Also new - so glad I found this site

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by StillTrying, Mar 24, 2008.

  1. StillTrying

    StillTrying New Member

    I don't know if it was fate, divine intervention or just plain luck, but somehow stumbled on this site. As I read the posts, I found myself thinking, "OMG, I'm not alone!"

    I don't know all the abbreviations (such as difficult child?), but our story, quickly. I have an 18 year old daughter who was a great student, happy, lots of friends, and extremely successful in several sports. And then she turned 15 and the bottom fell out.

    Since then she's skipped school, dabbled in alcohol and pot (we're drug testing her and she's been clean since Dec.), been caught shoplifting twice, stolen my friend's car to take her friends to the beach, been caught cheating on tests at school, keyed another girl's car and made a half-hearted suicide attempt. Along with all of that, she also continues to maintain decent (not great) grades, holds down a part-time job, has been approached about modeling and has had offers to play her sport in college.

    Her dad has a very high profile job in our town - everyone at school, admin, teachers and students know who he is, and as a result know who she is - which I think has added to her stress level. However, between the 2 of us, at least one of us has been at EVERY event, supporting her and if there was something new she wanted to try, we made sure it happened. We wanted her to have the confidence to not do the things she's chosen to do. The only thing we've gotten in return is "I hate you, you're ruining my life, I just want to be with my friends." I don't know who this alien being is, and am astounded every time she pulls a new stunt.

    My question? How do you come out of this still loving this beautiful, self-absorbed being?

    Thank you for your time,
  2. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    Hello and welcome aboard! :) difficult child is our terminology "gift from God" for our child(ren) that brought us to the board in the first place. It is a nice way putting their behaviors in terms of what most people can't or don't tolerate or even understand.

    As far as how we keep loving them, some days it's very hard and trying but we are moms, dads, grandparents, adoptive parents, etc. They are our children and hard as it may be, they are still ours at the end of the day and we could no more cut our own arm off then stop loving them. Just my opinion on how I do it.

    More will welcome you aboard soon enough.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there and welcome.
    Has your daughter's friend changed since her behavior did? Are they good or troubled kids? No matter what is going on, that does NOT mean you aren't caring parents. But...
    My first concern, actually, would be the drinking and drugs. Whatever you know is likely only the tip of the iceberg. Yeah, I've been there, and I thought my daughter was only dabbling with pot too, but now that she's clean it turns out she has done SO MUCH MORE. I wouldn't blame it on her place in the community. She is probably deeper into this stuff than you think and you only have a few years left to get her help. in my opinion this isn't about how you can love this stranger. You DO love her or you wouldn't be here. It is about getting her the appropriate help.
    Although many drugs show up on drug tests, many don't. Also, if kids know in advance they will be tested, they tend to abstain. At any rate, your daughter has changed a lot and that's a red flag. Has she ever been evaluated by a psychiatrist? Unfortunately, at her age the kids can be tricky, withhold info, lie, and make it hard for diagnoses, but it's worth a try. Others will be a long, but this behavior sends up red flags to me because I've been there. My daughter did everything from pot to a few shots of heroin (we found out after she quit), and she still managed to keep her grades up and she held down a job (she claims the speed she took made her a better worker). I wish I'd known more then. Kids can really be sneaky when they are doing the forbidden.
    I wish you luck and, again, welcome :)
  4. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Welcome to the Board. :redface:

    What is it with the age of 15 and girls??? OMG Both of mine became completely different people at that age. Oh I hate that age! My easy child became normalish again right about the time she was due to turn 17. Nichole began to stabilize after the baby was born at about the same age. But she really began to make major progress after turning 18.

    Detachment 101

    Once they are 18 there is not a whole lot you can do. In the end, the unltimate decisions will be hers to make. Learning to detach lets us be able to step back and realize they are a seperate person from us. We raised them as best we could. It's up to them to use it or not. And let's face it, some kids just have to learn life lessons the hard way.

    I'm glad you found us.

