Need help with Plan B

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ShesMakingMeCrazy, May 15, 2016.

  1. ShesMakingMeCrazy

    ShesMakingMeCrazy New Member

    Hi all,
    I'm trying to implement Plan B with my 15yo dtr. One of the biggest sources of contention is dealing with her frequent requests/demands. On a very regular basis she has "a proposition". These are spontaneous ideas that she becomes fixated upon. They usually involve going somewhere or buying something. Husb and I have a PTSD type reaction every time she says "I was thinking . . . ", because more often than not, this turns into a battle. These events are fairly predictable, but we're a loss as to how to prevent them. Any words of wisdom?
  2. runawaybunny

    runawaybunny Administrator Staff Member

    I don't have any words of wisdom that will but I did want you to know that I read your post and that I understand how challenging it can be parenting a 15 year old daughter. My daughter was really difficult at that age.

    Hang in there and make sure to take good care of yourself. Your well being is just as important as hers is.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Hi Shes. Welcome.

    There has to be a way to disconnect from what she does, instead of going into panic mode which believe me I understand. Like a lock and a key. Right now she triggers your lock. What if you could come to make it so that her key no longer fits?

    I do not know how but I know it is possible. You may have to endure fits from her for a while until she gets there will be no response from you, that she wants. Remember intermittent responding with a reward (giving in) is the worst. That is, only occasionally rewarding her behavior. That has been shown to result in the most persistent and enduring misbehavior, to achieve the occasional reward.

    It seems like your daughter has gotten a power position in the family and it is this that needs to be addressed.
  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    While she is saying she wants x, y or z, what she really may be seeking is something else, like attention or control, or even conflict. There is a payoff for her, that needs to be identified.

    I know that if she asks for a ride, money, to go out--you will have to accede occasionally.

    But if we look at it that what she is really seeking--is attention, or to control you, there is a way to deal with the interaction by not giving her the response she is looking for (say control) while at the same time giving her rewards for constructive behavior.

    This is called behavior modification. There are experts that help parents with this, should it get even more severe. Or there are books.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I'm guessing she wants "yes" or "no"... right this absolute minute, right?
    Try putting in a time factor. Don't answer "yes" or "no". Tell her you will think about it.
    She is spending your money and your time. Are there ways to make it so she is spending HER money and HER time?
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Insane, this is brilliant.

    I read somewhere about somebody somewhere who never responds to anything right away. I can't remember anything more. On purpose, it is a discipline. He or she says, I will get back to you on that.

    That could be your break in the chain. Every. single. time. Because with this response she is not getting the secondary gain she seeks--like attention, or control or whatever. It puts the power back in you. Where it should be.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would just say "no." No is a complete sentence. If she screams and yells like a little kid, use your discipline of choice. We never had a lot of money so it was easy to say no. My kids all knew that. By the teen years they did ask for things, but not as much as other kids and all of them, except my autistic son, got part time jobs in high school.

    They all have a good work ethic, even autistic son. I totally believe that putting up with yelling, which I did with a few of my kids when they were younger, makes even difficult I kids harder workers and less entitled. Some of my kids gave me problems at various times, but none expect somebody else to pay their bills. I swear by making kids work for their own stuff. Or just live without it. Mine found ways to make money. Free money was never going to happen and they knew it.
    Last edited: May 15, 2016
  8. My youngest step son has the same problem although he much better than he used to be. For him, it is part of his bipolar disorder, although he has traits that make me think he also has undiagnosed autism as well, but I can't convince anyone else in the family of it.

    For him, it wasn't about attention or control, but something to soothe his anxiety and bipolar boredom and Aspie obsession. Then he would become fixated on buying something that was going to be the magic thing that would make him feel good again. He would get really agitated and talk constantly for days about the desired object. He wanted to get it NOW. If we used any stalling tactics like saying we would think about it, he would continue to obsess until he got a final yes or no answer. If it was yes, he was deliriously happy, we were the most wonderful parents in the world! That would last a few weeks or sometimes just a few days and then he was no longer interested in it and started obsessing about the next thing he wanted to buy. Several times he sold expensive electronics that he had recently bought with birthday money for just a few dollars because he wanted the money immediately for his next obsession. We worked really hard to limit gifts to things he couldn't sell, but family members weren't always cooperative.

    If the answer was no, he would fly into a violent rage, screaming, crying, complaining that we were persecuting him and often physical violence that would last for several hours. He would be out of sorts and yell at us for several days. Then it would be like a switch was flipped and he would light up and start talking about his next obsession.

    YEARS of therapy and changes of tactics on our part did NOTHING to change this. He still has very little self awareness or personal insight. Any bad mood is blamed on some external factor or someone else's behavior. However, these behaviors were greatly reduced three years ago when he was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder and placed on a combination of lithium and antipsychotics. He has occasional flair ups, but only a few times a year instead of a few times a week.

    So based our experience, my advice would be to figure out what is behind her behavior. Is it entitlement and manipulation, which can be changed by changing strategies on your part - delaying, removing yourselves when she acts out, so there is no reward. However, if you think it might be a brain imbalance or mood disorder, extensive testing and possibly medication will be needed to change this dynamic.

    I feel for you. We went through 12 years of hell before things changed.
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  9. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    Holy smokes, Second Time Around--that describes what happens with Difficult Grandson at times, although it blows over fairly quickly, thankfully. He has gotten better, but the teen years are ahead... My daughter (his mother) is kind of like that, too, to a lesser degree. It's exhausting.
  10. HopeFilledMama

    HopeFilledMama New Member

    I have a 16 year old with Asperger's so I GET THIS.
    I would do something very specific that she must do every time she requests something.
    And put it in writing, and make her sign that she understands!
    For Instance:

    2) Fill out "Request Form" completely and legibly, and put form in basket.
    3) Your Father and I will review the form and let you know our decision.
    4) There will be no discussions before, during, or after the form is filled out.
    5) There will be no arguments about our decision. If you argue or cause drama in any way, there will be no further requests granted for 48 hours.

