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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:55 pm 

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tinyhands wrote:
You have got to find a way to enforce the rules, which probably includes a curfew and random searches. Make it clear that the food in YOUR refrigerator is off-limits (by locking it, for example) as is YOUR electricity and other utilities.


I understand where you're coming from but that won't work with her. We do intend to make her pay her share of home expenses once she turns 18, as a way to encourage her to go out on her own. And we can easily cut off her two main lifelines (internet and cable) if she refuses to pay. We can live without cable (we rarely watch TV) so it's no loss to us if we cut it, but she watches TV eight hours or more a day. I can control her internet access via my router. She fights fire with fire: if we set a confrontational atmosphere she will match it and exceed it.

She was actually planning to move out earlier this year and live with a friend, but in typical fashion she and her friend had a fight and no longer speak to each other, and now that we're buying our own house she's suddenly much more interested in sticking around. (She's so excited about the new house that she and her friends tried to break into it the other night so she could show her friends around. We don't sign until next week so it's not our house yet! Oh how I wish the police had caught her doing that, it might have taught her a lesson.)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:28 pm 
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If you know that it was her and her friends, why not tip off the police? Even if they don't have a case against her, they'd probably be willing to come scare her.

But I'm not suggesting you create a confrontational atmosphere. It doesn't have to be a battle if you just cut off the cable & internet without discussing it with her. It's yours after all- you don't have any obligation to threaten, warn, or even calmly discuss it with her.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:25 am 

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brad wrote:
She's a special case due to her temperament: she inherited her father's personality -- he has a reputation of being domineering, aggressive, lazy, unable to hold a job, etc., and she's exactly the same way.


From personal experience, I can say that this sounds like a textbook description of bipolar personality disorder, which is also often indicated by drug abuse, and reckless behavior.

I'm not a shrink, nor do I play one on the Internet, but you might want to do some reading to see if her personality traits match some of the symptoms.

Other than that, I can only suggest that you stand firm. But since she fights fire with fire, start with something smaller, and work your way up. Don't let the first time you stand firm on an issue be a big one, or you'll get a big reaction. I know what the tenacious child can do to a family.

Like you said, in the right context, it could server her well, but in the wrong one, it will be a nightmare.

On a much smaller scale, my oldest will argue with anything you say. I could say the sky is blue, and he'd argue that it's pink, just to argue. Everything to him is "stupid." I know that determination will do him well at some point in his life, but I hope also that it doesn't hurt him badly along the way.

Good luck!


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:04 am 

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Croz wrote:
From personal experience, I can say that this sounds like a textbook description of bipolar personality disorder, which is also often indicated by drug abuse, and reckless behavior.


I would have thought so too, but she's been thoroughly evaluated for that and the docs concluded that's not her problem. They diagnosed her with "hypersensitivity disorder," one of those trendy new diagnoses, and they asked her to participate in a followup study, which she agreed to but of course has never once gone to any of her appointments.

I agree with starting small; in fact we did that last night when we told her that from now on we weren't paying her phone bills anymore (she already pays for her cellphone but has a separate line that she uses to talk to friends when her cell minutes are used up). She burst into tears and ran to her room, saying that we were being too hard on her and that there was no way she could afford it (it's $20/month). She's really good at playing the victim. She says she's applied for dozens of jobs but nobody has called her back, so she can't get the money. She owes hundreds of dollars to us and her friends. We're not backing down. If she can afford all her tattoos and body piercings, plus all the new clothes I see when I'm doing laundry every week, she can certainly afford $20/month for her phone. And if she can't we'll cut off the line. She'll probably retaliate by destroying something in the house, but it's a risk we'll have to take.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:31 am 

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Thanks, we have certainly done the counseling thing already, a few times, but as with most things she blows off her appointments and never goes. There's only so much you can do, a person has to want to help themselves and I don't think she's there yet. We also did a mother-daughter counseling session but that was a disaster; we had to practically drag her out of bed to go and she was in a terrible mood...she spent the whole session yelling at her mother. She also checked herself into a psych unit last summer (while her mother and I were away on vacation), complaining of "severe depression" but nobody could find anything wrong with her; in fact she was just trying to get attention.


