help me please

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by charlie13, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. charlie13

    charlie13 New Member

    Hi--- I'm Christy and i need help. I have 14 year old twins---girls. One has just been diagnosed with ADHD and ODD. The other hasnt been tested. I know they both have ODD---and being a single mom--- I am dying here. My children wont even let me talk. I remember how close we were when they were young. We did so much together and now, it seems that life isnt worth living anymore. I take care of everything by myself and I cant do anything right. If I start to say something, they'll say "I dont want to hear it"--- or "can we just not talk about this now'? They argue with each other all the time over the littlest things. I cant get in a word edgewise. Everything upsets them, closing a cabinet when one is reading. They are rude, cruel and disrespectful. But only to me. We are in family therapy and they say they want to talk more, but if I walk into the room, they go into another room. They have hated all my friends to the point that I stopped having anyone over. If I talk on the phone, they say I dont care about them. I dont date, I hardly go anywhere and everyday is a total battle. I hate it. I give them consequences but they dont care. Everything is my fault (according to them) and I try so hard---it isnt working. I thought I would give this board a try because I am exhausted, weary and so unhappy. I only get out about twice a year and they are so mad when I get back, I always wonder if it's even worth it. Can somebody please give me so effective advice? It's starting to affect my health, and it's breaking my heart. Anyone?
  2. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Christy, there is help. You have a combination of problems here which need different methods of management.

    Even without a clear diagnosis, there are things you can do. Whatever you're trying to do now isn't working. Plus you have typical teen issues in there which doesn't help.

    I am short of time tonight, so I'll put stuff in here quickly.

    1) Get a copy of "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene. It is a different way of handlnig kids likev this, it helps you get around the problems. We tend to try to handle kids like this by clamping down tighter in asserting our own authority, but this is the worst thing we can do. Instead of being authority figures, we need to become facilitators. You are the fount of wisdom but at their age, they of course know everything. They need to learn to value you once more and to do this, you need to show them how valuable you are to them. This requires a little planning, preparation and a g reat deal of patience and understanding. However, it does bring results so the patience and understanding should bring rewards for you and help you feel justified in your efforts.

    2) ODD rarely travels alone. ADHD may be enoguh to explain its arrival, but there could be another underlying disorder. Treat the underlying disorder and you stand a better chance of helping them overcome the ODD signs you see. And medications are not the only way to treat - all medications do, is ease a problem sufficiently for your own interventions to begin to make headway. medications alone will not cure anything. They just make it easier to cope and to begin to help. After the medications, comes the personal effort. You need the personal effort, always.

    3) Stick aorund, talk to people here. Help is here. Do a sig when you can so you don't have to keep repeating your circumstances every time you post. Keep it anonymous, that way you can feel free to vent and know you have confidentiality. You don't want family, or class teachers, or doctors, to find your vents and get angry with you!


    Sorry you need us but glad we're here.

    I have more to say to you, but I'll let you assimilate this first.

  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Christy,

    You are alone no longer-you have found a great place for support. Marg gave some excellent ideas. This place can really be a life saver-for me it has been. Another thing is somehow you have to find a way to take care of you. Maybe it's exercise (my personal favorite) but it could be reading a book, soaking in a hot tub or anything you are doing just for you. I can feel in your post how worn down you are and I'm sure it seems like you don't have time to do anything for you but truly it is so important. Glad you found our corner of the world.
  4. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome! Argh! 2 teenage girls! I do not envy you! Mine is 18 now I hated those years. I call them 'the dark years'. I have few good times to recall.

    Well, if they are mad if you go out or mad if you stay home.....who cares! go out! Have fun! One thing I learned is that your teens aren't going to like you much for about 4 years. So, quit trying to be friends with them. They are the miserable ones...that does not mean you have to be.

    I know, believe me, I know that it is hard to be happy when you live with a miserable child, let alone 2!
    I suggest you come up with a set of rules that you feel VERY strongly about. Forget their bedroom and the laundry - let them stink. Post the severe rules on your fridge and be sure to state the exact consequence to breaking that rule. Then move on. If they break the rule they have no argument for you.

    The important ones for me were to know where she was at all times, to meet the parents of anyplace she was going to, be respectful to the home I provided, go to school everyday. I could not get mine to do homework for the life of me. Turns out she was doing it anyplace but home....just to spite me! At least she did it.

    Drugs and alcohol - those are LAWS and you will let Law Enforcement handle those issues.

    Be good to you! You deserve some good times! Believe me, I have been beaten down by my child. But, it is so much better on the other side!
  5. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    Welcome! you are no longer alone, and there is a wealth of experience and support here for you.

