Need Advice

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by WiltedFlower, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. WiltedFlower

    WiltedFlower Guest

    Need some advice. This is very very long – thanks for reading!

    I have been a member of this site off and on for a long time under different user names. Now my step-children are both out of the home....but still our children. My GFGSD is turning 18 in two weeks. She is a Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) child with various other mental issues, and we have gone through the wringer with her. Everything possible that could happen, has.

    My husband and I have raised her from the time he split with BM at the age of 5. Around 15, she made a false report of abuse against me (the second one) and we decided to have her go live with BM which has been a disaster of huge proportions. Prior to leaving our home, we experienced the manipulation, stealing, lying, sneaking out, drug use (minor – compared to the other things) and heaven knows what else we never knew. She had been suspended from school several times and there was a suicide attempt and hospital stay at the age of 14. She has been in therapy from the age of six and on various medications throughout her life. She in no way wants to help herself and is very much an instant gratification/impulsive person (which is a disaster!).

    After living with her BM for about a year (where she had run away, caused them to be evicted from their home, was suspended from two schools and was arrested for shoplifting), I tried to help by getting her into a youth challenge program for at-risk youth. She was very ‘enthusiastic’ but only lasted a couple weeks...again – didn’t want to work for anything.

    So, after that we agreed to have her live in our home again. This was July of last year. By October, she had been suspended from the alternative high school we had her enrolled in, was planning on moving out of the home with a friend so they could live on their own (with us supporting her of course). She was stealing things from us, manipulating and lying as usual. Not to mention the absolute mess in her room including empty cans of food (eaten cold from the can) and other health hazards.

    It came to a head when she stole her brother’s (who was in Army boot camp at the time) digital camera. We said she was going back to her BM – she said no – I will not go back there, I am leaving – her Dad said “Fine” – she left.

    There begins the last chapter. She goes to stay with a friend and then tries to enroll in a public high school, tells them she is homeless and her father kicked her out. She ends up in the “System” and husband and BM are charged with abandonment! (which is a whole other story – but now we owe the state about $10,000 for her ‘care’) She remains in the system until last April when she finally goes back to BM (who has had full physical and legal custody of her since she was 15). She has not been back in school until a few weeks ago – and is already suspended, no job, no driver’s license, had an affair with a married 33 year old man, is doing drugs (cause “it helps to calm her” – but she won’t take her regular medications). Five trips to the hospital – two resulting in 3 or more day stay. Non-compliant with medications....and...

    She wants to come live with us as her BM is kicking her out when she is 18.

    She will get some services from the state as she was in the system – but she needs to be in School working towards a diploma or GED – but how can she do that if she keeps getting suspended (all of which is not her fault, of course).

    My Mommy heart wants to bring her into our home and ‘fix’ everything. My heart thinks I will get a completely different kid – one that wants to work towards being a responsible adult and do the right thing. But my brain knows I will get GFGSD and all the problems/issues included and she just wants me to fix it for – doesn’t want to do any work and doesn’t think she should have to.

    She is ‘scared’ now cause 18 is right around the corner and she is so not prepared. She may have a place to stay with a friend from her Church (the church people think her parents have abandoned her and are horrible...she is such a good liar/manipulator!) but really – nothing for sure or permanent. I don’t know what to do – should we just let her be homeless? My husband is SO against having her in our home due to the stress and havoc she causes – not to mention the stealing us blind and eating us out of house and home. He is also very concerned about the drugs (as am I).

    Suggestions? She has only been back in our home two or three times since she left last October. husband is so against it due to her sneaky behavior. The state sees him as being unsupportive of is so frustrating that they know all her tricks – but still tell us – she is your daughter and you have to do this and that – but where does the support end and the enabling start?

  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Honestly, given the history, I would not be inclined to let her live with you again, unless you think she is likely to abide by a written lease/contract with you. One that includes rules like no drugs, mandatory school attendance, curfews, respectful behavior, etc. It doesn't sound like she's likely to abide by that, however, it sounds like she's not even close to being ready to change her behavior.

