Need Opinions on This Please

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by DaisyFace, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Little background:

    difficult child is 17 now and a senior in HS. (Can you believe it??)
    She does not drive and only recently got her cell phone back (and I'm regretting the cell phone already....sigh...)

    I work part-time about a mile from difficult child's school. We have made arrangements for difficult child to leave school and walk to my job each day.(And this is the south so weather is not an issue.) It takes her about 20 minutes to walk and then she sits with me for about 40 minutes at work and then we go home together. Sometimes her girlfriend J will give her a ride and that puts her at my job in about 5 minutes instead of 20. J is very nice and will often stay and chat a few minutes. This has been working just fine for almost two months.

    Now all of a sudden - this is a problem.

    difficult child can't seem to make it in 20 minutes any more. For some reason, she needs to get a ride from different guys and it takes twice as long for them to drive the one mile as it does for her to walk it. And there's always an explanation that doesn't make any sense: stuck in traffic, had to take a detour, had to wait around to figure out who could drive her, etc.

    And difficult child seems unable to answer simple questions like: who was that driving you? Uhhhh....she doesn't know - but so-and-so texted that he would drive. Why does he drop you off in the back of the building instead of the front where everybody parks and comes in? Uhhhh....he doesn't want to drive allll the way to the front door - it's too far. What were you doing in the back of the parking lot? Uh....listening to music?


    So obviously, difficult child is doing the wrong thing with people she shouldn't be hanging out with and she doesn't want me to see. I know this. She knows this.

    The situation is beginning to interfere with my job. Instead of working, I am now constantly looking out the window, checking my phone, trying to see any sign of difficult child. And as the time gets later and later and she still doesn't arrive, I get stressed out and aggravated. I am also embarassed that she may be sitting in a car with some guy in the corner of the back parking lot doing who-knows-what.

    I have already told her this needs to stop. She can come straight from school....but, of course, I have no actual, physical control of this.

    I'm thinking that for my own sanity, I should just tell her to forget coming to my job. She should just go do whatever it is she is doing and have uh....."whoever" drive her home later, after I get home from work.

    What do you think?
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    You can either let it go and tell her she has to make it home by herself or you can make a rule that she has to be at your workplace in twenty minutes if you do have some leverage. How about her phone? Does it have any parental controls or would she give it to you without major fight? I'm not talking about any big or long term punishments here but trying to wear her down. If she is not in your work place in twenty minutes, no phone (or something else) for day or two. She is still coming to your workplace and doing so before your workday ends so I would be tempted not to give up totally just yet.

    Yes, she is doing something she knows you wouldn't like with someone you wouldn't like, but at least she is still trying to hide it. That is still kid behaviour and I would most likely answer to that with parenting behaviour. If she would be bold enough to totally blow you off, when you really wouldn't have an option to even try parenting. It may well be that in the end you will have to give up anyway. But at least you did try and sometime that may ease your mind later.

    And not wanting to be crude but one thing to make sure would be that she is using reliable contraception and has an access to condoms.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    She is on the birth control implant. No idea whether she is using condoms to protect against STDs.

    The phone is not a consequence / deterrant for her. Way may end up taking it away again because she is not using it appropriately.
  4. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I would make sure she has both knowledge and possibility to protect herself against STDs too. We keep condoms in our bathroom in the jar. Enough and not in that kind of packets that it would be easy to see, if someone has taken them. That way we hope easy child dares to sneak some for himself if he needs to. While we wouldn't like our easy child to have sex yet, we do want him to be protected if he does.

    If phone doesn't work as leverage does something else? We tend to use electronics for this, phone, laptop or play station. With easy child also extra chores work, because he doesn't throw the fit, with difficult child that wasn't worth it. Idea is that it is something that stings a little but is not worth starting a WW3 for the kid.

    But if that is not possible, then it is probably best to give up and tell her, she has to make her own way back to home, if she doesn't start to show up in twenty minutes again.
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Boy I understand your worry, I would be reacting in much the same way. First of all, it sounds like typical teen behavior, which doesn't make you worry any less I know. I agree with SuZir, I wouldn't give up quite yet, whatever she is doing will only escalate if she has no boundaries from you. My first thought is for every minute that she is late, provide that amount of time as a punishment, for instance, 15 minutes late, 15 minutes of no cell phone, or 15 minutes of yard work, or whatever job you can find. 15 minutes of worry is a lot, it seems she should "pay back" that time some how so she is held responsible for her actions. After all, if she had a job and was 15 minutes late, there would be a consequence. The second thought I had was, can you leave work and pick her up each day and bring her back to your work and make up that time somehow? Or can you have a taxi pick her up and bring her to your work? Or someone reliable that you know pick her up each day? You might pay someone a small fee to do it if you knew anyone reliable you could trust. I don't know, to me it sounds like something to nip in the bud rather then allow to expand. You both know she's doing something she shouldn't.
  6. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Daisy - I agree wholeheartedly with you, but not sure I'm right. ;) I find I am letting more and more go with- the younger 2 kids now (Weeburt is a Sr., Diva a freshman). They're not difficult children, though certainly have some .... uh, challenging behaviors. Anyway, especially with a Sr. - it's time for them to start making their own choices most of the time, in my humble opinion. They're going to make some boneheaded ones, but... that's what we do when we're 17 to ?? (?50???, LOL). I honestly don't know if I'm loosening the reins because it's time for them to start directing their own lives or if it's because I'm so doggone sick of beating my head against the concrete walls that are my children that I've just given up.:capitulate:

    And actually, thinking about it... by this time with- thank you I was pretty detached. Granted, he wasn't living at home, but there comes a point when you have zero leverage and the kid is either going to make good choices or not, and they sure as heck aren't going to listen to any input you might have.

