Defiant 13 year old

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anonymous user
Registered: 12-31-1969
Defiant 13 year old
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Mon, 08-20-2012 - 2:34am

I have a 13 year old daughter.  Her father and I are divorced and I have remarried (her father has not and has physical custody).  About 4 years ago she was diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed medication.  which made her defiance manageable. Also about 4 years ago I adopted another child with my husband and the acting out started.  She is constantly lying to her father and me and has caused major legal problems for me (my ex has taken me to court to adjust my parenting time due to a lie),  He refuses to talk to me about anything.  As a result when I have my daughter, my husband cannot be left alone with her, due to punishments that my ex felt were too harsh (but I was punished the same way as a kid , if not harsher). She has almost no discipline at her fathers.  She recently had to start doing chores while she is in my care.  We (I) have to stay on her to get them done.  Cleaning the bathroom takes all day!!!!!  It is a 5 x 4 room with a bathtub, sink, and toilet, she took 6 hrs to clean the tub, toilet and sink. 

It has also gotten to the point to where when she is in slow motion (my husband) tells her she cannot eat until it is done.  Today she did not get up until 11:30 (she was told at 9:30 and 10 to get up).  Refused to eat!  Then was told to clean the bathroom.  At 1:30 pm asked to eat and I told her we were going to eat out ( I hadn't eaten and thought that was the plan).  4 hrs later we get home after "grazing" at Sam's club  (gotta love free samples) and shopping she was told she had 15 min to complete the room.  ( that was at 5:45) at 7 she said she was done but it was time for her to go back to her dad.  I still hadn't eaten (b/c she hadn't either other than the samples.  What I had; she had).  She tells her father that she was cleaning my house all day and not allowed to eat.  Which I told him she had 1 chore a day when she is there before and that was ALL she did.

I don't know how to handle her anymore.  I have 2 other children who are picking up her defiant behavior (4 and 1) and I know toddlers go through this stage and also teenagers go through it also.  But it seems like her father tells her that she doesn't have to do anything or listen to me or her step-father.  I am at my wits end and i am trying my best to handle her.  It seems like she will tell her father anything and I am the bad guy in everything.  I know that my discipline is harsher than his and that I have rules she has to follow but there is never any abuse and I always allow her some leeway but I cannot stand the stress between my husband and her.

 

It seems like we have 1 good weekend and then everything goes to crap b/c she starts to backtalk and get smart with my husband.  A lot of this is my husband and when I do stick up for her I get the backlash (I am afraid of my husband's rage although I know he would never hit me, I am still afraid)

 

What can I do?  How do I handle her outbursts?  I cannot give up on her but my husband does NOT want her around due to her outbursts of defiance and his answering rage.  I need advice and not criticism please.  Other sites that is all I got.   

   

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 9:49pm

I think that successfully blending a family is no less difficult then landing a man on the moon (or back on Mars where men are reported to come from.)

Hubby and I are twenty-one years into our first marriage.  However, we each have two failed shack-ups in our past.  And those are failed “trial marriages.” 

I think marriages are much more than between two people.  In addition to the bride and the groom as they truly are, there are the bride as he sees her, the bride as she sees herself, the groom as she sees him, and the groom as he sees himself.  That is six different people to merge. And add to that that a wedding is also the merging of two families.  It may not be necessary to have good relations with the in-law’s, but it doesn’t hurt.   And bad relations are just another drag on the marriage.

Both of my trial marriage mother- in-laws had issues with me and to be flat honest, looking back, I think they were correct.  I truly was and am a mess in many areas. 

We all bring baggage with us.  Together, it took hubby and me about a decade to work through most of ours and sometimes we still find a little piece that needs more attention.  The most important word in the previous sentence was “together.”   If we had gone to counseling it may have only taken half that time.

Now for a few observations about your situation:

It’s unclear to me how much time your DD spends at your home.  It sounds like it may be a couple of weekends per month.

It takes two to fight, tango, make love, etcetera. I would not be the second person in a fight with my DD, her father, or my DH.  I would place ZERO expectations on her visits.  ZERO!  To me it would be easier to make her bed up and clean her bathroom after she left than fight. 

