A new/different problem


Well-Known Member
One that is not so bad, actually. But, still difficult to deal with.

Some of you recall that many years ago when I first came to the board Dex and step-mom did not believe me that difficult child was in fact a difficult child. She did not show that side of herself in the 4 evenings and 2 weekends a month they had her. Even the babysitter would say she acted different when dad picked her up.

OK. Then difficult child goes to live with Dex for 1 year. She struggled with the different way that daddy parented, but we got through it, and it did seem to help at least in the way she treated me. Dex and Stepmom came to see just what I was seeing (maybe slightly less intense). They now know the calls from school, the being blamed for your kids actions, etc.

Now my difficult child is an ex-difficult child (still ADD, but not as much ODD - although still not a easy child). I have grown through these years and I always saw Dex and stepmom as a few years behind me in the realization of difficult child and therefore how to deal with it.

She is a good girl, not a great student, but growing up much more appropriately for her age these days. Dex and step-mom just are not with the age yet. At 16 she should have some more freedoms than she did 4 years ago. It is pretty much still the same as it was 4 years ago for them. Still not trusting her. Still thinking the worst in every situation. Still feeling stressed over it all.

How can I get them to see they have to move forward with difficult child and allow certain things to take their course now. At 12 - no, but at 16 some things have to be 'yes' or even 'if you think that is best difficult child'. Because she has to make some big choices in the next few years. And she should be the one making them. How well she does in school, if she has sex, if she tries drugs, if she gets and keeps a job, etc.
Right now she claims to be celebate. One of her friends is possibly pregnant. This is the 3rd one I have heard of (none of them very close to difficult child). So I said, 'my goodness haven't these kids ever heard of birth control?' Without skipping a beat my difficult child said, 'Haven't they ever heard of abstinance?' I wanted to stop the car and get out to do a happy dance!

So, she is capable of making good choices. She needs to be able to make them without someone telling her if she can or not.

What can I say or do?


timer lady

Queen of Hearts
This is walking a fine line - allowing more age appropriate freedoms come with age appropriate responsibilities.

Wendy, sounds like your difficult child almost easy child has made huge strides in the right direction. You're right - at 16 it's time to nudge her a bit & see what type of life choices she can make while still under your wing. I'd rather see how difficult child/easy child does while still under your collective roofs than wait until she is out on her own & flounders.

Can't imagine how you can convince DEX or stepmom of that fact though.


Well-Known Member
You know, it's HARD to give our difficult children a little room because they've abused it and abused it, over and over. I'd say your dex hasn't seen the slightly more mature difficult child that you see. Then again, he's her FATHER, and we know how most father's are with their daughters. I know you don't want to stir it up, but a phone call to him might help him understand that life has moved on and she IS growing up! Good luck.


Well-Known Member
I can honestly say that after raising a easy child and a difficult child that allowing for age appropriate mistakes is the only way, in my humble opinion, to insure that they do mature into well-adjusted adults able to make decisions for themselves. Holding a child back, holding past actions against them, will only make them rebel against rules that no long "fit" them. I've see good kids go down scary paths once they are out from under "unreasonable" rules. I've seen bad kids blossom when they were responsible for their own lives. Mybe the four of you can sit down for dinner in neutral territory and map out a plan---


Active Member
if what they are doing is working, why change it? is she complaining about it? has she approached them to ease up a bit?


Well-Known Member
It is more about holding the past against her. She used to lie, cheat and steal. Talk inappropriately on the computer. Talk inappropriately on text messaging. Some of what she was doing at 12 is much more age appropriate now. I do not think she is talking like she used to, but am I to really expect my 16 year old not to discuss sexual things with a boy? I think it is normal. There are kids at her school that are pregnant - I would be a fool to think she would not be discussing it, thinking about it, etc. However, I am pleased to hear she wishes to remain celebate for now.

At 12 I was devastated to think she even knew some of these things. Now, it seems like she and her friends would mostly know these topics.

So, it is not about if what Dex is doing works - there is not much that does with difficult child. We have yet to find anything. But, it seems like the topics at 12 should be revisited with a different light.


Gosh, I was upset to learn that there were student's at difficult child's 7th and 8th grade campus school pregnant.

Sounds like dad and step-mom aren't ready to deal with 16 yr old typical stuff. Can't say I blame them, but it'd be better to ease into it than have your daughter start acting up because it. Unless husband will listen to reason, not sure there's much you can do about it. Sigh....


