How do you get them to care for themselves???

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by hearts and roses, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I am so frustrated right now with difficult child.

    She's been out and running around with her friend's all weekend. And she is sick again.

    She popped home yesterday midday with her two girlfriends and obviously has a cold. She was wearing a big baggy long sleeved t-shirt. It was 30 degrees outside. Not even a sweatshirt - apparently she left that at Monkeyboy's house. She related to me what a jerk her boyfriend is. Apparently he spent almost all of his first paycheck on lots of beer and booze. He was angry at her because she didn't drink any and went to sleep the night before (they were at her girlfriend's house and she didn't feel well). They were arguing about it while driving along and then he just jumped out of her car while it was moving!! <I am so angry at him for this - it must have been quite shocking for difficult child>

    Anyway, her girlfriend's were with them in the car and he woulnd't get back in, so she came home to see if H would cash her check for her and to scarf down some food. Obviously she was hungry and hadn't eaten much. I told H earlier not to cash her check for her. To make her deposit it into her account instead and wait until it cleared. Well, H cashed it for her. I invited her for dinner and she said she would be home.

    I made the usual Sunday dinner (I do this even when my kids are not home) and we ate at 7PM - difficult child never showed. Surprise, surprise.

    Obviously she and Monkeyboy made up because she came home at 11PM with boyfriend in tow (why I still haven't figured out!)...there he was hanging in the hallway as she stood before me shivering with chills, face all puffy and snotty from her cold, wheezing and hacking. She said she was soooo cold & shivering, shaking uncontrollably. I never even said hello to MB, I was in my PAJAMAS for crying out loud!! I was not up for company. I have my own cold! UUUURRRRGGHGGHHH.

    I asked difficult child "why is he here?" and she said he followed her home to make sure she got home safely - he was afraid she'd have a 'siezure' while driving. She told me that his genius mother told her that she probably has a bad cold but that it will likely turn into bronchitis, as that's going around. Hello? Bronchitis cannot be 'caught' - what a stupid @$$.

    I advised her to get into a hot shower (she hasn't showered in something like 5 days!) and that would help loosen up the chest so she could cough it up. She refused, put on her jammies, and cranked up the heater on her bed (MB left by this point), and went to bed, but not before telling me loudly "And I'm calling out sick from work in the morning!" Before I had time to bite my tongue I called out to her, "SO, you run around all weekend sick with no coat, not eating right, drinking and smoking ten thousand cigarettes and then call out sick to work on Monday?!?" She said, "Mom, not now!" and went to bed. I just stared at H. Ugh.

    Later I heard her moaning and checked on her - she was burning up with a fever!!! I lowered temp in her bed, gave her some advil & water. She was supposed to work this entire week, now she obviously can't go in today (and likely not tomorrow)....This morning when I left her she was sleeping and I could hear her wheezing and coughing, she wasn't as hot, but she was obviously ill. She will have to do breathing treatments throughout the day.

    I set her alarm for 10AM so she could call into work. I know, I know, I shouldn't have, but she can't lose this job and I know she would have slept right through midday and then if she called in too late she could get fired.

    Why don't they take care of themselves?? How many times will she get sick like this before she learns to eat right, sleep well, and take care of herself? Why doesn't she shower regularly like a normal person, care for her body? How do I get through to her to take care of her health??

    It's just so frustrating!
  2. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Jo, Jo, Jo.

    You should have let her sleep right through calling in sick.

    SHE screwed off all weekend. Nobody made her. NOBODY held a gun to her head and said "don't wear a jacket, get sick, and when you get home, skip the shower, and by the way, you don't have to bother setting your alarm to call in sick for work because mom will do it for you."

    If she lost her job, oh well. Natural consequences. THAT is how she would have learned to take care of herself! Maybe next time she would have thought it through. But as long as you and H keep bailing her out, she will keep doing as she pleases. And yes, making sure she got up to call in was bailing her out.

    If she loses enough jobs to get thrown out of the house, and has to live like a REAL person with REAL responsibilities, she will learn REAL fast that yo have to wash up and eat right and get your rest because mommy isn't gonna be there to catch her when she falls. Stop making it so easy for her.
  3. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I know BBK - You're 100&#37; correct. Practice, practice, practice.

