How Do You Know.....?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    How do you know when to fight for our difficult children and when to "detach"...?

    I have really been struggling with this lately.

    I guess on some level, I am still hoping to "fix" it. Find the magic cure....the right pill....the correct words to say...and then difficult child will not be a difficult child any longer.

    I catch myself trying to reason with her....pleading with her....explaining to her--and of course, it changes nothing.

    Then I swing the other direction and try really hard to detach about some of her choices and her attitudes and the direction she seems to be heading in life.

    Inevitably, something will happen to draw me back in and I try to "fix" everything again.

    Yesterday was a perfect example. She was SOOOOOO nasty to everyone, for no reason. Then she started making comments about how she doesn't care about anything and doesn't care about her life--and then I start. I start trying to reason with her....trying to convince her to make good choices. Of course, the conversation went nowhere.

    Later, we were watching a television program about life in prison. They were talking about 'prison code' inmates treat one another, beat up on the weaklings, get revenge on snitches etc. difficult child seemed waaaayyyy too approving of "prison code". She began talking how how that was right and that's what she'll do to anybody that doesn't 'respect' her...

    Hearing my child talk that way is scary. So what do I do? I start trying to reason with her again. I try to convince her that she doesn't mean what she says. That she's a nice girl and shouldn't be thinking about beating people up for disrespecting her...etc etc etc.

    And once again, this conversation goes nowhere.

    How do I get out of this mode where I try to "fix" everything?

    I really want to "save" her....

    Is that even possible? Do I need to stop hoping????
  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I dont think you can win in that situation. Watching shows like that with difficult child's like ours is an exercise in futility. In inevitability, they will attempt to bait you into some sort of clash of the titans to show you just how tough they are. You wont win this one. I dont care if you have a 5 foot tall, 100 pound difficult child, they will swear they could out smart, out run, out fight the toughest person on earth. Yeah right. This is intended to scare us to death and attempt to go into SAVE MY CHILD mode.

    I kept thinking that if Cory had this attitude when he went into juvy or jail he would get his butt whooped. LOL. Okay. Well, he was fine in juvy but he did get into a few fights in big boy jail but he learned. He actually can take care of himself pretty well. He knows how to stay to himself!

    Honestly, there isnt much you can do with this attitude. If she does it with her peers, they will either ignore her, laugh at her or put her in her place. Natural consequences. more thing.

    Never ever let her see the movie. Catch me if you can. NEVER!
  3. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I wouldn't watch or reason either. It's just spinning your wheels; you wear out the tread and you don't get anywhere. Son does this, too. He's a big tough guy even though he's small and skinny for his age he could whip all of them. I know, you want to save her from herself; you won't get anywhere. As a mother, though, it is very hard to resist; it's our job to guide them to smart choices. It's maddening isn't it?
  4. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Personally, for me and mine, in that situation, I don't think you should detach. You could be saying something that may prove to be valuable and something that she may remember later on. Sometimes we impart important life lessons or information that they may not understand or relate to or put to use until later. I find this to be very true with my difficult child, now 20. She's always been a challenge, but in particular, nothing I said to her in her teens seemed to matter; not one lesson I tried to impart to her seemed heard or understood; my opinions were meaningless and stupid. Then, whoa, lo and behold, every now and again, I hear my words coming out of her mouth!! It's strange at times.

    IOW, they are listening and filing it away. Some of them, maybe not all of them, do hear us even if they don't agree with us. My difficult child used to champion the losers of society. She felt bad for people in jail too - never mind that they committed some heinous crime and deserved to be there - she felt bad for them. She idolized junkies, addicts, jailbirds, wino homeless people in the city - she felt bad for them. She could never see the connection between their misdeeds or poor choices and the resulting consequences or the resulting condition of their lives.

    Daisyface, keep talking when you feel the need, but don't drive yourself crazy over it. Say it if you need to say it or if the situation permits and it feels right...just don't try to beat a dead horse, Know what I mean?? You don't have to drum it into her head or make her agree with you. I think that's important so I will say it again: SHE DOESN'T HAVE TO AGREE WITH YOU but it is okay for you to speak your mind about issues she may not feel the same way about. I think at 14, our kids are still impressionable and that is why in this case, I wouldn't not say anything at all. I think in this case, it is important for her to know how you feel about people in jail and how a 'normal' person should react to those people and the actions that led to their incarciration. Then, turn off your mike, step down from your soapbox, let it go, walk away, take a break. A situation like you describe doesn't sound like (to me) one of those times when you would need to detach as much as just saying your piece and then letting it go.

    You cannot control how she thinks, feels or behaves, but you can let her know how you feel about it and create boundaries for yourself/family. You cannot make her conform to those rules/boundaries. You can create consequences for her poor behavior that you need to follow through on, but you cannot control whether or not she chooses to behave in a way that results in her suffering the consequences of her actions. That is the time to detach and allow her to suffer the natural consequences of her actions/behavior. You can't save her from herself.

    Knowing when to detach and not detach and in what situations can be very difficult. Especially when you're dealing with your teen, in my opinion. She's old enough to have opinions (and to annoy you) and get into trouble, but not old enough to send her packing.

    Someone passed this link on to me a couple years ago, maybe from CD, I am not sure, but it helped me A LOT with detaching from my difficult child over the years and I am now using some of the tools to help me detach from my easy child.

    Check it out.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Jo gave you great advice.

    I, too, have actually heard my words come from my difficult children mouth in recent months. It is quite a relief, too! LOL!

    Do NOT try to 'fix' her. One thing my difficult child said that helped me detach: "Why can't you just accept me for who I am, why are you always trying to change me?"
    I stopped in my tracks and pondered that question. I was not really trying to change her. I was just trying to teach her. But, she viewed it as she was not good enough the way she was, in my eyes.

    To detach in the situation you described might be to calmly ask her if she would like your opinion. Tell her you value her opinion, too, and it is OK if they are different. That is detaching. It is just having a conversation rather than a teaching moment or trying to convince her that your way of thought is correct (which it is! LOL!).

    Try to be less 'fix it'. If she is hyped up about something you could say you would love to share your thoughts on the topic, but you will do so later when she is in a state of mind to consider it and discuss your differences.

    Sometimes the differences will not be so important in your priorities, so let them go. You can not have a discussion on every topic. If she talks about hating people that get piercings, don't try to teach her that she doesn't really hate them, but she disagrees with them. Just accept her thought and move on - without a word. A few days later when she has a new friend with piercings you might ask her about her previous hatred and she might deny even saying you get where I am going with the ignoring some things. It was not important enough to use your breath or let it take up space in your mind.

    I hope that helped.