Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 06:44 AM Thread Starter
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Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

(Didn't sleep last night, would be grateful for a sensible ear on this one).

Brief background

My niece (my brothers only child age 15)
Her mother is a very low functioning alcoholic, about 7 years ago she went on the run from social services after they attempted to take both my niece and her step sister into care. My niece has been sexually abused by her step dad (who was arrested and convicted to having indecent images on his computer). I also believe her mother is a prostitute. She has been physically assaulted and neglected by her mother. Her maternal grandmother emotionally abuses her. She is on the 'at risk register' but for some reason social services have placed her back with her mother in an attempt to keep the family together (step sister) . We communicate regularly with SS but they have been seriously inadequate and do not intervene other than visit the house and offer her mother parenting courses - which she agrees to but never attends.

Every other weekend she visits her dad (my brother) but he works 7 days a week. He spends every evening in the pub (this is the only thing he ever does with her). His annual leave is saved for holidays with his new wife who refuses to take my niece with them. She never gets a holiday. Because of my brothers heavy drinking he never has any money - he is also bankrupt so has no access to credit.

For the past few years it was my mother that looked after her when she visits. Now my mother is older with health issues she hasn't the same energy to keep my niece entertained so I agreed to let her be part of our family when she comes to visit. Wherever we go she comes with us. I think I had some image of me saving the day with my excellent parenting skills......teaching her another way of life. I very quickly became No.1 Auntie.

I have hugely enjoyed bonding with her and she has come to feel like a daughter to me. I worry about her immensely when she goes home. She talks to me about everything. The first thing she does when her dad picks her up is ring me to see if she can hang out with us. Our house has become like home to her. If there are issues at school she rings me not her mother to help her out. She talks often about coming to live with us full time and although I am not completely opposed to this there are many things that cause me anxiety about the whole thing.

Firstly - her behaviour is really not good (she is aggressive with people in the street), loudly racist, spits in the street, back chats any grown up. She steals anything that isn't nailed down. Her hygiene is appalling regardless of how many 'chats' we have about cleaning her teeth and showering every day. She often smells of BO or urine . She wears the same clothes every day, we have a lot of trouble getting them in the wash. Her coat has never been washed and is filthy - for some reason she will not let us wash it or mend the rips. She wears this coat in all weathers and does not like taking it off at all, even in a heat wave. (Any tips on tackling this without shaming?). She is very manipulative and lies like a cheap watch. I really struggle to work out lies from truth. She manipulates my mother into buying her expensive things - these things disappear once she gets home. She refuses to say please or thank you for anything. If I give her anything she always wants a little bit more (receives gifts or money ungratefully). We have tried using usual parenting techniques to instill good behaviour but nothing seems to get through to her. If anything she does it more when she is pulled up on it. I cannot take her into shops because she steals, or she ruins stock. For example she grabbed a brush, ran it through her hair and threw it back on the shelf! She refused to pay for it with her own money. I tell her off which leads to her doing it again and again (kind of "you can't tell me what to do"). She often nags for the most expensive thing in the shop and will have a tantrum when we say 'no'.

Secondly - Her diet is reduced to Macdonalds or anything similar. She refuses to eat anything cooked at home. She refuses to eat breakfast and only drinks coke. Her teeth are falling out . One reason she was nearly taken into care was because there was never any food in the house and it has made her eating habits very restricted. As my own family doesn't eat junk it can be very draining constantly looking for fast food restaurants. We have tried all the usual things to encourage her to eat normally. She will literally go all day without eating a thing. (Any tips on this?). Financially I am finding this very draining.

Thirdly - I consider her friends very undesirable people to have around me and my (nice) family. Her friends look like this - Pregnant at 13, drug taker with a father who is a dealer, shoplifter, all have been in serious trouble of some kind. Boyfriend can barely string coherent words together and is very disrespectful towards adults. (Am I being intolerant or snobbish?)

