Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Nancy, Nov 13, 2007.

  1. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't want to lose track of you because I think you can help me in these next few years with difficult child. What you said about when you stopped trying to change her she changed herself made so much sense. I have to work on that. I've been trying to do that but I have to really concentrate on it now.

    We have told our difficult child the same tyhing, either she will be in colege, working or out of the house. I am fully prepared for her being out of the house if that's what she chooses. She did give up many of her loser friends and just like you said, most all of them have either quit school, become pregnant, been sent to detention or jail or have moved out of their houses. She is starting to see that.

    I am very worried about the driving issue. I don't trust her either to follow the laws of the road or to be responsible with my car and we won't buy her her own yet. I won't know where she is or what she's doing any longer. How did you handle that?

  2. Irene_J

    Irene_J Member

    Nancy, our situations seem so similar. In our township there was a bridge where homeless people would gather or sleep. She used to tell me sarcastically that her own mother was going to make her live under a bridge where she could be assaulted or killed. I would answer that it was her choice and she knew I meant it.

    My difficult child got a permit when she was 17 and her license a year later. Because she didn't attend drivers' education, NJ laws governed the schedule of obtaining her license, how many she could have in the car, and the hours she could drive. She is actually a very careful driver. Having a car means alot to her.

    When she was 18, she saved up about 1/2 needed for an old clunker and I helped with the balance. She pays for her own insurance and my name is not on the car.

    If you feel your difficult child is not ready to drive, then put it off. When my difficult child was 16, I didn't think she was ready and would not teach her to drive my car or pay for lessons. And she had to wait (and I had to hear her complain). I'm not sure things would have turned out as well if I had let her drive at 16.

    From what you have written, you have reason to hope. Even though it doesn't seem like it, they actually do remember some of what we have tried to teach them. There was a time I thought my difficult child would turn up in jail, pregnant or on the streets. Now I can proudly say my daughter is in college and wants to be a teacher.
  3. Penta

    Penta New Member

    I feel much like Irene about the driving issue. Fortunately, my girl didn't get her license until she was 17. Her uncle taught her to drive and he was a good teacher. She learned everything she needed to know and drove on all kinds of roads, highways included, and in all kinds of weather with him. She got her license with a perfect score on the driving test and she is a safe, cautious and excellent driver. She handles her own car that she bought by herself. I did lend her money for a repair this year that was a safety issue, but she paid me back in a timely manner. She has driven my car as well and is careful with it.

    I never would have expected this to happen. From the time she was age 12-almost 15, I would have to fight with her to even get her to wear a seat belt in the car when she rode with me. And often, if she got angry with me when she was in the car, she would just open the door while I was driving and jump out into the traffic and run away. Often, at night!!!! Those were harrowing days for me and I am so glad they are behind us. I never could have believed she could become the person she is today.

    My girl, too, now sees what happens to young people who follow the wrong direction. She wants a future for herself and wants her family's support.

    Your daughter has some hard choices to make for herself in the next year or 2. I hope she can keep her eye on the prize.
  4. Irene_J

    Irene_J Member

    Penta! So I'm not the only one whose child used to leap out of a moving car! I once read an article about the signs of bipolar disease and one of the points was "has jumped out of a moving car." She was so oppositional that we were not even safe while driving on the New Jersey turnpike. Once I found out that she had stolen something from the store we had just left and as I was turning around to go back, she wrestled with me over control of the steering wheel. We almost had an accident.

    If my difficult child could turn things around, it's possible for anyone. And I have been through alot more than I have shared on this board (I'm sure most of us have).
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I think that your difficult child is a lot like mine, too. We let our difficult child get her license at 16 and lived to regret it. Two months after she got her license, she lied about where she was going and who she was with and totaled our car. We took her license away for the next six months.

    Then, when she was 17, she took two Ambien pills and drove home after work. She showed up at our house in a fog and couldn't remember what happened to her car. I went out to look and found that she had sideswiped something and damaged the entire passenger side of the car. To this day, she claims that she doesn't remember what she hit.