    You may be certain diagnoses, but you're also dealing with 'normal' adolescent/teenage/hormone stuff. So, take heart! And it will pass. You will get your lovely girls back and they will be your best friends. I know it doesn't seem that way right now, but it's true.

    We're parents - we don't know a thing! Or that's the way it seems to our teenage daughters/sons.... think back to when YOU were their age ... come on, be honest with yourself!

    Anyways, I've put in my tuppence worth for now. I just want you to know that although all you can see right now is gloomy, there is light too.

    Take care, and keep coming back here to let off a little worry steam etc.

    Hugs and prayers to you
  6. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I would also reccomend love and logic for teens. Everyone here has given you good advice, do you have a counselor or therapist you see for yourself? It can be hard to go but it is invaluable. It has helped me more than I ever thought imaginable.
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Hi heart aches for you. This is double trouble...and my guess is, they know it. Strength comes in numbers and it is two against one with these "ladies." Hmmmm

    ODD...well, there are some who think much (not all) of that is a result of kids/teens getting really use to getting their own way. I apologize being so blunt, 'cause I know you are hurting badly...but I am hoping that it might help you get out of the hurt and get out of it fast.

    On this board (or check at amazon) there is some book called something like, Yes, your teen is crazy. I would suggest you take a look at that one, as well as the other one mentioned. They often think they own the world, and ODD is a little extra "kick."

    Do you have any good friends or relatives who can help you? The reason I ask, is 'cause a united front will help give you strength to stand up to this oppositional duo. And by the way, this business where they don't like your friends...well that needs to END. Have you brought it up in family therapy?

    My thought....somehow let them know that mom loves them BUT, mom just isn't going to have two young ladies bossing her around.

    And guess what? Mom has a life! Mom enjoys life! Mom does fun things. And those fun things, do not include them. Why would they???They (the twins) are a drag. They are rude, nasty, put mom down, are sarcastic...a real downer. Besides, they are 14 years old. You can not be bothered with their pettiness. And don't be. STOP trying so hard. Just stop.

    In fact, if they are rude to you...start taking "things" away. Like the cell phone or computer for a day or two.

    Sure, they'll say "we don't care." Or we'll do something terrible. Okay, fine. It's your neck sisters.

    What do you like to do for fun? Are you 80 years old and in a wheelchair? If not, what about exercise? Dancing?

    The silly sisters are going to start looking like twits when mom is out dancing, losing weight and getting her hair and nails done and they are with-o a cell phone and in detention in school, running the risk of going to juvenile hall, etc.

    You can always say..hey I love not wish for you to get into trouble....this stuff 'bugs' me and I wish it were different. It's great we are going to family therapy. But, I personally have a life. I plan on enjoying it and life moves on for me. Too bad, so sad, that you guys are stuck in the mud.

    Tell these girls: "You two are not the center of my universe. I've got fun places to go to, things to do, and people to see. "

    Tell them to get over themselves...

    Keep yourself too busy with- fun things and around fun people to let this "bother" you anymore. You, in the end, will be role model to the girls on how to live life in a healthy manner. Additionally, its hard to 'push around' a woman who is having fun. Besides, you'll be too busy to let this stuff really 'get' to you. So, figure out what you like to do, who you like to hang around with...and get moving. If the girls complain, let it go in one ear and quickly out the other. Tell them...'get over it.'

    If this continues to cause a lot of stress for you, please seriously consider getting a therapist for yourself. Like CM said...they are "invaluable." (Hugs)
    Lasted edited by : Oct 13, 2009
  8. rlsnights

    rlsnights New Member

    Hugs to you Christy from the mother of almost-14 boy/girl twins.

    I have a very good idea of what you're up against but I am fortunate to have a partner to tag team with when the going gets really tough.

    I agree with the others especially about getting out and getting a therapist. You must find a way to take care of yourself and not let them control your behavior with theirs.

    Got to run but know you are not alone and we are here for you.
  9. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Fifteen y/o twins (girls) - same as me except one is a boy.

    I agree with busy ~ you do have a life. You are the mom, not best friends. As long as they are miserable let them be miserable alone while you go out & enjoy yourself.

    I like busy's rules & am making note of them for when my ktbug gets back home; you should post something to that effect immediately.

    You're not alone, come here, we have parties over on the watercooler every now & then.
  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! You have totally found the right place!! This is a place you can find support and friends, ideas and motivation, hugs and laughter. No one here will be surprised by much of anything your kids can do.

    Or by anything they do to try to weasel out from taking responsibility!