I agree that people have to want to help themselves. But if you are considering setting ground rules that would allow her to stay, I think "not using drugs" and "keeping the counseling appointments" should be at the top of the list. Much (if not all) else follows.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 5:15 am 

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An update on the situation: she now has a fulltime job, starting next Monday, working in sales for a lighting company. We'll see how long that lasts (if the past is any indication, I'd guess anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks but I'll try to keep an open mind!), but at least she is making an effort. The best thing is that she said she would pay off all her debts to us with her first paycheck.

Another positive bit of news is that after much soul-searching she thinks she has found a career goal, and one that makes a lot of sense to me: she wants to go into social work and help troubled teenagers like herself. Given her own experience I think this could be an ideal path for her, and if she can stick with this goal it could give her some focus that has been missing from her life so far. We told her last night that we're behind her 100 percent in that decision and will support her as long as she puts in an honest effort.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:34 pm 

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brad wrote:
An update on the situation: she now has a fulltime job, starting next Monday, working in sales for a lighting company. We'll see how long that lasts (if the past is any indication, I'd guess anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks but I'll try to keep an open mind!),


She lasted three days at that job and then quit. She got another job after that and quit after two days, and has just started her third job in less than a month. She's repeating her pattern of last summer, when she had eight jobs in two months and blew all the money on drugs, alcohol, tattoos, and body piercings.

brad wrote:
The best thing is that she said she would pay off all her debts to us with her first paycheck.


Hahah, that one went right out the window along with her pledge to stop smoking pot!

brad wrote:
Another positive bit of news is that after much soul-searching she thinks she has found a career goal, and one that makes a lot of sense to me: she wants to go into social work and help troubled teenagers like herself.


That went out the window, too. Her latest decision is to go to technical school and train to be a makeup artist. That sounds more like a career choice she can stick with, as she spends hours in front of the mirror every day herself.

She turns 18 on Friday but in terms of her level of maturity she's still 13. She lectured us on how she expects us to do something special for her birthday and gave us a list of all the presents she wants, and told us exactly what kind of cake we're supposed to order for her (every year she tells us what she wants for a cake, and every year she eats a few bites and says "I'm sick to my stomach" and leaves the rest. No big deal as I'm happy to eat it myself, but this year we decided to keep it simple since we know she won't actually eat any of her cake!)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:52 pm 
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brad wrote:
brad wrote:
An update on the situation: she now has a fulltime job, starting next Monday, working in sales for a lighting company. We'll see how long that lasts (if the past is any indication, I'd guess anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks but I'll try to keep an open mind!),


She lasted three days at that job and then quit. She got another job after that and quit after two days, and has just started her third job in less than a month. She's repeating her pattern of last summer, when she had eight jobs in two months and blew all the money on drugs, alcohol, tattoos, and body piercings.

brad wrote:
The best thing is that she said she would pay off all her debts to us with her first paycheck.


Hahah, that one went right out the window along with her pledge to stop smoking pot!

brad wrote:
Another positive bit of news is that after much soul-searching she thinks she has found a career goal, and one that makes a lot of sense to me: she wants to go into social work and help troubled teenagers like herself.


That went out the window, too. Her latest decision is to go to technical school and train to be a makeup artist. That sounds more like a career choice she can stick with, as she spends hours in front of the mirror every day herself.

She turns 18 on Friday but in terms of her level of maturity she's still 13. She lectured us on how she expects us to do something special for her birthday and gave us a list of all the presents she wants, and told us exactly what kind of cake we're supposed to order for her (every year she tells us what she wants for a cake, and every year she eats a few bites and says "I'm sick to my stomach" and leaves the rest. No big deal as I'm happy to eat it myself, but this year we decided to keep it simple since we know she won't actually eat any of her cake!)


