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Disengaging???

Posted by imamommy (imamommy21@yahoo.com) on
Sat, Oct 8, 11 at 13:29

It's been about a year that I have been TRYING to disengage from SD12, but I don't seem to be able to ignore some of the things she does. My daughter, who works with me, agreed to drive SD to the bus stop in the mornings so I don't have to be in the car with her but then she now leaves earlier before DH is up so he doesn't really see her before school unless he gets up a little earlier. Then it's only for a minute or two. The point to bringing that up is that SD makes her own lunch & gets dressed for school. A couple of weeks ago, she came walking into my office with her shirt unbuttoned. DH bought her some Cami undershirts because she told him she was self conscious about her breast developing. Tank tops or Cami's are not allowed to be worn alone at school per the dress code. She usually wears them under a tunic. This particular day, she wore a button down shirt with the Cami underneath but then unbuttoned the shirt so everyone can see the Cami, like it was a shirt. DH would not have let her leave the house with it like that but she sashayed into my office, literally shaking her shoulders & butt. She walked past me a few times. I can only guess she wanted me to see her new "sexy" look or say something about it. I ignored her but sent DH a text to let him know. He wanted me to say something to her but I refused. I told him that it's not my job and he needs to deal with her, maybe get up earlier & see what she's wearing or not buy her clothes that can be worn inappropriately (or as he intended). I don't think it was a big deal how she wore it... I mean, I see lots of girls dressing like that or worse. I guess what irritated me about it was the way she walked past me, shaking what she doesn't have like she is baiting me to say something so she can cry about it. It was the attitude that bothered me more than anything. What bothered DH is that she decided to do this after my daughter started driving her, knowing he is not up to see how she's dressed. So, for DH it was about her being sneaky. Also speaking of sneaky, a few days ago DH asked me to stop at the store after work to get bread for SD's lunches... not sure about the rest of the country but a loaf of bread is about $4. I told DH several weeks ago that I don't think SD eats her sandwich because I have seen her put just bread & lunch meat with nothing else. A few times, she empties her lunch box at my office so I see the uneaten "sandwich". So, on Friday he decides to look in her lunch box & finds she is just putting 2 slices of bread in her sandwich box to make it look like she has a sandwich, I guess in case anyone looks. He told her to make a real sandwich. I told him he can't make her eat it unless he goes to sit with her at lunch. One of our issues that we are struggling with (along with the rest of the country) is finances and I'm pissed that she is wasting lunch supplies to "trick" us. I could care less if she eats a sandwich, but don't waste food to be dishonest. grrrr

Irregardless, I am stuck with her from after school until we go home. Then she shuts herself in her room, which she keeps complaining to DH about. She says she "feels" like she can't come out of her room to watch TV when I'm in the living room. She has been told over & over that she can watch TV, do her own laundry, go outside, go in the kitchen & fix herself a snack, or do whatever she wants... except join me while I'm watching something on TV that is inappropriate for her. A couple of times, she comes in while I'm watching crime shows & plops down. I have told her to go find something else to do because the shows may be recreating murders, rapes or other crimes that I am not comfortable watching with her. Other times, I am watching kid shows with DGS & she can watch but usually chooses to do something else. Then it has the appearance that anytime she wants to watch TV, I won't let her... because she only wants to watch when those shows, that she knows I won't watch with her, are on. It is just very frustrating that she continues to constantly complain about me. She will be watching TV with us, DH says it's bedtime, she will smile & say goodnight to me, then he goes with her into her room to tuck her in. Then she starts bawling & telling him all the "mean" things I do to her (or sometimes it's the teacher or other kids at school that are picking on her) but usually it's me but 'someone' is ALWAYS picking on her! I used to get her crying to me about the bully at school picking on her so I would run to the school to stand up for her only to find out that SHE is the one starting problems with other kids. I've gotten several calls from other parents in the past to keep SD away from their child because she wants to break rules & tries to get the other kids to go along with it. That happened in 3rd, 4th & 5th grade. We put SD in a new school for 6th grade and now she's in 7th. Last year, she talked about a girl that "bullied" her but I did not go to bat for her that time. We did not get any calls from parents since she's been in the new school, but the old school put out a directory so it was easy for parents to contact us so that may be why. Her PE teachers in 6th & 7th grade say she refuses to participate & hangs out with her friends during class, which is the only behavioral problem we know of. DH talks to her about it but works too far from the school to go down there for anything, unless it's in the evenings. I end up feeling stressed out when I'm trying to disengage & have nothing to do with her schooling. It feels unnatural for me to not care & I struggle with feelings of guilt. But, then when I do get involved, I end up under the bus in some way. It was me that got the phone call from the PE teacher since DH can't get phone calls at work. SD was with the PE teacher at the time I was on the phone & was caught in a few lies because the teacher mentioned that a form had not been returned but DH had signed it a week earlier. SD told the teacher she forgot it but then had it in her back pack for a week until the teacher asked for it while I was on the phone. SD tried to feign asthma to get out of running but SD does not have asthma so the PE teacher called her on that too. Of course, that was another evening episode of bawling to daddy because "Ima is so mean to me". This is one thing we are discussing in marriage counseling, so DH is now more aware of what SD is doing so we are working on being more united & he's finding out ways of how to deal with it when she does that. (He's finding out how he has been adding to the problem with his reactions to her bawling because he would actually tell her, "I'm sorry Ima is being mean but she's done lots of nice things for you" which only reinforces her belief that I am mean to her, which I am not. It's her perception that when I say no about anything, I am being mean or she's just saying it to get attention.)

