Pack her suitcase for her...
After receiving your email, I did go through some of the points in your book, etc. I know most of it is a “tough love” method, etc. and I do understand that. Well in follow up to my last email to you, our daughter went camping with friends last Saturday and lied about where she would be. She was in the same vicinity, but we did not know where. When she called me on Sunday morning (father’s day) and she told me she’d be doing this a lot, camping every weekend with friends, etc., I told her this wasn’t going to fly, I don’t know where she is and I can’t trust her and that possibly I would allow it here and there and on exceptions, but not every weekend. Well, of course, she freaked out and then I heard the old phrase “all the other parents don’t care”, to which I always reply “they don’t care as much as me, I do care about you” and no one’s mother would be checking on them, etc.
She didn’t come home Sunday night, basically because she didn’t like what I said, and she didn’t come home Monday night. My husband called and left messages on her voicemail, because she didn’t pick up her phone, and told her to come home, that this was unacceptable, all the same stuff we’ve said, and the next morning he called her again and told her he’d shut her phone off if she didn’t call, and THEN she called, of course.
She was gone that night too, he told her to be in early evening to talk to us. Well she came home and was here a little while after she worked, talked to her sister about how she was off “dirt biking”, etc., with no remorse, nothing said to me, etc. and I couldn’t believe this, I just stood there and started saying, you have to leave, you have to live somewhere else, you have no respect or consideration for us, any of us, I will not take this abuse any more, I’m stressed out to the max, I have three other kids and a husband to take care of, you HAVE to go, I was very clear. This was a turning point for me.
Well, she left to go to work and, so, I put her suitcase on the front porch so she would realize we were done and she had to wake up and stop acting like this. So her father waited up for her until 1:30 a.m. and she did not come home. The next day, my husband told her that we had had it, she had to go, but if she changed her ways, she was always welcome home. We had to do this, because she has nowhere to go, except stay with friends, and it is scary throwing your child out on the street.
Well, she came and got her suitcase that day around 4:30. I just saw her leave in her car, no words were exchanged and it was very emotional. Well, by Friday, she had called a friend of ours saying she wanted to come home and that if he’d call her father (never me) and see if we’d let her come home, etc. Her father called her and told her it had to be under totally different circumstances, that she had to be respectful, etc., yada yada yada, the same old stuff, and he said she seemed to be truly upset and moved.
When she came home, she came into the kitchen and said “Sean (this friend) and dad wanted me to come home.” I said, “Do you want to be here?” And she said, “Well, yeah, and I don’t have any money or anywhere to live”. Not the “hat in your hand” attitude I was expecting. Well, we talked a few minutes, she was the same, she was still blaming me for the first time she ran away on her eighteenth birthday, and I told her the second time she pulled this stunt, I would pack her a suitcase, and that’s what we, I said “WE” had done. So it just starts all over again.
She showered, put her suitcase in her bedroom, watched t.v. with us for a little while (which was a token thrown at us) and then went out with her friends until curfew. Yesterday was the same thing, she got up, left with friends, and came in to shower and left again until curfew. Today she got up, didn’t eat with the family when we called the kids for breakfast, instead, left with friends, when I told her to unpack her suitcase, she flung me a nasty stare and said she’d do it later, etc. like always, with her mean looks and no respect attitude. She came home around 6:00 p.m. to wash her car (her best friend) and then when she went to leave again at 9:00 p.m., she said she was going to meet Joe and then Greg, etc. and out to curfew.
I have to tell you, I’m at my wit’s end. I don’t know what to do with this kid. I did tell her Friday that one of the conditions that her father and I have decided is that she has to seek counseling because of her ADHD or possible BiPolar disorder. I’m going to find her a new doctor (the old one doesn’t do kids over 18) and she has got to try another medication so she has a normal thinking pattern and has a normal life. This is so difficult for me at this point. I was fine with her gone, yes, I worried, but I knew she’d have friends to stay with for a while, I thought it was too soon, she hadn’t reached a turning point, she hadn’t reached the bottom yet, I thought another week might have made a different, maybe sleeping in her car a few nights, etc. So, here we are, back to square one. My husband thinks this is going to happen a few times before she gets it, but what he has to realize is that I can’t take the stress any more. Any input? I definitely need input.
Yes ...I’ve got input. You were on the right track when you made her leave. You got off track again when you let her back in. She should be able to visit, but she needs to be out on her own. She will not change otherwise. How much longer will you tolerate her disrespect? Haven’t you wasted enough time and energy trying to change her?
If you want to see significant, long-term change, pack her suitcase for her.
My favorite statement from a mother (and member of Online Parent Support) who was going through a similar deal with her daughter was when she said, “Turn in your house key …you’re washed-up as a ‘live-at-home’ daughter.”