difficult child and tough love

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Californiablonde, May 15, 2013.

  1. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    difficult child has been missing too much school lately and the school psychiatric, the school nurse, and her gasterenterologist all believe she is using her ulcers as an excuse not to go and she is working the system. Her new nausea pill seems to be working and she hasn't thrown up in days. She has pain on and off but it is usally relieved by eating. She also takes a strong pain medication and that should be helping as well. Her doctor believes she is perfectly capable of making it through a six hour school day, especially since when I go home to check up on her at lunch time, she is usually at the computer and listening to music and she seems to be doing fine. So the school psychiatric plus my therapist and my boyfriend all gave me the advice to take away the computer and cell phone on the days she is home sick. That way she will be utterly bored and maybe motivated to make it to school.

    So I tried taking their advice and disconnecting the computer and taking the cord and the cell phone to work with me while she stayed home. I had been giving her back the computer privileges and cell phone after I got home from work. That wasn't enough to get her motivated to go back to school. So my boyfriend suggested I take away the computer, bedroom tv, and her cell phone for an entire 24 hours instead. So Monday morning, when she claimed she was too sick to go to school, I tried to motivate her. I hadn't even given her the pain or nausea medications yet. I told her I would give her the pills and she would start to feel better like she usually does, and she would be perfectly fine to make it through the school day. If she didn't feel well she could see the nurse. She still refused to go. So I told her I was taking away the computer, the bedroom tv, and the cell phone until the next morning. That's when she flipped out. Told me she needed the computer cause it's her therapy for her depression and anxiety. She told me there was no way she could make it an entire night without doing her art on the computer or listening to music on her cell phone. I told her sorry, no deal. If she can't live without the computer or her music that bad, then she could make it to school.

    That's when things turned nasty. She got in my way of the door so I couldn't leave for work. I told her to move and she refused. I tried to get by her and she pushed me. I picked up my cell phone to call the police. She grabbed the phone out of my hands. So I told my boyfriend to call the police with his phone. Then she gave me my phone, moved out of the way, and went to the bedroom and slammed the door. She began screaming and crying. I apologized to my boyfriend for having to witness her meltdown. He of course told me no problem and that I was doing the right thing. So we both left the house with difficult child screaming her head off. Then as I was about to leave for work in my car, I see difficult child at the window screaming at me to listen to her. So I rolled down the window, figuring maybe she changed her mind and decided to come to school. Instead she kept begging me to let her have the computer back after I got off work. I refused. Told her she had to go to school or it was no deal. She asked me if she could skip her morning classes and come to school later. I said no she needed to go to all of her classes. She still kept arguing. Finally I left her there screaming in the parking lot. When I got home from work she begged for the electronic privileges back but I held my ground. She was stuck the whole night watching TV in the living room with my boyfriend and I without any computer access. Normally she likes to stay on the computer for hours doing her graphic arts. It was complete torture for her to be denied computer access for an entire day and night. I thought she learned her lesson.

    My boyfriend suggested I take away the electronics all week long and give them back only after she attended school for the rest of the week. I disagreed with him and thought that a full 24 hours of no computer access made her learn her lesson. So yesterday she had testing done at the hospital for her gallbladder. Afterwards she went to school without any arguments. So I gave her back computer and phone access yesterday after school. My boyfriend told me I was making a big mistake. My mom promised her that she would take her to the boys and girl's club Thursday after school so she could visit her old friends as long as she went to school for two days in a row. difficult child agreed. But then this morning she refused to get out of bed. Told me she didn't sleep well last night and she was tired. difficult child gets out of school at 1:35. She could easily make it through the school day then go home and take a nap after school. So I didn't feel sorry for her. I told her if she didn't get up and go, she would be losing the computer and phone till Friday after school when she goes to her dad's for the weekend. She didn't care. Told me to take everything away. She was tired and wanted to sleep. So I took the computer cord and her cell phone and put it in my desk at work in case she tries to talk me into giving them back to her. I am leaving them here until Friday night.

    difficult child says she will be fine with it but I know she will be begging for it by the time I get home tonight. And when she doesn't get her own way things can turn ugly. But I am standing my ground. It is going to be a really rough three days. I am scared for her and what she might do. But the school psychiatric warned me that she would rebel and fight me until she finally realizes I am dead serious about her going to school. He is telling me to hang tough. So that is what I am going to do. Wish me lots of luck. It has been a very stressful week and it's about to get worse.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    How many weeks left of school?
    Part of this is anxiety... and while you can't play into that, you do need to recognize it.
    Part is transition... ditto.
    What other parts are there?
    What skills do you (collectively - therapist, school psychiatric, etc.) need to teach her?
    This is more than JUST "attitude". But "attitude" is part of it. So, somehow, you have to not feed the attitude, but still get to the bottom of the other stuff.
  3. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Five more weeks of school and counting. I can't wait to be done with the school battles for a couple of months. And her report card came in the mail and she is getting all D's and F's due to lack of attendance. Summer can't come fast enough for me.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Summer probably can't come fast enough for HER, either...