  5. StillTrying

    StillTrying New Member

    Thank you so much for the warm welcomes! I had to laugh when Tiapet told me what difficult child stands for - she hasn't felt much like a gift for the last 2-1/2 years! I'm at the point now where she's just an embarrassment - is that normal?

    We have done the counseling route - she refuses to go now that she's turned 18. She does have different friends, and I think that is a lot of the problem. As for the drugs, who knows what the truth is. I test her with the expensive test, which tests for prescription medications as well as the illegals. Not much more I can do on that end either.

    Daisylover, I have to agree that I'm at the point of detachment. My husband and I have really been very good parents, not perfect of course, but good. She's got to figure out that her actions are not our fault, but entirely her own. Her ability to twist things around to us is amazing to watch!

    We had to endure a screaming match yesterday, because she lost her spring break trip to the beach - due to her own actions. It was exactly like watching a 3-year old having a temper tantrum.

    The worst part is I can't remember the last time I felt like telling her I love her. I've said it, but because I thought I had to. I can't remember the last time I felt like we had any connection at all, because now when she is nice, it's because she wants something or because she's done something wrong.

    Thank you again. I so appreciate having people who understand.
  6. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Aw, hon, I can so relate to much of what you're saying -- the nice when something is wanted, the temper tantrum when she can't get her way, the blame on anyone else rather than admitting the fault is her actions. It so stinks!

    Not loving your child is hard. You feel guilty because you know you should love her. If a stranger were to say they didn't love their child, you'd wonder what was wrong with them. Yet, a part of you would understand that stranger and wonder what is wrong with you. The answer is simple -- even parents can only take so much abuse by their children. After awhile, we become numb. We don't hate them, we just shut down. If we're lucky, it's not permanent.

    For a time, I think I honestly did hate my child. However, it caused me to hate myself even more. I became a person I didn't like and I blamed her for this person. I had to find a way to accept the not liking my child with the love I had for my daughter. It took a good therapist to help me understand I loved my daughter but truly hated her behavior.

    Even at her worst, she did have some good qualities. I just had to force myself to see them. Keeping a binder of all the good I could remember over the years helped. She has smile that can melt a glacier, a generosity of spirit that is unmatched by anyone I've other met, a truly wicked sense of humor. Of course, when she's in the throes of being a small-spirited vile person, it is hard to remember those. I would randomly open the binder to find a "good" event. Those helped me remember what there was to love in her. For me, not loving her was just not tolerable probably because a part of me never quit loving her.

    I finally reached my breaking point and told mine she had to find another place to live. It makes me very sad and I know I'll miss her tremendously. However, I won't miss her drama, her laziness, her pettiness, her undying sense of entitlement. I'm hoping that we can get back the good in our relationship without all the battles.

    In the meantime, welcome! As you can tell, you're not alone. Maybe you'll get lucky and get your daughter back when she grows up a little more. I think that is the dream we all have and what keeps us going at times.
  7. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    You know, in some sense, it sounds like a fairly typical teen in today's world...sad to say.

    They are very 'entitled.' When they don't get what they want, bring on the tantroms.

    Our last (see the light at the end of the tunnel???) is a great kid. Much the same. He gets fairly good grades, works nearly full time, but he can't fool me. I know he is doing things that he should not. I've found him drunk, yet he doesn't know I know this, found his hooka (sp?) pipe, the overwhelmiing smell of cologne in the house (hmmm....). At 18 and with a few months to go, I just talk to him honestly because he will be out at that time. I'm not going to find him a place to live. He is supposedly going to college. How he is paying for this is beyond me.

    Welcome to the board...hope you get some help.

  8. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Welcome---you have come to the right place for sympathy. Many of us have been there done that---and have the merit badges to prove it. At some point you have to become the parent you've never wanted to be. Taking away the beach trip was a start. Other privildges---car, cell, food she likes, extras---they come next. It is not easy to treat your child in this manner---but around my house we practice do to get---(at least we try). If you want to behave like a decent human being and be a member of the family, you get. If not, you are on your own. It works sometimes.