Need a "Pep Talk"

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Good Morning Everyone--

    I don't know about all of you, but I feel like I am always trying to find a balance between "Detachment" and "Don't give a D***"...

    After a weekend of endless arguments about every little (and I do mean LITTLE) thing....I am just feeling so drained.

    School started last week and you KNOW we always want the best for our children....but with difficult child it always seems to be a battle. We went twenty rounds over an outfit that barely covers her butt--she SCREAMED at me that it was fine for school. We went twenty rounds over whether or not I could take her for a haircut (she refused). We went twenty rounds over what supplies she needed or did not need....

    And this morning, husband made the mistake of suggesting that she wear something CLEAN to school....

    You'd have thought he asked her to cut off an arm!

    And the whole thing is so stupid anyway because she hasn't showered in a week....she does not put on clean underwear....she never rinses out her bras....she does not take care of her hair....and although she will put clothes in the laundry--if they are not washed within 24 hours, she just gets them out of the hamper and wears them anyway (She has a shirt that has been through that cycle for about a month now--sits in the hamper for a day...and then she re-wears it. And that's where husband caught her this morning, digging clothes out of the hamper in the laundry room.)

    Of course she stinks to high heaven....but every morning she carefully applies makeup and perfume.


    She has joined ROTC this year....and we have tried to help her get ready for this course by encouraging her to take a little better care of herself, keeping herself neat, taking extra-good care of the uniform, etc--and of course she refuses to listen--it's another twenty rounds about how husband and I know nothing and she'll do what she wants...

    She wore the Class C uniform on Friday night with the shirt all cinched up under her breasts like it was a skimpy belly-shirt. husband was really offended (having been in the military himself) and they went twenty rounds over whether it was OK to wear the uniform like that. (After she made a huge fuss about it, she must have decided that husband was right after all because she later very quietly unrolled and untied the shirt....and pretended that was how she meant to wear it all along.)

    Today she has some sort of ROTC function after school--she went off to school looking like garbage--and if she gets spoken to about her appearance for ROTC I am sure that somehow, that too, it will be all my fault.

    And you know, I get so tired of caring and trying to be a good Mom....

    And this morning, I wonder why I even bother at all.

    Thanks for listening...

  2. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can hear how weary you are.

    Leave the ROTC stuff on the back burner. The military guys there will deal with her just fine, trust me! After a few times of having to run laps or some other not so fun punishment from them, she will keep that uniform spic and span. We had to dry clean my sons every other week!

    And Im betting the first time or two a boy tells her he would be interested in her if she didnt stink, well, she will get the message on washing up.
  3. compassion

    compassion Member

    In my experince, trying to CHOOSE BATTLES. I am more and more tryiing to let others raun throse biggies. After homeschooling, she is going to shcool for the first time since age 7. I am RELIEVED. There is dress code. I relaly try not to lecture,etc. etc. I try not to react. At her shocol, there is a dress code. She cannot smoke, etc.
    These are my biggies currently (I have muliple therapists,and support groups to back me up): tke medications equals gets money, communicate daily with us, blackmail , manipulation,badgering WILL NOT prodcue results. Currently, it is getting her to school. It is an alternaive /diversion program. They have levels/conswuences and I DO NOT HAVE TO DO IT ALL 24/7.
    For me, defining what is curcilly important,sticking with that. Plus, I am try to focus on pistives: bring her the puppies. She is great with animals. She is exercisign again which is wonderful for her. She loves music. Stay positive.
  4. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I will admit that after 19 years I have finally given up the battle of please wash. That's it. I'm done. So join me now. :whiteflag:

    I figured at some point peer pressure would play a major role in - OMG you are so nasty. You smell like poop, cheese, toots, sweat, B.O., butt, or a combination of all the above and it would drive the masses so far away that even Febreeze or that stuff coroners put under their noses to keep the stench of rotting corpses out of their nasal passages would help.

    But nae - I pray thee - is my child allergic to soap, wash cloths, water, bath mats, shower curtains, or tile? Did I not try to make bath-time fun with shower crayons, bubble bath, fruit scented shower soap that gagged me? I found myself asking him over and over? Wouldst thou prefer to bathe thyself outside with a hose? ('cause you stink so bad man you are NOT foulin' up our bath) and then we have to consider that there is no amount of Mean Green or CLR that will clean a tub after he's out of it.

    I mean for the love of laundry - When they did the little Shout, and Oxy clean commercials I used to sit there and cry thinking you guys have NO idea what nasty is. I could wash his clothes twice - and the only thing that helped was 20 mule team Borax. How sad is that? It takes a team of twenty donkeys to pull the stink out of your clothes? Just sad. :( Gee, Haw...giddy up.

