Newbie needs....sleep!

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by HeidiO, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    Wow, I can't sleep. My 11 y/o is sick, was up at 2:30 am to give him advil, couldn't go back to 7 am and found this site and hope someone or several someones can offer advice.
    Our eldest daughter, a very strong willed child...possibly ODD (not diagnosis) turned 18 3 weeks ago, and this last Saturday decided to move out...don't know where she's sleeping, I suspect her 21 y/o boyfriends apartment....
    I am very confused, angry, betrayed, etc. I am just starting through all of the emotions of letting go of my kid, but her choices continue to be scary, and with her legal adult age I can do nothing. I am thankful she does not abuse any substances, from other posts I have read, I don't have it too bad...I really just need a place where others understand my situation, and maybe can offer support...I don't feel it coming from anywhere else
    Wow, I am tired...any suggestions? I am open to anything at this point...
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the board Heidi :salute:

    Sorry to heat your 11 yr old is sick. been there done that all week. Blah, it's the pits.

    As for your older daughter, you have the answer. She's an adult and there isn't anything you can do about her choices. It stinks (especially when you know they're BAD choices) but that's the reality of the situation.

    Take deep breaths and try your best to let it go. Focus on 11 yr old and yourself. Be good to yourself and find some new interest.

    It's not that we don't worry about our adult difficult child's. It's that we have to learn to put that worry into perspective and how to detach ourselves from situations we can do nothing about. Learning to accept that legally they are adults, even if in all honesty they are a few years behind.

    It's a process. We're all learning. We'll be here to help you along the way.

  3. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    thanks Lisa, I really didn't go into much detail in my original post, this week has been very draining...
    but not nearly as draining as the last few years....some things we've dealt with our difficult child are:
    arrested for shoplifting, cutting (herself), depression, anxiety, threats of violence, dabbling in drugs/alcohol, sexually active (she did wait until 17), failing classes in school, lying to us/teachers, making up rumors about herself (not good ones) always bitter, arguementative, continially breaking house rules, and refuses to accept personal responsibility for anything she says/does!!!! that's just a sampling
    We are in contact with her via email and occasional phone calls, but she avoids answering where she sleeps at's tough, we are a conservative family and have raised our kids in a Christian home/belief system...
    again, really tired, not really completing my thoughts
    I will go check on easy child who's sick, take out the dog (in 3ft of snow!!) and get a cup of coffee
    I look forward to getting to know all of you other parents out there who gosh darn it just love their matter how hard they try to make us stop!
    Thanks again!
  4. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Sometimes we as parents need to let them reach bottom before they will accept any help. It's not easy to watch them throw the morals and values we worked hard to instill in them away----but she knows---you taught her right----give it time. I know very few 18 year old non-grads who are able to survive on their own for very long. People, friends and boyfriends, may be willing to help at first, but she will wear out her welcome with them quickly---after all, they don't have to love her. Give it time. Let her suffer the natural consequences she will face in the next few weeks. And when she is ready to come home, set some ground rules.
  5. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    Okay, my two cents.....if she still avoids telling you where she is staying at night it means she thinks you would not approve, BUT she is showing concern for your feelings and she is not lying about it. These are two good indicators in my mind, that she still values your relationship. Sometimes being apart and not having to deal with the day-to-day irritations can greatly help a relationship. She was at least smart enough to see this and remove herself. Asking a child to leave your home is much more devastating in my mind. So my advice would be: Don't ask questions you think you already know the answer to, step back and see what she can do, it may surprise you. If she is staying out of trouble with the law and not asking you to bail her out give her space to learn a few life lessons...... Just keep things light and keep telling her you love her.....If she doesn't feel you are lecturing her she will try talking with you.
    As I said these are only my opinions and I don't know all that has gone on before in your relationship, but you can only control yourself, don't try to control the of luck to you and your family.
  6. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    You other parents of difficult child's are a God-send. Thanks for all of your pearls of wisdom, I am already practicing some of the advice you have given. Please keep it coming, if you are so led. One thing I know, now I can put my energy into our 2 kids who have so desperately been neglected, when our difficult child was controling the atmosphere in our home daily! It has been very peaceful and lighthearted in the last 5 days. Again, thank you and God Bless you all!
  7. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    My daughter moved out three times because she didn't like the rules at home and had friends who would take her in. Like yours, she experimented a little with drugs but really wasn't into them. She would drink with friends but never on her own. She has sex but it has been with a boy friend. So, I do understand your frustration.

    As was said, she's legally an adult. There's nothing you can do. If she goes the typical route, her boy friend will get tired of supporting her and boot her out the door. She may find friends to stay with for awhile, but that won't last, either. Sooner or later, she'll come want to come home. She'll be apologetic, agree to any and all rules. If you're lucky, she'll even follow the rules for a week or two. Get a contract before she even walks in the door and stick to it!