    On a hopeful note, after a couple of years of wrong choice after worse choice, thank you not only is making better choices but he actually asks for my opinion occasionally and actually *listens*!!! :woohoo:
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    The reason we made this arrangement is that difficult child is horrible at being where she is supposed to be. If I could leave work at pick her up at a precise time each day - that would be great and I would do it. The problem is, there is always some reason or another that difficult child cannot make it. Class ran late. Forgot something in her locker. So-and-so had to stop and talk about something. etc. I have spent more time sitting in front of that school while difficult child takes her sweet time....sometimes I have had to go into the building to find her....and sometimes I have just left without her.

    Having her meet me at work gives her time for whatever it is that makes her late. And a few minutes here and there does not bother me.

    It's this baloney hanging out with these guys who roll in with a beat up old car more than half-hour after school is out, drive around to the back, sit in the corner of the lot and then difficult child comes skulking in some time later. I see her in the back of the car. I walked around back yesterday (the guys were just leaving) and asked difficult child what the heck she was doing. "Oh....uh....I always hang out back here...."
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Yes - that's kind of where I am.

    And it's really bothering me that this stress is coming to my job. My job - where I am *not* viewed as the bad parent of a difficult child....where I get to interact with people I enjoy working with...where I am good at what I do.

    And now I'm making myself crazy with difficult child stuff because it's invading that space.

    So yes, I'm thinking about saying "Go do whatever the heck it is you are determined to do with whoever the heck you are determined to do it with - just keep it the heck outta my space!"
  9. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    At this point you need to do what works for you and your job.... so I think telling her to make her own way home is fine at this point. You dont have any control over what she does with the guys in the back fo the car and trying to control it, or watch it or whatever is getting to you. You have done what you can to prevent pregnancy which is good.... giving her access to condoms is a good idea although she still has to get the guys to use them.

    So I vote with letting her get herself home. I would think about wording it in a positive way rather than I give up I cant do this any more (even if that is how you are feeling). Something like, it is clear you want some independence and you are 17 so I think it would be a good time for you to find your way home after school. If you want a ride from me then you need to be here by such and such a time so that I know I am driving you home. I don't know something like that.

  10. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    I can only speak from my recent experience, but the problem with a difficult child is that they often completely blow the doors off typical teen behavior, and transition directly into whacked out totally incorrigible difficult child behavior. If we gave difficult child even a modicum of trust, he would find a loophole and breach that trust to our bafflement. His guidance counselor said that she "almost had to admire him" for creatively finding a way out of doing anything we or his teachers asked of him. we powerlessly watched him throw his future away. The problem was that he was 17 and still a minor when the worst behavior/lying, etc. occurred, so we were still responsible. He, like your difficult child, almost never drove our car - that was a given.
    If she doesn't meet you at work, will she go home to an empty house? If so, I wouldn't advise it. Although I worked from home, difficult child always found another empty sketchy friend's home to hang out and get high or in trouble before he came home to our house. If we texted him to come home, he'd ignore it. If we took his phone away, it was even easier for him to just take off, because then we couldn't even TRY to reach him. His friends were all at school, so he didn't need a phone to reach them. husband just gave up after a while - he was ultimately right, I guess. He said that when difficult child was home, he was miserable and contentious, unhappy and didn't do a lick of homework anyway. So why insist he come home?? 3:30 stretched to 5:00, then he would occasionally miss dinner, then he ALWAYS missed dinner, then he would show up at around 10PM. We just stopped interacting with him because it was no use. I admit it was a bit of a power struggle for me - I believe kids should do what their parents ask. difficult child gave up all sports and school clubs and got fired from his p/t job, so he had NO positive outlets to keep him busy in his free time. He was smart enough to just squeak by a passing grade, with all Ds and Cs so he technically graduated. difficult child was bound and determined to do just what he wanted to do, with whomever he pleased and he was on drugs and truly a hateful creature at that time. We had to alarm the house, dump all the liquor, hide wallets and purses, you name it. When he turned 18, boy did we lower the boom - that's another story, but I'd never want to relive those last 2 yrs. of HS.
    I guess a determined difficult child will find a way to break any ironclad rule or suggestion you throw at them. Does she have any after school activities such as sports, etc. to keep her busy till you get home? Can you talk to guidance and ask if she can volunteer as an office clerk, filing, etc. just till you get out of work and then you can pick her up and take her home? That won't work, of course, if she's chronically late and lackadaisical. If she is upsetting your very pleasant work environment and tossing a black cloud of worry over your job experience, then you'd have to decide whether it's worth it to just chuck the idea of her meeting you there and letting the chips fall where they may.
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, after reading your later posts it appears that you've already done everything one CAN do under the circumstances. She's invading your work space and worrying you about something you can't control, so yes, it seems the best recourse would be to let go of this plan and let her find her own way home. How long would she be 'alone' at home before you arrived? Will you be worried then about what she may be doing in your home for that hour or so? Will that be okay with you?
  12. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Might be time to tell her to be at work by your work end time or meet you at home. Does she have house keys?
  13. elizabrary

