difficult child is so selfish

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by flutterbee, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    As many of you know, I have health problems. I'm in the midst of a huge flare. I. Don't. Feel. Good. And that's an understatement. Yet, I'm managing to help Wynter with her school work, take care of the house, the pets, keep up with Devon's coming and going's, etc.

    Today, I really feel terrible. The dogs are being dogs and all over the place. I told Wynter that I cannot deal with the dogs today. Her response? She's sore from running around last night and she doesn't feel good either. :mad::mad::mad: She threw a hissy fit.

    Let's think about this and all the pets: Cats - Puddles, Abbey and Hydro...that's 3 out of the 4 cats that we have because of Wynter. Dogs - Jewel and Buster....that's both dogs that we have because of Wynter. Who ends up taking care of them? Me.

    She promised me and promised me and promised me when we got Buster that this time would be different. It was. For about 2 weeks.

    I will not punish the animals for her selfishness. I love them and I don't mind taking care of them. I just don't think, at the very least, it's too much to ask to take care of them when I'm feeling like I've been hit by a truck.

    I really don't like her today. I don't want to see her, I don't want to talk to her. And I promise that in about an hour, she'll come to me like nothing happened and then got all upset again when I'm still upset with her.

    Last night, I was fantasizing about getting a hotel room for the weekend, ordering room service for breakfast, lunch and dinner and just doing whatever I wanted with no one interrupting me or making any demands on me.

    I do too much for her, I know. I really struggle with that. Consistency is a big problem for me.

    Thanks for letting me vent. I hope this made sense. I'm not sure my head is attached to my body.
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Gentle HUGS!!!

    Kids promising to take care of pets and not following through is pretty typical. The only way it happens is if mom absolutely refuses to take care of them and is willing to give them up if the child doesn't. Otherwise, you're stuck.

    However, that is absolutely no excuse for Wynter being so lazy that she won't help you when you're flaring. Being an adolescent is hard. Being an adolescent with extreme anxiety has to make it even harder. You have extreme empathy for Wynter, which is one of the reasons why you're not consistent with her. Another factor is that sometmes it is much easier to just give in than go another round with the arguments, whining, cajoling. Being illl makes it happen a bit more often than it probably would. Then comes the biggie -- guilt. I don't know of a single parent who doesn't feel guilty that there's no other parent there for their child. We end up doing just a bit more than we should for our kids, try to make life as easy as possible. Sadly, as they get older, we discover that we weren't doing them or us any favors.

    As much as you can, stand up to her. You owe her a home, food, education. Anything else is a gift. She may just have to be reminded of that fact and reminded forcefully. If the attitude keeps up, I think all her goth clothes and the teeth need to go. She can get perfectly acceptable outfits at Goodwill and the Salvation Army, especially since she's not going to school where her peers can make fun of her clothing. If she can't help with the pets, you can't help straighten her hair. You certainly can't take her to the mall or wherever since you have to be responsible for the cats and dogs.

    Wynter needs to have her eyes opened. Like it or not, you're sick and she needs to accept that and step up to the plate and help. No, it's not fair but that's life.

    For you, my friend, just love and hugs.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I totally agree with what mb said. All of it. Though I am not a single parent, I still feel tons of guilt because there is a lot I can't do with/for the kids. But mb is right when she says that if Wynter is not caring for the animals, then mom can't do the mall, or straighten her hair, or whatever with her.

    Hugs. It is hard.
  4. Wishing

    Wishing New Member

    I know I overdo for mine who is 18 and I have come to the realization that too much giving is actually crippling the child.
  5. Jena

    Jena New Member

    You made perfect sense. I can totally appreciate your situation, and your frustration. Also not liking your child, loving them not yet not liking them nor wanting them in your space.

    I have been a single parent for almost 8 years, yes I now live with boyfriend for over a year yet before that was girls and I. It literally took all hands on deck. THis was mostly myself and my oldest. To infact take care of our dog at the time, help change litter boxes, etc. When she begged me for the pets, she claimed i'll do this and that everything lol typical "kid" move than pet comes into household and boom it's all on us.

    I talk to my older one and tell her constantly WE ARE A TEAM. In order for this team to function right we all need to pitch and help one another that is waht life is all about helping eachother, respecting eachother, etc.

    I often have to catch myself as well in regards to doing too much for both of my girls. Yet when I get consistent in my approach and cut off the extra's and explain why whether it be health issue or work issue that i am requiring help at that time whether it be walking a dog or doing dinner dishes, I see her fold eventually and help out. I had a masectomy years ago, it was very difficult it followed my seperation and halfway through my divorce. There was recovery time and kids and I were alone, difficult child was very little than. I required assistance and help of my oldest at the time.

    It isn't wrong of you on any level to expect assistance from her. They need to learn empathy for other people starting with their mom's i think. :)

    I hope your night is better than last night

  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I love your fantasy! It's mine, too. :)

    It is so typical for kids to talk their parents into pets, or just bring them home, and then guess who gets to take care of them? Mom. Of course. with-health issues and a difficult child, it just makes it a million times worse.