    I'm sorry you're dealing with this. It's no fun. HUGS
  8. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    my daughter has one thing that will probably ensure her NOT coming back, she just received $12,000 in an accident settlement. But that's ok, and yeah, no way she'd move back in without an agreement in writing. But I'm not holding my breath. The boyfriend won't let her live with-him, he has a very tight knit family and parents that would absolutely NOT support them doing that at all. And believe it or not, he respects his parents enough to comply. I just hope and pray we can mend our relationship at some point, and that God will keep her safe until then.
  9. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Yeah, having money makes it much easier for her to stay until it is gone. At least she's staying in touch with you. Who knows? This may be a good thing for her -- at least it will give her a chance to see what she needs to survive in this world ... like an education and job skills. $12K is a nice start but it's not going to last all that long.

    Just keep the communication open as much as you can. Bite your tongue. I used to remind myself at least 20 times a day that it was NOT my business. I would not ask (heck, half the time I didn't want to know the answer anyway). I would give advice only if asked. I think I had the bloodiest tongue in town for the 3 months she was out of the house the first time.

    As was said, this is a great time to relax and enjoy your other two kids without the drama.
  10. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    meowbunny, you are right on the money....for now, in my home (which we've worked very hard to make a healthy/happy place) there is no DRAMA! I suppose you could say that the easy child 13 y/o girl who's hormones are raging can be dramatic...but that drama I can handle. It's the type that makes you say things you don't mean, blow your top off, and stew for days, then cry it out DRAMA that I WILL NOT MISS!!!
    That being said, my 18 y/o difficult child is and always will be my precious child, and I love her beyond measure. She has a lot of issues to get through...and doesn't even know it.
    Question: she has prepaid counseling due to being the victim of a crime years ago....any ideas on how to encourage her to go? Or is that interfering when she may or may not be ready? Would anyone out there recommend I call the counselor and let her know she moved out of our house? (difficult child has gone on her own several times a few months ago...but not lately)
    This is all so new to me, this is my eldest child - so all new territory to travel
  11. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I would call the counselor. Let them work it out together. Hopefully, the counselor has her phone number so you don't have to give it up. The more the counselor can make it sound like the phone call is because of a missed appointment (if/when that happens), the better.

    Personally, I LOATHE detaching. I want to be part of my daughter's life, share her joys, triumphs and, yes, her failures. However, when they decide to become adults, we have no choice. For me, the most painful part was knowing that she wasn't an adult except in chronological years, knowing that I couldn't protect her from herself. All I could do was sit and wait until she needed me and I really don't do well at the sit and waiting stuff. I did, however, take the time to regroup when she moved out. I found a little bit of the me I'd lost over the years, the pieces that had to be buried to be the mother she needed. For you, take this time to get to know your younger kids, the parts that they buried to avoid some of the drama. Do things for you. Regroup, recoup and recover.
  12. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    This is all exactly what I needed to hear....sound advice from someone who's been there/done that, and empathy for the complex emotions of detaching from are right she is 18 physically/chronologically - but most of my 'worry' is because she isn't there emotionally or spiritually...
    I have left a message for her counselor, and don't think my difficult child will be upset that I called her - she really trusts her counselor. So hope for the best, pray for my kiddo

    On an interesting note : 18 y/o difficult child hasn't had school all week, severe snow storms here have buried the area...currently have 3 feet and more coming~!
    thanks again for all your insights
    I am glad you have come through your own situation and are willing to help those of us who are currently in the storm!
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    I think the real question is, Do you think she'd listen to any encouragement to go to the counseling?

    I have a couple basic rules with my grown kids.

    1. I don't give advice unless asked directly. (and usually try to avoid it even then)

    2. I don't ask questions on things that are none of my business or that I might not like the answers tol. (in this case not knowing can mean peace of mind)

    These two usually make it so I can keep our relationships close, but not too close. By following my own rules it keeps me from wanting to "fix" things for them. And yeah, I do alot of tongue biting, but it's getting ALOT better with practice. lol

    And often it helps when I remember how I felt at their age. I'd have (and did) deeply resented my mother putting in her 2 cents when I didn't want it.

    I know currently difficult child doesn't seem to be living up to the family standards, but give her time. Those lessons are probably more deeply set in than even she realizes at this point. My Nichole is a good example. She was a major mess just a couple of years ago, today she is doing well, stable, and in college.

    Some kids have to learn the hard way. And life lessons can often be the best teachers.

  14. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    well said, thanks...
    I actually don't really know how any of her counseling has gone to this's been her business, I haven't pressed my difficult child and she hasn't offered anything. But I will leave that decision in the hands of the counselor, she probably knows her mind better than I do anyway. I just know my difficult child won't pursue it at this moment due to the sudden move out and all the distractions that it's causing her.
    Please remember that as of this time last week, she was living in my home and although the move out wasn't surprising - I am still in a bit of shell shock and have that whole helpless feeling.
    I am desperately trying to wade through my own mind, hence the reason I probably can't sleep.
    Keep on making me think, though, I feel relieved by all the input and comraderie here!
    Kuddo's to whoever put this site together.
  15. WiscKaren

    WiscKaren New Member

    As my mom used to say, "She/he will need you before you need her." She/he will be back, I promise.

    Enjoy the quiet time with your other children. Believe it or not, in a few weeks you may even sit back and say, "Dang I miss her, but this is nice!" At the age of 18, there isn't anything you can do; she is an adult.