Another example: We decided to sell our vehicles back to a local dealership. We were out three nights in a row, negotiating the deal & did not want to take SD to the dealership with us. She stayed home with my adult kids & was told to fix herself dinner. I said she can "fix herself a sandwich, hot dogs, or anything she wants.". The first night she made a hot dog. The second night, she asked my daughter for soup & something else, which my daughter cooked for her. The third night, DH came to me & asked me if I can fix SD something because she doesn't want to eat hot dogs again. I made her a cheeseburger & fries. Later, my daughter told me that she had offered SD some of her pizza & Chinese food before we got home so SD had already had eaten before we came home and then complained to DH that she didn't want to eat hot dogs again, implying she had to eat hot dogs both previous nights. (DH, who is a bit OCD, cannot stand to eat the same thing twice in one week let alone two nights in a row, so he immediately sympathized with her plight.) I didn't find out until later that my Daughter had made her something else on the second night either. I'm just so sick of this manipulation that is all petty & stupid. She is told she can fix herself whatever she wants, she has my daughter fixing her what she wants, offering her take out & still lies to DH to get him annoyed with me for making her eat the same thing night after night. He did tell her the same thing I did, to fix whatever she wants... but then asked me to cook something since she doesn't know how to cook. (neither does he) And my point isn't that I had to cook, I don't mind that. I am just frustrated & irritated that she does this on a daily basis~whining & complaining about everything. Being around her is just very draining.

So, does anyone have suggestions for a strategy to disengage from her completely when she rides the bus to my office & sits there until I go home? She comes in & I have a table set up for her to sit & do her homework at. We have a small showroom between the front door & sales counter so I put a table in that area for her to sit. She does not open her back pack, does not work on homework, sometimes she takes out a book & reads but most often, takes a nap. A couple of days ago, I glanced over & she is slouched in the seat with her head at the back of the chair and her butt hanging off the seat... she couldn't get any lower without falling on the floor. Her legs were opened wide & I walked over to ask her to sit correctly because the last thing I want a customer to see when they walk in, is a spread eagle girl in my showroom. We rent construction equipment so there are lots of guys coming in all the time... there's no reason for her to sit that way. I really try to ignore a lot of what she does but there are times I just feel like I cannot ignore it, like when she sits like that. Then I feel like I have to hurry to tell DH what I said to her & defend myself by telling him WHY I said what I said or did what I did before she starts her bawling & "Ima is so mean" rant.

Any suggestions? (besides divorce... DH is working on what he does wrong. He is willing to address the problem & we have been in marriage counseling for a few weeks, working on a few issues and things are definitely getting better with us) I just need a strategy on how to not let what SD does affect me... it seems to push all my buttons.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Disengaging???

My mental picture is of SD throwing darts and you ducking and dodging every which way to avoid being hit. She's manipulating the He!! out of you, and IMO, you're confusing 'avoidance' with 'disengaging'. They're NOT the same.

Avoidance is where you duck and dodge. You know that's what you're doing. She knows it. DH knows it. So she's throwing more and more darts to make you dodge more and more, and there's simply no way to avoid them when she's lying about the 'mean' things you do and DH is buying it. She's gaming you.

Disengaging is putting up an emotional shield so her darts can't hurt you. With an emotional shield, you could drive her to school so her wardrobe cheats don't go undetected. With an emotional shield, you could calmly say to her that the cami under an unbuttoned shirt is inappropriate for school and she needs to change her clothes before you leave. She'll scream, stomp, pout, and run crying to DH -- so what? You didn't call her a slut. You stated that her clothing was inappropriate.

DH will be instrumental in making that strategy succeed. When she runs crying to him, his response needs to be MILDLY DISINTERESTED. "Oh?" or "Hmmm" or "Really?" or if her accusation is really egregious "I'll have to look into that." Then he needs to check it out with you before offering SD ANY reinforcement or special hugs or aw baby's. When her manipulations stop working, they'll (eventually) stop happening...

But DH has got to have your back.


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RE: Disengaging???

Ima, that sounds dreadful. I feel so badly for you.

We've been having problems with SS; he's seeing a psychologist now (rather than the counselor) but has just begun so not much progress yet. We don't yet have the "Mattie is so mean" thing - but there is way too much of the "I forgot, I can't do it, it's too hard, I don't understand, I need help, someone needs to do it for me, it's not my fault" stuff going on. (Only during the "bad" weeks - during the "good" weeks all is fine.)

Someone recommended a book to me - How to Have a New Kid By Friday, by Dr. Kevin Leman. I thought it was great. Some of the recommendations seem a bit harsh and are not necessarily things that I would do, but the overall point was one that DH and I really needed. Basically it is to put responsibility for a child's actions back on them - do not get upset, do not argue, do not try to explain/convince/coerce/cajole/justify decisions more than one time. If the behavior repeats just calmly take action to prevent further recurrences.

For example, the cami thing. SD knew she wasn't to wear her shirt unbuttoned. DH can simply take the camis away, without a word of explanation. SD would, of course, throw a fit - and DH should let her. When she's calmed enough to talk then he can calmly explain that since she chose to not wear it properly the option to wear them at all has been removed from her.

I really feel that DH (both mine and yours!) is a large part of the problem. I've got a neighbor who is a single mother of four kids, the youngest two of whom have ADHD. All four kids are good kids who behave pretty well. Their mom simply doesn't have time to deal with silly BS - if they don't behave the way that they are supposed to, she takes immediate steps to correct the situation (fighting over a toy? That toy is now hers until/unless she chooses to give it back, and she'll simply walk away from the crying, the pleas that "this time" they'll share, the begging to give it back.) But when you have a DH who is not the one who is around for the majority of hour to hour and day to day effort, but who is the one who wants to play the "good guy" and give the child(ren) whatever they want, it's going to cause problems. I suspect your DH (and I know that mine would have, at least before) wanted the toy returned after fifteen minutes or so, with yet another long-winded, tedious "explanation" of expected behavior - basically allowing the kids to be in charge rather than the adult! I agree 100% with Sweeby; if DH doesn't have your back completely it's time to disengage entirely and explain that SD is never to be alone in your care.