    elizabrary Member

    Here's what I would do. I used to do stuff like this with-Kat and it oddly worked. I still do it and she's frickin' 22. Anyway, tell her to go home after school. Then each day give her a list of 3-5 chores that have to be done by the time you get home. If she doesn't do them spell out the consequences in advance- loss of cell phone, don't give her any money, whatever. Ground her and if she leaves call the police and report her as a runaway, whatever you have to do. Then you have to follow through. At one point I took Kat's car away and she tried to say I couldn't because she had to go to work. I drove her and she said she would have her 22-year-old boyfriend (she was 16) pick her up. I went into her work and asked to speak to her manager. I told him if she left with anyone but me he needed to call me immediately as she would be considered a runaway and I would call the police. She stood there crying and calling me a *****. I didn't care. Nobody else picked her up from work. My point being, figure out what loopholes she will try to get through and have a plan to close them. These kids are geniuses at figuring out ridiculous ways around things. Good luck
  14. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I wouldn't go back to those days for all the tea in China. The problem whatever you do she will find someway around it. Any chance she is smoking pot in the cars that drive her to your work? That's what my difficult child was doing and would always come home late from school. Do you notice her chewing a lot of gum or spraying perfume around or using a lot of mouthwash?

  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Or plain smoking cigarettes. That helps mask the smell to lots of people if she smokes some types. Especially the tiny cigars.

    Im thinking more this is her having some type of sex with these guys even if it isnt full fledged all the way sex. It is dangerous anyway. You need to put her in the car and take a long drive on the interstate with the doors locked and give her a talk about STD's in graphic detail. If she is giving guys oral sex she can catch all sorts of horrible diseases that will stay with her forever. I think there is a good bit of info on That is based for teens I think. I see it advertised when I watch Teen Moms. If that isnt the website, then google teen moms and you can probably find it from there if not look up dr drew. It has to be somewhere around those sites.
  16. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    This is EXACTLY how I imagine it would ultimately play out. At first she would come home relative soon after school let out....then get later... and later... and later.... And then - why come home at all? Why follow any rules any where? And she'd be running all over town doing who-knows-what with who-knows-who...

    If she chooses not to cooperate with me - there is no good solution.
  17. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I don't *think* she is smoking pot (or anything else)...

    but, yes, she always seems to have candy, gum, and the perfume. I'll have to keep an eye on this...
  18. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    That's what I think, too, Janet. That it's more of a "Hey - you're my friend so I can hug, kiss, bump n' grind, feel ya up, and it's all in fun and doesn't mean anything..." situation. Clearly, these aren't guys she wants to introduce to me, so they can't be treating her with a whole lot of respect...
  19. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Thanks for all the replies!

    To answer a few questions - NO she does not have house keys (thank goodness!). And frankly, I can't imagine that she would be in a hurry to get home. If she knew I wouldn't be home for an hour or so, she'd stay out that whole time....if not longer.

    Thankfully, difficult child actually *walked* to my job today after school. And no, it didn't look like she was dropped off just around the corner or anything and just walked the last few yards. It was a warm afternoon, and she looked exactly as anyone would after a mile walk...slightly sweaty (not too sweaty)...little a little windblown (not too windblown)... So I was very happy to see that she had taken our talk yesterday seriously.

    For now, I did NOT tell her to find another way home. I did have a conversation with her about "adult relationships" and how adults treat other adults with respect for one another's feelings, finances, time and effort. I reminded her that her father and I are happy to support her positive actions. If we see that she is trying hard and keeping on the right path - we are happy to drive, pay for things, be there for her, etc. When parents try to offer postive support and end up feeling like they are being "played" - it hurts the relationship and makes the parents suspicious of offering more support.

    She seemed to understand what I was saying.

    I almost feel as if I am watching difficult child struggle between Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It's like she knows how she *should* be acting....but it's different than she *wants* to act.

    Today was a good day.

    We'll see if she can hold it spite of boys with cars.

    Thanks so much for all the good advice!
  20. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    It's sad how little self-respect most of our difficult children seem to have. Even those who seem to have awfully lot of grandiosity. And how easily they can be used by others. :sigh:

    And unfortunately there is very little we can do to help them and protect them when they get older.