Dear Mr. Hutten:
I would like to speak with you on the phone. To be worth doing at all it will entail some time commitment (say an hour minimum). Are you willing to do this? Would you be willing to make a phone date so I will be sure to have the time free? During school
hours is best.
==> Due to the sheer volume of OPS members I respond to on a daily basis, it would be best to communicate via email.
I have had a lot of success using NVC (non-violent communication) and imagine your program could be integrated into what I already do. The family situation is difficult legally and every other way. You may think you've heard it all but I bet this one has a few new kinks. Actually the child's behavior is not all that bad compared to what I'm reading from other parents. I've done a not bad job I think under extraordinarily bad circumstances.
The biggest mistake I' made was not to sue for guardianship when both of her parents were certifiably incompetent. Instead I kept trying to prop them up, hoping for eventual help and that the kid would have at least parents she could know instead of a vacuum.
But things are at a very critical point right now where poor choices could have far reaching ill effects for her life and education.
In terms of what I've read on your web site: she's moved out from the stricter gramma (me) to the indulgent parent (her dad) who left her with whoever for 6 weeks until she swallowed a bottle of aspirin to get his attention. She's back with him now. She comes by my place to use the computer almost daily. I need to return to my home in CA (she likes it there by the way) for many reasons and want to get her completely out of her present environment. I think that below her anger she knows she's better off with me. i want her to come back with the willingness to accept me as her legal guardian even to the point of filing a petition herself which she can now do in california (at age 12).
Her stated reason for leaving is that she can't stand me; that I don't care about her and any statement i may make about the deep love that I have for her is derided as BS. These ideas border on delusional. it is opposite to what she was saying 2 years ago and I have
very moving statement which she wrote at that time as to why she wanted me for her guardian. She will say that she was lying she always hated me etc. this just isn't true. She's in deep pain and needs a way out. I can help her if she will just cooperate a little.
In your view do I have to wait for her to blow up with her dad or is there some way I can reach her now? I'm afraid if I leave town interference from outsiders will prevent my knowing what's going on and will discourage her from calling. That's what happened
with her suicide attempt. It was just by chance I found out.
==> It sounds like you will have to wait for her to be in a severe state of "needing to reach out" to you before she will be ripe for a "live-in" relationship with you.
On paper I have physical custody and her dad has legal custody, since a year or so ago. She is very very smart. Smart enough to figure out what she needs but will she figure in time? Her defiant behavior seems really compulsive to me. Like she knows it's not what
she really wants but she MUST rebel and side with her "friends". These are in part adult "friends" in there 20's 30's who along with her dad have fomented the rebellion as it were. I need to get her out of town and willingly. She has been very conflicted over her family situation for years and i think maybe the defiance, flat out and non negotiable shored up with a lot of anger is a way out of inner conflict. Any suggestions?
==> Let her know she is always welcome to come live with you as long as she is willing to abide by your house rules.
In general my approach with her has been like reeling in a fish only in reverse: trying to keep just enough tension on the line to give her the security of feeling some control and boundaries and reeling it out as fast as she can handle the responsibility. There are some very practical reasons for this: mainly i am 63 years old and there are no other family members remotely able to take over. Also it works real well. She responds well to real challenge. Again my problem is getting her dad out of the way. He is clueless.
Her dad is a marijuana dealer and heavy user. I have off and on for years debated making an anonymous phone call to try to have him busted. I hesitate for two reasons: (1) it makes me feel like a mean person; I favor legalization and to my knowledge he doesn't
handle the hard stuff. But it brings him in contact with people who do. It makes him a pitiful excuse for a dad and no role model for anybody. But I have a hard time with the idea of sending him up just to get him out of the way. (2) more importantly I don't think it in the child's best interest to have her dad in prison, to possibly ever know I blew the whistle even if he got off without serving time, which I think would be the most likely outcome.) I have been told that kids with parents who go to prison are statistically far more likely to do so themselves and part of what i am sensing with him is that he would
not be sorry to see her adopt his lifestyle.
I am fed up with trying to work with her dad. The personal/cultural differences are too great and I have been trying for 10 years.
Any opinions here?
==> Again, I think until her father "has had enough" and is willing to work with you rather than against you, your hands are tied.
==> Yes... but due to time constraints, we will do best to communicate via email.
AND do you know of anyway to disable MySpace without disconnecting from the internet? It is a Really Bad Thing. My kid started at 10 (at the instigation of one of those 20 something "friends") and then the cat was out. If you don't already understand the damage this thing (and other copy cats) are doing don't get me started. Just start looking at what's happening.You'll see.
==> At this time, she really should not have computer privileges. Here's parental control software to use if you want to continue to allow computer privileges, however ==> PC Tattletail.
This is what we use at our house. I think it is probably the best one out there.