My consequence for easy child's defiant behavior - your thoughts

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by recovering doormat, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    My youngest, a easy child, is turning into a terrible tween. She has learned from her older sibs how to manipulate exhausted mom and she has had dad wrapped around her pinky finger for years.

    This morning she flat refused to go to school, telling me that she had a project to turn in that wasn't up to snuff and she was afraid of the teacher. She argued, tantrumed, ran out of the house, just generally made my morning as miserable as she could to prove that I have no control over her. She routinely threatens to call DCF and tell them I've hit her or that the burn she got from the oven rack was me burning her with her curling iron. She's a little b$^&* at times.

    I told her that for the twin sins of refusing school and being rude and obnoxious to me, she was grounded on Halloween. She went ballistic. Told me that she was going to leave the house no matter what, that I wouldn't know where she was, etc., etc.,...

    I called the behaviorist who has been working with our son and askd her what she recommended. She suggest that since it would be difficult and exhausting and unproductive to attempt to follow her around if she left the house with-o permission, that I try another tactic. Since my daughter lacks respect for me and for our home rules, none of her friends may cross my threshold for the next 30 days. There's no need for me to play hostess or ferry her or her pals around since she shows no appreciation for what I do. She also suggested that I take her clothes, toiletries, jewelry, cell phone and access to the house's one computer away, for her to earn back. After all, I paid for the stuff. I could bring her to her knees for taking away her hair straightener!

    I don't know how the clothes part works, but she said let her go out trick or treating in the clothes she's in, let her wear them to bed and tomorrow....may not be sanitary, but I get the general idea. the idea is to make her life less comfortable. She has no incentive to change her behavior because she has not been made to feel enough pain.

    One of the key reasons I am here is because I don't follow through on consequences consistently enough for my kids to respect my authority. By switching to things that I can control, I'm hoping that I will be able to hang in there and get them to re-evaluate their behavior.

    what do you think?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi. A few thoughts having had one big difficult child who started to use drugs at 12. First off, you say she's involved with boys too soon. As hard as it is to imagine you may want to check for drugs and ask her if she's had any type of early sex, even if it's just making out. Frankly, she's young and that may be getting to her. I had no idea what my 12 year old was doing because I was very naive. Also, I would take her electronics, but not the clothes and hair stuff. It's too humiliating. I do believe in discipline, but not humiliating the kids. in my opinion that just makes them act out more, hate you more, and listen less. I'd take the computer, the cell, maybe the television, the Ipod, etc. and leave it at that for her to earn back. That should be enough. Don't depend just on a behavioralist. As they get older, the less those types of therapists work. My daughter wouldn't even listen. She climbed out her window at night and ran around the streets until we caught her.
    On the topic of school, I would have not jumped on her right away. I would have wanted to know more about the project, and if she was having a lot of trouble in a particular class to see if there was actually an issue going on that could actually be solved.Bad stuff could be going on at school that you don't know about. I wouldn't want to cut off the communication. I realize it's not fun to be disrespected, but maybe there's a story behind it and the child is acting out because of fear or anxiety. It won't be the last time she disrespects you either. Goes with the territory. Good luck.
  3. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Personally, I agree. After years with thank you, my pcs get it when I say "if momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" - code for they'd better shape up or they will be losing priveleges. I wouldn't take it *all* away necessarily - but I'd go for her prized luxuries (unless she takes off this evening, in which case I would go for it all - but I'd warn her that there will be consequences if she leaves your home). It's essential you follow through on this if you start it.

    A word of warning though, especially if easy child gets that you haven't always been real consistent in following thru with consequences before - I would anticipate that things will get worse before they get better in terms of her attitude, anger, and mouth. You need to be prepared for all kinds of tween-ness. And I would make sure that husband is onboard with you - if he's going to interfere, you've lost before you've started.

    Next time she threatens to call DCF, hand her the phone and phonebook and tell her to have a blast. Why kids think DCF is something to threaten us with is beyond me, but... call her bluff.

    Sorry she's testing you so!
  4. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    I'd call her bluff on DCF, too. I don't do threats from my kids. Period.

    I agree with taking her stuff, but I don't know about the clothes. That would be too much, in my opinion. I'd leave her just enough outfits to make it through the school week and that's it. I wouldn't take them all. But, that's just me. I'd also make her do her own laundry. And I wouldn't take her toiletries, but I would take any makeup.

