Alien invasion.....

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by timer lady, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    over the last week kt has turned - it's ugly, very very ugly. A lot of typical teen behaviors from a very atypical teenager. As I said - ugly.

    kt's grounding from last week ended Friday - she took that grounding (after the initial meltdown) with a calm that made me nervous.

    Saturday she had planned to get together with her friend B who we know & love. kt did get together with B, however she also used B as an excuse to meet her newest boyfriend. kt told me in tears that she's 13 now & she's supposed to be having sex - all the kids at school do. :stopglass::slap::crazy2: We all know the answer to this kind of statement - however kt has been convinced that she has to do this to be popular & pretty. (She's already one of the most popular kids at day treatment - not sure if that's a good thing or not.)

    In the meantime, kt stole a lighter & pack of cigarettes from husband's coat pocket. She kept taking the garbage out to the alley - heck was creating garbage to take out. Now, I know kt thinks parents are stupid but c'mon. We go from meltdown mode over being asked to take out the garbage to creating garbage to take out. Please!

    husband kept an eye on things - yup, kt's out there trying to light up. husband & I may not be the best example when it comes to smoking but she isn't getting her smokes from us. by the way, she's quit - she doesn't like it.

    Yesterday morning I had a talk with kt. You know one of those :talkhand: kind of talks. Her response to my questions on what the heck is going on was that she needed to find one bad thing (like join a gang) or she wasn't going to fit in at day treatment. All the kids there are there because of behaviorial issues. Her issues are emotional & she really wants to please her teachers & do the work. She hates disrupting class or getting a bad grade. But she also wants friends.

    I reminded kt that day treatment discourages friendships outside the program because of all the different issues/problems each of the students has to work on. Day treatment isn't there just because.

    Didn't have any ideas for her - not a one. And if I did have I wouldn't share it with her. I'm looking for one class a week that she can handle; yoga, dance, swim - something. "Mom, those kids could be pot smokers too". That's true but less likely.

    I have a staffing for kt tomorrow & will be talking with her therapist today. Hoping to come up with some ideas for kt.

    I hate peer pressure; more I hate peer pressure from kids that just grew up a bit too fast for their own good, no matter the reason. It's ugly.
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's not an easy one at all.

    Back in 1978, sister in law was an exchange student in the US. In the year she was over there she gained a lot of weight (all those dinners she had to speak at) and took up smoking. Before she left she had been as rabidly anti-smoking as the rest of her family, but she told us that while in the US (midwest) she felt she had to join in. "People either smoke cigarettes or pot," she explained. "It was one or the other."
    She was 17 at the time. She also was drinking beer, but since she was an Aussie whose parents let her drink home-brew, under control, she had a head for beer which the other kids did not (that home brew was a lot stronger than the US beer she was given to drink).

    The thing is, she gave in to peer pressure to the least extent she felt she could, so she didn't seem to be a complete wowser (Aussie term - means ultra-conservative, prohibitionist in every way).
    Whether she was indulging in sex - I don't think so, although I suspect one or two boys in particular were putting a lot of pressure on her. One boy really put the thumbscrew on her, tried to stop her coming home and instead stay in the US and stay with him. She nearly did. He'd told her he had just been diagnosed with a hereditary disease which had killed his father and was going to kill him in just six months, would she stay with him and make his last six months happy ones. (she told us what he was supposed to have - no way would it be diagnosed in adulthood, it was a pack of lies but it took a while to convince her, we had to show her medical textbooks).
    When she went back about two years later, he was still there, lively as ever, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. "You're supposed to be dead," she told him, and walked away.

    The thing is, she was a bright, outgoing, strong-willed girl who succumbed to peer pressure and believed the utter rubbish a boy told her, just to get what he wanted from her. I don't think he got it, but he really tried hard.

    So if my sister in law had so much trouble with peer pressure, back then, how much harder is it for kt now?

    Kids brag about having sex. I remember back in my schooldays, the lower in grades I got the more I was forced to mix with the difficult children in the school. And the more they talked about how they would sneak out at night to meet their BFs for sex. From my vantage point forty years later, I know most of it was utter rubbish. Some of it wasn't, but I couldn't lie convincingly and just didn't fit in with the slutty difficult children I was sharing a class with. They would wear short skirts with nothing underneath and then bend over in front of the male teachers.

