Wow, I got a lot of great comments on this subject. Thank you!
Lisa said EXACTLY what I'm feeling, except for one thing. Asking Kitty to show me she can be responsible is something she CAN'T actually accomplish; therefore I'm torturing us both, dangling a privilege over her head for responsibilities that I know she's can't handle (she's still working on basic stuff and probably always will be).
In the past I've "put it in her lap" and truthfully I've done that this time too because I keep wanting to give her "typical teen stuff," but the more I think about it the more I realize that's unfair to her. By leaving it up in the air, she continues to feel tortured and like I'm being unfair. It's damaging our relationship. She lives in a black and white, short-term world.
I left this up in the air for several weeks while I thought about it. During these weeks, I gave her some things to do to help repair the relationships and show me she's capable of handling this and she's done... nothing. She says she has written a restitution letter to Grandma and a letter to me about why she should get her iPod back, but she didn't give them to anyone and now she's lost them. Of course she believes it's the thought that counts.
We've had several talks about the "issues" including why I felt the boy and her behavior with him were inappropriate, and she can't/won't see my concerns. Another reason I know she's not ready.
I've offered her the iPod with the internet feature disabled, and she doesn't want it.
"I just wish she was younger and had more years to grow under you roof." - Thanks RADMomInOhio! Me too!
Thanks for your responses. I try not to need all this validation, but it really does help to know that someone else "gets it."
I decided that the internet was a "can of worms" that I just didn't want to have open with Kitty. I don't see this as an area she's going to grow in anytime soon, and it has the potential of being really harmful. Everyone's comments here reinforced that. Hubby and I talked about it a lot, and he was very ambivalent about it.
I explained my reasoning to Kitty, over a series of conversations with repetitions of my concerns and some suggestions of possible compromises (like getting the iPod back, but without the option of texting). I left it up in the air for quite awhile about whether or not the iPod would be returned, in the hopes that we could discuss the concerns instead of focusing on the no. I finally let her know that chances were very slim, because we couldn't come to an agreement, especially about safety concerns.
Then we went to therapy.
I really like our attachment/ somatic therapist. She seems to "get it," and understands too that Kitty is not going to grow up and leave home anytime soon, which is definitely a refreshing change from the teachers at school and my friends with neurotypical kids who don't get it.
BUT sometimes the therapist seems to focus on keeping up the appearance of normalcy for Kitty. It's such a fine line. I don't really want to force Kitty to have to face reality (I hate being a Dreamkiller!), but at the same time, pretending she's a normal teen means she should have normal teen responsibilities, privileges and opportunities... none of which she's ready for. The therapist acknowledges, out of earshot of Kitty, that Kitty'll be living at home for the rest of her life (shh!! don't tell Hubby! He's not ready to face that reality!)
The problem is the therapist does NOT present that reality in therapy, and at this weeks session, she made it very clear that she felt Kitty should have this "normal teen privilege." *sigh*
So Kitty will get her iPod back. With some "compromises" that may delay the return for awhile, maybe forever.
1. She has to write a letter of apology to the Grandparents. And actually give it to them!
2. She has to sit down with me and write the terms of the return of the iPod, including a list of who she is and is not allowed to text. (With the understanding that eventually this may include more people than it will to start with, and will probably never include ex-bf).
3. She has to continue to show that she's doing (most of) her chores (with reminders) and not isolating in her room.
This was Tuesday evening. So far she's done none of the above. I did check the cubby in my car where I stuck the iPod and it's not there. I'll search the car tomorrow and if it's missing, I'll search her stuff. If I find she's taken it, it goes in the trash. No more arguments.