There is an old military expression about being careful about what hills you choose to die on.  To me, little is gained with the cleaning issue and much to lose; my sanity would come to mind.  One of the purposes of chores for allowance is to make the connection between work and reward in a child’s mind. If her father has her for all but four days a month, that connection issue is for him to make, and I don’t think you can do it in those four days, nor should you try. 

I would ask my DH to not be the second person in a fight because DH that type of fight directly interferes with our relationship.  After I clean up after she leaves, I would like for you to join me in the tub, after which we can tango.  Hubby would you rather fight with her, or would you rather tango with me after she leaves?

DD, when you come to this house, you must respect my husband with civility.  If she can’t, it appears to me that she should stay at her father’s house and you pick her up and have mother daughter outings instead. 

I would ask her father to give me suggestions on how my DH and I can help make him the most successful single parent in the solar system.  What can we do to assist you in producing the truly fabulous young lady she can and should be?   My guess is that her father, your DH, and you all want her to become that fabulous young lady. 

My point is this:  Rather than argue or fight with her father, I would make this all about how we can help?  I say help because if her father has her eighty plus percent of the time, help is all you and your DH can do.  The burden is on her father. 

I could tell you that our DDs are so perfect that we never had any such problems.  However, that is a lie that I could burn in hell for.  LOL  These teen years are truly difficult for the teen and the parents of teens.  And I know that is exactly what you do not want to hear. 

Thirteen year old teen girls need both parents on the same page.  They need both parents, even separated parents to be working together.    Everybody’s attention needs to be directed towards developing that fabulous young lady.  And your DH should be a part of this effort because when you all have finished with this one, which is only a few years from now, you and DH will be well trained for the younger two. 

DH, how can we make our marriage a spectacular example for our oldest DD and our two younger children to look at and want to achieve the same in their lives?  Notice I called your DD “our oldest DD.”  I say that because when you marry someone you get the whole package, not just the pieces you find desirable.  Remember, I said above that blending a family is no less difficult than landing a man on the moon. To both you and your DH I say, GO LAND A MAN ON THE MOON!  Show the kids, all of them, how it’s done—well done. 

My mother always reminds us that “our golden years” are the same years that the kids are home and driving us NUTS. I truly think that is correct.   

Spanking is not the most effective type of punishment and at some point it becomes ineffective with teens.  Loss of some benefit or privilege is far more effective.  For example with our girls, I explained the reason why they had to start doing certain chores for their allowance money this way:  “Girls, now that I am returning to work, we will have to all pitch in with the chores, or instead of going on the beach and Disney vacations, we will have to use that vacation money for paying a maid and a mowing service.”  Another time when they were like ten and eleven:  “No you can’t go to the movie this weekend because you disobeyed the rules earlier.”  Given the choice at the time, they would have both taken forty lashes with the cat of nine tails. You can also use it in a positive way:  “Because you two have been extra special this week, your dad and I are going to drop you off at the movies now and again tomorrow evening.”  They never knew that it was a treat of a different type for us. LOL

I’m not real big about suggesting counseling, but shucks, life is much tooooooooooooooooo short to spend it unhappy and a good councilor may be able to hear the whole store and help guide all of you folks to smoother waters.  If one doesn’t work, try another until you find one that helps. 

PS: Welcome to our corner of the village. 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 8:33pm

The "discussion" you just had with your dd was pointless, because she is NOT being continuously and correctly treated for her disorders.  Therefore she is INCAPABLE of following thru with what she has agree to.  Also, 3 seconds after you said it, it vanished from her head.

Let me again quote from the experts. 

<<<Remember that children with ADHD have two time frames: “Now,” and “Huh.” There is no future. There is no past. There is only now.  Do you want to understand the ADHDers actions?  Just ask yourself:  “What behavior would make sense if you only had 4 seconds to live?”  ADHD behaviors make sense once we realize that they are based on reactions taking only the present moment into account.  It is not that they don't care about the future; it is that the future and the past don’t even exist. Such is the nature of the disability.  By way of analogy, imagine riding down a river with a leaking canoe.  You would be so overwhelmed by the need to bail out water that you would not see the upcoming cliff.    It's not that you don't "care" about falling over a cliff--it's that you don't even get to consider it.