:-( I'm sorry this hasn't gotten any better. Have you figured out what the next move(s) are going to be since she's not holding up her end of the deal?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:27 pm 

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pf101 wrote:
:-( I'm sorry this hasn't gotten any better. Have you figured out what the next move(s) are going to be since she's not holding up her end of the deal?


Well, her mother isn't open to the idea of booting her out, and unfortunately her father is voluntarily continuing his child-support payments despite the fact that she'll no long be a minor and is no longer in school, so she has plenty of spending money. One option I'd like to explore would be for her father and me to split the cost of her renting an apartment, just to get her out of here so I can have some peace of mind. But that's probably wishful thinking on my part.

So for now we're letting her stay here. Our next challenge is to find a chaperone we can hire for whenever we go away; if we ever go on vacation or even take an overnight, she'll invite all her friends over to party. It sucks.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:46 pm 
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Brad, what a lousy situation. I'm sorry it's happening to you.

I say, if you honestly and truly cannot trust her alone in your house for one night, it's time to kick her out, whether her mother
likes it or not. It sure would be a shame if this kid destroys your marriage--your wife can't stand to kick her out, you can't
stand to have her stay. Don't let the kid win that one too.

There is NO WAY this kid is going to get the clue about responsibility if you keep paying her bills. If her dad keeps
giving her money, there's nothing you can do about that---but it does diminish the pressure on her somewhat to
make the whole nut. Give her a timeframe, pay her rent for a month or two, then cut her loose--and make sure your
locks have been changed.

Yes, she's going to make some shitty choices, and she's probably going to crash and burn. That sucks, but legally she's an
adult.

If she's going to go down, she doesn't need to take you down with her.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:54 pm 

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Brad,

I'm sorry you're having to go through this, we can all give you our opinions but you and your girlfriend are living with it day in and day out - it's exhausting.

She is in need of some serious help. You've mentioned that you've tried counselling and she's been seen by a doctor but has she actually been evaluated by a child/teen behavioural specialist? It was mentioned that she has received all the help and encouragement she needs but to no avail, I would respectfully disagree - until you know what you are really dealing with, you can't know how to really help her and she needs help! It's not your fault that everything you've tried hasn't worked, the normal "just do x, y and z and that will ship her into shape" doesn't always apply. Even after a possible diagnosis the road will most likely be long and difficult. She was introduced to drugs and alcohol at 10, sex at 13, that's not an easy life, that's hell on earth. At age 10 most girls are still skipping jump rope and giggling with their freinds as they repeat those ridiculous sing/songs that we were singing when we were that age; she was busy being taught by her father the difference between beer and vodka. She's watching 8 hours of T.V. a day, that's enough to screw up the psyche of just about anyone. There are reasons she did what she did and is doing what she is doing. Some of it may be genetics or just be her personality but it's a lot more complex than that. Even kids with serious disabilities need structure and rules, they need to understand what is acceptable and what isn't, but you have to know what you are dealing with first. It requires an incredible amount of sacrifice, patience, endurance - physical and mental, learning and love (the tough kind and the soft kind) to deal with what you are dealing with and she's not 8, she's 18. The destructive patterns have already been set and she is capable of weilding much more damage to you and herself than she was at age 8.

My guess is she won't learn what she needs to learn by getting kicked out right now, she'll continue to look for security, acceptance and the easy way out in all the wrong places. I can only imagine that you long for some peace of mind and some peace in your house! From everything you've described though, I don't think having her gone will mean the problems will go with her. She is so messed up she dosen't know what she wants, she is obviously incapable of doing the right thing. The question is why and that's where you need to start. I think once you've ruled out a disability or disorder you can move forward with a greater sense of confidence even if that means asking her to leave. If it's possible, the adults need to be on the same page as far as rules and finances or she'll just use you agaisnt each other. If she's not doing anything to earn it, she should not have access to money to burn however she likes even if she is 18.

No matter what you decide, stay safe and best of luck, I feel for you.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:01 am 

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Thanks, Angie and Etiana, I appreciate the good thoughts and yes, it's really stressful for me--especially because I work at home so am around her all day (although she sleeps til noon so at least I have peace in the mornings).