    Also: Make a form for her to fill out, with all the details of date, beginning time, ending time, cost, how she plans to pay, who she will be with, etc.

    This is what I would do!
    (of course you'll need to modify it to meet your needs)
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  11. HMBgal

    HMBgal Active Member

    HopeFilledMama, sometimes I feel like I have to videotape everything because he will deny what he promised he would do, what he said, and even what he did and was witnessed by other. And since he can remember most things in minute detail, I'm not buying that he forgot.
  12. ShesMakingMeCrazy

    ShesMakingMeCrazy New Member

    Thanks so much for all your responses. I wrote this, then was off line for a while. Imagine my surprise when I checked in to find all this activity. There are some excellent suggestions here.

    She has the power to make the entire house angry and upset. She has the power to make our lives a living hell. She has the power to stress myself and my husband to the point of OUR wanting to run away!

    I totally understand about intermittent rewards being very reinforcing. The problem lies in her persistent/frequent attitudinal behavior. She wears us down so much that we'll do almost anything to buy a little peace. It's especially bad now that she is home all the time.

    I like this idea and we will be implementing it. She is getting a job, so she will have more of her own money. She has no ability to save money. It is almost pathological the way she HAS to spend any money she has as soon as possible.

    This is where we have run into problems. A simple no can combust into an all-day screamfest, consequences be d*mned. She has no sense of self-preservation when she is in this state. One day she ran away because we would not get her a chinchilla.

    This sound very familiar. I have suggested to her that she engages in "Retail Therapy" on a regular basis. She of course denies this, having little insight. She uses buying as her answer to boredom, angst, poor self-esteem, etc, etc. It often does not matter what is being bought.

    She also does the black and white response to our parenting. If she gets a positive response to a request, she is overjoyed, pleasant, helpful, a real member of the family. If she gets a "no", then all bets are off. We are terrible parents, we never compromise, we never do anything for her, we only think about ourselves, and on and on. . . Her mouth has no filter, she'll say any mean thing she can think of, most of which I'm sure she does not mean.

    It is very hard to tease out the cause of/motivation behind her behavior. It sure feels like manipulation, but there is also loss of control. If it were just manipulation, she would not keep going to the point of losing access to all her electronics.

    I absolutely love this! I will implement this immediately.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Teach her how to.
    For example, will the job be direct deposit? If so, some banks have a plan where you have a second account NOT connected to ATM card. They can automatically transfer a certain amount - even if it's $20, it starts to accumulate. Try for about 10%. Then tell her you will MATCH whatever amount she has saved in that account at the end of the year.
  14. Sister's Keeper

    Sister's Keeper Active Member

    Okay. My kids don't really have behavior problems, per se, and they are little, but your daughter sounds a little like them in maturity level.

    The problem with "We will think about it" usually ends up with constant begging, whining, and nagging about making a decision, then the same pouting when the answer is no.

    I think if you look at your response, though, you will see something. She has the "power." She is manipulating and she is controlling you with her behavior. She may not be doing it consciously, but she has learned that her behavior does get her what she wants.

    My question, though, is her behavior only in response to buying her things or is it also about getting permission to do certain things? Is this pretty much any time she hears, "no?"

  15. ShesMakingMeCrazy

    ShesMakingMeCrazy New Member

    Whenever she hears "No", it on.
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Have you seen the book "how to talk so teens will listen"? It's an adaptation of "how to talk so kids will listen". There is a whole chapter in there on "alternatives to 'no'". It's surprising how many kids blow up at 'no'.
  17. Roxona

    Roxona Active Member

    We deal with your dilemma with SS10 on a daily basis. We have six kids to tend to, and I stay at home, so the whole "buy me this, I'm entitled" thing doesn't work here.

    I have several different approaches. Depending on how hard he has been on me, I try to listen to his request and validate that he wants something. However, if he's been having a go at me all day, I will shut him down quickly. He's the type that wants everything right now, and will rapid fire demands at me or his dad until he gets put into timeout. He absolutely will not stop until some sort of punishment is threatened, and sometimes that won't even stop him. He will also destroy things we have bought him because he thinks he can force us to buy him what he wants to replace what he destroyed. That doesn't ever work because he will have to buy a replacement from his allowance....for some reason he's slow to learn this lesson because he's been replacing out of his allowance a lot lately.

    Here are some of my answers:

    1. Not right now.
    2. Maybe later.
    3. We're in the middle of xyz and don't have time for that now.
    3. No! Have you lost your mind?!?!
    4. I don't have money for that right now.
    5. If you want that, you will have to pay for it with your allowance.
    6. You can ask for that for your birthday or Christmas.

    The boys get an allowance for doing chores and if they want to earn extra money, I can usually find something for them to do.

    When my son, J, was in high school, I would give him a certain amount of money each week to do with as he wanted. I.e., lunch from cafeteria, food from the mall, go to the dollar movies, etc.

    When it was time to buy clothes for school, we would go through his closet to determine what he needed, then I would give him a certain amount in cash. He was required to fill his all his needs, but he could determine if he wanted to spend more on shoes and less on a backpack, etc.

    I'm a very frugal momma and spending frivolously is a crazy maker for me. I feel your pain and hope some of this helps.