    So my vote would be to put off letting your difficult child get her license until she is acting responsibly. I wish that we had made our difficult child wait until she was at least 17, preferably 18.

    She is a good driver now and hasn't had any other accidents. She also seems to be turning things around (finally).

    Maturity does seem to be a big factor for our difficult children.

    Hang in there.

  6. Penta

    Penta New Member

    Irene...I think our girls could be twins! My girl was also on various medications, Seroquel included, and now takes only birth control, which does stabilize her moods. She exhibited symptoms of so many disorders that no professional could ever come to a conclusion about what was wrong with her. She also is dyslexic.

    Today, you would never know that she was once an extremely defiant, hateful, self destructive young teen.
  7. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow thank you gals. My difficult child would open the door while we were driving on the highway too and threaten to jump out. She knows it's her own fault that she doesn't have her license yet and tells her friends that all the time, yet she doens't seem to know how to make that happen.

    Irene my husband and I often said we would consider it a success if we could ger difficult child through high school without being on drugs, alcohol or pregnant. We often thought she would eventually be living on the street and she may yet still. I am terrified that she has an addictive personality and will drink herself silly and lose whatever job she manages to find and end up on the street.

    You give me encouragement that maybe she will mature, she is so much more immature than her friends. She told her friend the other day that she hates making decisions and often regrets the ones she's made. She told us she wished we would just tell her that she couldn't be on the winterguard team because it was too expensive so she didn't have to make the choice. When she says those things I think she may be getting it that it's her life to live and we won't always be here to fix it.

    She is the only one of her friends that doesn't drive. She is taking the classes but we told her we would not sign for her license until she becomes more responsible and trustworthy.

    Thanks for you advice.

  8. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    I am thankful difficult child 1 never got her license--she did get her permit at 16 and my husband was teaching her to drive but she lost interest. She is 19 1/2 now and still doesn't drive and that's okay with me. She doesn't live with us but she manages to get rides to work and I guess walks and takes the bus other places. When she was learning to drive she was still pretty heavily into drugs and drinking I think--I shudder to think of her driving!
  9. Irene_J

    Irene_J Member

    Nancy-don't give up hoping. Our difficult children are about 3 years behind in maturity level. I've seen greater progress in maturity after my difficult child turned 18.

    When my difficult child wants me to take care of something for her, I'll remind her that she's an adult now and must figure it out on her own. Her answer is "I'm an adult when it comes to some things and not an adult when it comes to other things." I think this is a real difficult child answer but also a true reflection of how they think. I help mine out more than I would like, but she has learning disabilities and Executive Functioning issues. As long as she follows the rules of my home, continues to work and attend college, I'm happy to help out.
  10. Penta

    Penta New Member


    One thing that has really helped my girl has been her jobs. She started at 17 working at Cracker Barrel in their retail section. When we moved she took various host jobs at restaurants, but eventually went back into retail at 2 different stores. She is a good employee...always shows up, pleasant personality and customers like her.

    Has your daughter thought of getting a weekend or after school job?
    I think it really helps teens mature.
  11. Sickntired

    Sickntired New Member

    This thread is really uplifting. It shows me there is hope. We all have to have hope that things will change or get better. I shudder to think about my difficult child driving. He has a "need for speed". That is not a good combination with driving, so we will more than likely not let him get a driver's license for quite some time. Here in Oklahoma, you can obtain a license at 16, which I feel is much, much to young, especially for him. When he proves he can follow simple rules, then we may ease into the driving thing. He's 14 now so we still have a while. I had a psychiatric doctor tell me in the beginning, he won't get better until HE wants to get better. And so far, he does not. I agree, they are at LEAST 3 years behind in maturity. I have always had the hope that as he matured, he would learn to handle some of his problems better and be more cooperative. Time will tell. But at least I know from your posts that it has happened with some of these kids. Till then, I'll just keep my helmet on and hold on for the ride. :warrior:
  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Penta, yes I agree a job is very important. difficult child worked at our local ice cream shop this spring and summer. It's closed now for the winter. She blew them off quite a bit to hang out with friends, between that and her baseball schedule and flag practice, they got tired of it and she never got any hours after August. She was a good worker, friendly, and they liked her, but she admitted that she doesn't like working and turned down hours when she felt like it. She even admitted to her friend that she doesn't know how she is going to keep a job when she gets out of school. In that same conversationshe admitted that she doesn't know how she is going to keep her house clean when she's on her won because she can't keep her room clean for one day. At least there's some self awareness going on.