    She called me at work this morning to tell me she had found the thermometer and had a fever.

    I told her, "You know what you need to do - take care of yourself. I have to get back to work" and hung up. I know she called because she wants me to come home at lunch time and give her some mommy TLC and I can't do it without wanting to lecture her, which is what I started to do earlier on the phone but stopped myself. It's not okay for me to do that. I know this. I have to practice more. Urgh~

    We parents often get in our own way.
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Yup, we do get in our own way. Why should they take care of themselves when we will do it for them. It took me awhile, but I finally figured out that it was better to not lecture and also not do. One without the other didn't seem to work. Lectures weren't heard but were worth the price to have mommy take care of the problem. If mommy didn'do it but still lectured, then mommy didn't have a right to say a word and daughter could get justifiably angry. However, if there was no lecture and no taking care of the problem by mommy, then all the responsibility fell on the daughter. I do let her know I won't be doing X with a simple sentence saying why ("Kiddo, you'll have to get yourself up to call work in the morning. I'm sure you can do this since you were able to go play all weekend. See you when I get home from work tomorrow."). I've even reached the point where she is responsible for making a doctor's appointment if she needs one. I'll take her if she's too sick to take herself but, otherwise, it is her problem and her responsibility.

    Right now, my daughter has a cold. I had no problems playing Mommy for the simple reason she didn't get it playing around. She came home from work on Thursday and was feeling miserable. She had Friday off and spent the day in bed. I happily waited on her hand and foot. On Saturday and Sunday, she went to work, came home sick. Again, I played Mommy. No problem.

    Last night, she stayed up until 4 am, knowing she had to be work at 10 am. I simply told her that she had to get herself up, I wasn't going to if she was going to to stay up so late when she knew she was still ill and needed her sleep. She did get herself up but asked me to fix her breakfast. Sorry, sweets, I do that when you're sick. If you're healthy enough to stay up all night, you're healthy enough to take care of yourself. End of conversation. She fixed herself some cereal and a banana and got herself to work on time.

    It's not easy to say no. I know I want to be the mommy and take care of my little girl. At the same time, she needs to learn that when she makes a bad decision, she is the one who will have to take care of any problems from it. I can't do it for her for the simple fact I won't always be around to do it. The more she learns how to do it now, the better off she will be when she is on her own. Not easy, not fun, but certainly necessary.

    Lecturing does no good. All it does is give you a defensive child who will happily go on the attack rather than hear how she once again fouled up. Letting her suffer her consequences with a simple comment why you aren't backing her up works so much better in the long run.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    She won't take care of herself because you still take care of her and feel responsible for her. difficult child's, when not motivated to grow up DON'T. in my opinion we do them no favors by babying them. I'm shocked that you even allow MB in the house. If it were my kid, and she wanted to see this jerk, she'd do it without my car and certainly not be allowed to bring him near me. I've done this with a few of my daughter's loser boyfriend's before I finally made her find another place to live. I recommend making her take 100&#37; care of herself when she does things like this and if she blows it, well, let MB take care of her. She won't improve if you keep taking care of her. She hasn't gotten better so far, has she? It's tough to do (trust me, I know), but if nobody makes kids like this fail on their own, they keep needing us and even BLAMING us when THEY screw up, if we somehow forget to do something for them. I don't remember her story, but if she isn't paying for her own upkeep AND rent, I'd give make her do it. And MB would have to hang out with her elsewhere. It won't make her break up with him, but you won't have to see him in YOUR house. And it IS your house.
  6. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Yep, I agree about you making it too easy for her. You probably don't need to hear it again. :whew:

    Rob didn't learn until he had to pay for the doctor bill and lived too far away for Mommy TLC. For some reason our kids always have to learn the hard way.

  7. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    Jo, I wish I knew the answer, as do many here. I think it's possible that we 'get in the way', but also I think that only inhibits (enhances?) the disinclination to take care of themselves that's already there; it doesn't cause it to happen.

    Everyone's different, but with McWeedy I can honestly say that his brain works like a railroad where the tracks never connect. From one minute to the next, he can go from a thinking, funny, and intelligent young adult to a morose, sulking, defiant teen.