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RE: Disengaging???

Beautiful post Mattie! That's exactly the kind of tactics I use (mostly use'd' - they're almost grown now) on my kids with GREAT results. They do the right thing -- good things happen. They do the wrong things -- bad things happen (as a natural consequence of their own actions.)

Watching TV when they should have gotten something done? I'll give them one reminder, so one chance to 'do it during the commercial'. If it doesn't happen then -- OFF with the TV until the job is done. If they want to scream - fine. I'm walking away and that TV BETTER not come back until the job is done on or else it stays off for the rest of the day. (Second offense, two days. Third offense, removal of the TV "because it's a problem for them")

Sounds like a great book --


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RE: Disengaging???

My DD is not allowed to 'cook' while DH or I are not home, but I load up on items that she can 'fix' by herself. The micro is her friend so to say. While the stove/oven/or toasteroven is off limits she has plenty to choose from that is merely zap and eat. Yes, she does get a bit more selection of 'not usual dinner foods' at these times, but I know she's not going to burn herself and/or my house down.

Pizza bread, hot dogs with cheese sauce (icky, but she likes it) chicken breast patty sandwich, canned soup (which she knows she must cover in micro), hamburgers, any leftover from the fridge warmed up (she's been shown what and how to cover, setting to use ect), burrito, stouffers lasagna blah blah. There then is also salad fixings in the fridge, fruits (fresh and canned)yogurts, ect along with mac and cheese refridgerated entree and similar. It's not a big deal for her as she makes her own lunches during summers and weekends even when we are all home.

Cami is popular here currently. Yeah, she gets to wear to school. No more than a button or two undone...just enough to let the 'layered' look peek out. Sometimes it is a tanktop under a shirt or fashion jacket so if it warms up and she takes the top layer off she is still fully proper. She knows if she abused the clothing guidelines that Dad will be the one doing the clothing shopping and she knows she would not like what Dad picks out LOL.

Is there anyway to move SD's homework area in your office? I'd have no problem moving her buns to the supply room to sit once she had shown being in a public area was an issue. This is your place of business, not to mention source of family income....she's in 7th grade. Far old enough to either respect appropirate behavior in such places or to be sentenced to the rear where she can sit and behave poorly where others can't see her. It's her choice. Blow the guidelines and then it becomes your choice. Whining to Daddy would get her nowhere. Dad has a choice of respecting Ima's workplace or paying for daycare/activities whatever aka sending her anywhere else but Ima. That's not being mean, Ima. That's expecting all to be responsible, act their age and perform their role in the family/household. It's simply 'play the guidelines and get this or abuse the guidelines and get that.

I think it becomes easier to hand out the guidelines of choices as you get older and have multi ages of kids. While you are there kidwise, this is your Dh's first and only. I was easier on my oldest kids and got a bit more 'hardcore' with each passing one. Now that I have kids and grandkids ranging in age from 34 to 9, I'm not such a pushover nor do I be manipulated near as easily. it kinda got to the point of 'heh, nice try kid, but I've been a momma a long long time and THAT is not gonna work'. Yep, they get choices to make and when they make the 'wrong' choice (like clothing rules, make-up rules, behavior rules) they lose the choice and I/Dh make the decision for them...choice time over.

It's kinda like you or me as an adult now. For example, we know the driving rules. We can choose to follow them and drive correctly or we can ignore the rules and somebody makes are driving decision for us aka speeding ticket, suspended license blah blah blah.


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RE: Disengaging???

I totally agree with the avoidance vs. disengaging. It wasn't until I read it here that I realized that what I was trying to do is have NOTHING to do with her at all. I was NOT disengaging at all. I was still getting irritated with things she does & taking things personally. I was reacting but not directly saying anything to her. I was getting moody & I'm sure she could tell when she really irritated me. Right now, it feels like I am going in all directions to get myself back on track with RATIONAL thoughts. I've discussed this with our marriage counselor, the advice I get here & in my stress management class. I've gotten a lot of ideas to process lately.

The counselor pointed out that it would be best to ignore the things she does (lying, tattling to get people mad at me) and thinks it may be a personality disorder. He says to be solution focused on the behavior and that has helped. Sweeby's insight really helped me separate things in my mind & able to focus on what I'm doing to make things worse for myself. I raised my kids sort of how mattie described. The problem with implementing it with SD is that I am not her parent & her mom has always thrown fits & DH would worry about what BM was gonna say... and WE need to stop caring about her mom's fits, she doesn't want to raise her so she can go pound sand! But then I began focusing on the betrayal when SD tells mom/grandma so mom/grandma will throw a fit & it dawned on me that I just need to be the mom that I am & stop caring who throws a fit. I am not SD's mom. I am a mom though... to all the kids that I am raising. I raised my kids without caring if they "liked" me... though I knew they loved me as their mom. With SD, there isn't that love or bond so it is not the same, but her parents... both BM by moving away & leaving her here... and DH by working an hour away & having her in school where she has to come to my office, the school calls me for any problems, etc. Her parents have place ME in the parent/mom role whether we (her or I) like it or not. So, I have decided that I need to be the bad guy if it's necessary & work hard to stop caring what she thinks or says about me. When her grandma sticks her nose in my business, I am going to ask her "when do you want to pick her up & keep her if you don't like how I'm raising her?" and put it back on her to do it. Same with BM. If you don't like how I do things, come take over. I also told SD that I hate not being able to trust her but that is HER problem that SHE needs to figure out how to fix. I don't. If I don't trust you, then you won't be left alone in my car where she might take things when I'm not looking ~ she can find a place to sit outside when I have to run into the store, or post office. (or anywhere I need to run in quickly without her tagging along) If she is not wearing the clothes as they are intended, they will disappear. If she is not allowed to eat something, I will not buy it at all. I really hate the idea of living MY life like that because it's something I never had to do with my kids.