    Seeing all that, having to mix with them, was the worst time of my school years. Some of them were friendly to me, others bullied me and beat me up. I learned to make friends with the bullies so they would leave me alone. And I was the same age that kt is now. And I didn't have her disadvantages.

    What I would do - pull her out of that placement. But I'm not you, I'm not living with the problems you have been.

    Failing that, I would be trying to explain to her, that with all her life ahead of her, the choices she makes now can have wither a big impact, or no impact. She says she wants friends - so did I, desperately. But when I left that school I also left all contact with those kids. Not intentionally, I did try to stay in touch, but even those with whom I was close, eventually failed to stay in touch. That's just how life is.
    So any friends she makes at this school now, are unlikely to be still bosom buddies in,say, five years' time.
    But what she feels she needs to do (in terms of degrading behaviour) WILL still be with her in five years' time. it will be with her in fifty years' time.

    I believe that the pressure these days for girls to have some form of sex is far worse than in my day. And that is really saying something. In the wrong circles girls these days are 'used' far more, are expected to 'put out' or be unpopular (which is emotional blackmail) and despite all the health education, do not consider the health risks at all. They don't consider oral sex to be sex, it's just 'doing your boyfriend a favour'. Boys trade their girlfriends to their mates and the girls are expected to comply. No consideration for the girls in any way, and especially not consideration for their sexual needs. The lines between consent and coercion become badly blurred. And all along the way, self-respect goes out the window. The long-term effects on a girl like kt are unthinkable.

    There was a book written in Australia about two girls growing up in Sydney in the surf culture (which is very similar to a lot of the coercion going on today). The book is called "Puberty Blues" and was written by Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey. It's autobiographical and these days is used as a school English text. It was also made into a movie (Bruce Beresford). The ending - after the girls have been manipulated, abused and put down by the males in their life, they finally turn their backs on it all and make their own choices. Yes, it means they are ostracised by the boys they used to idolise, but they are finally free.
    I don't know if you could get hold of it, I don't know if you would want to show it to kt. I would, but again, I don't know what you're dealing with in that degree of detail. But maybe if YOU can watch it yourself, see what you think about showing it to her and using it as a basis for discussion...
    (and by sheer fluke, a few scenes were filmed in our village, although most of it was shot just across the water from us - but that's not why I'm recommending it).

    Other than that, short of locking her up in a cotton wool box for the next ten years, I'm not sure what you can do.

  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How scary to have that type of peer pressure to deal with. When I read the title of the thread I thought maybe it was a good alien invasion-I was sorry to find out this was not the case.

    I'm sorry you are having to deal with this when you are already dealing with so much. Gentle hugs.
  4. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! I think the only good part of this is that KT was able to talk to you without judgement or anger from you.

    Day Treatment is tough. The kids are exposed to quite a lot of things that they may or may not have been otherwise exposed to.

    I think that you've done a wonderful thing here by giving her a safe place to discuss this type of thing. She's obviously starting to trust you since a few well-placed and worded questions allowed her to open up!

    Although this was hard, I think that you deserve to be congratulated!

    Great job!

  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I'm so sorry kt is going through this. Peer pressure really stinks! Give her credit that she's wise enough to understand that her problems are emotional and theirs are behavorial. Understanding helps but finding the strength at 13 to not be part of the crowd is hard. Poor little one.

    And, yes, it is so good that she feels she can talk to you about this. Maybe you could convince her to be the example the other kids should strive for? That they make fun of her for being a goody-two-shoes but deep down inside the kids may follow her example more than she knows?
  6. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    It is very hard for any young teen to deal with the pressure they face on a daily basis. I can't imagine how hard it must be for kt. She faces challenges and issues that so many her age don't. Some of her choices---sneaking to meet a boy, wondering about sex, feeling the need to be pretty and popular, sneaking to smoke---are pretty typical for her age. Would it be prudent to remove her from day treatment into a small private school with more typical students? Could she handle that environment a little easier?

    Activities for girls her age are so important. If you can find a good dance teacher, one who will work to instill a strong work ethic, a sense of "self" it would be wonderful---however, starting dance at 13 can also be a blow to self-esteem. Especially if she goes into a studio where dancers have been working since age 5 or 6 and she is placed with younger dancers.