    And dress code? Well - I have to go with Janet on the Hoochie Momma vs. the ROTC drill Sgt. there. Let the chips fall where they may - because I just can't see her marching with a mid-driff and belly jewels while everyone else is crisp - and pleated. So that's one I'd let go.

    Dude now WILL wash his hands etc. but has chosen to grow his fingernails out so long it's annoying and he stands there and flicks and clicks. Makes me nuts. I swear if he falls asleep? I'm clipping. Nasty. And he purposely points with the longest one. We figure it's a brain itcher. :sick:

    Hygiene seems to be a battle that we loose no matter how hard we try. I basket B'd it for a long time, Peer pressure took over for a while...depression sets in, he goes back to nasty boy and then I loose the battle all over. I figure if he's happy with himself and isn't riding on my cloth seats? Whatever. IF he does come to the house? I throw sheets over stuff when he's in pig-pen mode. When he smells I hit the room with Febreeze and he gets it too. Lately he's been pretty good - at 19 I hope so. HE got a LOT of Axe spray & shower gel for his birthday - you would THINK that says something. lol.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well...Cory used to be pretty bad about washing up until puberty hit and he noticed He could shower ten times a day if I let him. I have no idea how often he does at his house. I do know he will keep his clothes awful darned clean unless they are his fishing or work clothes. He has some ratty stuff but his nice things are impeccable.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    It sounds like she has some "favorite" clothing items, since she is seeking them out in the dirty laundry. Have you considered perhaps buying more than one of the same shirt/pants/etc. that she likes so that there is a backup when one is dirty? I know that sounds a little ridiculous, but sometimes we have to come up with a creative solution that is a little outside the bounds of what we consider "normal" -- 'cuz the behavior is not normal, obviously, so the solution may need to match.

    If the school has a dress-code policy (which I'll bet it does), you can take the power struggle and shift the authority over to that written policy. Post it on the wall at home where she can see it. Highlight it. Enlarge it. Have her read it and sign it. And then any time there is any argument over her wardrobe selection, simply point to the policy. If she still persists, maybe call the school and talk to whomever is responsible for enforcing the policy and let them know what you are dealing with. Perhaps they can have a conference with her and remind her of the consequences for violating the policy.

    Our middle school will call home for parents to bring a more appropriate outfit for the student to wear. The student can earn a suspension if they don't cooperate. And a suspension would have its own consequences.

    But before things get so drastic, maybe just helping her out with a backup shirt/skirt/whatever of the same item will solve the problem of her impatience with waiting for things to get washed.

    Another idea is to have her help more with the laundry. If there's something she wants to wear and it's really dirty, teach her to run a load of wash so that she can take control of the situation herself. If she's not thinking ahead to the next day, help her put together a checklist for what to do the day before and see if you can work on getting her to follow that. It won't happen over night. But choosing the outfit would be part of that checklist, and if it's not remotely clean, addressing that problem would be a task for that day before.

    Just some thoughts... good luck!
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    You guys are the best! Thanks so much for listening and offering advice....

    The most frustrating part of all of this, of course, is the fact that we thought we had done a good job preparing difficult child for school. I had asked both children to please bring out everything they planned on wearing for school this year so that we could ensure that they each had plenty of everything, and that any item ripped, torn, too small or whatever was culled from the wardrobe. As a result of this "wardrobe preview" we discovered that DS was short on decent pants and no problem! A-shopping we go.

    difficult child, meanwhile, was double-stocked on EVERYTHING and so we just added new jeans and tops to the mix. AND she actually does own several favorite items that are nearly identical--so if one dark blue tee is in the wash, she should be able to wear the other one. The fact that clothing is continuing to be a problem is MIND-BOGGLING. It makes me think it's really not a clothing issue at all...

    And that short skirt (and other hussy-wear ) that she screamed about? For all of her yelling and screaming, she even refuses to wear THAT. husband had actually offered her that particular skirt this morning as a compromise to get her to put on something clean. Here, why don't you wear this skirt you love so much?

    The school supplies battle went the same way. difficult child is in high school now--so I knew there wouldn't really be a "supply list" until the first day of class. She kept yelling that we needed to go shopping for her supplies. I said we WOULD--the first week of class. Then even though this kid never likes bringing home books or homework, she decided she couldn't go to school without a particular bookbag (never mind that it was teeny-tiny AND she has a perfectly good backpack already) so she fussed and fought about that.

