A perpetual victim.

I FEEL for her, I really do---but what she needs now is NOT sympathy, but a firmer hand. She really does. There is a difference between EMPATHY and SYMPATHY.

I empathize with SD but she still needs to do what she can and to recognize that there are people trying to help her.

Gosh. I don't know. It seems like such a dark, long road, like she is on a collision course and there's not a damn thing anyone can do to stop it.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 2:54PM
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Ima have you met with school social worker OR A COUNSELOR, maybe they have some ideas, maybe even what lovehadley says..not bootcamp but something similar?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 7:13PM
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I've chosen to completely disengage from the situation. Last night, SD goes to take her shower & DH tells me she got another referral for flipping off another student. I ask him what consequence he's going to give her & he tells me that she showed him what she did... she didn't really flip off the other kid but he see's how it could LOOK that way. So, he sees no reason to give her any consequence... especially since the school has already given her lunch detention. I GIVE UP!!! i told him that if she gets an after school detention, HE has to go pick her up... I'm not doing it. He says "you know I can't leave work!" and I tell him that "you'll have to... I guess you better let SD know that you can't leave work for detentions because I'm not going to pick her up.. you are!" Detentions are only held on Tuesday, unless DH calls to make arrangements to drop it on BM's lap (or grandma... but whatever! NOT ME!)

If DH doesn't see a problem, then I am not going to involve myself with anything to do with the situation anymore. As it is, SD still gets bussed to my office after school & I drive her home. The mommy in me wants to check her homework, etc. But, I don't want to even do that anymore. I guess if she gets off the bus & needs a ride, next time it will be on DH to go get her.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 2:26PM
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Do you know what term I haven't heard thrown around too often lately?


    Bookmark   November 9, 2010 at 9:34PM
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    Bookmark   November 10, 2010 at 10:43AM
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Someone asked on a different thread how it's going. I don't want to hijack the other thread, but it's been WONDERFUL!!!

My days are so much less stressful & DH is now spending his evenings in a bad mood, trying to learn 6th grade math (at least the lessons SD is being assigned)~She lied about turning in an assignment & when he told her to redo it to humor him since online shows a zero, she wrote a bunch of math answers on the page & handed it to him, knowing he is not great at multiplying fractions ~ so he asked me to explain one word problem "If you give each cat 3/4 cup of food & you have 16 1/2 cups of food, how many cats can you feed?" SD said 2. so he knew that was wrong & I looked at the page & saw all the answers were wrong, she had written down anything that looked like a math answer & I guess she figured daddy isn't good with math so he won't check it... so he got out the text book & started learning the lesson so he can check it. I thought that was GREAT!

and he's getting his mom involved by taking SD everyday during Thanksgiving week, while he's at work. (let her put her money where her mouth is since she has acted like I am just so evil to SD because I don't let her do anything or I won't buy her whatever she wants.... grandma gets to step up & taste it now) SD has to do remedial work for each failing grade. She failed every academic class, except social studies teacher bumped her to a D-, even though she had 54%. (I thought 54% was an F) but whatever, so the school requires her to do 'tutorials' online for each failed grade. MIL is going to have her do them from her house & he will drop her off on his way to work, pick her up on his way home. BM wanted to have her for the weekend to go cut their Christmas tree but DH told her no, she has to stay here to do school stuff because of her grades. I thought that was a great consequence... to miss out on something she really wanted to do since she just acts like she could care less when we take things away or don't do things with her.

It's interesting to see DH realize just how much stuff I really did for her... a lot more than he thought! Even stuff like taking care of her bus fee. SD 'lost' the paper at the end of October. I asked her to get another one but she didn't so I didn't pay it. Finally the bus driver told her she had to pay to ride the bus & DH has to wait until he gets paid again to pay it... so he tells me that I am going to have to pick her up from school. NO I'M NOT, YOU HAVE TO. So then he says, well can you call the school & let them know I'll take care of it next week? NO, YOU CALL THE SCHOOL & TELL THEM YOURSELF. I think he's finally getting it... all the stuff I do, but get ignored by SD until she wants from me, lied about to her mom & grandma by SD to try & get me in 'trouble', the power struggle over homework, the daily lying about everything, the stealing... Now he knows why I am fed up & done. I was worried he would resent me putting it back in his lap but I think he's developed a better appreciation.