    Most of us can truly empathize with much you have gone through or will go through because we have been there done that or at least been through something similar.

    The books that Nomad suggested are: Yes! Your Teen Is Crazy. Loving your Kid without Losing Your Mind, by Michael J Bradley and When Things Get Crazy With Your Teen: The Why, The How & What To Do Now by the same author.

    The Why & the How book was written after the Yes book. Not sure if it is a rewrite or a new book, but they both look helpful.

    The Explosive Child was mentioned by Marg. Most all of us have read it and used its methods simply because they work with our kids.

    I also LOVE the Love and Logic Books. Crazymama recommended the Love and Logic book for teens. It is an amazing book with new ways to think about the problems you are facing. You can get the exact title and check out the other L&L titles at their website: .

    As others have mentioned, ODD rarely rides alone. Many of us don't pay a whole lot of attention to ODD because it is not very helpful as far as giving suggestions/ideas to improve the situation. ODD describes a wide variety of behaviors but gives NO insight as to the reason for them. The problem behaviors can be caused by a WIDE variety of problems from many medical/psychiatric problems. Unless you solve the underlying medical/psychiatric/?? problem you probably will not see improvement in the ODD behaviors.

    Many of us strongly recommend neuropsychological testing. This is usually a series of tests to pinpoint exact problems and how to help/fix them. The testing usually lasts from 6-10 hours if you get a good neurpsych. This will give you a better picture of the problems so you can figure out what to do to help.

    As for their misery, well, mostly it is their problem. They are old enough to want what they shouldn't have and young enough to want you to be unhappy just because they are.

    You may need to work on separating your emotions from theirs. You don't have to be miserable just because they are. Let them be miserable. Post that list of rules and consequences. Enforce the consequences and let them see you mean business. If they become violent call the police.

    Physical abuse cannot be tolerated. in my opinion it should be one of the rules that is carved in stone. You CAN call the cops if your child assaults you in any way. Better they learn that as minors than to learn it as adults.

    Make an effort to go out on a regular basis. Go to the bookstore. Join a book club. Take up a hobby. volunteer. Take an exercise class. Anything to get some space and make yourself feel better.

    Cause if Momma isn't happy then no one is happy.

    I am so glad you found us. We can always use new friends. Sorry you need us though. Sending LOTS of hugs!


    ps. You might want to start a Parent Report. It is an assessment of your child that YOU create to help give docs the full picture. If you go to the Sticky thread at the top of the General forum you will see a message to newbies. Go to it and click where it says "Parent Report". This will take you to the outline of the assessment that lets you keep all the info at your fingertips!
  11. lizzie09

    lizzie09 lizzie

    Welcome to you

    A fabulous place to come into each and every time.

    You will see by my signature I have one difficult child but quite frankly
    I have Pcs who have done my head in many times and they are
    now a good bit older than 15..

    Important to love and detach when possible and definitely take
    care of yourself.
    Kids get in to the habit of being disrespectful dont ask me why
    It does seem the more you love them the more they act up.
    ine are excelent outside the home but can really treat me with
    disdain at idea why but I have become excellent at detachment
    learnt here some time ago. Its worth looking up the link

    Marvellous people here...all have been so kind to me. you will
    so be relieved to read all the support......hugs from Ireland!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, I'm back. Blame it on time zones.

    You've already got some great advice here, try to sift through it and take it on board. You sound like the kids have you beaten down and in retreat. To a certian extent this gives them the wrong kind of control over you, and also frightens them (and makes them lose respect for you). You also lose self-respect every time they send you packing. Downward spiral, on all fronts. Not good.

    This can turn around. But don't try to do it by becomeing a martinet. Being a harpie of a mother, or an autocrat of a father, gets you nowhere with any hit of ODD in the kids. If anything, it sends it even faster downward.

    Instead, you need to become of value to them, in so many ways. Now, it is not fashionable for a kid to say, "I need my mother," so you have that to counter as well. But there are ways around that. "Dad jokes" are one way. A parent is allowed to be daggy (or is that just Aussie slang? It means lame) but you can still be cool in other ways. I aimed to be cool, in being someone my kids could talk to as well as someone their friends could talk to. Plus when difficult child 1's friends tried to gross me out with a really "off" joke, I turned the tables on them so well that they never dared do it again, but respected me for it afterwards. Whatever you do, keep your sense of humour, your compassion and your own grounding. If you are able to feel grounded (or at least pretend you feel grounded) then it gives the kids a sense of grounding around them, a sense that somewhere in their lives, is stability. They really don't like being without that, no matter how hard they try to kick you away and pretend they are independent adults.