    Right at this moment she is at our mall applying for a job at JC Penney. They need Christmas help. She applied several other places but no one has called yet. I keep telling her she needs to get the hair out of her eyes before someone will hire her. Her response is that "I guess I just won't get a job then".

    We've told her that we aren't giving her any more money, except for school lunch and necessities and that she better get a job if she wants to go out with her friends and spend money.


    P.S. Her money management skills leave a lot to be desired also. When she got her first paycheck I took her to the bank to open up a student checking account, no fees, limited access with ATM card. That worked for two paychecks. She deposited her money and took it out in small increments. Until she discovered they forgot to put the withdrawal limit on and she took out the entire check. I got that fixed and she just went in the bank to cash her paycheck and spent it in a couple days, getting nails done, food, junk stuff, candy. Nothing was saved.

    Then she tried to withdraw $20 even though she only had $6 in and it let her do that :smile: . I guess she figured they would just keep giving her money and they figured I had enough to cover it in my checking account since the accounts were tied together. She did that not once but twice :hammer: . I finally closed the account.
  13. Penta

    Penta New Member

    Irene, I like what you said about our girls being about 3 years behind. While my 19 year old is mature in many ways, she is still naive about the world, mainly, I think, because of her Learning Disability (LD) issues and the fact that she spent so much time in her early teens in "her own world" not really connected to reality.

    She, too, asks me for advice often and I try to guide without making decisions for her. It's a fine line to walk.

    She does seem more like 16 in some ways, than 19.
  14. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member


    Your daughter's story is an inspiration. You have mentioned that she decided to change when she thought about her future. I believe you had said that she went through hospitalization, etc. before that.

    Since I am going through a very rough time with my difficult child son, 16 y/o, hospitalization, etc. I am curious to know if your daughter feels that her experiences, medications, etc. helped her to decide to change or does she feel it just happened?

    There are times that my son says, "It's my body and I know what I feel, what's going on inside, & no one else does." He feels that the counselors and doctors we've been to have never helped. He feels that they don't understand what he is experiencing. One doctor told me that my son would not get better until he found a doctor or counselor that he would "click" with. We have yet to find that person!
  15. Irene_J

    Irene_J Member

    My difficult child feels much the same as yours. She had 2 inpatient hospitalizations, 2 intensive oupatient programs and tons of (expensive)counselling with psychologists and psychiatrists. Even now she says "therapy doesn't work." When I ask her why she says that the person only changes when they want to change.

    But one thing therapy did help with was me. The therapist suggested that I save my money with difficult child since she wasn't responding, but that I come alone. And what the therapy did was help me to deal with my difficult child. The therapist gave me insight into how my difficult child was thinking (however illogical it was). It also helped me prepare for a life if my difficult child continued to make the wrong choices. Even though my therapist moved to NC after I saw her about 10 years, we still keep in touch via email and phone calls.

    I think your current therapist is correct that your difficult child must "click" with the therapist, or else it is a waste of time.
  16. Penta

    Penta New Member

    If I might add a comment, my girl did not respond to therapy until she was at Residential Treatment Center (RTC). By then she had been in an adolescent psychiatric ward for one week due to a suicide attempt as well as seeing various mental health professionals over the years...none of whom she could relate to. However, at her graduation from the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) program she credited the therapist there with saving her life. This therapist was the mother of adopted teen girls and she was able to cue into my girl and get her to open up and come to terms with her anger.

    I feel very grateful to this woman who was able to help my girl find her "beautiful self."