Life in the next 4 seconds. If you want to make sense out of inexplicable behaviors by someone with ADHD, just ask yourself: “What behavior makes sense if you only had 4 seconds left to live?”  For example, if you only had 4 seconds to live, it would make sense to lie in order to expediently get out of a problem…After all, who cares about a future reputation when there is no future?!”>>>

So what DO you do??  You accommodate their disability.  She cannot go into a room all by herself and stick to a chore, or be motivated by a promise of a distant (longer away than 4 SECONDS) reward, or threatened by a distant (yep, that again) punishment or consequence.  So instead of telling her to clean her room, ESPECIALLY within a time limit, instead go with her and say, "You make the bed while I pick up the dirty clothes."  "You dust while I vac"  "You start the washer while I empty the dryer".  Other chores should be broken into small, easily completed steps.  "Here's the brush, here's the cleanser, go scrub the toilet NOW, and come get me when you're done."  After 5 minutes, if she has not returned, go find her.  Do NOT punish her.  Stand by her and say, "Clean it NOW."  When she starts, walk away.  When she finishes, say, "That's SUPER.  Wash the tub, NOW."  Instead of assigned chores, have her do things that need to be done NOW.  If you are making dinner, hhave her sit on the floor with the little kids.  Have her help the 4 year old set the table or scrub potatoes.  As much as possible, EVERYONE works at the same time, so you all are done at the same time.  No tv, no puter, no phone for ANYONE, till the chore is done.  House rules--first we work, THEN we play.  Together.  That means your husband, too.  

PS: tell your husband if he stops terrorizing you and the children, they will ALL behave better.  The younger ones are not copying a child they see occasionally; they are copying HIM.  If you are afraid to do that, you have bigger problems that how to parent your child.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 7:43pm

You have been given a LOT of good advice, which I wholly agree with, and won't bother repeating.  I will speak as the parent of ADHD children who are now ADDults.  ADHD NEVER TRAVELS ALONE.  Common co-morbid conditions are Executive Dysfunction, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  ODD speaks for itself.  Here is a good description of Executive Dysfunction.  

Published in CHADD's ATTENTION Magazine, February 2008; updated in 2011.

<<<Five years ago, most parents and teachers of students with ADHD didn't have a clue that a child's ... success was contingent upon strong executive skills. However, today's savvy parents and educators realize that deficits in critical cognitive skills known as executive functions (EF) are slower to mature in many children with ADHD. In 2007, researchers made a startling discovery: the brains of students with ADHD mature (on average) three years more slowly than their peers. This helps explain why their executive skills are delayed. Two years later, scientists found that the part of the brain that enables (children) to work on "boring tasks" such as school work has a reduced number of dopamine receptors and transporters. More simply stated, the reduced levels of brain chemistry in this key area explains why (children) can play video games for hours but struggle to complete their homework (OR DO THEIR CHORES) in a timely manner.  

Practically speaking, problems with the "brain's CEO" contribute to several problems: disorganization, difficulty getting started and finishing work, remembering homework, plus difficulty memorizing facts, writing essays or reports, working complex math problems, remembering what is read, completing long-term projects, being on time, controlling emotions, and planning for the future.  Unfortunately, to the uninformed, deficits in executive skills often appeared to be a simple matter of "laziness or lack of motivation".>>>

In addition, ADHD is also a disorder of brain chemistry.  The brain does not produce enough of certain neurotransmitters.  The result is that patients cannot concentrate on one thing at a time because they are unable to block out distracting stimuli.  EVERYTHING demands equal attention--a shadow on the wall, a sound outside, the song in their head, etc...  AND they cannot control the impulse to act on those demands.

So, now we have established that your dd is NOT lollygagging, lazy, or behaving a certain way due to a lack of discipline.  She has a PHYSICAL disorder.  Her brain is built differently than those brains of people who CAN be told to do something, and they simply go do it.   Discipline, harsh or otherwise, will not make her brain work "correctly", just as discipline will not make a blind child see better, or a one legged child run faster.