    Now, something I also have done, that I find can turn things around with teens trying to be independent - openly plan with them to work towards living independently. Their ultimate aim, I expect, is to finish school, maybe go to college or maybe get a job, but to move away from home and live independently, right? Well, it's time to begin living like that NOW. Because when you first leave home, you rarely live in a place all by yourself. More commonly, you share an apartment with someone. And if you share an apartment, you need to know HOW to live like this. There are manners needing to be learned, cooperation needing to be practised. Whose turn is it to do the washing? Put away the dishrack? Who is cooking for dinner? For how many?

    You are going to need to change your mindset - these are no longer little children, tey are adults in training and need to be treated as such (even if they don't treat you that way). As Dr Phil says (and don't all jump on me, he does say somethings which are good), "Someone has to be the hero here." That generally means you, the more mature, experienced person, has to begin to set the example, show by your own actions what behaviour you require from them. They will not get it immediately. Don't jump on them for being rude. But neither should you accept the burden of it either. Just shrug it loose and walk away. Or perhaps quietly say, "I'm not shouting at you. Please do not shout at me. I can hear you perfectly well." Always present a quiet, calm front and in doing so, you are setting the standard for the behaviour you want them to display. Model it for them, always. YOU are their example, their template. Especially with ODD, this is how it can begin to work in your favour.

    It seems so simple, but it's not always easy. There will be a lot of tongue-biting going on, to begin with. But it does work, and you should begin to see results within a few days. Any time you break down and shout back at them or have a fight with them, it undermines your positive efforts and delays the onset of benefits. Plus they won't become perfect angels. Just improve.

    Now, the rules we used in our household - I drew on my past experience as a uni student living in shared accommodation. I thought back to how it worked. Different houses had different rules and whenever we moved to a new share house, we had to quickly familiarise ourselves with the new rules. However, if you're setting up together, you have a house meeting and together draft the house rules. I suggest you do this with your girls. Maybe wait a little, a week or so, while you change your own resposes to them. Hopefully this will have begun to make an improvement. Because you can't do it all at once, you need to give them time to take Part A on board before you launch into Part B as well.

    So, the house meeting - begin by announcing to the girls that you are aware of their increasing maturity and that one day soon (in your calendar) they will be looking to leaving home and living as adults. So to that end, you want to help them adapt to that, by starting now. You are still house parent, the lease is in your name (to use this analogy of share house) so you have the final say (especially when it comes to making modifications that could lose the bond, such as putting nails in the walls or damaging the building or contents). However, mutual consideration is the first big rule. When you share living space you have to learn to consider the others in your living space. You could be living in a castle, or living in a squat under a bridge, you have to consider the others in your area.

    Consideration is shown as following:
    1) either sharing in chores, or not adding to the workload of other housemates. Sometimes equal sharing isn't practical, as in cases where one housemate has a job and another does not. The one who has a job may contribute by doingthe shopping on the way home from work, while the other (who may hve more time) does a heavier load of cleaning and cooking. But the contribution needs to be fairly equal.

    2) Chores such as washing (ones own clothes) should be handled according to house consensus - if person A is doing a load of washing and there is still room, Person A calls out, "Does anyone have something that needs to go in the wash?"
    Otherwise, especially in house members who generate a lot of wahsing, thye need to be taught how to do it themselves. And doing the washing yourself means following it through ALL the processes. Washing, drying, ironing (if done) and putting it away.
    I have my own routine which I taught the kids. You load the washing machine (according to how it functions best). You then MUST get the washing out when it is done (don't leave it for days, it's in the way for other people who need to use it). We then hang out the washing (no clothes dryer) but we do it carefully, shaking out the clothes netly, hanging shirts on hangers with the top button done up (the button you do up on a man's shirt if he is wearing a tie). Trousers are folded over a hanger or over the clothes line, button ondone but zip done up, so the previous creases will dry in place correctly. It takes a few minutes longer but eliminates the need for ironing. Similarly, t-shirts are folded over the line and pegged at the armpits. That way, peg marks won't show.

