Interesting turn of events

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by greenrene, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    So, I've posted before that I have a pretty close relationship with my sister in law (husband's sister). She is truly a great person who loves us all dearly and wants to help. Although she has a very busy life with 4 teens/tweens and her own major health issues, she has offered to take difficult child in to live with them for a few weeks, with the distant possibility of it becoming a permanent thing. I am floored by this and am not really knowing what to think other than wow, that's a LOT to put on your plate!

    difficult child is not exactly having success in her new school - she is passing but just barely, even with 3 daily tutoring/help sessions (only 1 on Fridays). The situation with her behavior at home is about the same, although she has been pretty good since we got home from Christmas vacation (during which she was absolutely atrocious, particularly towards me, until she got her Kindle Fire for Christmas and had to depend on me to open the parental controls so she could install apps! After that she was better, but still not pleasant).

    She stayed 4 nights at sister in law's house after we got home, and they said that she was very well behaved, even on days when she forgot to take her medications! I know why - she overheard sister in law talk to mother in law about her going to stay at sister in law's. The kid can be good when she wants something!

    I don't know if husband will go for it, but we shall see. Right now I'm all for it because what we've got going on is neither working nor healthy - difficult child is full of anger and resentment toward both her dad and me; I am stressed, overwhelmed, and my mental and physical health are suffering because of it. Something's gotta give. sister in law knows that just about the only thing now standing between difficult child and a therapeutic boarding school is for difficult child to live with them. There are several issues with the TBS option, cost being one of them (inlaws would pay for it, but they would also hold it over our heads in a bad way. husband works for his dad in the family business, and it could get ugly).

    It would be a good placement for difficult child - brother in law and sister in law are very good parents, very structured, very loving but also very strict. Plus, and this is a HUGE plus, difficult child doesn't harbor anger and resentment towards them, which is the main issue making things hellish at home.

    So anyway. I talked to sister in law today about it, about difficult child "honeymooning," and she gets it. difficult child wants to go stay with them - what she doesn't realize is that if this happens, then she will have to follow ALL the same rules that her cousins do. She won't be happy with it, but I think it would be good for her. I know it would be good for us.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Wow! Crossing fingers that this works out - for everybody!
  3. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    This... I would be so leary of. I wouldn't mind saying, go for the summer or something, just so that you get your breath back. But I would be thinking... when is difficult child going to get sick of the new rules and start the same behavior with sister in law? Then, will she just want to come back to your house and think she can pingpong around every time she gets tired of one place (will she see this as a power play)? I'm not trying to say this isn't a GOOD idea, because I think it is, with a possible timeframe. These were just the immediate thoughts that popped into my head while reading this.
  4. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    Well, to start with, it would be for about a month. I told sister in law that it would need to be long enough for difficult child to stop honeymooning and have reality set in. We won't allow difficult child to see it as a power play - if this doesn't work, then TBS is going to probably be necessary, and we will carefully choose if/when to play that card. I know she will NOT like the idea of TBS, mainly because it would be an all-girls place.

    Part of me feels really awful about this, and I'm having to talk myself down from guilty feelings. I know that I haven't been the perfect stepmom. I do feel like I've done the best I could have with what I've been dealt. I freely admit that I have no idea what to do with difficult child anymore - everything I try has failed miserably. I try to disengage from arguments, I try to ignore disrespectful attitudes and rudeness, but then again, I feel like it gives her power to just be allowed to say those awful things... It's a hard line to draw.