    If she's got a tentative place to stay, let her follow through on that. I would provide her with a list of resources, and perhaps decide what you and your husband will and will not do to help her (i.e., help with groceries, buy her a bus pass, etc.). Many of our difficult children have a way of landing on their feet in times like this, even though we have visions of homelessness and sleepping on the streets, honestly, they can be darn ersourceful when push comes to shove. Remember she has chosen this path through her own behavior and treatment of others, and these are natural consequences.

    Hard as it is, do your best to not think about what other people think of you ... they are only being told one side of the story and have NOT been in your shoes, so they have no idea what you've truly dealt with.
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Just Say NO!!!!

    Seriously. Given her history you already know she will not work to improve herself. 18 will only be scarey as long as she's not living with parents and has to take sole responsibility for her actions.

    She doesn't want to change. She simply wants a place to live.

    If you give her that place to live she is going to cause 10 times the amount of hades as ever because guess what? She's 18 and YOU can't tell her what to do anymore. And you'll be miserable and still nothing will have changed.

    Her actions and behavior got her into this. Let it be up to her to either fix it or not. Because as long as someone is rescuing her, she has no reason to even want to change.

    So? Your answer for when she asks you to come and stay? "Uh remember when you had both us and bio Mom charged with abandonment? Uh, no don't think so sweetheart."

    You've spent years trying to reach her, get her treatment, and help her. Once that magic 18th birthday happens..........from then on it's ALL up to her. You'll have to trust in your parenting and hope that at some point it will finally "click" for her and she'll turn around.

  4. You're so right VA... it seems this is the lesson I keep needing to learn.

    "Kids" today say "there will always be haters"
    I like to combine that with the saying from a few decades ago... "don't let the turkeys keep you down!"

    Flower, your experience with your step is scarily similar to our experience with our Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) adoptees!!!!

    Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) is the common factor of our experiences. Our Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids are behaving in perfect accordance with their mental illness.

    Our Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)-kids are enjoying their celebrity among our local church community so much so that they don't want to make it appear they have been lying. They have chosen not to have any form of contact with us.

    I figure once the local village imbeciles get tired of our Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD)-kid's clown act and elephant dung, the show will eventually close down.

    Hopefully then our RADs will be better able to step toward mental health.

    You are a step ahead of us with your Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kid. She's wanting to come home. At least that's what she thinks she wants.

    My faith teaches me that I need to forgive...

    My husband and I truly love these kids that are being so horrible to us.

    We look cautiously forward to what restoration of relationship will be like with our beloved barely adult children.

    We truly believe "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." And we know that for us, forgiveness is not optional.


    No (eternal) condemnation DOES NOT mean there are not earthly consequences.

    husband and I are prayerfully considering how we can tread the fine line of walking out our decision to forgive our RADkids ... and protecting ourselves.

    Just like there was NO INFORMATION for parenting young Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids when our older adoptee was diagnosed 15 years ago... there is currently NO INFORMATION (that I have been able to find at least) regarding successful parenting strategies for Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) in young adults. Our generation will be the ones educating those bravely loving and parenting Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) young adults of the future.

    I really believe (at this point anyway...) that "restoration" of whatever kind of relationship we can ever hope to have with our Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kids will most probably NEVER include having them live with us as adults.

    I believe that is a consequence that appropriately fits their Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) inspired choices to attack us.

    I believe it is beneficial to do everything you can to educate your step-daughter about her mental illness. There is so much information available.

    Sending hugs, encouragement and extra layers of rhino-skin.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    This is a natural consequence to all her actions. If she does not have to suffer from this natural consequence....when will she start?

    I do not think the best parenting move is to solve this problem for her. She has to work through it because she caused it.

    Do not expect her to be any different - her mother is kicking her out afterall! I am sure there is a reason (or many reasons) for that.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My feeling is that she is not going to change and may be even worse. You may hear "I am eighteen now so I can do what I want" even though she has no idea how to take care of herself. If you do take her back, have low expectations. Otherwise, you are going to be disappointed. Sadly, sometimes the kindest thing we can do for our challenged adult kids is to let them hit rock bottom and even that doesn't always work. (((Hugs))))
  7. This was our experience... ANNNND if you think various gov't services supported your Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) kid in her rebellion as a legal minor... wait and see the havoc 18+ years of RADkid can cause as a "legal adult" in your home!!!!

    Love your child... protect yourselves. I believe it can be done... can't say I know exactly how... yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!