SD on the other hand completely ignores me. She waits until I am giving the baby a bath to come out of her room & ask DH for anything. She does not talk to me at all. She comes to my office after work & sits there pretending to study when I am looking. (others have told me she grabs a book when she sees me coming) and she will talk to my dad when I leave the office for any reason. That part of dealing with her is still unpleasant but I've decided to ignore it & let it go. She doesn't have to talk to me & it really doesn't bother me too much anymore. It used to bother me a lot because I wanted us to have a relationship but she has made up her mind & now I wonder if she has ever really liked me from day 1. I think back to the manipulative things she's tried since the beginning & wonder if the times that we did get along were genuine or fake? But I don't spend too much time thinking about that anymore either. She's a product of her parents & I'm still very sad for her, but there is nothing I could have done to change what her mom puts her through & how she reacts to it.

That's my update.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 1:57AM
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Wow, I feel for you-that is crazy. But I totally love that you have handed it all back to your DH, every single detail. There is just no other way he is going to get it unless he has to deal with it ALL.

Good on you. I've been thinking of you and had hoped things improved with SD.. How is your GSon doing? Will your son be back soon?



    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 3:05AM
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DGS is doing great. He was late to start walking & went from barely taking steps to running full throttle in about six weeks so he's keeping me on my feet. He is talking more & we are excited that my son will be back in the States on Sunday! He is actually out of Afghanistan for 4 days now (So Thankful!) & his plane arrives back on base Sunday. He won't be able to take leave right away. His base is on the East Coast & I'm in CA. He'll be here in early December & stay for a month. It still hasn't been fully decided whether he'll take DGS back to the East Coast with him. He'd like to but I don't think he has realistically considered what a handful it will be & how he will single parent him over there & work everyday. DIL moved about two hours away from me here so she only sees him on a supervised level, once every two or three weeks. Her parents were given visitation in court but have flaked out... they have tried to get me to agree to every other weekend, days only (they don't want him overnight) when in court they demanded at least one overnight so they have all day Saturday until Sunday afternoon. Since I won't agree to change the court order in writing, they have simply stopped picking him up altogether. I guess they just want to engage in battle & I said, "sorry, we have a court order & I am sticking to it. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION." I got my bill from the attorney... $4k because they kept bringing it back to court, hearing after hearing. The final hearing the Judge said no more continuances, come to an agreement or I will make an order. My attorney went back and forth with them for over an hour to get the agreement that they wanted... an overnight! Maybe they thought I would fight them on that? DIL agreed to supervised visits until she completes a parenting class, then she gets one overnight a week as well. She promptly moved away three weeks later on Halloween. She has seen DGS once since then & is supposed to see him today. She's canceled one other visit so we'll see what happens today? It's funny that she did the exact same thing BM did with DH/SD. She fought a hard court battle, dragged it out... all the way to trial, got an order & then moved away a few weeks later. These people have me shaking my head because he's such a good baby, he's adorable, smart, funny & I don't understand how they can do that. But, when my son gets home he has to decide what he wants to do... go to court to end the guardianship or let DGS stay here for another year until he is out of the military. He is moving back here when he gets out so if DGS stays here, I will be flying him to base once a month for a weekend with my son... that way DIL can still see DGS during that year because if DGS is on the East Coast, DIL won't see him at all. She'd have no way to get there.

I'm just excited that he's safe & on his way home.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 8:16AM
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I am so glad your son is coming home! Such happy news! And GS sounds so adorable.

As about SD, buy her TI-84 (costly but she will need it in high school anyway) and show her how to convert between fractions and decimals back and forth. Problems with cups and recipes and portions will be a piece of cake for her. She will be able to solve fractions problems if that's where her troubles are. TI-84 or 83 come with a good manual. It could raise her confidence, when she'll see she can do fractions, she might start working harder on other stuff. If she is generally struggling in math, she probably does not even want to try fractions.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 6:11PM
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My aunt is going through the same situation. Her SD, my biological cousin, is giving her so many problems. Rather, she is giving the entire family problems, but she seems to be the only one who is dealing with it. Where is my uncle? I do not know? Phsycially, he is there, but mentally...I have no clue.

This scares me, to be honest. I know I will go through this one day and pray that when I do, I do not take it upon me to deal with the SD. She has a mother and she has a father...I am just an innocent bystandard who, if she needs additional help (someone to talk to or a ride EVERY ONCE AND A WHILE) is present. Other than that, I want nothing to do with it. It is not my responsibility. Thankfully, her mother and her mother's family is very involved with her and so is her father, my boyfriend. I used to hate this, but now it relieves me:)

How you do this? I do not know...but may God bless you! And may your husband buy you something wonderful for xmas!!


    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 11:44PM
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"I'm just excited that he's safe & on his way home."

Ima, that just brought the world's biggest smile to my face.

(I've been MIA on here because I had my baby in October.)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 2:37PM
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CONGRATULATIONS!!! We need an update!!!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 6:18PM
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