Well-Known Member
This is what I'd do if I were ex-difficult child:
I'd ask to set up a meeting with you, dex and step-mom. I'd write out all the past problems, current strengths and challenges. I would discuss my plans to improve my grades to an acceptable level. And then I would ask to discuss loosening up the rules to a more age-appropriate level.
But truthfully, Wendy, this needs to be initiated and followed through by ex-difficult child. She is facing the natural consequences of behaving in an untrustworthy manner.


Here we go again!
Without skipping a beat my difficult child said, 'Haven't they ever heard of abstinance?' I wanted to stop the car and get out to do a happy dance!

So, she is capable of making good choices. She needs to be able to make them without someone telling her if she can or not.

What can I say or do?

That is surely a reason to dance!!! :dance:

You're right, she does need a little more rope. Now's the best time to make some decisions -- with the safety net of parents/guardians in place, not in five years when she's out there solo without a net...

Can't really offer much more advice -- just wanted to say that she sounds like her head's on pretty straight about some things.


Former desparate mom
<span style='font-size: 11pt'>busywend, I would still error on the side of caution. A lot of teens(especially girls) talk the talk but don't walk the walk. They claim all the right words like abstinence because there is a lot of social pressure from adults to have those words in their conversations. I still think it doesn't change the spots on a leopard. Heck a lot of the girls get pregnant because they are not prepared with birth control because they didn't really believe in premarital sex. It just sort of happened.
Having conversations with your daughter about what happens in the life of the friends and the baby due to an unplanned pregnancy is a way for her to understand the consequences as it relates to them. (which as teens is the only ones they really care about. Well, maybe a girlfriend or two)
I wouldn't do too much of a happy dance yet. I don't for a second think that teens aren't heavily geared towards sex biologically. Teens brains just can't compete with their hormone levels and do stupid things or don't think about it. It just happens one day when they weren't planning it.
I'm much more comfortable with a teen who hears about self control and self respect. Not being a victim of "it just happened" as if they had no ability to control it.
There is a funny book on tape called Madera's View on Life(I think that's the title. It's by Tyler Perry. It's a lot of common sense and funny folk wisdom. I loved it and listened to it on a long drive. She speaks of keeping your "frisbee" special and not a used up, chewed over toy. It's really about self respect and understanding a girl is special if she treats herself as special. I would listen to it with your daughter as you are driving. I wouldn't even tell her it's educational. It's comedy. Just a suggestion.
At 16,she will make the choices she wants regardless of her father's mistrust. She also has to accept that her dad is this way and she has burnt some bridges. It's something she is going to have to live with. My dad was scary, strict and intolerant. Didn't stop us a lick. We just got better at covering our tracks. It was "something" we kept from our parents as opposed to doing the right thing as a moral issue. We weren't bad kids as kids go but we tried beer, cigarettes and oh we loved boys even though it was very tightly controlled. We never got dad to change the way he saw his kids. He didn't really give a care what we thought.

So I'm saying a little fear is a good way to reinforce boundaries. It's his home and he gets to do as he pleases. All he will do is alienate difficult child and teach her to go underground. You on the other hand have the job of teaching good moral choices because it's the right thing to do. </span>


Well-Known Member
Thank you for your words of wisdom. It is true - even the best of kids can end of pregnant out of wedlock and too early - me for example! LOL!

It is also true that she is paying the consequences of her actions from years ago. But, doesn't forgiveness come into play here? I think it has to. Especially since the age appropriateness is SOOOO vastly different between 12 and 16. Do I want her talking about sexual things with boys - NO WAY! But, I do think it is much more appropriate for her to be doing so at 16. Actually, pretty common I fear. I can not expect her to be so different than the average teen.

I am in no way saying I have forgotten that my difficult child is capable of lying to the max or that she has had sexual words and letters with boys in the past. But, I do think it is important for her to get some respect out of her parents for the choices she is voicing to us now.

I know she could have sex tomorrow. I have drilled birth control into her. Frankly, I think the best birth control she could get is babysitting her 2 little brothers. She knows just how hard it is to raise babies that turn into toddlers. But, she continues to tell me she is not having sex and therefore, does not need birth control. I sure do tell her it can happen when she least expects it and most encounters are not planned for. I just can not seem to convince her it is a good idea to start even if she does not have sex for 5 more years. I even tried the acne improvement method. No go. I have to find something different in this department.

Fran, thank you for the book on tape idea. I will be sure to get that. I think she will LOVE it. I can even get it downloaded from our library now.

I guess I really do not need to do anything. difficult child should be the one to work on what her freedoms are with her dad - (TM - thank you for pointing that one out!).

Thank you for helping me think through this one!