This week, we had an issue over socks of all things. She spent the weekend at her mom's & I noticed she had NO socks in her drawer. She had done her laundry before leaving. On Sunday when she came home, I asked where all her socks are & she said at her mom's. We asked how & she said she wears ours over there & wears her mom's socks back. Okay, then where are THOSE... um, I don't know? So, I had her go through her hamper, she found a handful of sock that I put in the washer with my clothes. From that, I found two pair of socks and three single socks that didn't match. So, this leads to what has she been wearing to school? When school started a month ago, I bought her a new pack of 12 pair of socks. She has a total of 3 pair of old socks.. none of the new ones I bought her & none of her mom's socks. I told her she can bring back the socks at her mom's house or go barefoot the rest of the week since there are 5 days of school & she has 3 pair of socks. It's just another of those ridiculous things she does that makes me shake my head & drives me a little crazy with thoughts of "why would anyone do that?"!!!

Oh yeah, she tried to manipulate DH on Sunday night. Over the weekend, we agreed that it would be easier to have her take hot lunch so we don't have to worry about her "fake" sandwiches and whether we have fruit or sweets... cause she's complained if we don't have one or the other. I also found out it is cheaper than buying supplies, which also get eaten by my older kids. Anyway, DH told SD... not in a punitive way.. that it would be easier for everyone if she gets hot lunch. No lunch bag to carry, save her time in the morning, etc. She knows that DH is always concerned about money so she tells him that it's a lot more expensive than her taking a lunch. When he told me she said that, I asked him how does she know what it costs for me to buy supplies? He didn't respond to her "concern" except to say it will be okay, buying hot lunch is just easier so don't worry about the cost. I am so proud of him for that one. I think he's catching on, whereas before he would say something like he doesn't want to upset SD or worry that BM would think he isn't doing right by SD because SD is unhappy.


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RE: Disengaging???

1. Place of work. There need to be written rules, that Dad establishes. They should include manner of speaking, personal habits, food/drink and conduct. DD comes to work with me, and we are VERY clear about what is acceptable and what is not, and what will happen if she doesn't abide by the rules. When she gets to your work, she does homework. If her homework is not finished by the time she gets home, she does it at home.

2. Food. You and DH need to be clear with one another that children do not starve themselves. She's 12? She's old enough to make a variety for herself. If she didn't, she didn't plan ahead very well. Perhaps she'll plan ahead better next time.

3. Clothes. If she can't abide by the school rules, she will have to suffer the consequences. She's old enough to know what the rules are. My DD9 knows, she signs an agreement with the school every year about how she will dress, act and perform.

What Mattie said above: There need to be really clear rules, with really clear consequences. Perhaps a chore chart or something that she has to follow. Perhaps you need to employ that nifty "record" button on your phone.

It sounds like she REALLY needs boundaries. And things will get worse before they get better. A "I'm sorry you feel that way" or "I can see that you're upset" goes a long way, and doesn't assign any "Ima's bad and I agree" blame.

Because in adult life, people will be upset, but the situation is still the same. You will need to learn to get past that. You will need to learn to function even if people are not being fair, are not being kind.

You don't have any responsibility other than feeding, housing and educating. Make sure she knows that. And food could be anything. So could housing. Her room is a privilege. It sounds cruel, but I have told DD that before. All she needs is a place to sleep, not a fancy bed with toys and stuffed animals. All she needs is food, and it doesn't matter if it's hot dogs every night. You do not have a responsibility to provide more. Any more is extra, and it's done because you want to, not because you have to.

My DD9 is talking back EVERY day right now. It's making me crazy. And I'm learning the only way to nip it in the bud is by being stronger and firmer and not bending whatsoever. And her stepfather is right there behind me, reminding her that she cannot talk to her mother that way, etc.

So I think your SD needs a major lockdown. Not to get away with ANYTHING. So, her socks aren't there? Go without. The next shopping trip is ____________. Wasting food? You aren't to be trusted with food. You will bring everything back home that you do not eat, and you will eat them for afternoon snack. I have written a letter to the lunch room ladies instructing them to let me know if you throw out good food. If you continue, you will need to work doing ____________ for _______ amount of time every evening to earn the money for hot lunch. That way I know you are eating, and I know you can afford it. If you sit like a slouch at my place of work, you will have to stand the entire time. A chair is a privilege. You will have a harder time doing homework, so you will have to do it at home.

Everyone needs to communicate really well about her and her behavior. Things need to be extremely clear. She needs major boundaries, and fast. She is looking around for comfort, for security, to know she is loved. But she doesn't feel secure, and that's going to be trouble in the future.


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RE: Disengaging???

Ima ... how's it going the whole not caring what other people think ... I think that worked best for me ... if mom doesn't like it she can pick up her kid ... if hubby doesn't like it he needs to adjust his schedule around his kid not me ...