    For example - over Christmas I was telling mother in law about how sometimes when difficult child is sent to her room, she starts going OFF very loudly about how awful and stupid our family is, how much she hates me, how much she wishes her dad would divorce me, and on and on and on... Most of the time we just ignore it, but there are times when it's so loud that the whole house, including her younger brothers, can hear her ranting. That's when her dad or I go back there to tell her to can it. mother in law said that's exactly what we should NOT do, that we should instead just have the boys go outside or something so they can't hear and just ignore difficult child. I have also told mother in law that no matter what I say or do, the situation always escalates, so I have chosen for my own sanity to just let others (husband, mother in law, father in law) handle things like that. Well, a few days after that (while we were still, all 13 of us, at my mother in law's house), difficult child got mad at me because I wouldn't let her watch TV immediately after she woke up. She started spouting off at her grandma, started that rude, disrespectful ranting, and was sent upstairs to cool off. The area she was sent is actually a loft, and when difficult child went up there, she continued loudly ranting and going on and on like she usually does, and everyone could hear. mother in law ended up doing exactly what she told me that I shouldn't do - went up there and made her can it under threats of total grounding from all electronics, screens, and activities.

    The others in the family sure have a lot to say about difficult child, and they try to be supportive, but NONE of them has lived it OR lives it like I do. When they say that it's obvious that I just don't like her, that I glare at her, etc, it just pisses me off. Yes I'm well aware that I probably do glare at her. I've spent the past 12 FREAKING YEARS having to be hyper-vigilant to her behavior - I've HAD to watch her like a hawk, to listen to the nuances of what she says to nip bad behavior in the bud and redirect her. And yes, difficult child just plain ticks me off a LOT of the time. That's because she is obnoxious, inappropriate, and rude a LOT of the time! It's exhausting to deal with her, and I'm at my breaking point.

    Sorry to ramble, it's just so hard...
  5. HopeRemains

    HopeRemains New Member

    Oh, greenrene, I could have wrote that entire reply almost word for word! mother in law's are really fun. =/ I can't tell you how many times things just like that have happened to me. You do NOT have to feel guilty about this, not even one OUNCE! I sometimes caught myself daydreaming about letting difficult child just go to his biomom's- or anywhere else! No one deals with this like easy child and I have to, no one knows the extent, because difficult child is a little darling around them most of the time. Small doses of difficult child when you are not his authority start to make people think... hey, I see how to help this child, maybe the parent is just uncapable (just because they gave difficult child a lollipop and that solved the issue for the moment!). I am glad that you have a timeframe on it and hopefully that's enough time for true colors to shine through!

    I also know all too well feeling like other are judging you on your hypervigilance with difficult child. Every one of husband's family has shown how badly they feel for difficult child and stepped in to resolve situations themselves or just to say "He's okay, he's not doing anything wrong!". It's made me feel like a horrible person so many times, questioning myself. But then, it's just us the next day and difficult child's gloves are off and all that coddling he recieved only empowered him more. If you want to scream, I will scream with you! Hugs
  6. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you should make it 6 months. It takes a long time to start honeymooning sometimes. Let the others see what it is really like to live this everyday. If it works...great! Everybody wins and she can stay there.

    My difficult child went to live with her dad for a 1 year term. It took 6 months for them to see the real difficult child. After the year, we alternated weeks at each home. Full weeks. Towards the end of every both houses....she started to ramp up. But, soon she switched houses and calmed right down. It worked.
  7. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    Yes, it's a double-edged sword issue with this whole situation. sister in law does understand more than most and is wanting/willing to help, but she still says things that make ME feel like the one with issues and somehow responsible for difficult child's issues. I freely admit I have issues. I freely admit that I should probably be in therapy. I grew up with an abusive difficult child mother, and those are scars that I don't know if they will ever go away. I also freely admit that there are ways in which I am like my mother, and I do work hard to combat those things. BUT MY MOTHERING IS NOT ONE OF THOSE WAYS. Nobody can/should make the call that I treat difficult child the way I do because of my issues with my mother - difficult child IS NOT MY BIOLOGICAL CHILD!!!!! I think having a difficult child mother and KNOWING the dysfunctional thought patterns that can some with difficult child-dom has helped me to be all the more aware of the severity of difficult child's issues.