    If taking away her technology doesn't work... then it probably means that whatever is happening at school is more negative than anything positive she gets from her technology... and given how most teens are connected to technology... what next?
  5. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    When our girls were little - it was always a rule. If you felt sick enough to stay home from school, there was no TV or computer or ipod. They can sleep, read a book, and if they suddenly felt well enough to do things - then they went to school. If they stayed home all day, they didn't get to play with friends when at 3:45 they suddenly felt fine!

    Even now, that they are older, I will unhook the modem so they can't be on line. I would also call the school and ask for a list of homework and assignments... then they had to work on it if they felt a little better, but not quite up to school. It is tough. I just tried to make being home not as pleasant as they thought it should be. KSM
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I second IC. It's good idea to try this first. And do stay tough some time, because if it just that she likes being home and doing her art more than being at school (who wouldn't) she probably would try to test your resolve first before giving in.

    But if the stand still continues and she rather sits home without electronics than goes to school, it is a big red warning sign that things are not okay at school and then you need to change tactic and solve the school issue. Because stubbornly keeping punishing her if there is a real big school issue will only make things worse.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Do you think all this is worth the fighting? Because I know that if my child were that resistant to going to school, I'd want her to get a good education the best way she could and I'd try online school. To me that beats all D's and F's and high anxiety and mental health issues ratcheting up and the constant fighting you have to do, which affects YOUR mental health too. I know you're a teacher and probably very pro-public school, but the way school is run is not for all kids. Some can not function in the school environment yet may be just fine in the workplace later on. Right now her anxiety AND real physical problems are making school scary for her. You can try getting tough. I hope it works. My fear is, it won't change anything and will just make her and you more upset. Sounds like this is more than just normal teenage rebellion to me, from one who has always had severe anxiety problems (and learned to deal with them too!)

    I think Boyfriend should keep the hey out of your parenting. She's going to learn to dislike him quickly and he isn't related to her in any way. If he starts butting his nose into things, without loving her the way you do, it could make your home life even more chaotic. JMO.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do!!!
  8. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Online school isn't an option because I work full time and if difficult child were to be left home alone she would never do the work. She would be on the computer playing around or watching TV or sleeping. Right now she is in very small, self contained classes with only about eight students each, and she has to have an aide work with her one on one to get her to do anything. Without constant supervision and help she simply sits there and stares off into space or doodles on her paper. So right now I feel like public school is her only option. School has always been a struggle to her, but it's only been this year that she has outright refused to go. She has never been an attendance problem until she started high school this year. It's going to be a long three years at this rate and i am going to consider myself lucky if she ever graduates. And as far as the boyfriend, he never says anything around difficult child. He texts me his opinions while I'm at work and she has no idea what his suggestions are. As far as she's concerned, it's all me. But now he's pulling the "I told you so" card and it's p*ssing me off. I did what the school psychiatric and therapist suggested which was to take everything away for a day. So it didn't work. Live and learn. Now I know it wasn't harsh enough but he doesn't have to rub it in my face that he was right. Now if his suggestion doesn't work then it's my turn to say, "I told you so."
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Your sig doesn't show, so I don't know all her dxes but...
    Boy oh boy, does this ever sound like ADHD-inattentive type.
    And no, it doesn't look anything like most people expect ADHD to look.
    (K2 has this... and for most of her school years, could not have survived without stims... she simply was not THERE)

    Has she ever been evaluated for ADHD (and especially... -inattentive type)?
  10. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Yes she is ADD but unfortunately stimulants make her bipolar much worse. She becomes manic and her concentration actually becomes much worse instead of better. We tried Strattera and Tenex too but it didn't help.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    UGH! The old diagnosis conflict... what helps one diagnosis makes another one worse. YUCK!!!
    (she has ALL my sympathy... ADHD-inattentive is ugly to start with)