Its great you have your DD taking her to school that must be a relief in itself not having to get the dirty looks and the smirks all the way to school because they think they have gotten away with something ... :) like your stupid. Because she knows you're not going to say anything to her ...

I have to catch myself from not saying things to hubby when she is acting like an a$$ ... if it doesn't bother him it shouldn't bother me NMKNMP ...

Now to work on the afterschool thing ... at 12 she is old enough to go home afterschool ... but she can't be trusted big issue ... but I would do it for your own sanity sake ... another set of rules for her to follow ... too bad this is how the real world works everything has rules.

I wish you the best IMA! ... hopefully your marriage is strong enough to survive your SD :(


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RE: Disengaging???

I have to say the counseling seems to be helping. It's helping me see what I've done (& doing) to contribute to the problem & also helping DH see how frustrated I am and what he is doing to contribute to the problem, including allowing his mom to get involved with the SD drama. So many issues, so little time!

So far, I haven't had any contact with MIL as there have been no gathering's where I would normally see her. I'm prepared to invite her to take SD & finish raising her... the next time she has anything to say about how I'm doing it. The holidays are coming up & while I'm normally happy & excited, this whole situation has me nervous, on edge & cautious about all my holiday plans. I had a Halloween party for DGS last weekend. I planned it early in the month, partly because SD will be here the next two weekends. I'm planning my only family gathering for Thanksgiving & SD will be with her mother that whole week. She will be with us on Christmas so this year I am not going to do the big family party I usually do. I'll open gifts with DGS & spend the day playing with him. SD can have all of her dads attention that day as well. I plan to be busy. It does bother me to have to plan my holidays around when SD will or won't be here. It sucks some of the usual enjoyment I would normally get, out of the holidays for me. I'm trying not to let it impact me much. If she wants to be miserable, let her be miserable. Living with her makes it hard because my instinct is to plan things as a family that we all can enjoy but she has always done something to kill the joy. I'm just giving up that she is ever going to change or do things different. I don't believe she will have an epiphany and want to be a family with me.

Even though I'm not always driving her to school now, I still take her on days my daughter is running late or not working. I do get the dirty looks... at home, in the car, at work, in the store, anywhere we go. I ignore it as much as I can. She just pushes my buttons... the lying is what seems to ALWAYS get me going. I guess on some level, I take it as an insult that she thinks she can sell me a load of crap & I'll believe her.

This is an example of the stupid lies:

I bought a few bags of Halloween candy to put in bowls on my counter at work for customers that come in. A little over a week ago, my dad offered her some because I didn't. I had already told SD she can help herself & doesn't need to ask so I didn't think it was necessary to offer it.. I mean she is there daily, do I need to offer it everyday? So, yesterday my dad was standing at the counter & about to leave. I was in my office, off to the side. SD walks over to the counter & grabs a handful of candy as I'm walking out of my office. I see her hand in the bowl & she cups her hand to hide the candy and walks sideways back to her table. I didn't say a word to her, I talked to my dad & went on about my business. I noticed SD hunching over, I'm assuming to eat the candy (as opposed to sitting up & putting the candy in her mouth...) I guess she thought I am not wise enough to see her bobbing her head down to her hand to eat the candy. Again, the candy is not the issue. It began to annoy me that she is being "sneaky" and hiding the candy & acting like I can't see her eating it. Well, I guess she thought she got away with something because I didn't say anything at the time. So, then I get home last night & look at her lunch account balance. I see that she has been buying her hot lunch but also getting other things & she only has enough in her account to eat until Wednesday when I paid thru Friday. I'm irritated & tell DH. He asks her & she tells him she didn't know she was only supposed to eat lunch & not buy extra stuff. Whatever. He tells her we will pack her lunch on two of the days since she ran out of money. Oh yeah, earlier in the day DH & I had a disagreement because a few weeks ago, SD got a zero in PE for not participating in class on a mile run. She was to stay after on Monday to make it up but that meant I have to leave work to go pick her up. Last week on Friday I told her she needs to find out what time I need to pick her up so I can plan for it and let me know when she comes home on Sunday. She came home Sunday & went straight to her room & did not say anything to me so she was in school Monday & I didn't know if I was to pick her up or not. She didn't tell DH either. So, DH had suggested SD needs a cell phone for situations like this. That's when I let him have it & told him "of course SD NEEDS a phone because she deserves one for not participating in class and getting a zero and not telling me what she is doing or what time I am supposed to leave work to pick her up... yes, she NEEDS a cell phone!" (of course that's the condensed version of my thoughts on the matter) but he quickly backed off the idea & we were talking about being able to TRUST her before she gets a phone. (this is the second time he's brought up getting her a phone because SD has asked for one several times & also wants a Facebook account. I have not yet been able to make him see that her wanting those things could work in HIS favor, if he plays it right.) Anyway, all of this comes back to "can we trust her?" Can we trust her to tell the truth, do what she is supposed to in school, etc.? So, this morning I asked her why she "sneaks" the candy when she doesn't even need to ask? She says, what do you mean? I say, yesterday I saw you get candy & hide it...then try to eat it like I can't see you. She says, "I didn't get any candy yesterday". So there we are.... she denies even getting candy. I must be crazy or seeing things. Whatever, she goes to school and today after school, she sits there for an hour until I need to leave for an errand. As soon as I leave, she asks my daughter if she can get candy. When I come back, there is candy remnants on the floor under her chair. So, I ask SD why she waits until I leave to ask for or get candy? (Just like she waits until I go somewhere to talk to DH, or get a cup of water, or anything.) If I'm there she doesn't do or say anything but as soon as I leave, she does. That has annoyed me forever since what she usually wants is something I bought or have. She just doesn't want to ask me or for me to have input? I don't know. It's right up there with whispering in his ear when I'm standing right there. He did put a stop to that.

