This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Treated like an "Adult"

Dealing with a lot with Kitty right now.  She finally got a cell phone.  It increased her addiction to electronics, but not by much, because it's not really possible to increase the amount of time she has spent on them!  She's also spending a lot of time on Face Book with biofamily and friends so far we haven't seen a lot of negative effects, except she's isolating herself even more than before and she's not dealing well with the stress of school.  Biomom is now only communicating with her, and not responding to the e-mails and photos I've sent.

Kitty has been sick a lot.  Alleged vomiting (always at night), nausea, headaches, sleepiness.  Honestly it's almost possible to know when it's real and when it's psycho somatic.  I try to be sympathetic, but it's hard when she has so many psychosomatic/ stress related incidents or those caused by her unwillingness to treat her constipation issues.  The school has already sent us an attendance letter regarding her unexcused absences.  We're trying to get a lot of medical appointments and testing done now because she loses her Medicaid at the end of this month, and we won't have it again until she gets SSI, which probably won't be for a couple of months if not longer.

Another big issue is that Kitty now has a boyfriend.  Same guy that she dated as a freshman (I think she hates change enough to go back to him).  When she was a freshman he was a senior.  He dumped her, probably because she wouldn't sleep with him.  She suffered a lot because he moved on to one of her friends, who would not heed her warnings.  Obviously our worry that he only wants to use her is even greater now.  She got into trouble about 4 months ago, because she was sneaking around meeting him at the grandparent's house.

She of course wants to be able to run around on dates with him, and is furious that I try to rein her in a little (asking her to start with supervised/ group dates and work up to us getting to know him well enough to trust him with her).  She's also not acting trustworthy.  She breaks the rules when she thinks I'm wrong.  She thinks the rules are just because we're being mean.  She also believes that the structure and rules we're providing has nothing to do with our concerns about her being ready for older teen responsibilities and is more about the fact that we love and trust Bob more (despite the fact that Bob has the same rules).

By the way, YES, I know I'm overprotective.  I also know she's not ready to have the same privileges as a "normal" 18yo (I also don't think any of my kids should be doing what "normal" teenagers do.  I grew up in a big city.  I know how severe the consequences of one bad choice can be.), but this is not because I'm "mean."  I just don't know how to explain to her that she's different from other kids her age without effecting her self-esteem.  Plus, of course there's nothing I can really do to change her mind - her perception of reality is so distorted.

As always Kitty wants all freedom and privileges right now!! I know she's only 10(ish) and isn't ready for adult privileges, but I'm open to letting her take the steps (including increasing her responsibilities) to show us that she's ready for more privileges.  We're talking about reintroducing the level chart to give her a more concrete understanding of what she needs to do to show she's ready for older teen/ adult privileges and allow her to take steps to attain those privileges.  Of course she wants it all to be granted to her without earning it.


This has been coming to a head as Kitty gets closer and closer to graduation.  She is freaking out about this huge life change.  Not that I can blame her, but it's getting harder and harder to live with her.  She's realized that she can't afford to move out.  She's demanding that as a rent paying adult, we treat her like an adult, but she's also told us outright that she will not act like one around us.  She feels that as her parents we don't deserve the respect that she would give strangers.


Kitty is also talking about moving in with Biomom.  At first she was just planning on visiting for 2 weeks after graduation so she could spend time with her sisters.  In therapy, the therapist brought up her many concerns regarding Kitty being stranded in another state if she finds herself unable to emotionally cope, and recommended she wait until I was able to go with her to provide emotional support and the ability to take a break.  Kitty immediately forgot about the very serious concerns the therapist brought up, and began talking about staying a 2 months with Biomom.  I asked her to talk to the therapist about it during her next individual session.

Now Kitty is saying 2 years!!  *sigh*  Part of me wants to encourage her to go.  The rest of me knows she would completely lose most of the progress she's made over the last 2 years.

Received a letter from Bear.  He said the becoming a Muslim thing was just a test.  No idea if I passed or not.  Not thrilled at the idea of being tested.  Let him know as much when I wrote back.


Lisa said...

What gives him the idea that he has any right to "test" you? I'm thinking their tests are the equivalent of games and I personally cannot stand it when my kids play games and waste my time and energy. It is just so dumb and frustrating when they think they can control our emotions and reactions by being outlandish. I always fall back on the old "I love you too much to....." line. It ticks them off but helps me disengage from the emotional aspects of their games.

Did you end up getting guardianship of Kitty? If not then I am afraid to tell you that she can do whatever she wants in regards to visiting bio family. My dd will be 19 at the end of May and seems so.... much like you're describing Kitty. We had all the same concerns and made all the same requests. She left 3 weeks ago now and it seems like I'm the only one upset that she's gone. She would rather live at a homeless shelter and date a guy she just met (her one true love according to FB) than look for a job, continue her education or follow our rules (which were the exact same ones we had for her six older siblings). I keep wondering what we could have done differently. She acts about 10-12 and is always "sick" too. She has already visited the ER with chest pains since she left and has been sick or too tired to do anything pretty much every day she's been gone - until she met the boyfriend about 5 days ago - so far she's miraculously healthy. It just makes me sick to think she is using her Medicaid on ER visits such as this. It is just so wrong!! I wish I could just give you the peace of mind that you need to encourage her to go visit bio mom for a few days. The more you try to deter this visit, the more plans she'll make. The visit may just be a disaster all on its own and she'll want to come back sooner rather than later anyway. Isn't this absolutely exhausting? I worry about my dd every day and then I catch myself grieving over her poor decisions and get so angry with her for ignoring all our warnings and myself for worrying about someone who is off not giving a second thought about me. It is truly a roller coaster of emotions.

marythemom said...

Lisa, we did not end up getting guardianship of Kitty. It was just too expensive.

I'm sorry that your daughter is gone. She sounds more like Bear than Kitty. Bear is not attached to us at all and has a super high amount of psychosomatic illnesses (plus he goes to the hospital a lot too). Kitty talks a good game, but she's too afraid of change to actually leave. She's also pretty easily led.

I wish I could just allow her to visit Biomom for a few days to see if it's something she can handle, but her biomom lives on the other side of the country. Since Kitty and Bob are graduating this year and Hubby's job situation is in flux, we can't really afford to make a cross country trip right now.

I hope you're getting some personal support. Please let me know if I can help.

Sia said...

Hmm,...when I was about 12, I used to pitch similiar fits if I thought the goals weee unreasonable. Maybe split the levels up further?

Not sure it will help though because at 12, I qthought everything was unreasonable.

marythemom said...

Sia - We don't actually use the level chart, it was more about helping people understand in a very concrete, quantifiable way why a child was/wasn't ready for the "age-appropriate" freedom.

Every child/teen (adult!) throws a fit sometime and it doesn't mean they need to be treated like a young child. This is more about consistently being UNABLE to maintain the self-control needed to show they can handle less structure and support.