This summer I have spent nearly every day with her and for the first time I am a bit relieved that it is our last day and yet I am anxious to send her back to her mother. Entertaining her has been very stressful. She refuses to take part in anything educational (sits in a chair and sulks if we go to galleries or museums). I try to educate her but she is not interested in anything. Everything I have taken her to has resulted in some drama or bad behaviour. {exhausted}

My own children are not perfect, but I have never had to deal with this type of thing. My daughter is 17 and an A grade student (going to uni next year, wants to be a teacher), very polite and sensitive to doing the right thing. I cannot remember the last time I had to pull her up on anything. My son is autistic with his own sensory issues and challenges but very gentle and well behaved. So I feel out of my depth to be perfectly honest.

Her father is pretty redundant with regards to parenting (I have given up on him).

Anyone else cared for a child with a history of abuse and behavioural problems who can offer me some good advice please?

Thank you in advance!

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 08:47 AM
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

I'm so sorry you find yourself tangled up in what sounds like a very awful situation!

Many of her behaviors - poor hygiene, bad teeth, hostility, etc. - seem geared to keeping people at a distance. Those are all likely a result of self-protective instincts. Even pedophiles might be turned off by a nasty, smelly, unclean and openly hostile kid. She, sadly, has probably learned that from experience. That coat she hides in all the time and won't allow to be washed? That's her security blanket, a way to keep people from getting too close to her, and a way to disguise anything about herself that might possibly be alluring to creepy perverts.

My guess is that she's got ODD - oppositional defiant disorder - or something similar. Or, perhaps more than one mental health diagnosis.

At this point, the only thing that is likely to help her make a change from the path she seems set on is intensive therapy, probably also including medications. And getting her permanently placed with someone who is willing and able to provide a stable home for her. Neither of those is guaranteed to work, but might offer at least some hope. She is, sadly, unlikely to better herself as long as she's living in her mother's environment. Do the family courts where you are permit children above a certain age a say in where they live? In my jurisdiction, a 13 year old can have a say in which parent they live with, and older kids often get the final say as long as there's no clear evidence of their preference being unsafe. Is it possible that your niece could legally opt to live with her father, who might then allow her to live with you?

You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view. - Obi Wan Kenobi

Last edited by Rowan; 08-25-2016 at 08:51 AM.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

Thanks Rowan.

Yes security blanket is a good description. She sleeps with the coat under her pillow.

She went for therapy very briefly when she was younger which is why she has the adjective 'disturbed' on her SS paperwork. She now refuses to go to any therapy and I have offered to pay for her private therapy (as opposed to that of SS -as she has a great mistrust of anything to do with them). But she refused.

SS (in their wisdom) decided at the age of 7 to give her a choice as to where she wanted to live. She chose her mother because she wanted to protect her little sister. We offered to take both children (to stop my niece from worrying about her) but SS refused this because she isn't blood related.

The biggest issues we have, and maybe someone can advise me here, is that she tells me things and then asks me to promise not to tell anyone. This tears me in two because I have a moral responsibility to report anything worrying and yet I don't want her clamming up on me on what's happening at 'home' or having trust issues around me.

Another thing that is a little concerning is that she sees me as 'mum'. She sometimes calls me 'mum' by mistake and refuses to call me 'Auntie Peacem' when I correct her. She also calls our home 'home' (lets go home). She sometimes calls my daughter 'sister'. I noticed that she leaves a selection of items here and when I try and return them she insists they stay here. She told my mother that she has 'practically moved in with us'. But I think the intensive amount of time I have spent with her made me realise I am not wholly equipped to deal with the level problems she has. In fact I feel exhausted.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 09:46 AM
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

How do you handle her tantrums in the store? (or other tantrums?)

What kind of discipline do you implement? What is done when she disobeys?

These are unbelievably difficult situations to overcome. Keep in mind, some kids can't be saved.

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people / Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end / And the sun will rise...
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 09:55 AM
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

I have zero personal experience with this.

The only thing I want to say, is be VERY cautious about bringing her into your life and home. You are putting your own kids at risk.
My head is screaming at me, "what if she abuses your autistic son!"


I completely understand that you love her and want to help. Just realize all the energy and love you are spending on her, is less that you can give to your own kids. I have seen this scenario many times and it has never ended well. I hope your situation is different.

Ciao,

Spicy
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 10:52 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

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Originally Posted by Kivlor View Post
How do you handle her tantrums in the store? (or other tantrums?)

What kind of discipline do you implement? What is done when she disobeys?