I guess I let it frustrate & irritate me when I should just stop doing things for her, although I put the candy out for my customers. Finally, I told her that I bought the candy for customers, not her so if she wants some, she can ask me. I hate to be like that because it really is no big deal to have a mini candy while she's waiting there but the being sneaky and lying to me is one button she pushes that just sets me off... when there is NO reason for it. I wish I could just ignore it and let it go... she wants to sneak & lie. Period. I guess the real problem is DH... wanting to get her a cell phone & computer... and making a deal with her that her grades need to be up to par & she can get a Facebook account. Grades is a start but for me, she needs to be trusted to have any of the mentioned "rewards" and it shouldn't be brought up when she is making up a run in a class that she CHOSE to do the wrong thing in. That makes it a DH issue more than a SD one.

Today's counseling session gave me some much needed confidence in trying a new approach. We're gonna see how it works... no more lectures or jumping on her for what she does... we go straight to consequences that we've agreed on. We are working on being on the same page & presenting a united front. I'm very thankful that DH hasn't butted heads with me or fought any of the suggestions. He is very open to trying whatever might work. He is not denying there is a serious problem. But, I think he'd also like to have a normal child that he can give a cell phone to, like lots of other kids that age. He is very conflicted about that.... not being able to trust her but really WANTING to.


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RE: Disengaging???

--"the lying is what seems to ALWAYS get me going. I guess on some level, I take it as an insult that she thinks she can sell me a load of crap & I'll believe her."--

I can certainly relate to this statement. I have a son-in-law that lies to lie. I'm never quit sure which annoys me most 1) he lied, or 2) he thinks I'm sooooo stupid that I'm actually going to believe the silly crap that falls out of his mouth.

While the candy seems a minor thing, it is a stress trigger between SD and you. Take the power away from her. The bowl is for customers, a nice customer relation touch. The SD sneaking it and/or asking everybody but you (even though she's been told she did not have to ask) gives her a sense of either power over Ima and/or a secret little delight in that she's annoying Ima. Cut her off at the chase. Drop a couple pieces on her desk in the area you have set up for her before she arrives each day. She can either eat it or let it sit and rot, but you will have taken the 'game' out of her.

And I'm sorry, but your SD would get a cellphone out of me when h*ll freezes over at this point. She has shown no reason to believe she is in any way ready for the privilege. When the time comes that Dh/you get serious about allowing her to have one, I'd think real hard about limiting the usage by blocking what she can and can't do with it...not on the 'honor' system but by literally blocking/locking in what can be done with it and who she can send/recieve calls and texts to and from. If she proves herself trustworthy, improves performance whatever then add little by little to the phone's abilities.


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RE: Disengaging???

I can totally relate to the sneaking of what you are allowing ... like your stupid and can't see what is obvious ... I agree take the sting out of it by giving her what you want her to have.

I do not take my SD to any family party and if that means the boys can't go either oh well... sick of being embarassed by her behavior always pouting like I peed in her cornflakes, sits away from everyone.

Its 12 days from Halloween the kids have not asked for costumes ... same as last year they waited till the day before.... this is on hubby to go do for them ...

Many of the holidays and special occassions I would have already planned and done for my own kids I do not even bother with for the kids ....takes the fun out of it but I find other ways and it saves me a ton of money ...

I look at stuff and say well if she liked me I would buy this and continue on ...I have to remind myself all the time the kid does not like me why should I do nice things for her. Sad but true. I would love to do stuff with/for her because her mom does nothing for her but I can't because I feel betrayed when I do because I want to say to no one else does it for you....

If I do get the boys something I hide it in their room rather than leave it in the open ...so it looks like it just magically appeared and I don't have to see the pouty looks on SD sadly the boys will say to her ask mom she has custody of you (mom stresses to the boys all the time she doesn't have to do anything for them because she doesn't have custody).

Hang in there ...approx. 1900 days til they are 18!!!!

(I have a countdown app on my ipod shows the exact day SD turns 18) :)


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RE: Disengaging???

"...always pouting like I peed in her cornflakes"

LOLOL!!! Never heard that one before..hope you don't mind if I borrow it!


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RE: Disengaging???

LOL Pseudo,

I downloaded an app for my iPhone too... about 1958 days to go!

Now, if I could do a counter to track exactly how many days I have left of my sanity.... hmmmmm.

We are about to see how serious DH is... SD had a D in her world history class. She did not turn in a poster & claims it was turned in but the teacher lost it... she was gonna re-do it, miraculously on the day DH confronted her which was over 3 weeks after it was due. She was told that if she did not turn it in & the grade for it showing online by Friday (Oct 21) and if she had ANY grade less than a C, that she will not go trick or treating this year. He told her well over a week ago & she now claims she turned it in last Friday. It is still not showing up online and at the time he told her that, her only D was in World History because she had not turned it in. She now has a D in math because she got 17% on her last homework assignment & her grades in three classes (one of them being math) were all at 70%, barely hanging onto the C. I know it sounds kinda harsh but she has been playing this game for four years now. She just decides she doesn't WANT to do the work & then lies to say it's been turned in. I've always been the bleeding heart that talks DH into giving in at the last minute because I hate to see a kid miss Halloween. Last year, she seemed to be trying SO hard to behave just before Halloween. Her mom was throwing a big party & she wanted to go, even though it was DH's weekend & he was already threatening to not let her go trick or treating. The year before, he did keep her from trick or treating but took her to his parent's house to hand out candy. Anyway, I rooted for her last year... arranged for my dad to transport her halfway from her mom's because her mom was not willing to bring her all the way home & we were going to be taking DGS trick or treating. The next day, I got a notice from the school in the mail that SD had gotten two behavioral referrals that Friday before Halloween (of course she didn't tell us that & the school did not call, they mailed the referral so we got it AFTER SD got to attend the party) so I ended up feeling like an idiot for sticking up for her & feeling sorry for her missing her mom's party. She was given plenty of notice of what is expected of her & the consequence was clearly explained to her. I refuse to feel bad this year if DH sticks to his consequence & she sits home this year.