There are a myriad of medications to treat the symptoms of ADHD, ED, and ODD, but not every med treats EVERY symptom.  Meds that improve concentration do NOT usually improve defiance, and visa versa.  That is why many kids take many meds.  And MOST kids do not take their meds AT ALL, unless you are the pill police, and push them down the kids' throats.

A lot of these meds have side effects.  A common one, is to slow the appetite.  Depending on which one your daughter is taking, she may be refusing to eat because at that particular time--SHE CANNOT EAT.  So when she DOES feel she can eat, THAT is when you must feed her.  Not at some arbitrary time set aside for eating.

And the rule with all these medications is that altho they may make the patient CAPABLE of concentration, inhibiting impulse, or not reacting with defiance, they do NOT teach them HOW to do that, or make them WANT TO.  The patient's methods of coping, of handling tasks, etc, have been a natural reaction since they were born.  THEY HAVE TO LEARN NEW SKILLS.  This is why pills are not magic answers.  This is why counseling is essential.  As is parent education.  Here are places to start...

http://www.pediatricneurology.com/full.htm

http://www.chrisdendy.com/executive.htm

 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 5:00pm

There are a lot of issues going on here. I agree with the previous poster that you all need to be in family counseling. And the part about your dh's rage---if you, an adult woman, are afraid of his outbursts then imagine how a 13yo must feel? And maybe she is not so confident as you are that he will not actually hit anyone. There is a range of other possibilities that could be going through her head---her mom gets a new husband who yells at her--the evil stepfather; she's found to have something "wrong" with her and needs to take drugs to fix it; at the same time mom gets another kid who could seem like a replacement kid that isn't broken; and now the stepfather doesn't even want her around. How confusing and frightening for a child. 

The chores situation---a big control issue. She is trying to exert some control by dragging out the cleaning for hours: you can make her do it, but you can't make her do it fast like you want. In turn you/ your dh are trying to exert control by telling her that she cannot eat until she has completed the chore...eating should be neither a reward nor a punishment, it should be something done to nourish our bodies at appropriate intervals. Bites of various samples (many of them probably not the healthiest choices either) at Sam's Club don't really constitute a nutritious meal for a growing young teen. Since you already had a legal problem over something that allegedly happened at your house I would think that you would be very cautious about that sort of thing...there are few things that parents are required to provide and food is one of them.

I would have her eat a nutritious meal or snack before starting the chore so she has some energy; and withhold things like computer, TV, etc until the chore is done. If there can be a reward afterwards it might motivate her---like "try to finish by X o'clock so we have time to watch (her favorite movie) before you go back to Dad's".

I also agree with the poster who suggested letting her have some choice in which chores she does. And yes you will have to stay on her about any chore until she accepts that she has to do it. Eventually she will figure out that if she does it fast she will get it over with...but there has to be something more appealing to do when she finishes. If she will then be expected to watch the little kids or so something that seems like another chore to her (although maybe not to you) then she will drag out the one chore all day to avoid more chores later.

Back to the counseling: you need an impartial professional to look at all aspects of this situation and to hear everybody's take on what is going on; and then to point out problems and solutions. I am not a professional but it sounds like the stepfather is a big part of the problem...you expect a 13yo with known impulse-control issues to behave, but not a grown man who goes into rages when people don't do or say what he wants. BTW why is your dd no longer on medication?

IMO a parent always needs to be the advocate for her kid, even when she is causing problems in a marriage (which can happen when the parents are married to each other too). Your dh knew that she was part of the package when he married you, and as an adult he has a responsibility to work on his rage. Don't forget that your dd is learning a lot about parenting and acceptable behavior by watching you and your dh. 

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 08-20-2012 - 12:09pm
tornadoswife wrote:

I have a 13 year old daughter.  Her father and I are divorced and I have remarried (her father has not and has physical custody).  About 4 years ago she was diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed medication.  which made her defiance manageable. Also about 4 years ago I adopted another child with my husband and the acting out started.  She is constantly lying to her father and me and has caused major legal problems for me (my ex has taken me to court to adjust my parenting time due to a lie),  He refuses to talk to me about anything.  As a result when I have my daughter, my husband cannot be left alone with her, due to punishments that my ex felt were too harsh (but I was punished the same way as a kid , if not harsher). She has almost no discipline at her fathers.  She recently had to start doing chores while she is in my care.  We (I) have to stay on her to get them done.  Cleaning the bathroom takes all day!!!!!  It is a 5 x 4 room with a bathtub, sink, and toilet, she took 6 hrs to clean the tub, toilet and sink. 