    He can go from being scared to death waiting for a CAT scan to tell him if he has lung cancer, to smoking cigs and God-knows-what the next night when he's out with his friends. I mean, three different docs have told him that he will die from either emphysema or asthma before he's thirty if he doesn't stop smoking; yet, my wife regularly throws away packs of Camel Lights that he leaves in his pockets. Sheesh.....

    I think that 'taking care of themselves' requires them to do what they can't do: see the consequences of their actions. For these kids, thinking about actions does NOT mean also considering the consequences. Consequently, they also don't think about the consequences of INaction, either.

    For me, the fact that McW can't associate consequences with action (or inaction) before going forward makes him a poster child for the definition of "difficult child".

    Point in case: McWeedy stayed home yesterday sick. Swollen glands, could barely talk, throat that feels like he swallowed lye, etc.. wife finally cajoled him into going to the doctor, who told him to drink lots of fluids, rest, and left with a scrip for some industrial-strength Biaxin XL (pills big enough to choke a hippo). McW's response? "Aw, those things don't work anyway, and I can't go to the pharmacy right now because I have to take my girlfriend out to dinner at Red Robin".

    This morning, of course, he was back in bed moaning and groaning.

    Again, I don't think there's anything you can "do" about it, any more than you can make a drug addict or alcoholic get sober when they don't want to. To me, it's all part of the same problem. I've long ago said goodbye to my son, in my heart. I don't stop fighting for him, I don't stop arguing with wife about him, but I feel the way the Russians must have felt during WWII; emotionally defeated, but fighting on and hoping for a miracle anyway.

    Just my two pennies worth (I can make change, if you need a penny back because you feel short-changed...)

  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thanks all. Point taken. Surprisingly, difficult child hasn't left the house - she's been in bed nursing herself back to health. Every once in a while she will ask me for something and I only comply if she's polite and I have the time and/or feel inclined. I made her tea last night and brought her the Advil. Other than that, she's been on her own and she's doing well. She's showered, changed her sheets, took breathing treatments all on her own without my prompting.

    MWM, I can count on one hand the number of times MB has been to our home. I know he's been there twice when I wasn't there, but he hardly ever comes to our house - difficult child is always running to him. I will not forbid his coming to our home at this point; I have never agreed with that train of thinking for the most part unless the person is a real low life scuzzbucket abusive person. How does that saying go, "Keep your loved ones close; keep your enemies closer", right? Well, that's how I feel at this point. MB may come with a lot of crud, and he's definitely not the best influence on difficult child, but she has to come to that realization on her own.

    In the meantime, we continue to invite him to dinner (he usually declines, and that upsets difficult child). And when he does come over (for like 20 min) we're cordial with him. He's polite to us, converses, never goes in difficult child's bedroom, he's usually quiet and goes with the flow of our household. He keeps telling difficult child that we "don't like him". in my opinion, this is an attempt on his part to create divisiveness between us & difficult child, so I don't want to assist him to that end by forbidding him from our home, Know what I mean??

    I think in time this relationship will run it's natural course and die a slow painful death. If I force it, it will only last longer because she will use that one sore spot to rebel against us, as in, "You can't tell me who I can date or not date!" That is her way. At least the way it is, she talks about him to me, bounces ideas off of me and tells me the dirt. I'd rather tolerate this not-so-very romantic interlude with my own brand of patience than with a resistance that would surely cause her to run into his arms.

    In the meantime, I am glad that I get the gentle reminders I need from all you folks to stand strong and avoid the temptation to 'help' difficult child or 'take care of her' because surely my help will only cripple her in the long run. Ouch~
  9. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Jo -

    I am thinking (currently with my own situation) I am the last person to give the do not bail out advice chat. So I won't.

    I will however encourage you to coat the bottom of her feet with Vics and put on socks - it has tremendously quick results - feel better overnight when you have the snots.

    Sounds weird - but it works.