    So when we finally got the supply list--it turned out that the notebooks and such that I had already stocked up on were plenty. So the only thing she says she needs now is a "thumb drive". Well, I never heard of a "thumb drive" so we asked if the teacher didn't mean a "flash drive"---and she's yelling and yelling that she needs a "thumb drive". ???? I'd be happy to buy it, if I knew what it was....

    So I'm not sure if this is a "choose your battles" situation as much as it is a "difficult child is going to take every opportunity to be difficult" situation.

    by the way--if anyone is familiar with a "thumb drive"....please let me know what it is that I'm supposed to be buying.

    Thank you!

  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Daisy - thumb drive and flash drive are the same thing. So no worries there, just go buy a USB flash drive.

    If she gives you **** about it, get one of the salespeople. Put it on them.

    SNICKER! Go get 'er!
  9. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    DF -- Thumb Drive is the same as a USB Flash Drive. Google it and there's lots of references to it. It's an older term, but yes, it's the same thing you are thinking of. :)
  10. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member


    This is a good opportunity to let someone else -- the school and the ROTC officers -- be the "bad guys" for a change. Once you explain the dress code to her, it's her responsibility to live by it. And if she doesn't, the authorities will let her know about it and enforce the consequences! Other people (not just parents) make rules too, and they will not be amused by the antics of a difficult child. It's a good lesson.

    My difficult child isn't too bad about hygiene, but when he does stink, I let him know gently, and I always add, "I just want to tell you before someone else does."

    I also started having difficult child do his own laundry a couple of years ago. It's good training for being out on his own, and if the shirt he wants to wear isn't clean, he has only himself to blame -- not me. He has his own hamper in his room, and he does dig clothes out of it to wear, but I try to just let it go.

    I'm always clean and well-groomed, and I figure that if he is not, at his age, it reflects badly on him and not me.

    All that said, I know it's frustrating when they can't even seem to do the minimum. ((( Hugs!!!! )))
  11. Babbs

    Babbs New Member

    For years my difficult child would change from PJ's to street clothes and not change his briefs. Yuck! And he hates cleaning himself after a BM and so oooo yuck! After years of harrassing him (to the point difficult child has colored briefs and SO checks which color they are before he goes to change clothes) we stumbled upon a class at the local rec center called "Young Ladies and Gentlemen" - a one day etiquette class. And hearing from someone else other than me and SO about hygiene and other kids not wanting to be near difficult child when he smells made a bigger impression than all the nagging I ever did. difficult child finally stopped fighting changing briefs in the morning - all SO has to do is remind him occassionally about what the teacher said.

    Although I'm tempted to sign difficult child up for it again - he can't seem to remember that dirty fingers at the dinner table get wiped on a napkin and not his hair, his clothes or the tablecloth!
  12. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Thanks Step and GCVMoM!

    We had kind of figured that it MUST be a USB Flash drive--but difficult child was still insisting that is had to say "Thumb Drive" and not something else. And hey, I'm the first to admit that I am not a computer I could have been mistaken.

    Maybe we'll go to Stapls and let THEM explain it to her!
  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    What a great class! I'm sure that lots of kids (and not just difficult children) would benefit.

    Too bad I've never seen it offered here...

  14. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I have an interesting update....

    When I started this thread I was really just hoping for a few "Hang in there"s, or "Hope things will get better soon"s. But instead, everyone responded with some really practical ideas and suggestions.

    And as I thought about everyone's comments--I realized that I had already tried a lot of these myself (having duplicate items, making sure difficult child had a large mix-n-match wardrobe selection, making sure laundry was always done within a few days, etc). I began to wonder if we were all thinking about the situation a little too 'logically' and not enough 'difficult child'?

    So that night at the dinner table, I tried to talk to difficult child about her clothes situation. She was immediately defensive and accused husband and I of all kinds of things that had nothing to do with anything. So I told her that I wanted to avoid any more morning meltdowns over clothes, so we were going to pick out some outfits now. I made her get all of the clothes that she had originally brought to the "before school wardrobe inspection" (and naturally this took a lot of anger and stomping around--and how come I have to get all my shirts? etc)

    Finally, difficult child is seated in the midst of, I kid you not, enormous piles of shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, pants, skirts, dresses etc. I say to her, OK--let's see if we can decide on an outfit for tomorrow. She responds "I can't. All my clothes are in the laundry."

    Talk about a "disconnect"!!!! And she's really angry that I can't seem to understand that she has no clothes!!!

    I plead with her to try and find an outfit. Finally she grabs a flouncy skirt and pairs it with a tattered black sweatshirt. "There" she says "That's the only thing that matches." Except, of course, that it doesn't.