    If you hang stuff on hangers and it begins to rain, it's quick and easy to grab it all and get it in.
    When removing clothes from the line, you MUST fold them immediately, or all that hard work is wasted, ironing will be needed, big-time.
    A trick I got from my sister - don't use soft-sided washing baskets. Use rigid-walled plastic tubs. Easier to carry. She had a different-coloured one for each of her five kids and when fetching clothes in, woud carry out say, the pink one and get in only Daughter A's stuff. Then she would get the orange one and bring in Daughter B's stuff. And so on. Or if rain threatened and she had to get everything inside in a hurry, she would throw it all into one basket and immediately she got inside, she would fold and sort, all washing going neatly folded into each child's tub. Clothes likely to get confused, she marked with a coloured dot to indicate which kid.
    That way each kid got their clothes back clean, neatly folded and ready to put away. It was then each person's responsibility to do this so there was an empty tub available to receive their washing next wash-day. Oh, and the tubs stacked inside one another when not in use.
    With washing - if you let it get on top of you, you can end up with a mountain of ironing bigger than Everest. The stuff at the bottom will all be too small for the kids and making the pile look even worse by simply being there (and not out of the house adorning some smaller cousin).
    Stuff needing to be washed - the kids have to put it into the laundrty area themselves, in the correct place, ready to be washed. This means pockets emptied (although I kept a bucket in the laundry to receive coins, sticks, stones, small toys, bottle caps). I also got my kids to begin the pre-soak process. Bad BO smells are easily dealt with by having a spray bottle of white vinegar in the laundry, and getting the offending clothing sprayed with the vinegar. it doesn't matter if it dries before it gets washed - as soon as it gets wet again, the low pH will be rthere, doing the job of breaking down the offending bacterial proteins causing the smells (which can pass to other garments in the wash if not treated). A kid whose clothing is really bad - we had to wash separately. Especially the boys. At least you have girls! But if it's really bad (such as six months worth of socks that used to be white but are now dark brown) thne hit them with vinegar, then a warm (not hot, it cooks it in) enzyme soak. Then wash as normal. Cold wash, never hot, it cooks in the smells.

    I had my kids trained. The older ones are now training their partners. That training includes the boys, even difficult child 1 with his domestic blindness and total ineptness. He at least knows how to do the laundry.

    OK, I've given you laundry as an example. You probably have your own methods.

    Other important rules connected with respectfor house mates - let people know where you are going, how you cna be contatced and when you will be home (especially if you will be home for meals, and if you are bringing someone home). Catering requires communication. If someone goes to te trouble of cooking a roast dinner for four, and finds two people not coming home - that is poor management. It's poor money-wise, it's poor communication-wise. Since a roast dinner requires some planning and has to be put on several hours ahead (unless it's a quick roast) then advance notice (and sticking to it) is needed.
    This has nothing to do with "I'm checking up on you, I have you on a leash." it is simply courtesy and respect. In our house, the adults let the kids know where they will be and when they will be home, just as much as the kids let the adults know. If they change their minds and decide to stop over at a friend's house for dinner, we let each other know (and make sure they're OK with it).
    This attitude has to continue into independent adulthood, if you expect people to respect you and want to spend time with you.

    Example - a woman I know of about 50 lives alone. She is involved in various local groups, she helps out at various times. But she is so unreliable, she is notorious. She was in a play I was producing, had a fairly important role. She needed a few accommodations made for her which were a bit inconvenient for others, but we made the changes for her. Then on performance night, although she had been rehearsing right up to the day - she simply failed to show up. So I had to rapidly make the changes back, and step into her shoes (despite not having rehearsed it that way and despite still being ill myself).
    Again, she was helping set tables for her friend's birthday party last weekend. She had her hair done at the hairdresser's. But on the night - no show. No call, nothing. It was catered, so her empty seat was obvious. We ate her dessert for her at our table. But when the topic comes up, eyes are raised heavenward. Next day someone said, "She told me she fell asleep and didn't wake up in time to come." Other times she has confessed to me, "I get caught up on the computer and lost track of time." Whatever the reason - it's bad organisation to still be doing this, at 50. She lives her life on making excuses for her surprising absences, instead of planning ahead to be where she has agreed to be. There's undoubtedly something else going on with her, but if she had been taught early enough to show consideration for others, she wouldn't be in this sort of mess.

    You will undoubtedly be able to think of other things like this that you would like. Don't have too many rules, try to make the rules more general in purpose (such as consideration) but with specifics underneath that larger umbrella. And involve them in these rules. If things aren't working, have another meeting and ask their opinion on how they think it's working. Also give your opinion, if you had ap problems describe it and ask if they can think of a better way for you to have handled it.

    This is involving them in their own upbringing. While this can seem scary, it's also forsing in tem the very independence they crave, but with you in control to guide them towards true independent living.

    And don't be too afraid that they siply aren't mature enough yet - it's the ODD ones who have already demonstrated their ability to control, who have the best chance of success. All you are doing is guiding them in developing this more sensibly. They have to drive. But you need to be able to steer, just a little bit.