    I would, however, take her other stuff. Her attitude is over the top. Like you, I could bring my daughter to her knees just by taking away her hair straightener.

    Definitely, no friends, no cellphone, no shuttling her around, no computer. For teen/tween girls that's enough to bring their world to a screeching halt.
  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Another vote for not taking the clothes. Leave her the basics, take the luxuries this go-round. Warn her that things will escalate on your end if she continues on this path.

    I do agree that maybe some discussion should have been had about the school refusal before threatening and, hopefully, if this occurs again you two can sit and talk about why she's so afraid of turning in work that's not good enough and whether she has problems doing the required project or she just didn't feel like working on it at the time. If she had problems, she gets a pass and you two sit and work on it together to see where the problem lies. If she just didn't do the work the first time around, too bad, she goes to school and suffers the consequences.

    Right now you need to work on regaining your authority. One thing I found that helped was that I wouldn't say what a consequence was when I was angry. I would simply say that I have to think about the consequence and will let my daughter know what it was later. I would then try to make the consequence fit the action. Treat me rudely, don't ask me to do anything for you -- no rides, no friends over, no helping with hair, etc. Break a house rule, lose house privileges (no television, computer, music, etc.). Break a safety rule (leavng house without permission) and her world became totally miserable. ALL the good stuff was gone and that included the cute clothes, the hair accessories, her favorite meals. Yes, she escalated at first but after about 6 months she did get the message and stop some of the behavior. It's not easy and it's not fun, but you can do it. Just work on being consistent, don't make threats or consequences you can't keep and be sure and find some fun time together during all of the misery.

    HUGS -- it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better but it will get better!
  6. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Great idea and comments, moms.

    I think the behaviorist was brainstorming when she came up with-clothes, because she can't run around nekkid, but I can take away her expensive Abercrombie tops, perfume, eye pencil, brand new hair straightener I just bought her. Through some brutally honest talks and a visit to the doctor, I have come to realize that she isn't sexually involved with boys but she likes their attention and has a lot of admirers amongst the seventh grade boys at her school. Fortunately, no older ones have presented themselves, but I expect that to happen at some point.

    I had left out a detail regarding her school refusal that might explain why I was so hell-bent on her going: she had asked me Wednesday if she could skip school Friday to prepare for Halloween. I said no, and she attempted to drag me into a fight for over an hour.

    The next day she claimed to be ill with stomach cramps and worse, and I fell for it. She spent the day at home, tidying up her room and the downstairs. She promised to go to school today. When we got up this morning she said she couldn't go to school because she was worried that her science project wasn't good enough. I asked her why she didn't ask for help and she said I was too busy (bogus, I'm home full time and she has asked me for help with-homework in the past). I suggested that she could have asked her dad, older sister, friend, teacher, whatever, but she had an excuse for each one.

    I attempted to take her to school but she got out of the car and instead of walking into the building she started walking in the direction of our home. At that point I was so angry from her fresh mouth and lack of cooperation (I'm still in my p.j.s, in the car, teeth unbrushed, hair uncombed, not a pretty sight) that I just drove home without her. She had no jacket on and it was 47 degrees and it had to be two mile to our door, but she is one stubborn cookie. She came home and berated me for being a b$#&( and that I had changed a lot (i.e.: I'm being stricter and more consistent, less of a pushover) too quickly. What I think she means is that I really blasted her circuits by disengaging.

    Unfortunately, it will get worse, and that's where I have to be on my game so I don't undermine myself.

    Well, no one said it would be easy, did they?
  7. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    If she even looks cross eyed at you, pull her from that Varsity Cheerleading squad. She is too young to be cheering with 17 & 18 year olds anyway. You have no idea what she is learning there. I have been there. I know. It is actually against the rules here to have a 8th grader on Varsity, they can only try out for Freshman. If she wants it bad enough, she will be a complete angel to you. Doesn't she have to maintain grades to remain on the squad, too? Skipping school and not finishing projects will not help here there.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I strongly recommend that you read the book Love and Logic Parenting for Teens. It has some GREAT strategies for dealing with this kind of stuff. And if you don't deal with it now, as best you can, she will just continue to get worse.