    I suppose caffeine is the same way?
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Sounds like she could use other stimulants.
    Like... exercise.
    I know of a school where the kids like this have access to treadmills and exercise bikes right in the classroom, and can actually be USING these while doing their work or listening to the teacher...
  13. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Oh I wish I could get her to excersise! She is already very overweight and her doctors are totally on my case to get her to lose it. She hates any type of excercise whatsoever. She is failing PE because she refuses to run and she always uses her stomach pain as an excuse not to work out. My mom got us both a gym membership a couple of summers ago, and difficult child would stand next to me and refuse to do anything. It was a total waste of money. I've tried her in a couple of sports too but she hated them. The only thing she likes to do is swim. It's too late this year but I'm hoping that next year I can get her to try out for the school swim team. difficult child is a beautiful swimmer. She would be getting the excersise she needs plus maybe it would be an opportunity for her to make friends.
  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    Get her a TreadmillDesk. She might not use it for its intended purpose, but she'd at least have to stand instead of sit to use the computer.
  15. bby31288

    bby31288 Active Member

    School refusal is the hardest. Been there done that. More battles with my difficult child then I care to remember. She had major anxiety that i would die when she was at school. So i volunteered at school. A lot. She could walk by and see me. But not interact with me. But she is 20 now and thanks me for making her go. She now attends college full time and works almost full time. Matter of fact she is mostly easy child. I just love this site and still get a lot of support from reading. . I agree she is using the ulcer to play you. In my house school was always basket A. You had to go. If you had a fever I would assess the situation. Tough love is it. If the computer and electronics are no longer effective move on to something else. I'm sorry if I sound harsh. But you need to grow your backbone. She will respect you for it in her future. For the present. It stinks. And she will scream and protest. You can do it.
  16. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    If she's overweight... then the absolutely best exercise IS swimming. No weight bearing load on the joints, no jarring, no balance issues... THAT sounds like a win-win. And yes... just being active in general (i.e. not necessarily in class or in school...) will help her focus and concentration.

    Ever try her on CF or girlfriend diets? I'd start with CF (casein free... = milk protein, especially cow milk)... casein totally kills my brain... fast.
  17. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Well my boyfriend just texted me and said that my daughter told him, "I can't wait till my mom gets home cause then I won't be bored anymore." So she thinks I am going to give her back the computer and phone when I get home. After I very clearly told her several times this morning that both the phone and computer are staying at my work till the weekend. I thought she understood me loud and clear but apparently not. So I am going to have a battle on my hands when I get home. She didn't take me seriously. But she's about to find out just how serious I am.
  18. Dixies_fire

    Dixies_fire Member

    Stay strong!
  19. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    When you are trying to change a behavior often the behavior increases dramatically before it changes even if the system you are using to change it will work in the long run. This is called an extinction burst. Trying something for one day and it not working doesn't mean it won't work ever. Behavior is hard to change. Good luck the next few days.
  20. Californiablonde

    Californiablonde Well-Known Member

    Last night was hard. difficult child begged me to use my phone so she could listen to music. I told her absolutely not. She then told me that I never said she couldn't use MY phone, only HER phone. I told her no phone at all whatsoever. She then tried to get me to hold my phone in my hand and play her favorite music station, that way she "technically" wouldn't be using it. I continued to argue with her and she wouldn't let up. Meanwhile my boyfriend, who is listening to all of this, is secretly texting me telling me not to give in. He is saying she is playing me and not to fall for it. So finally I got so sick of her antics that I decided to go to bed early to avoid it all. So then she follows me in the bedroom and begins shaking me as I'm laying down and persists on asking for her music. She then threatens to take a bunch of her medications and kill herself if I won't let her listen to her music on my phone. So my boyfriend texts me from the livingroom and suggests I let her listen to one song so she would leave me alone. So I let her listen to one song only. She seemed to be satisfied with it and she finally let me sleep.

    I thought she learned her lesson and would go to school this morning. I was wrong. She refused to get up, saying she didn't sleep well and was too tired. She asked me to pick her up on my lunch break so she could at least make it to her last class. I told her no deal. The agreement was for her to go to all her classes and then she could have the phone and computer back on the weekend. She still refused to get up and go. So I agreed to pick her up on my lunch break but told her that now she won't be getting her privileges back until next Wednesday. I spelled it out loud and clear. She will NOT be allowed to use my phone for music at all whatsoever. So she agreed. But I know come tonight I will have another fight on my hands. The school psychiatric warned me she would do this. He said things will get much worse before they get better. He told me to stay strong and hold my ground. Sooner or later she will get it. I certainly hope so.

    You all make think I'm terrible for saying this, but I really do envy my ex right now. He got the easy kid. My son is a straight A student who loves school. My son does not have frequent meltdowns and tantrums when he can't get his own way. He may have his disabilities, but he is by far the easier child to raise than my daughter. easy child is a breeze compared to difficult child. And my ex is taking all the credit. Tells me he is doing a great job of raising easy child. Well he was a straight A student when he was living with me too and he had lots of friends at our old school. Ex has only had him for two months. So why is he taking credit for easy child being such a great kid? And I get total 100% blame for difficult child and the way she is turning out. Everything bad she does is MY fault because she lives with me. Why can't I get the easy kid? Sometimes I don't know if I am up for the challenge of raising difficult child but I know I must go on and by the grace of God I will somehow make it through.