Very few consequences

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by susiestar, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have a very strong feeling my difficult child will receive very very few consequences for the theft. I know that my suggestions have been taken as "too harsh" for a little theft. What is a "little" theft?

    I thought that weekly mowing with no financial compensation for several months was getting off easy.

    The therapist who treated him/us for a long time felt we should press charges.

    My mom just felt violated.

    My dad was "lost", but felt that "all" teens nowadays steal from their parents. So any long-term or "major" consequences are "too much".

    I don't even want to know. I do know that if they don't do some real consequences involving hard physical labor, well, next time they can't send him here. I will say no. If husband says yes, well, he can then pay spousal and child support.

    I spent more time, energy, and everything figureing out what is going on with difficult child, and then treating it than any other person. Every single thing I suggest is ridiculed, or I am told is not appropriate.

    As this is the case, they can ALL just handle him without me. PERIOD.

    I love him, but I will only tolerate so much.

    No more feeling guilty because he doesnt' "live with us". He is in the lap of luxury and has much lower academic expectations and is PAID for contributing to the family. This is my parents' choice. I won't own guilt for having them raise this child. I appreciate it, to a point.

    I truly think difficult child would have done better if we had gone through the courts and gotten him into an Residential Treatment Center (RTC). But there is very little I can do.
  2. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    What a hard place to be in.

    You're right, tho, you can't be guilty for things difficult child does and what others allow him to do. And sadly, you're probably right that if he doesn't get some sort of eye-opening punishment for this, it may well open the door for more. But you didn't do it.

    You do what you can, and that's what you've done, and you've done a good job.

  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can hear your frustration and I don't blame you. Unfortunately, your parents will probably have to learn the hard way about the stealing. Sending gentle hugs your way.
  4. Jena

    Jena New Member


    I"m sorry to hear you are having such a hard time

    I"m just sending you a hug

    Jen :)
  5. ChefPaula1965

    ChefPaula1965 Oh my aching back!!

    I am SO sorry this is happening to you.. I am sending you gentle hugs and prayers are going to heaven for you and your family..
    Trust me, I don't just understand your situation.. and have not just been there done that... I am in the same boat right with you right now.. some different events.. but more or less the same..
    I stinks living like this.. I am so sorry.
    Hugs Paula
  6. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    The problem with consequences is the focus is now on the consequences done to him , maybe what happens to him if he steals , but in no way does it deal with the issue of what type of person he wants to become , reflecting on his own self respect , his values . Consequences are important - the ones that show how one's actions impact on others , being caring and having empathy. People don't hurt others or steal because of the consequences but rather they have developed a sense of empathy , not wanting to do to others that one would not like done to oneself , it is because they have self respect. As one therapist said to a kid - you said you won't do it again because you are afraid of the consequences , that won't stop you , the only thing which will stop you is developing a self respect , that you are a person who cares about others , has a self respect and values.

    'In an illuminating passage from her recent book Learning to Trust (2003), Marilyn Watson explained that a teacher can make it clear to students that certain actions are unacceptable while still providing “a very deep kind of reassurance – the reassurance that she still care about them and [is] not going to punish or desert them, even [if they do] something very bad.” This posture allows “their best motives to surface,” thus giving “space and support for them to reflect and to autonomously engage in the moral act of restitution” – that is, to figure out how to make things right after doing something wrong. “If we want our students to trust that we care for them,” she concludes, “then we need to display our affection without demanding that they behave or perform in certain ways in return. It’s not that we don’t want and expect certain behaviors; we do. But our concern or affection does not depend on it.”

    This is the heart of unconditional teaching, and Watson points out that it’s easier to maintain this stance, even with kids who are frequently insulting or aggressive, if we keep in mind why they’re acting that way. The idea is for the teacher to think about what these students need (emotionally speaking) and probably haven’t received. That way, she can see “the vulnerable child behind the bothersome or menacing exterior.” '
  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I just disagree with Allen on this subject. Consequences do keep people from doing negative things. If we touch the stove when we know its hot and it burns us...well that is a negative consequence that we learn we dont want to repeat. We know or are told that if you drive recklessly that you could well get stopped by the cops and receive a ticket. You have the choice of understanding that and driving correctly or driving the way you want and getting a ticket.

    Most things in life have a consequence...good or them. If you go to work and do your job well, you are kept on in the job and paid. If you dont do your work you get fired. There are many actions that a person may want to do but they know they are illegal and could land them in hot water so they dont do them. I would love to go to the grocery store and just walk out without paying for my items but its illegal and I would go to jail. Since I dont want to go to jail, I pay for my items.

    If we dont teach the negative consequences of actions to our kids then they will hit the adult world without understanding how things work. No one else cares if they understand or learn empathy for the person they are acting out against...they do a crime or say something ugly and they will reap the consequences. The real world isnt going to coddle them or try to compromise with them. Rules are rules.
  8. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    In some ways I agree with Allen-Matlem. MY values keep me from doing many things, regardless of the consequences.

    The problem is that my difficult child simply doesn't think that way. It is terribly morally wrong for someone to take something of his, but morally fine for him to take something of anyone else's. He has a whole different way of thinking about things. A way that is totally incomprehensible to me.

    Experience with this child has shown that ONLY having consequences involving hard PHYSICAL labor make a difference in his future behavior. It took HUNDREDS of hours of yard work in the HOT sun (with adequate breaks and water - NOT abuse, just work) to teach him that he could not beat someone into doing what he wanted.

    I just feel so discouraged, like I have failed in parenting him. And I simply cannot take him home - the risk of harm to my other children is far too great. I have to let go and let God in this case.
  9. ChefPaula1965

    ChefPaula1965 Oh my aching back!!

    Oh No Susie!
    Don't blame yourself. With children like ours, we could give them the moon and bend over backwards and it still would make NO diference at all... As sad as it is to say.. I am glad that still have "enough" control over him that last summer you could make him work.. You are a wonderful lady, and a great friend.. The outcome of our difficult children dsnt have much to do with parenting .. or us being good parents and showing good examples... they just "live in a different world". This is a world that is egotistical, that sees absolutely no harm in ones self but is quick to judge others as well as to take matters into one's own hands... (does this sound familiar?)
    Give yourself a great big hug from me