  10. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    I just read about this somewhere else and I'm dying for someone to try it and tell me if it really works. lol

  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I will try it tonight - I have the snots. Ew, Star!
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I wish I didn't have to get work done tonight...great topic/thread...but I read the responses very quickly. Someone said that these kids can't "see the consequences of their actions," or inaction for that matter. With our difficult child this is often the case. The idea of consequence never enters her mind...or if it is quickly dismissed. I think it is partially (in a small way) due to some entitlement issues. But I think much of her problem has to do with impulsivity. She just thinks and immediately responds. There is not enough time for a delay. It is frightening, because I think it is possible that in her case and in the case of many of these difficult children, that they could very well put their lives in great danger and do this repeatedly, if challenged. And of course, it is hard to rehabilitate a deceased difficult child. I think some difficult children have a decent probability of reform, while others have a lower probability. It's a tough call. We usually let our difficult child experience the consequences of her actions.And after our difficult child falls flat on her face, we do review the experience. We talk about the idea of "self preservation" and keeping safe and how she might do it differently next time. It seems to help a little...but how long it lasts is debatable. by the way, our difficult child is NOT taking care of herself when she gets a cold, etc. either. She even jumps right out of bed with Strep Throat.
  13. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    But I think much of her problem has to do with impulsivity. She just thinks and immediately responds. There is not enough time for a delay. It is frightening, because I think it is possible that in her case and in the case of many of these difficult children, that they could very well put their lives in great danger and do this repeatedly, if challenged.

    Nomad, you have summed up my difficult child in a nutshell. Every one of the major problems he finds himself in today is the direct result of not controlling his impulses. As for self-care, he knows what he's supposed to do and he knows how to do it, he just chooses not to.

    difficult child wants someone to do everything for him and he's frighteningly persistent. With 24/7 supervision he's doing what he's supposed to do, but without it, he would sit in a corner, filthy, unfed and sick, just waiting for someone to come along and tie his shoes for him.

  14. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    I worry about my difficult child 1--she is out in Seattle by herself (I think, no sign of the boyfriend) and last week she ended up taking a bus to the ER in the middle of the night because she was coughing up blood. Turns out she had strep throat and bronchitis. She is very susceptible to respiratory illnesses and she smokes. I told her she needs to pay better attention to her body, not let things go til she is that sick. Of course she has no health insurance but they do have a free clinic she can go to. Last night I talked to her and she sounded exhausted--she'd been sleeping all day I think--but she had been out the night before so who knows what she was up to. It sure makes me nervous--she can't afford to be sick.
  15. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Agree. My difficult child's biggest stumbling block has always been her impulsive thinking. She will make the same impulsive remarks/actions over and over again and then when the dust settles will sit there scratching her head in wonder. That is when we usually are able to actually have a discussion about everything in a reasonabl manner. However, before the you-know-what hits the fan and then settles, there is no reaching her.

    Each day I am closer and closer to believing that no matter what, my difficult child will always have to take the hard road, not necessarily the path of least resistance mind you, but she definitely likes the easy way out of things.

    Great points Nomad. Thanks for sharing them.
  16. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Ditto Jane. I would be nervous too.

    My daughter doesn't notice her body's signals until it literally begins to shut down. Like the other day when she was home briefly on Sunday, I immediately noted she was sick and that it had gone into her chest but when I asked her she laughed at me (putting on a show for her girlfriend's) and said, "no, I'm fine". And then, of course, later came home, her entire body wracking with chills and burning up. I said the same thing to her the following day when she was so tired and wiped out she couldn't lift her head, "Hon, you really need to listen to your body when its telling you to slow down and rest." Alas, it does no good because last night, despite sounding like he// and looking like it to match, she went out with her boyfriend to dinner. You would think that if he really gave a rat's @$$ about her, he'd have BROUGHT her dinner and stayed home so she could rest more.

    Today she still has a fever, her chest is loaded with gunk, she's lethargic, but she has to go to work. When she called me this morning at work, I asked her how she's going to take care of herself so she could get through her shift. She just grunted. She doesn't want to go to work. I reminded her that if she's out 3 days she will need a DR's note and that I wasn't paying for her copays anymore, so if she needs to see her DR, she's responsible for that $15, not me. She said, "'okay".