    How about a martial arts program????
  7. dreamer

    dreamer New Member

    Very hard spot to be in. HUgs to you, I am afraid I have little in way of helpful ideas. My oldest was in an ED BD classroom becuz it was the only place her school would put her, they did not seem to know w hat else to do, and my big fear was for similar reasons as you are now dealing with. (My dtr was the only girl in her class) When school decided to send her to alternative placement, the staff at the alternate placements all were concerned becuz my dtr had none of the behav issues the other kids at those schools have. THat is how I came to be homeschooling her, altho I was far too ill at the time myself, and my husband health needs were also so demanding on me at the time.
    I have always wondered about this policy at day treatment about not socializing outside of it becuz yes, that was the policy when I went to day treatment myself in early 90s and also when husband went.....and it was also the policy in the ED BD class my oldest was in. I have wondered about it becuz ------it goes very much against human nature. No matter who you are, no matter where you are it is absolutely normal to want to "fit in" Life is very lonesome if you are in a situation where you do not fit in. To me it seems to be contradictory to tell someone ok go spend all this time here, but, don't concern yourself with wantning to fit in. I am not sure what message it sends to a child to have them be put into a group and tell them you have to be here, this is best for you, but then try to tell them, but hey, the people here around you are not the best people for you to be with. I thiink at every one of Buffys staffngs and every IEP meting I asked out loud, well how do we and how does she handle this? You surround her with other kids with "issues" yet you are wanting her to somehow magically become "normal" yet she has so little exposure to what it is you want her to be?
    As an adult, I have left jobs becuz the groups of people at some jobs just did not match up with who I felt myself to be, their personal values were just far too different from my own. But a child does not usually have that option to leave and go elsewhere when it comes to school etc. THat leaves them with the coping method of doing what they can to fit in where they are. Ironically how often do we tell a difficult child "you need to comply with the social standards of where you are" We want them to fit in, fit into school, fit into being like a typical teen. and yet, do we really?
    Sure peer pressure is hard in regular school. Peer pressure in ED BD class or day treatment must be much more difficult. Seems to me a child in ED BD or day treatment etc already has the feeling of not fitting in, by being in ED BD or day treatment. Seems to me they would feel even greater desperation to fit in somewhere.
    My personal experience also was that the other kids in my dtrs ED BD class scared ME. ANd unfortunately.....a couple of the kids in my Buffys ED BD class did not take my Buffy not being their "friend" very well at all- and it led to some VERY difficult problems for our whole family for several years, even after we had Buffy out of that setting.
    I do not know what the answers are, but, I do know it is a very difficult situation. Sending you hugs and sending kt hugs.
  8. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    So sorry you are going through this not so wonderful next phase. I don't know that I have any advice just hugs.

  9. daralex

    daralex Clinging onto my sanity

    My difficult child was in an "alternative" school due to her behavior problems. There were more drugs avaiable at that school than the regular middle school! As far as placement goes all I can say is that I now homeschool difficult child and to no avail - she snuck out last weekend and told me she did it because "all" kids have to sneak out to be cool at some point! She knew she'd get in trouble but didn't care what the consequence was 'cause she was being cool. Peer pressure *****! But I have to say you will find it everywhere. It's a good thing she felt comfortable enough to say something to you. Keep the lines of communication open even if it hurts, it's the only way to really know what's going on. Sorry you're dealing with all this! ((hugs))
  10. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Just yesterday a late 30's Mom from another city told me that her 15 year old daughter (extra easy child) asked if they could talk after dinner. Turns
    out that on the school bus one of the girls pleasured a tenn boy "in front
    of everyone".....and her easy child was the only one that was shocked!

    Good Grief! Each generation gets crazier than the one before. I'm glad you have such good support systems available. Hugs. DDD
  11. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    How honest she is! My difficult child just made up stuff to try to be 'bad' and popular in school. She told them she was under house arrest and had worn an ankle monitor.

    These lies turned into many, many lies including creating her own stalker online - yes, she was her own stalker.

    The odd thing is none of this was going to make her any more popular in this regular school setting. If anything they stated away even more.

    For kt to admit to trying to find something that makes her 'bad' so she fits in, is a complete gift to you as a parent! That kind of honesty (or naivety) is a blessing in disguise because you get a chance to address it. The peer pressure, the lying, the dangers, etc - you get a chance to discuss all of the topics.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I must admit, I invented a boyfriend to shut up the girls at school. We were fortunate enough to live far enough away, so we didn't cross paths socially. Then one of the bullies at school went around telling everyone about her passionate weekend with my "boyfriend" who told her he no longer liked me, he only wanted her.