  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    While I agree in principle with cutting back to bare basics when a child isn't pulling their weight, I don't agree with removing stuff that is already in the child's possession - after all, that isn't what happens to us as adults. If we don't pull our weight and lose our jobs, then we lose our income but what we already own doesn't get taken away. However, we do sometimes have Occupational Therapist (OT) make a choice to sell what we own in order to have money to live on.

    I also think any punishment needs to be immediate and to also be directly related to the problem. It also shouldn't be punishment, but consequences.

    What I mean - I will use this as an example.

    Heather is feeling ghastly, the animals need to be at the very least fed and watered. Who is going to do it? Heather has limited energy. difficult child SAYS she also feels ghastly and has no energy, because she was out having fun. (It's a sort of "me, too" and competition for who has the most right to complain, in difficult child's eyes. Very immature and doesn't do a darn thing to resolve any practical problems).

    So Heather makes a choice - the animals need to be cared for, so she uses EVERY SCRAP of her energy and ability at the moment to feed them and do what needs to be done. At which point she now has NO energy left to do anything more. The animals' paws can't operate a tin opener; difficult child's hands can.

    So when difficult child comes and whines that she's hungry and wants dinner, then the response is obvious: "Sorry darling, I'm just too ill. I had only limited energy and I used it all up and then some, taking care of YOUR animals." (Don't over-emphasise the 'your').

    You would need to follow through, Heather, and just stay in bed. Make it clear that this is serious, you're not just whining (like she is) but you genuinely are too tired to cook dinner because you did too much already.

    Two possible outcomes -

    1) she will step up to the plate and cook dinner. Might make a mess, but you have to live with that. The mess isn't to be cleaned by you, either, until you feel better. She needs to see that you don't just wave a magic wand and make things happen, that it is work and you do it because it is a labour of love.


    2) She will whine, throw a tantrum, scream at you for failing to care for her basic needs.

    Take heart - she cannot starve to death by missing one meal. And if she had helped when you needed it, you wouldn't be too tired to cook her dinner.

    Consequences. Immediate. Connected to the problem.

    I think it's got the best chance.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 is like this sometimes; I have walked away rather than engage in it. But whatever you do, try to not show any emotion over it, other than perhaps boredom with her. She does seem to enjoy the drama she can manufacture around herself and you need to avoid feeding it in any way. Instead, deprive her of an audience because you are too tired, feel too ill and have better things to expend your limited energy on.

  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    You have an adolscent on your hands ~ typical selfish, it's all about me drama queen type of stuff.

    I agree with whoever said that the more you do, the more Wynter feeds into it. It almost seems to be a competition on who's more tired. Wynter will never understand the level of pain/exhaustion you are feeling. She just knows that your condition takes attention away from her.

    Which puts her emotionally a bit under her physcial age. She's trying to compete with your condition. AND she ain't winning!

    Saying that, instead of the daily arguments that had been going on here kt has a list of chores that she needs to complete before the end of the day on her dry erase board on the fridge. Some days there's very little; other days she has quite the list including making dinner.

    The big thing is that kt & I sit down each evening & make out the list for the next day based on what needs to be done & when it needs to be done. kt often needs an adult next to her to help her stay on task & keep the "momentum" going & I can do that. We frequently chat (I'm half asleep most of the time ) while kt is doing this or that. But AND she is pitching it. AND she get recognized for it big time.

    kt is more fearful of my condition than she lets on ~ I would guess that Wynter is as well. If I'm sick, Mom will get better & take care of me. It's a pretty slick fantasy.

    Selfish or fearful doesn't matter. It's the same result, the same behavior. Your response isn't working - time to try something new.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I like what Marg said:

    So when difficult child comes and whines that she's hungry and wants dinner, then the response is obvious: "Sorry darling, I'm just too ill. I had only limited energy and I used it all up and then some, taking care of YOUR animals." (Don't over-emphasise the 'your').

    You would need to follow through, Heather, and just stay in bed. Make it clear that this is serious, you're not just whining (like she is) but you genuinely are too tired to cook dinner because you did too much already.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Are you feeling any better today, Heather?
  11. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    She's somewhat better today. She had spent the night at a friend's Friday night and didn't get enough sleep. Although, this morning she was complaining that we have nothing for breakfast. The amount of food we have in this house is almost obscene and I am soooo tired of that complaint and don't give into it. I simply tell her that I'm sure she'll figure something out. It still makes her mad every time, but a few minutes later she returns and lo and behold finds something to eat.

    As for me, I'm still in the flare. Running a low grade fever, brain not functioning well, exhausted. The good news is that the muscle weakness in my hips has lessened so it makes it easier to move about.

    Thank you for asking, Terry.

    I'm not too keen on taking things away as that just seems to make her more mad and kicks up the stubbornness big time. The not doing for her seems to make more of an impact and seems to be a more reasonable consequence to me. If she can't do what she's supposed - and help me with small things when I need it - then I can't do for her.

    Thanks for the support and advice. I listen to all of it and you all are so wise and help me to see things more objectively.