Need some advice. Kitty (17yo) is emotionally only 6yo. Since her last release from residential treatment (released because she was emotionally and mentally unable to complete the program), she began attending a special school for emotionally disturbed kids which only has 15 kids in it. She is finally fairly stable, although her new job through the school vocational program has her running at right on the line of being too stressed.
Against my better judgement, we allowed her to have an iPod last year, which has internet and texting capability, with the idea that if she could handle it, we might allow her to get a cell phone like her younger (13 and 16yo neurotypical) siblings, and if she couldn't then we'd have concrete justification for not allowing it. She became obsessed with watching YouTube videos, and reading anime. Although generally she seemed to stick to appropriate sites, she definitely uses it as an means to isolate.
The main problem was the texting. She was texting biofamily and many friends and it was triggering her during a time when she was very unstable. I told her she had to stop, and while she complained, she did. When she got stable, we allowed texting again.
So here's the dilemma. Two weeks ago, she was spending the day at Grandma's house. She texted an old boyfriend and invited him over, meeting him in the front yard of Grandma's house deliberately without letting anyone know what she was doing. She was eventually discovered, and tried to imply that Hubby and I knew about it and it was no big deal. Luckily nothing scary happened, but the grandparents feel used and more concerned about supervision. We had several big problems with all this:
- Ex-boyfriend is older (graduated high school 2.5 yrs ago- she's only a junior). He apparently washed out of the military and is in junior college. Emotionally she's only 6, so it's really an even bigger age/experience gap.
- When they were "dating" they were uber supervised at all times (he was a senior, she was only a freshman). However, she had secretly arranged to meet him at church a couple of times and snuck off to see him in the parking lot. Luckily, she's immature and has been sexually abused (not luckily she was abused, but you know what I mean) so I'm almost positive nothing more serious than kissing happened. He dumped her because she wouldn't sleep with him and proceeded to date and dump several of her friends. She was extremely distraught over it all and it contributed to some of her self-harming and suicidal issues.
- She knows we don't approve of the relationship, even as friends, because she's just barely stable and we can't chance her becoming triggered and unstable again. Especially unsupervised. Especially without Grandma knowing about it. And she chose to meet him anyway.
- She still thinks what she did was OK, because she disagrees with me about my reasons for not letting her hang out unsupervised with this boy. She thinks she can handle being around him without becoming unstable, and maybe she can, but she's not able to see what triggers her and she's not very rational at the best of times. She doesn't get it that sneaking around damages trust and only hurts her "case" about being ready for teenage privileges.
So I took her iPod away for an indeterminate amount of time. She wants to know what she can do to earn it back and is constantly asking/ demanding/ whining/ bargaining and threatening for it's return. I'm torn.
- Part of me wants to just give it back to her, even though I don't think she's capable of handling it, because she's trying to blackmail me with giving up (why bother doing what she's supposed to do if she can't have _______ - today it's texting), isolating even more than usual, and that she sees no point in doing chores if she doesn't get to ________(-today it's texting)...
- Part of me says this was an experiment to see if she could handle the responsibilities and the internet, and the reality is she can't, so continuing to leave it as a possibility is cruel and I should just get rid of it now and deal with the fall out.