These are unbelievably difficult situations to overcome. Keep in mind, some kids can't be saved.
One situation recently...

She spent her spending money in one go on the first shop. She then wanted a handbag but she had no money. She began nagging and lying and then a tantrum, followed by her running away from us.

We dealt with it by being firm with 'no' and then taking her home for running away. Shopping trip ended early and she sulked for the rest of the day. It was really stressful for us all and difficult for my daughter to handle because her day was ruined too. The issue is - she never seems to learn from the consequences like other children do. To a point we avoid shops as it seems to trigger something in her.
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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 01:47 PM
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

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One situation recently...

She spent her spending money in one go on the first shop. She then wanted a handbag but she had no money. She began nagging and lying and then a tantrum, followed by her running away from us.

We dealt with it by being firm with 'no' and then taking her home for running away. Shopping trip ended early and she sulked for the rest of the day. It was really stressful for us all and difficult for my daughter to handle because her day was ruined too. The issue is - she never seems to learn from the consequences like other children do. To a point we avoid shops as it seems to trigger something in her.
To a point, it may be good to avoid shops. Then again, to a point, you're missing out on the opportunity to correct the bad behavior, by avoiding it.

She's 15 Peacem, she may be broken entirely. I've seen a few of these.

Some more questions for you:

How does she acquire money to pay for things? Is she doing drugs? Does she have a capacity for empathy, or do you think that is missing currently?

Have you ever raised and trained dogs?

I'm not sure I'm the right guy for advice here. It's possible that I would advise you use a hammer, when perhaps a scalpel is the right tool for this problem.

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people / Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end / And the sun will rise...
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

Quote:
To a point, it may be good to avoid shops. Then again, to a point, you're missing out on the opportunity to correct the bad behavior, by avoiding it.
I think I agree.

Quote:
She's 15 Peacem, she may be broken entirely. I've seen a few of these.
There are many moments where she is very good company too. It is just that she is very different to us and sometimes becomes intimidated or confused at how we interact as a family. We had an on going game where we would teach her a new word every time we saw her (she has very limited vocabulary). She thought this was fun until one day she refused to play. When I talked to her about it she said it was because her friends picked on her for 'talking weird'. As a family we watch documentaries together and talk about politics, go for long walks, museums etc - I thought this would be good for her to see another way of living and interacting, but instead I now see that it makes her feel uncomfortable and alienated. So over the past few weeks I have tried to get to her level with her music, tv tastes, social media etc. Not sure if I succeeded or not.


Quote:
How does she acquire money to pay for things?
It's usually small amounts of pocket money collectively given from the whole family

Quote:
Is she doing drugs?
Very possibly. Her friends all do drugs. Her mother does drugs.

Quote:
Does she have a capacity for empathy, or do you think that is missing currently?
Actually, another poster gave concern for my autistic son. The interesting thing is, she is very, very caring with him. He is none verbal but she takes time to talk to him and is very protective and kind to him.

Quote:
Have you ever raised and trained dogs?
Yes. We don't have a dog anymore but we had one we raised from a pup and was the best dog in the world.
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-25-2016, 04:57 PM
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

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I think I agree.


There are many moments where she is very good company too. It is just that she is very different to us and sometimes becomes intimidated or confused at how we interact as a family. We had an on going game where we would teach her a new word every time we saw her (she has very limited vocabulary). She thought this was fun until one day she refused to play. When I talked to her about it she said it was because her friends picked on her for 'talking weird'. As a family we watch documentaries together and talk about politics, go for long walks, museums etc - I thought this would be good for her to see another way of living and interacting, but instead I now see that it makes her feel uncomfortable and alienated. So over the past few weeks I have tried to get to her level with her music, tv tastes, social media etc. Not sure if I succeeded or not.



It's usually small amounts of pocket money collectively given from the whole family


Very possibly. Her friends all do drugs. Her mother does drugs.


Actually, another poster gave concern for my autistic son. The interesting thing is, she is very, very caring with him. He is none verbal but she takes time to talk to him and is very protective and kind to him.


Yes. We don't have a dog anymore but we had one we raised from a pup and was the best dog in the world.
Good news! If she has empathy, I think you've got a chance.