    We try again. I pick up a casual white skirt that would look great with just about anything. Flustered, she looks around and finally decides that the only thing that would go with the white skirt is her old art smock from gradeschool. Are you kidding me?!?!???? The art smock?

    So I begin pairing up outfits for her. Look, the white skirt matches with your pink tee, and your red tee, and your striped green tee (and on and on and on). Then onto another item...Look at this, it matches with this and this and this and this and this. Look here--this goes together, that goes together....

    difficult child was dumbstruck.

    To think that all these years she's been having meltdowns and angry fits about clothing, when all along the trouble has been that she has no idea how to choose an outfit. I even discovered that she doesn't "get" colors. I told her to pair something with her black, striped skirt. She had no idea what I meant because she couldn't tell that the skirt was black. Because of the stripes, she didn't know what color it was at all.

    It seems that difficult child understood that jeans match with T-shirts....and once she wore the jeans and threw them in the wash--she couldn't wear any tees with anything else. Same with a pair of shorts--they went with a particlur shirt....and if either one was dirty, there was no other option.

    I am so bringing this up with the new psychiatrist. Mood disorder my a**!!!

  15. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Isn't it interesting when we figure out what an issue really is?

    Good idea bringing it up with psychiatrist. Jett doesn't care what he wears with what, so when we need him to match, we help.

    Sorting laundry - if something has, say, a light color and a dark one - he has no idea which pile to put it in. So I told him... Always put it in the darker pile. So if it's light green and white, it goes in the light colors, but if it's red and light blue, it goes in the darks. And I don't fix it for him unless he puts jeans in the darks. And then I don't tell him! It's just not worth it. He's trying and that is all I ask.

    Maybe on the tags you can put letters - like all the shirts that will go with a skirt are "A", and the skirt and pants that will go with the shirts are "B". Maybe.

    The other thing is... Tell her what I told Jett... Cover your top, cover your bottom and who cares if it matches!
  16. graceupongrace

    graceupongrace New Member

    Wow! Great job, DaisyFace!

    Here's an idea that might help her: Lay the outfits you suggested out and take a photo of each one, then print the photos out and put them in a binder that she can keep in her room. When she doesn't know what to wear, she can look in the binder and pick out an outfit, knowing that the pieces go together.

  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Grace - I LOVE YOUR IDEA!
  18. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    She needs Garanimals! I like the photo idea or you could make up your own edition of Garanimals for her by getting some iron on tape in various colors. Say black, white, red, pink, yellow, purple, blue, green, and orange.

    Then cut them in small squares. On her pants iron on the color squares that the tops would go with. Say if you have a pair of pants that would go with a black square top and a green square top and a pink square top, iron in those squares.

    Just keep doing it. It will make it easier for her to grab a top out of the closet and see that on the inside color she has an orange square so she needs to find a bottom that also has an orange square. Taadaa...she matches!
  19. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Sounds like you made a crucial discovery. Poor kid, she has probably stressed a LOT over the clothing stuff.

    You did a great job catching that glitch in her wiring.

    Has she ever been tested for color blindness or other visual problems a standard eye exam would not cover? Given this new knowledge, a visual therapist might be able to really help her.
  20. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I think you are exactly right! It IS a crucial discovery about a glitch her her wiring. No she has never been tested for anything (this is just a parenting problem, remember?)...

    And truthfully, we might never have caught it because clothing is not one of the battles that I have chosen over the years. Getting dressed has been a struggle forever. And I have been trying to solve it by taking her shopping, letting her pick the clothes, making sure everything she has is mix and match so that she has as many options as possible and I always keep up with the laundry....

    The fact that she was continuing to yell and scream and tantrum and accuse (You didn't get me any clothes! You never do the laundry!) was just mind-boggling....and so I tried not to make an issue of it. Just put something on--I have made a thousand helpful suggestions but if all you will wear is a dirty t-shirt and jeans then so be it.

    husband is the one who finally decided he was going to actually battle about the clothing by forbidding her from digging through the dirty clothes hamper... And he was not about to back down so I needed to find some sort of solution so the police would not be at my door when the situation exploded into a full-blown violent rage.

    Who knew?

    So far, the tdocs and psychiatrists have been looking at this as a child who is now suffering from a mood disorder because of being raised by strict and overbearing parents....

    I contend that the parents have been long-suffering over a child with an underlying developmental problem that causes frustration which is expressed through anger and violent rages..

    We have our second appointment with the new psychiatrist tomorrow--

    I wonder which way she will see it?