    You've gotten great advice from other people here. My only advice would be to not have an open wallet when she needs money -- and it will happen. If she is hungry, take her out or buy her some groceries. But no cash!!! I wish I had followed my own advice many years back.
  16. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    I appreciate all the reassurances from everyone. I talked with my difficult child last night, she is coming today to pick up the rest of her belongings...she admitted to have been staying at her b/f's apartment this whole week...tried to defend it and told me she didn't want to hear it was wrong or fight about it, and I quickly responded that 'hey, you are an adult, you can make those decisions for yourself...I don't need to tell you what I believe or think is right, you know our values'...something like that, hey, I didn't engage in a battle with her! I think she was shocked! I never even raised my voice! Woo hoo 1 victory
    We talked about some other practical things, like taxes, etc. I plan on being here when she comes to take her things, and to be very cordial...
    please pray that I can handle it well, and continue to detach without completely unraveling!
    I'll keep you posted!
  17. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member


    I know that you believe living with someone and have pre-marital sex is wrong but it is part of life today. Statistically, a 17 YO virgin is not as common as a 17 YO girl who has had sex -- usually with her boy friend. We don't have to like it, condone it or approve it but we do have to accept that it is what it is and there's not a dang thing we can do about it.

    It sounds like your daughter is still close to you. So, talk to her about birth control and protection from STDs (unless both were virgins and never had intercourse with anyone else). The last thing these kids need is the responsibility of a baby. This is going to be a very hard conversation for you considering how you feel about them staying together. However, it is an important one and one that has to be done without your emotions or disapproval coming through. It is not condoning her actions, it is protecting her from herself.

    Good luck when she comes over. Take deep breaths, remind yourself she's now an adult and really does have a right to live her life as she chooses, no matter how it goes against everything you believe or want for her. Support her, advise her, love her. Don't try to live her life. Not easy, but what we're stuck with as parents.

  18. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    By your controlled response you left the door open.......way to go......hope it continues and she doesn't spend all her cash in the first month on her own......
  19. HeidiO

    HeidiO New Member

    Not meaning to sound defensive here: but we've had the conversation you outlined above more than once, since she was 12. Just because we have raised our kids in a conservative Christian environment doesn't mean we don't face the reality of life in this fallen world. Our difficult child has always had an open dialouge with us about the uncomfortable subject of sex/STD's/unplanned pregnancy. If you haven't figured it out by my signature, I was a teenage mom with I also not only have the knowledge but the experience.
    We've had many conversations with not only our difficult child, but her b/f, who we do like and we've welcomed him into our home, and fed weekend dinners like he's one of our own. But I completely disagree with you that it is my responsibility to hash out the topic one more time with her, if she wants to engage in premarital sex, I have explained that she needs to protect herself...but I won't provide it or pay for it. She has a job and so does the b/f, they're both adults.
    She won't be living with him, his own family pays for his college tuition, and are also a Christian family. They have told him very clearly that his $$ aid will be severed from them if they choose to live together. He chose the $$.
    Not that I don't appreciate your heart and the advice you gave, but I have some very strong convictions in this area, first because of my relationship with Jesus and secondly because I engaged in risky sexual behavior and wound up a teenage single mother. Been there done that.
    That being said, no matter what I encourage her to do, (ie: get on birth control) she will do whatever she wants anyway. I did...
    I hope and pray I won't be a grandma at 38 years old, but my own experience of having a baby so young made me grow up and go from being a difficult child to a easy child...well maybe not perfect, but much improved!
    Today I have a very healthy, respectful relationship with my own mother.
    So, sorry again if I am sounding defensive, but you struck a personal chord with me and with the fact that I am averaging 3 hours/night of sleep, please give me the grace to vent in this mostly anonymous forum.
  20. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Vent away!!!! I'm sorry if you took what I said the wrong way. I didn't mean for you to pay for it, but I did want to make sure she knew the facts. Some conservative Christians refuse to have THE talk with their kids. I'd still consider reminding her of the risks since she is now there. It can't hurt and might help.

    It would be nice if our kids learned from our mistakes but they rarely do. I smoke. I've harped on the stupidity and danger of smoking to my daughter since she was 5. The first time she moved out, she came back smoking. I cried myself to sleep for about 4 nights about it. It still upsets me. I refuse to help her in any way, shape or form to get cigarettes. She cannot smoke in the house or in my car. It's all I can do. All you can do is guide the best you can. Like mine, what she ultimately chooses to do is up to her. Stinks, doesn't it?

    It sounds like boyfriend is between a rock and a hard spot right now. He certainly wouldn't want to anger his parents but probably is afraid for his girl friend to leave for fear where she would go next. Since you like him, what do you think the chances of his being on your side and helping push her home?

    Hope you can find a way to get some sleep soon. I know it hurts to not have her there, but you need to take care of you. The kids at home need you and, strangely enough, so does she. She's still going to you for advice. She'll come to you for comfort, as well. For now, accept that she is safe and not too bright in her decisions. If she's typical, she will grow up and make you proud!