Have you considered setting up opportunities to earn money, and no more "giving" of money?

Have you talked to her about drugs, and the dangers associated? Do you think she brings any on your property? If you're unaware of the dangers of Marijuana--which is the most benign of illegal drugs--look up Civil Asset Forfeiture, so you can explain to her that the activity puts the family at great risk.

Ok, so now this is where I'm probably going off the rails--so if it sounds bad, just don't do it--but here's where the dog question comes in:

When you train dogs, you provide strong, consistent structure to their lives. You reward good behavior, you correct bad. Constantly. Until their nature has been altered.

This child may benefit from strong, consistent structure, similar to how a puppy does. Of course, she may push back all the harder against it.

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people / Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end / And the sun will rise...
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 04:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

Quote:
Have you considered setting up opportunities to earn money, and no more "giving" of money?
Yes this is definitely something we should do, particularly in the holidays when she has plenty of time. I think we have shy-ed away from it in the past because when she is home with her mother she is pretty much in charge of everything. She is responsible for her younger sister and basic things around the house. According to SS the house is a constant mess because her mother doesn't do anything at all (which is why she is happy in dirty clothes and only eats fast food). Looking at it from a different perspective, rather than protecting her and trying look after her needs we should encourage better living skills and pay her for it.

Quote:
Have you talked to her about drugs, and the dangers associated? Do you think she brings any on your property? If you're unaware of the dangers of Marijuana--which is the most benign of illegal drugs--look up Civil Asset Forfeiture, so you can explain to her that the activity puts the family at great risk.
We talk about it all the time and have told SS about the kind of people she is hanging out with and being exposed to drugs in her home. If they were serving her well they would have removed her from the home and school to live in our village where drugs are considerably rare (afaik - nice rural, middle class area). But instead one of the conditions of her mother keeping her children was she is not allowed to move nor move schools (she has a history of moving every 6 months). I understand consistency is good for them but the drug risk is high if she stays in that area and in a poor school where drugs are rife. We talk and advise - all we can do.



Quote:
When you train dogs, you provide strong, consistent structure to their lives. You reward good behavior, you correct bad. Constantly. Until their nature has been altered.
Yes you are right. But the issue we have is in the past she has not visited us for months and months because she sulks and feels victimized if we tell her off. Because we think her visitations with us are really important in showing her another way to live (just eating at a table was an alien concept) there is a certain amount of walking on eggshells. The last thing we want is to push her away, back to her mother. Although her life there is without doubt abusive and neglectful, in a way that is her sense of belonging and her comfort zone. Our aim is for her to eventually live with her dad (or maybe us) long term. So we walk a thin line of welcoming her and yet dealing with her behaviour.

Thank you for your advice - it is good to read from an outsiders perspective.

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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-26-2016, 10:08 AM
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

I would not recommend that you bring her to live with you. Even if you want to save her. She is dealing with a lot of problems and I don't think you can really deal with her on a regular long term basis. You are not accustom to kids like her and it would upset the balance of your family. It would also put a lot of strain on your daughter and marriage eventually.

What you are doing now is very commendable , you are offering her a safe place to rest.

Now my story is not so bad as this, but I used to run away to my grandmother's brother house every weekend to get away from my mum. It was the best thing that could happen to me. But even abuse kids love their parents and start missing them. It's f'ed up but bonds are strong.

She is trying to protect herself as best as she can. The dirty clothes, the coat and rude behavior. If people stay away they can't hurt her. It is also a form of hoarding, keeping things close to you so that, you don't lose them. Because you have so little, everything means a lot.

I bet the mum is selling the stuff she takes home. Just keep letting her know that she is safe in your home and no-one will hurt her. Keep the shopping to a minimum, it will reduce the tension in your house and keep the peace.

Keep reinforcing the house rules, so that, she understands when she is there the rules are to be followed. make sure your daughter is also following the same rules. Clean clothes, bath, brush teeth and eating home cooked meals. Going hungry for a few hours is not going to hurt her and no sodas in the house. You are retraining her.