    But when I explain that difficult child loves to play the victim, that she blames her "horrible life" on me and whoever else she happens to be mad at, it sounds like I'm doing the exact same thing - it sounds like I'm trying to play the victim of this rude, inappropriate, disrespectful child and blame her! But... she IS the difficult child... I can't win, it seems. sister in law has said several times "difficult child says it's all you, and you say it's all her" - well yes, it IS pretty much all her! I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm NOT the difficult child in the picture. I am not a habitual liar, I am not inappropriate, rude, or disrespectful... I have done my darn best to try to teach that child about life and raise her to be able to function in society, but it is not working, and I'm tired of feeling like people think that I'm part of the problem. I'm a DAMN good mother, especially considering the example I had.

    I guess I'm needing to do a little venting...
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Oh, vent away! So few people understand the extreme issues we have to face day-in and day-out...

    It's nice to have a place to go and blow off stem with others who get it!
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Vent away, and I do understand. I got the same nonsense from my mother about how I was 'always' angry at Wiz.

    Be very aware that this will forever change your relationship with sister in law. No matter if it is good or bad, it will change. A month is not NEARLY long enough for many difficult children to stop honeymooning. Wiz honeymooned for 6 weeks in the psychiatric hospital and only stopped because I went into a therapist session and pushed every single button he had over and over. Then he snapped and it was incredibly ugly. I felt awful for doing it, but it was the ONLY way to get any help because he played the "I don't know why I am here. I do my best to be good but they are never happy. See how good I am?" game.

    I wish you luck, whatever decision you make.
  10. aeroeng

    aeroeng Mom of Three

    My husband's brother and wife worked as full time foster parents, and routinely had 7 difficult children in their home. They took my difficult child for part of the summer a couple years ago. They were strict, with very specific and highly guarded rules. difficult child called home once asking to come back (nope tickets not good until ...) but, for the most part behaved and actually enjoyed the structure. Not only did difficult child survive the summer, but he actually was better behaved when he came back home. I believe that brother in law and sister in law have skills that I just don't have. I never felt guilty I have my own set of skill, just different ones. I needed their support. We needed the break and it was good for difficult child. Was it good for brother in law and sister in law? They said they would take him back if needed.

    I would not hesitate to let them try, I would not feel guilty. I would just try to find out if/what anything works.
  11. greenrene

    greenrene Member

    OMG! That whole "you always seem angry at difficult child" is EXACTLY what I hear too! That's precisely because, with difficult child, you're always waiting for the other shoe to drop, even when she's being good. She can go from sweet to totally obnoxious in a millisecond. She is VERY sneaky, manipulative, and has no qualms whatsoever about lying to anyone's face. She can say things that are very inappropriate, and she can be downright unbelievably ANNOYING, not to mention flat-out mean. So yeah, I'm ALWAYS on guard. I learned a long time ago that I HAVE to be, especially to protect my older son, who is her second favorite target/scapegoat (her favorite one is me).

    I'm also tired of hearing about how I treat my sons differently than I treat her. DUH - they're different kids. They are MY KIDS. They don't have behavior issues at all. Of course it's going to look like I'm mostly always mad at difficult child - she really is THAT high-maintenance. All 4 of my sister in law's kids put together have NOTHING on difficult child.

    aeroeng, thank you for your post - that's kind of what we're dealing with. brother in law and sister in law are very strict and very structured. husband and I are very laid-back. We do have rules, but nowhere near as strict as them. I like how you put it as having different skills rather than deficient skills. I need to look at it that way and stop feeling guilty and like a failure.

    husband and I haven't even talked about this whole mess at all yet. I really wonder if he's going to be willing to go for it.
  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I don't know if your husband is like this....but one of the issues many of us have seen is the sudden need for a husband to protect "Daddy's Little Girl"...

    My own husband has done this. He will agree that difficult child's behavior is a problem. He will agree that we need a solution. He will agree that a change in setting might be helpful...

    and then BALK at the very moment he needs to be strong. But she's my little girl!

    I will send some positive vibes your way that husband will be on your side!