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RE: Disengaging???

That app for the phone is hilarious! My ss is beginning to lie like crazy, the same way Ima. I think he's learning it from bm. We've always tought them that if they tell the truth their consequence will be much less... but lies will get them 10 x more trouble. He will look right at us and tell us a lie... then we find out soon there after and he continues to lie about it... even when we show him the evidence. Then he's in much bigger trouble. (Although, I'll have to say, my kids' punishments would be much harsher)

One night last week he had extra credit to do for math. DH asked him if it was done. He said yes. Dh asked if he was sure, he said yes. Next morning I'm at home alone with them.... he finds the extra credit and says... "oh, here's my extra credit I need to do" it wasn't even close to being done and it was really hard so it took some time. I let dh know when I was with him alone. SS and I work on math EVERY night... yet his grade is a C because he isn't turning in the homework we do. I was sooooooo mad because every morning I ask him if he has all his stuff together and ready to go... it's always a yes. Yet... here we find out all my work that I've been helping him with he's not even turning in. UGH! Dh called bm and told her about it. When his report card comes home she's going to yell at him. Like she has any say in it. She's not doing ANY of the work.


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RE: Disengaging???

We stopped asking SD if she did her homework. It is now, "bring me your homework so I can see it" to which she replies she already turned it in early... yeah right! But, she knows it buys her some time since we ask in the evening & the school is closed. Instead of just asking & believing, maybe you could ask him to bring it to you right then & there. Also, my parents would tell us "when you tell a lie, you have to tell several MORE lies to cover up the one lie. Then when you are caught in a lie, you are going to feel humiliated & embarrassed, eventually nobody will believe ANYTHING you say" and that had a huge impression on me as a kid. I couldn't stand the thought of being humiliated & not being believed.


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RE: Disengaging???

That's a good idea Ima. Usually I know his homework is done because I've had to help him on it. Then he just doesn't turn it in. The extra credit thing... we asked him as we were all going to bed. He had told me he turned it in...exactly as your sd did so I let it go... then dh asked as we were going to bed. He straight up lied to him too. I will try that quote with him the next time he lies. I already have a hard time believing him most nights. I usually request proof.


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RE: Disengaging???

IMA I stopped looking at the online grade thingie about 3 months after it was started in our district because I was the only one who cared...!!! not mom not dad not the kids ... so I not cared too ... I also gave up on asking if homework was started/done/had any ... not my concern my kids graduated ... you just have to stop giving a $hit about anything she does ...or doesn't do for that matter .... when her and dad are discussing trick or treating you get passive aggressive and somehow say ....hey SD can you print your online grades to show daddy I just haven't had the time...

I have much less stress than I used to.. I cannot care anymore ... I know its hard to watch them fail but you have to let them and let their parents deal with it NYKNYP.

It is simple to say and not easy to do ... I haven't asked any of them about homework in atleast 2 years ... does it drive me nutz sure ... but not much I can do about it other than drive myself nutz .... so I chose not to ask not to care...

I know all children need guidance and structure and direction ... but I got nothing but grief from them and I was the only one who cared ..... stop caring focus on what you can change ... IMA your SD does it to get attention but not your attention mom's and dad's let them worry about it .... even if the only thing you can change is the sheets on your bed do it ...

I know it sounds like I am a callous b&*$h but it is the only way I have kept my sanity... I will repeat the only thing I do for my SC is make dinner ... I do not even call them to the table to eat it.

You see everything I did was answered with some snide remark or a grunt and groan ... even picking them up at school I would have to wait 20 minutes for them to saunter out of school. Dropping off I would be waiting in the car for them to saunter out for a ride to school... so I stopped rides to and from school nothing I did was good enough for their standards ... very high maintainance children :)

My rules now:
Eat your dinner ...if you don't like it I don't want to hear about it just get up go...

I get out of work at midnight all kids should be in their rooms.

If I am home by 10pm I do not want children in the living room go in your room stay up all night I do not care but do not bother me ...

I know the dirty looks are aggrevating ... I do not make eye contact with SD it is very tense here when she is here but on the other hand its peaceful for me ... when she starts her BS I just go and find something else to do let her father deal with her ...

Since I had the police come here in Aug SD has not pushed my buttons she tries to be civil ... when I am not here she has meltdowns because her dad and by an extension mom do not deal with it immediately. She knows I will not put up with her BS and have her removed from my home. Your SD is more sneaky than my SD ... my SD has meltdowns and explodes ...yours stays silent and plays victim .. mine becomes the tormentor... different actions same result.

Afterall we wouldn't want them to actually like us and betray their never do anything wrong mothers ...

My hubby cares a lot more than he used to but only because I have instilled in him that he wasn't doing them any favors by not parenting them...

I nearly died yesterday when I heard him say to BM... I hope the children can't hear what you are saying about them.... he said she was saying f this I don't have to deal with this $hit anymore all they do is eat and make a mess little B&*(h was doing something that set mom off ... then SS13 (who is overweight) went to get a snack so she starting calling him a fat F*(K

Hubby thinks she is looking to give up custody of SD because she doesn't want to deal with anymore. and wants less visitation with the boys ... I told hubby if that happens you are going to have it in writing through the courts with child support again.... its 50/50 now any diffent and she needs to pay support! That will keep her from doing it ... why should she pay for them.