When I met my girlfriend I knew she had a daughter (who was 12 at the time), but she was living with her father and refused to even talk on the phone with her mother so she was pretty much out of the picture. I never even met her until a year after I moved here to live with my girlfriend, but then she had a fight with her father and called to say she was moving in with us. She hadn't spoken to my girfriend in two years; now she's done the same thing with her father and refuses to talk with him. He was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago and called to talk to her; all she could tell him was "good, I hope you die painfully!" and hung up the phone.

We have indeed taken her to adolescent psychologists and psychiatrists; one of them diagnosed her with "hypersensitivity disorder" and set up a series of followup appointments, none of which she went to.

I agree with Etiana that in her case booting her out won't solve the problem; this is a child who needs structure in her life. I actually do think she has some kind of disability; her behavior goes beyond normal teenage laziness and irresponsibility. My girlfriend's sister is very similar in some ways and lives with her parents now in her mid-30s; she has flitted from career to career and has never been stable.

Endurance is one of my qualities, for better or for worse, but this kid is putting it to the test. Last night she came home around 1am (early for her) and was clearly on Ecstacy or something else that made her talk very loudly; she woke us up as she was slamming doors and screaming excitedly on the cellphone to one of her friends. She apologized, at least, which is not something she usually does, but lately I've felt at the end of my rope...these kinds of things are happening more and more often as she gets older, which is the opposite of what one would expect.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 8:43 am 
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Booting her out will not solve her problem, but it will make it clear that the only person who can solve it is her.

You can't help someone who won't accept your help. She does accept your help, but only in the form of paying her bills,
keeping a roof over her head, and food in her belly. She's clearly not abiding by your rules and guidelines and your attempt
to help her grow into a responsible adult.

Unless you want her living with you til 30 and beyond like her aunt, you're going to have to lower the boom sometime.

I'm a parent, too, and the thought of having cutting one of my kids loose is terrifically painful. (They're 3 and 6 so this possibility is
quite a ways off.) But the fact is that adult children who are seriously messed up can bring down their whole families of origin.
It doesn't mean you have to divorce her forever, but setting firm limits about how and to what extent you will support her--
and sticking by them--will be good for you and your wife, and her too, in the long run.

Frankly, with all the substance abuse stuff you've written about it sounds like she's going to have to hit bottom before she can
start to climb back up, a la AA. Letting her live with you and your wife is just prolonging the inevitable.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:10 am 
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brad wrote:
We have indeed taken her to adolescent psychologists and psychiatrists; one of them diagnosed her with "hypersensitivity disorder" and set up a series of followup appointments, none of which she went to.

Who told her it was ok not to go to the followup appointments? Why did she have a choice in the first place? I know you can't exactly force someone to accept treatment, but it sounds like someone is enabling her behaviour.

Now that she's legally an adult, keeping her in your house (probably, your laws may vary) exposes you to a whole mess of liabilities. Drugs and the associated crimes are not the problems you signed-up for. Your tacit approval usually makes you culpable, now that she's old enough to get into REAL trouble.

On another note, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, but come on man- quit making excuses for her. You've responded to just about everyone's suggestions with why it won't work for one reason or another. Do I misunderstand that your original message was not a cry for help, but just a rant about something that you don't intend to take action on?

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 9:41 am 
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If I'm butting in and jumping to the wrong conclusions, then please accept my apologies.

I get the impression that she is much more of a problem for you than your girlfriend. In fact it is almost implicit that your girlfriend is enabling this behaviour. If that's the case then you can't do anything, because she'll realise that your girlfriend won't truly follow through on your threats/promises. I think you need to get your girlfriend even more on board with how you feel and try to make changes together. At some point you both have to start saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

Since, I seem to recall, you don't speak the same language as the kid, its going to be even more difficult for you to make an effect on your own.

I'll repeat, if I've misread and offended, please accept my apologies.

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