    Well, it's frustrating. I'm trying to hang strong and stay quiet.
  17. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    Hi Jo,
    you are doing very well, I'd say--sounds like you are presenting things in a calm, matter-of-fact way when you really want to scream and shout and shake some sense into her! I know how frustrating this is and you have to see her being sick and not taking care of herself. I am working with my difficult child 2's therapist right now on "affect management skills." He is working with me on being able to cope with the anxious feelings I have concerning difficult child 2. I am working on being able to tolerate anxiety and actually finding a calm place within myself even while feeling the anxiety. So far, I am actually using the skills more for my feelings with difficult child 1. She called me Sat. morning all upset because she had lost her wallet. I was able to remain calm and help her problem solve--in the past I would have been too upset to think and the 2 of us would have been panicking together. Of course, I am always suspicious of her--did she really lose the wallet or did she want money and was afraid or unwilling to be honest about it? You just never know with her.

    Anyway, I got off on a tangent, but I do want you to know you sound like you are handling things so well, putting the responsibility back on her.

  18. Sue C

    Sue C Active Member

    Hi Jo,

    I wanted to let you know that bronchitis can be "caught". Last year Melissa and I got it from her best friend and best friend's mom after we were at their house. The following is from the Mayo Clinic website:
    Acute bronchitis in otherwise healthy people is typically caused by a viral infection, and viral infections can be spread from person to person through direct and indirect contact. You can reduce your risk of "catching" bronchitis through careful hand washing or the use of hand sanitizers.
    As far as difficult child's not taking care of themselves, I see the same thing in Melissa. She will be sick and still go out to the bars with her friends. However, she still goes to work sick. Also, she's been having bleeding gums. The dentist gave me a prescription mouth rinse for her to use (I was at the dentist for my cleaning and told him about her). She used it for 3 days, then quit. She said she "doesn't remember" to use it. Her bleeding gums, her problem. And she spent $60 on ProActiv for the acne on her forehead and only used it a few days. Her money. Oh well.

    I guess I just think taking care of themselves will come with maturity. I remember when she was in middle school(?) or maybe it was elementary when she wouldn't take showers. After deciding she wanted to take them, she started taking 1-2/ day!

  19. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Oh Sue, don't even get me started on the shower thing!

    When I was difficult child's age, I lived pretty much outside of my parents house - I stayed with friends, crashed at home once in a while. I worked full time and paid for all my needs. I even paid my parents rent. If I became ill, barring puking, I still went out, still drank, still worked, everything. However, I was clean and I didn't hang out with anyone who didn't work or just kicked back at mom's house all day and night. Things were different in that everything wasn't so danged expensive. By the time I was 19, I had my own place and made it. I definitely was not an angel, but I made it. I read on this board every day how most of our difficult children can't even be bothered. At least difficult child WILL go to work even if she doesn't WANT to so I should just shut up about that. Haha.

    Interesting about the bronchitis - my DR and allergist both have confirmed to me that you cannot catch the actual bronchitis. the have each said to me, generally, "You can catch the virus that caused the other person to have the bronchitis, but will only develop bronchitis if you have the propensity to do so, i.e, a weakend immunity system or pre-existing pulmonary conditions."

    Being an asthmatic my entire life, I almost always develop bronchitis....fortunately in recent years it isn't so bad because I take extra precautions once I feel the symptoms of bronchitis and I tend to nip it in the bud. difficult child has a tendency to develop bronchitis whenever she gets a chest cold. easy child usually sheds the infection within a couple of days. With difficult child and me, it lingers for at least 2 weeks.

    When I go back for my checkup in March, I'm going to run this by my DR to see what she says. Thanks for posting that.
  20. Sue C

    Sue C Active Member

    Jo, if I can remember correctly, I THINK Melissa and I started off with colds which quickly went into bronchitis. We had been at her friend's house for a party. She and her mom had bronchitis which had started out as colds. They had out "finger food." Maybe they didn't wash their hands when they put the food out and then we ate it?? Or maybe just being in the same house with them?? Or maybe they coughed on us. At any rate, neither Melissa nor I had ever had bronchitis before...and I hope I never get it again. It lasted a long time and even longer for Melissa 'cuz she wouldn't go to the dr. (there's that stubbornness of not taking care of herself) I was sick about 5 weeks and I think Melissa's lasted 2-3 months.