    I would take away the luxuries right now. If you take it all away at once you lose power as she decides how to retaliate for the removal of her things.

    I would call the DCFS bluff NOW. I told my kid that if they EVER called, they had better be SURE that they were reallly being abused. AND they had better have a bag packed, because they were leaving with that social worker when she or he came. I mean it, all the way. I watched a friend be threatened and bullied that way by her daughter. No WAY. Luckily I told my kids that from a very early age, and they knew that they really really didn't want to press that button.

    heck, call DCFS YOURSELF and tell them what she is threatening. Ask THEM how best to handle it. Take the power back.

    I am sorry you are going through this. It sure isn't fun.
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Here's another mom who would call the DCF bluff. Miss KT had threatened this on several occasions, and my standard response was, "Then I'll wave goodbye to you as you're on your way to foster care." When we saw that Dr. Phil ad several years ago, where this 12 yo boy slapped his mom, she asked what I would do if she did that. My answer? "I'd break your freakin' arm then call CPS and turn myself in." End of discussion.

    I have a very low BS tolerance level, and stuff like this really tees me off. Sending lots of extra strength so you can maintain the follow through!
  10. recovering doormat

    recovering doormat Lapsed CDer

    Thank you ladies for your thoughts and best wishes. You are giving me strength.

    Busywend, she is on a middle school varsity cheerleading squad with 12 and 13 yr olds, no older kids. However, your point is well taken: she has been friends with girls who are a year older chronologically but act like they are 16. It's hard to make her completely avoid some of them as they are older sibs to her classmates...haven't figured that one out yet.

    But the loss of having friends over for the next 30 days is already sinking in. She decided to come home last night after trick or treating and not stay over her friend's house as she was insisting she could, and would. We talked about the science project and I think that was just an excuse for staying home, I don't think she was really worried about it. She snorted but did not argue when I drove a girlfriend home from teh party instead of letting her crash at my house, as I normally would have.

    This young lady needs to talk to a therapist one on one, she is a simmering pot of emotions and hormones and rages. She told me that she does meet weekly or biweekly with the school s/w and a group of other girls, but I can't rely on the school to take the place of a personal therapist.

    Making up my list of demands from my kids today and drinking a cup of fennel tea (I've been watching a nutritionist reality show on BBC America that makes morbidly obese Brits go on a two month vegetarian detox plan -- the eating plan is actually making me feel much better). Ah, Saturdays!
  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Recov Doormat, great ideas here!
    I can't help but agree.
    I am so sorry she's been putting you through this.
    by the way, we took away our easy child's hair straightener 3 yrs ago because she was always late for school and was making us late. She sobbed so uncontrollably, you'd have thought her best friend had just died.
    It's a powerful tool!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'd be ringing the teacher as a start, to find out what was supposed to be happening on Friday that was announced earlier in the week. She was PLANNING to duck school that day and she had a different excuse every day. I didn't believe the science project thing either.

    It was also something she was really desperate to avoid - and if my kid is that desperate, I want to know why. My kid MAY be doing something wrong, or someone may be doing something wrong to my kid. But open communication is the best way to start. Pick the brains of the teacher, see what answer you get when you ask, "What was scheduled to happen or due on Friday that you announced or reminded earlier in the week?"
    If necessary, add in the next question, "Can you think of any reason for my daughter to be so incredibly determined to be absent on Friday? Have you observed anything different? Concerning? Changes in her behaviour? Changes in who she's associating with?"

    But ask carefully, it could be the teacher who's part of the problem. Again, you should hear if this is the case, in the teacher's response.

    And also for future reference - until you're sure she is going to comply, get yourself dressed before you drive her to school! That way you can up the ante when you call her bluff!

    Hey, been there done that - I now have stuff in my wardrobe that I can throw on over pyjamas so it doesn't look like I'm wearing PJs. In summer - a swimsuit with bra support built in. I just pull a skirt over the top. In winter - a down jacket and tracksuit pants can hide a multitude of flannel stripes and fluffy kittens. And the absence of a bra!

  13. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    :rofl: KTmom you crack me up!

    Rec. DM, are you talking about the "You are what you eat" woman? I watch her a lot but I haven't seen a specific diet or recipes from her anywhere. Did you find a link? What is the fennel tea supposed to do for you?