    I'm reluctant to advise you to suggest to kt that she makes stuff up to pretend to the other kids that she is worse than she really is - they have ways of working out who is bluffing. Also, such lies can come back to bite you, if you're not careful. But something easy child worked out with me - she would ask me in advance to forbid her to go to some party where she knew there would be under-age drinking or drug use. She would ask me to make a BIG fuss, to sound really angry when she was on the phone to her friends, so she could say that it wasn't HER not wanting to go. I once invented a grounding, to get her out of a party where there would be boys at a sleepover I had been prepared to let her go, for a few hours but not for the sleepover). She just didn't have the courage at the time to say no, in her own right.

    I would be praising kt for her honesty and openness, but please, do believe her when she says the pressure to conform is too strong - it really is that bad. It is very hard for a girl who desperately wants to be 'normal', to fit in. Because in a lot of these groups, if you don't conform you are a social outcast.

    My other daughter coped by making herself a social outcast and having a couple of other friends join her. The local boys were soon too scared to approach any of that small group, for fear of what they would do (easy child 2/difficult child 2 pretended to be a witch). Of course, it all rebounded on me, when my parenting was questioned by people at church, because I didn't instantly panic because my child had a reputation for dabbling in witchcraft. I chose to let my daughter cope in her own way and be a social outcast myself - I knew we were OK. And peer pressure continues into adulthood if you give into it at all. I can handle it, there are some people I would prefer to not emulate, especially when they label me as a heretic because I let my daughter watch "Charmed". I mean, really! (besides, if I'd tried to ban her, she would have gone and watched it somewhere else. By watching it in my presence I was able to critique it as we went, we talked about the validity of it as well as identifying holes in the story lines).

    When it comes down to it, I am happy that my daughters have stayed in good communication with me and have not been swayed by either peer pressure, or by believing too much in their own superiority (a risk in 'dabbling' or pretending to dabble, as they were).

    But it is hard, when you have to try to find a way through the social minefield of the teen years, and survive to be as sane as possible into your early adult years without also having to be a pariah.

    All kids go through this. difficult children get it far worse. And difficult children who are stuck with other difficult children - oh cripes, not easy.

  13. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    It's kind of funny you should mention that Wendy; husband & I love kt's naivety. In many ways, you know when she is lying because her "tales" are just too big & too fantastic. That is how we caught on to many of her antics here over the last week or 2.

    Marg, I agree that it's sad what young ladies have to do to protect themselves; to fit in somewhere with-o getting in harms way.

    kt's cell phone is to stay in touch with home, a few of her staff members (PCAs & in home therapist), various aunts & uncles......not friends. Friends must call though home number - period.

    kt had given her cell phone number to a boy at day treatment/school. Now all calls to kt must come through our home phone & kt cannot have her cell phone in her bedroom after 8:30 or with the door closed. Young man C called after 9 pm & I missed checking on the phone rule. husband handled the phone call yet again forgot to bring the phone down.

    When I got kt up for school yesterday morning I reminded her of the phone rule: kt proceeded to yell, scream, yada, yada, know, the typical teen girl drama. Life's not fair, everyone else can.

    Whatever :talkhand: I told kt that she needed to be over her "snarky" attitude by the time she got home or she lost her phone for a month. Stopped kt right in her tracks & said "ok, mom". Hugged me & finished getting ready for school.

    I didn't think I'd spend the amount of time "rescuing" kt, if you will, during middle & high school. It looks as though I may be coming up with very "uncool" rules to help her through this popular/fashionable cool thing. God, I hope it sticks.......
  14. mum2JK&TH

    mum2JK&TH New Member

    Linda, I am sorry for what you and kt are going through. I don't have much to offer but just wanted to say that you are not alone in the "uncool" rule about cell phones. easy child has one that we got when she started jr. high because the school is attached to the high school and she takes the bus with the high school as well. husband and I felt uncomfortable about this especially with easy child being on the young side of her grade, so we got her a phone so that she could call us if there were any problems. We have the same rule as you though, it's not for friends to call her. She can call us or certain people but that's it.
    (((HUGS))) I hope kt can work through this.