Good luck. Remember to take care of yourself. You can only do what you can.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-29-2016, 11:28 PM
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

i have some experience with this... i am currently raising my niece, 16. she will be with us until she graduates high school, and then for however long it takes her to decide what she wants to do in life.

her mother, my half sister, is a recovering meth addict who lost custody of her. from the time she was seven until she got to us late last year, my niece suffered CSA, physical abuse at the hands of multiple men and women, abandonment, emotional abuse, etc. pretty much had a taste of all that crappy life has to offer. she regularly had all of her possessions taken away and sold, told she was useless, a *****, etc.

anyway, the behaviors that we have dealt with are compulsive lying, self destructive behaviors such as cutting, hypersexuality, temper tantrums, disrespect of authority, rebellion, manipulation, etc. pretty much the stuff you might expect from someone who was raised to believe that nobody really cares about them at all. i remember the first time i sat down and talked to her when i got back from afghanistan... she cried. nobody had ever just listened to her before.

what has worked for us has been pretty much not telling her she is not allowed to do anything. instead, we just tell her that we will not support certain behaviors and will actively seek to discourage them. we dont care if she is a liar. we dont care if she feels horny whenever she sees a boy. when we catch her in a lie, we will provide a consequence that is unpleasant, but temporary. we will provide her with the means to communicate electronically, but we will monitor all of those electronic communications. consequences may be restriction of phone privileges(we control that), or restriction from internet(we control the wifi and router) or refusal to take her shopping for a week. basically, something that she wont like, but as a temporary thing. at no point will we ever tell her she is not allowed to do something, since we cannot control her actions anyway. i mean, if she decides she is going to slip out of school to go have sex with a boy, we cant really stop her. If she does stuff like that, we will simply find out what WE can do about it, and we implement that consequence.

now, once the consequence has been applied, she gets another chance to try and do right. sometimes, we will let her mess up a few times in a row, with the warning that the third time in a month, we will come up with a more unpleasant consequence. also, sometimes we will give her a way to make up for a deeply ingrained negative behavior, such as rolling her eyes whenever an adult is talking to her. basically, we understand that it is a habit that she wont be able to break over night. but, since it is disrespectful and will do nothing but cause her strife in life, we actively discourage it by limiting the things we are willing to do for her, UNLESS... she is willing to apologize for it on the spot, when it is either called out or she catches herself doing it.

our philosophy is, why stress ourselves out trying to control her actions when we can just control our own in response to her? we dont have to do anything to support the negative behaviors. i would rather just talk to her and get to know her, and let her know that i will not support her disrespect. if i think she might get butt hurt by not being able to get something at a store, i tell her ahead of time that we wont be getting her anything at that store, and that its ok with me if she gets upset about that. it wont bother me at all if she gets upset. she has a right to throw a temper tantrum. it is, after all, her body that she controls. she has an innate right to do whatever the hell she wants. and i have a right to provide a consequence that is within my means to provide.

something that is key... whatever consequence you find yourself needing to implement, do your best to make sure it is clearly stated ahead of time. that is not always possible as new issues arise, so when they do, let her know how YOU are going to respond the next time it happens. if she freaks out at a store and you suddenly decide to never take her to a store again, then you pretty much blindsided her. she didn't know that freaking out will get her forever excluded from a family event. she will see it as another form of abandonment. but, if she hears ahead of time that you will exclude her from the NEXT outing, or that she will lose some privilege at home as a TEMPORARY consequence, then she will know that even if she messes up, she can try again. its not the end of the world. she isn't getting abandoned. just disciplined. that is a MUCH easier pill to swallow to someone who has been abandoned before, especially if they think that they themselves are the reason that people keep abandoning them. the truth is, whoever abandons someone is the reason they were abandoned. it is not a choice they made.

that is it in a nutshell. we dont try to control her. we focus on controlling us, and getting on with our lives, while letting her join us if she chooses.

she has been with us for about nine months now, and is doing pretty good. her issues today are mostly just typical teenage drama. she finished the school year last year on the AB honor role, recently double belt tested in her martial arts class, and we are really looking forward to how she will do this year.