I am answering this from the perspective that I am a family lawyer so I have seen a lot of custody/visitation situations.  From what you say, I am inferring that your DH probably hit your child--I assume it was not sexual abuse since you said you were punished this way as a child.  I was married to a 2nd DH where both of us had children from the 1st marriage.  Believe me, if my 2nd DH ever took it upon himself to hit one of my kids, he would be out the door so fast his head would have been spinning.  I know that some parents use spanking as discipline.  I am against it but I won't get into that argument now--what I will say is that if parents use spanking as punishment, it definitely should only be done by the parents, never by anyone else.  I also wonder how often she spends time at your house--if it's something like every other weekend, I don't think that you should be spending the limited time you have togetehr making her clean the bathroom.  I can see that children should be donig things like cleaning up after themselves, putting their dishes in the dishwasher & stuff like that but really, is that how you want to spend your limited time w/ your child--making her clean?

 

It has also gotten to the point to where when she is in slow motion (my husband) tells her she cannot eat until it is done.  Today she did not get up until 11:30 (she was told at 9:30 and 10 to get up).  Refused to eat!  Then was told to clean the bathroom.  At 1:30 pm asked to eat and I told her we were going to eat out ( I hadn't eaten and thought that was the plan).  4 hrs later we get home after "grazing" at Sam's club  (gotta love free samples) and shopping she was told she had 15 min to complete the room.  ( that was at 5:45) at 7 she said she was done but it was time for her to go back to her dad.  I still hadn't eaten (b/c she hadn't either other than the samples.  What I had; she had).  She tells her father that she was cleaning my house all day and not allowed to eat.  Which I told him she had 1 chore a day when she is there before and that was ALL she did.

Well it seems like your DD was correct because you didn't allow her to eat except for some samples at Sam's Club.  She got up late (probably to avoid having to be with you) and you didn't give her lunch when she asked.  Or did she even go to Sam's Club w/ you?  Was she left home to clean like Cinderella while you went shopping for 4 hrs w/o her?  You get home at dinner time and then you don't even make dinner.  I was/am the custodial parent and I can't  imagine if I sent my kids to their dad's house & he didn't feed them all day.  I'd be pretty mad.

I don't know how to handle her anymore.  I have 2 other children who are picking up her defiant behavior (4 and 1) and I know toddlers go through this stage and also teenagers go through it also.  But it seems like her father tells her that she doesn't have to do anything or listen to me or her step-father.  I am at my wits end and i am trying my best to handle her.  It seems like she will tell her father anything and I am the bad guy in everything.  I know that my discipline is harsher than his and that I have rules she has to follow but there is never any abuse and I always allow her some leeway but I cannot stand the stress between my husband and her.

 

It seems like we have 1 good weekend and then everything goes to crap b/c she starts to backtalk and get smart with my husband.  A lot of this is my husband and when I do stick up for her I get the backlash (I am afraid of my husband's rage although I know he would never hit me, I am still afraid)

 This is really the key point here for me--you are living w/ an angry man who you are afraid of and you allow him to set the rules for your DD--it is your job to protect your DD from your DH's rage.  I ended up having to divorce my 2nd DH because while he never abused anyone or really even yelled at my kids, the atmosphere in the house due to his anger (mostly at his DD and me) was not good for them.  I would suggest that you contact a domestic violence agency to figure out what to do in this situation.  It was easier for me since I never had kids w/ my 2nd DH.  But no one should have to live in a home where the father is angry and the mother is afraid of him.

What can I do?  How do I handle her outbursts?  I cannot give up on her but my husband does NOT want her around due to her outbursts of defiance and his answering rage.  I need advice and not criticism please.  Other sites that is all I got.