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shaking my head....

Well, the deadline passed. SD did turn in her poster & her grade was posted at the 11th hour. She got 57%, an F. So the points she got, brought her overall grade up to barely a C but still a C. So, she thinks that's good enough & that she met DH's requirements... he didn't specify she had to get a good grade. Of course, she still has a D in math for getting a 17% on her last assignment. He told her no, not good enough.

In her next breath, she asks if she can go to the movies with a friend this weekend. We live about 15 miles from the theater and she says her friends older sister can pick her up and bring her home. I could have killed DH when he told her that he needed to discuss it with me first... and then went back & told her no. He did discuss it with me, well said "her grades ARE better than last year" as if he wanted to say yes and wanted me to agree and he asked me what I thought & all I said was "her grades are better because she was put in the 'special' class that holds her hand yet she still doesn't turn in her work, but can you trust her?" So he told her that he needs to be able to trust her so he wasn't going to let her go.

I think it's really sinking in for him that she's now going to want to go with friends, she'll be meeting people with siblings that have cars & wants to go wherever & he will have no control, yet he doesn't trust her either. He admitted that he is angry because he wishes she would do what she's supposed to so he can let her do the things she wants to do. He said she didn't get to trick or treat last year. I had to remind him that she went to her mom's house for a big Halloween Party & my dad transported her back for us. It was the year before that he didn't let her trick or treat but took her to MIL's house to hand out candy. Then I reminded him that she got written up twice in the two days before the party but didn't tell us, we had to find out after the party by mail, then she blamed the kid she poked with a pencil & the kid she flipped off.


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RE: Disengaging???

I'd ask him not to do that to you again...it still makes it look like Ima Bad Guy. Sure he should dicuss it with you so you're on the same page, but to announce to her he'd have to discuss it with you and then come back and say 'no' gives the impression he might have said 'yes' but Ima was against it. He only gets 1/2 a point on this one.

It's not you he needs to tell he's angry he can't trust her and that he wishes she could do stuff if only she was trustable...it's her. IMHO that's more or less exactly how he should 'put it' too. Let him sit her down and tell her how it is. He'd love to stop having to say 'nope' but it's all up to her'. Her behavior and actions have done nothing of late to ensure him she can be trusted to attend these types of outtings. Until she proves she is trustable he is going to have to continue to tell her 'no'. It has nothing to do with Ima. It has nothing to do with Dad. It's all on her, gain his trust and on a steady basis and perhaps he can start saying 'yes'. Trust is earned. Sneaking, lying blah blah is not going to earn trust.

Silly as it sounds, praise him in his efforts... he stuck to what he said would happen. She's playing games in hope there's a chance she can still maneuver him into getting her way even though she didn't do her part. It sounds like he is trying.

Perhaps if she keeps her grade up and does her homework between now and Halloween she could dress up and hand out candy at your house giving her still a bit of 'fun', but stick to the no trick or treating herself. Maybe not, but it is something halloween geared to look forward to on her part and motivate her yet still stick to the 'no trick or treating'. Go out and trick or treat with GS and forget about the fact SD is home and not out...she did that all to herself by herself.


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RE: Disengaging???

"I could have killed DH when he told her that he needed to discuss it with me first... and then went back & told her no."

Right, because then it looks like YOU are the one saying no.

I hope your DH can get a spine, because he's going to need one with this girl...


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update

Just a little update. I may have mentioned in another thread that my doctor finally gave me medication for anxiety. It is WONDERFUL for the last three days, SD is not annoying to me. Not that she isn't trying... she still does the same things but she can't get a rise out of me.

Well, I finally had to host a party on one of DH's weekends. After what she pulled on the 4th of July (getting DH to buy her lunch & then an hour later when the party started & her other grandma was there to pick her up, she started balling to both grandma's that she's hungry & I wouldn't let her eat... and that she wanted to sit by her dad but she was afraid to ask him because I was there), I told her the following week that she will not be at anymore of my parties... and I have only had one other one when she was gone. But, this weekend we hosted a dinner for the car club we belong to, so I arranged for SD to go with MIL & DGS was going to stay with my DS22. At the last minute, we had another couple in the group ask to bring their 3 kids (all under 6-7) so SD overheard that & asked if she was staying too. DH said no, you're already going to grandma's. She pissed & moaned how it's all HIS fault she can't go trick or treating & can't go to the party. He asked her why & she said "because you won't let me!" Of course, he told her that it was because of HER poor grades, HER bad attitude, HER behavior, & HER lying. She took her backpack to work on school projects with grandma & I'm sure she gave grandma an earful of the injustices being done to her. DH went to pick her up while I cleaned up the party... he was gone a LONG time but I'm not gonna ask if anything was said. I don't care. It won't make any difference unless grandma is going to take over raising her day to day. Right?


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RE: Disengaging???

Good for your Dh, Ima. He gets a big point for this one. I would also hope he held his own with his mother. But correct...you don't have to worry about and/or care what MIL thought of what happened. You yourself witnessed the discussion between father and daughter. You know what and why the position Dh took. DH took a very appropriate father type stand with his daughter. This is between father and daughter and SD taking responsibilty for her actions in her own troubles.

Glad you're feeling better this week.


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RE: Disengaging???

Glad this week is better for you Imma.
And that's good you don't care what was said between MIL and your DH. Glad you are in a place where you don't care.


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