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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

Quote:
Originally Posted by As'laDain View Post
i have some experience with this... i am currently raising my niece, 16. she will be with us until she graduates high school, and then for however long it takes her to decide what she wants to do in life.

her mother, my half sister, is a recovering meth addict who lost custody of her. from the time she was seven until she got to us late last year, my niece suffered CSA, physical abuse at the hands of multiple men and women, abandonment, emotional abuse, etc. pretty much had a taste of all that crappy life has to offer. she regularly had all of her possessions taken away and sold, told she was useless, a *****, etc.

anyway, the behaviors that we have dealt with are compulsive lying, self destructive behaviors such as cutting, hypersexuality, temper tantrums, disrespect of authority, rebellion, manipulation, etc. pretty much the stuff you might expect from someone who was raised to believe that nobody really cares about them at all. i remember the first time i sat down and talked to her when i got back from afghanistan... she cried. nobody had ever just listened to her before.

what has worked for us has been pretty much not telling her she is not allowed to do anything. instead, we just tell her that we will not support certain behaviors and will actively seek to discourage them. we dont care if she is a liar. we dont care if she feels horny whenever she sees a boy. when we catch her in a lie, we will provide a consequence that is unpleasant, but temporary. we will provide her with the means to communicate electronically, but we will monitor all of those electronic communications. consequences may be restriction of phone privileges(we control that), or restriction from internet(we control the wifi and router) or refusal to take her shopping for a week. basically, something that she wont like, but as a temporary thing. at no point will we ever tell her she is not allowed to do something, since we cannot control her actions anyway. i mean, if she decides she is going to slip out of school to go have sex with a boy, we cant really stop her. If she does stuff like that, we will simply find out what WE can do about it, and we implement that consequence.

now, once the consequence has been applied, she gets another chance to try and do right. sometimes, we will let her mess up a few times in a row, with the warning that the third time in a month, we will come up with a more unpleasant consequence. also, sometimes we will give her a way to make up for a deeply ingrained negative behavior, such as rolling her eyes whenever an adult is talking to her. basically, we understand that it is a habit that she wont be able to break over night. but, since it is disrespectful and will do nothing but cause her strife in life, we actively discourage it by limiting the things we are willing to do for her, UNLESS... she is willing to apologize for it on the spot, when it is either called out or she catches herself doing it.

our philosophy is, why stress ourselves out trying to control her actions when we can just control our own in response to her? we dont have to do anything to support the negative behaviors. i would rather just talk to her and get to know her, and let her know that i will not support her disrespect. if i think she might get butt hurt by not being able to get something at a store, i tell her ahead of time that we wont be getting her anything at that store, and that its ok with me if she gets upset about that. it wont bother me at all if she gets upset. she has a right to throw a temper tantrum. it is, after all, her body that she controls. she has an innate right to do whatever the hell she wants. and i have a right to provide a consequence that is within my means to provide.

something that is key... whatever consequence you find yourself needing to implement, do your best to make sure it is clearly stated ahead of time. that is not always possible as new issues arise, so when they do, let her know how YOU are going to respond the next time it happens. if she freaks out at a store and you suddenly decide to never take her to a store again, then you pretty much blindsided her. she didn't know that freaking out will get her forever excluded from a family event. she will see it as another form of abandonment. but, if she hears ahead of time that you will exclude her from the NEXT outing, or that she will lose some privilege at home as a TEMPORARY consequence, then she will know that even if she messes up, she can try again. its not the end of the world. she isn't getting abandoned. just disciplined. that is a MUCH easier pill to swallow to someone who has been abandoned before, especially if they think that they themselves are the reason that people keep abandoning them. the truth is, whoever abandons someone is the reason they were abandoned. it is not a choice they made.

that is it in a nutshell. we dont try to control her. we focus on controlling us, and getting on with our lives, while letting her join us if she chooses.

she has been with us for about nine months now, and is doing pretty good. her issues today are mostly just typical teenage drama. she finished the school year last year on the AB honor role, recently double belt tested in her martial arts class, and we are really looking forward to how she will do this year.
Excellent advice! Thank you so much. I will cut and paste this to think about later. We will see her again at the weekend.
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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

Also just a reminder (not sure if I mentioned it) she has a history of shoplifting - hence shopping 'triggers' her. We are going to a sculpture park this weekend. But will keep retail to a minimum.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-30-2016, 05:48 PM
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Re: Parenting a disturbed child who is not my own

What does she do when she is "triggered" by shopping?
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