I don’t know where to begin, but I really need some perspective and am hoping that some of you can relate to what my family is experiencing.I have a 12 year old daughter. She has always been emotionally immature and been somewhat of a trouble-maker at home. She is extremely intelligent and extremely lazy. She is sassy, lies to get out of trouble, picks on her little sister and is very disobedient. She manipulates very well. I caught on to this several years ago and I tried to be a firm disciplinarian. My husband did not back me up, and in fact, often undermined my discipline by letting her off the hook when she was in trouble with me. This, I believe, caused her to have no respect for my authority. (Let me also explain that my husband is very controlling, our marriage is not good and there is no real partnership. When he loses his patience, he explodes with anger)
Fast forward a bit. She just entered middle school this year. She has always been an A and B student (capable of straight A’s with all her brains, but doesn’t make much of an effort in school). Well, one day a couple of weeks ago I got a call from a teacher saying my daughter had not been turning her work in. Keep in mind also that I had been asking every day about school and my daughter had told me everything is peachy, and she hadn’t missed any homework. Anyway, turns out she was getting a D in one class, C’s in other classes. I really laid into her about lying, that is what bothers me the most. Anyway, she lost her privileges and I think for the first time my husband started to see that she has some real problems. So, he started disciplining her–no computer, no TV, etc. I was checking her homework every day and really on her case, so to speak. I asked her everyday if she was turning her work in and once again, we caught her in some lies. So the tension in the house has really been rising.
Now to what happened today. She was fighting with her little sister. Let me add that she has always instigated with her 6 year old sister and does some extremely passive aggresive things with her. Today little sister was playing an interactive dvd game and my 12 year old joined her. Pretty soon they were going at it because my 12 year old was being ultra competative and my 6 year old didn’t want her to play anymore. They started fighting over the remote. Since 6 year old had been playing first, I instructed (nicely the first time) my 12 year old to give it to her. She refused. I asked again, temper raising, several times. So what does she do? She “gives” her sister the remote by throwing in her face. Of course, she said it was an accident but it was her usual passive aggressive garbage. I demanded that she go to her room. She refused. Several times we went back and forth. She refused. Finally I called my husband. He came and told her to go to her room. She refused to obey him as well. Well, it got uglier and uglier. He literally “spanked” her and lifted her by her armpits to drag her upstairs. All the while she is screaming and crying “leave me alone” and he was yelling some pretty demeaning stuff back.
After all had settled down, she came down later from her room. He came down afterward. He had been on the internet looking for boarding schools for troubled kids. He took a couple surveys which asked questions about her behavior-- she scored a 30%. A 50% or lower means that according to the survey, your child is in serious trouble and needs intervention. He told her it was either one of these schools or start making the changes needed to stay in our house. I added that I will insist that she go to counseling as well. She STILL refused to accept any responsibiblity–it was all our fault, or her sisters fault, etc, etc. She said she didn’t want to go away to a boarding school but refused to make the commitment to make any real changes… only “I don’t want to go”.
I am at the end of my rope. I fully admit that I was too soft, my husband was too soft and we are to blame for not taking action sooner. However, she is out of control and it seems she is unwilling to change.
So, after this excessively long post, does anyone have any advice? Has anyone out there actually been through this? The thought of sending her to another state scares me to death, but the thought of her progressing into adulthood without changing is scarier. I think that my husband and I need counseling as well so we don’t make all the same mistakes with our youngest ( we have an older girl, age 17, who is very, very well behaved). Any advice? PLEASE…