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Looking for Input for Consequence/Reward list for older teen

Posted by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 5:51 PM
  • 8 Replies

My very soon to be 17 yr old daughter has control issues and verbal abusive tendencies. Would it be a touch of humor to state that she is otherwise a great kid. She has decent grades, good friends although just a few, never any issue with promiscuity, alcohol or drugs. She has started a job at a fast food place where her siblings work. She likes working and loves having her own spending money plus she seems to be doing better in school since obtaining her very part time job. 

A bit of background...

She is the youngest of 4. Lost my oldest daughter (her sister) to Leukemia nearly 3 yrs ago. My others are now 22(s) and 20 (d) who live at home while they finish off college. I have been a single mom, rearing them nearly on my own for the past 14 yrs except for the couple hours a week their father has wedged for them in his schedule. 

A bit over a year ago she was dealing with suicidal tendencies. Yes- I contacted the hospital and she was admitted for about a week. It was then that she realized she really doesn't have it so bad as she heard of young girls who were beaten, raped, pregnant, drug addicts themselves or their parents were into drugs etc. We followed up with several months of counseling to help her deal with the tremendous loss we all experienced and the drastic changes occurring within our family as the other children talk of eventually moving out to pursue careers. I, myself have been dating someone seriously. We had some nicer months since hospitalization & counseling. When things are good they are very good- when they are bad - it is HELL!

Over the past few months she has become verbally abusive towards me and even physical once. According to her (when she is irate) I am a loser, negligent mom who is also a witch (w/a b), a c you next Tuesday ( I LOATHE that word) and more. Three months ago she got in my face and went to hit me. I held up my arm in defense and held her hand back in which she threw herself on the floor. Yes- she called her father who in turn called the police (yes I had even asked for some help from my ex and that is what he did w/o even the courtesy to contact me). When the police arrived & the entire truth came out my daughter was told I could press charges against her. It took two months for my ex to apologize for believing her.

Now she is telling my bf that I beat her and the older kids- WTF. He has seen me with my kids and there is absolutely no question in his mind. She gets VERY irate when I go with my boyfriend for a weekend or when she feels my 22 yr old son pays too much attention to his girlfriend. I began to realize that her teenage tantrums are a cry for attention. While she is being verbally abusive on the phone I will calmly tell her I will not take the abuse and let her know I am hanging up.  Between our work schedules and her school we don't have a ton of together time but I attempt to do something with her as time permits at least once or twice a week. 

It is apparent that I am now dealing with a product of all those years of spoiling the baby of the family. I didn't date much for the first 10 yrs or so of divorce life so I can focus on my 4 kids. I came home after a full time job to make a sit down dinner for us and help with homework, attend school concerts & plays etc. We don't live a luxurious life style but their needs are met and many of their wants. She has stated a couple times that she wishes things could always be the way they were when the kids were little.

I am at a loss. Living with her father is not an option (he prefers to remain the convenience kinda dad). In the meantime I am thinking I need to set tough love guidelines- a consequence/reward list and literally spell it out. I came up with a few consequences: 

turn off cell phone

or turn of text capability for lesser "crimes"

take off bedroom door

no rides (other than mandatory school)

Any other ideas? How about for rewards? Yes it is obvious I am in need of creative ideas. 


by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 5:51 PM
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by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Taking off her door, etc will push her buttons, she already is hostile towards you. Ever try going out to eat shopping movie for girl time. I mean what  has her door have to do with anything.  As a young adult will she even cooperate at this point with a list etc. Have you talked with her to see what is going on listen more than talk.

by Susie on Dec. 16, 2013 at 7:15 PM
She needs anger management. No one has to take abuse from a child. Take her phone if she cannot be civil.
Rewards, whatever she enjoys? Friends, movies etc??
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by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 7:21 PM

I think the door is a bit much and could trigger worse things from her.  But the other things seem very reasonable. 

by Silver Member on Dec. 16, 2013 at 8:09 PM
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Is she still seeing the therapist? My.oldest goes once a week and if we have issues, I go in for the first 5-10 minites to talk things out and get ideas. Ypu may want to have a few sessions with her.

It sounds like she needs more one on one but also, at 17, needs to learn to be independent. Make sure to have ypu once a week "date" no matter what!

I can understand her being resentful having a boyfriend when her Dad is a deadneat. She wants male :attention but needs needs to learn to cope with the fact that Dad does what Dad does.

Consequences... most, minis tje door are fine. I believe in "natural consequences" if she tried to hit, she mist need to blow off steam. If you have a fireplace, have her split and haul wood, Have her clean house.

I require all my kids to be in some kind of service club or activity. Have her volunteer somewhere like a homeless shelter, animal rescue, spup kitchem, etc. Mine are in Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, Youth Court and Antlers.

Does ypur Elks lodge have an Antler program? It is for kids age 12-20 and they have supervised free social time, business meetings and do community service.

Rewards- movie passes, iTines cards, shopping. It may sound "babyish" but give her tokens worth 50c-$1 that she can collect for cash to buy things. Maybe she could make dinner once a week and that could be worth $3, etc.
by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 8:14 PM
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i was court orderecd to take a parenting class because my daughter got in some trouble with the law and they taught us to use what is called a TSPOT take everthing away for a short period of time. This would include everything they enjoy doing and they are allowed only books and paper and pencil or they can do chores for a period of time i have tried it with my 16 year old who is the same way as your daughter and it is effective on him. Might give it a try it may suprise you how well it works.

by on Dec. 16, 2013 at 8:51 PM
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I have been in a much similar situation, 5 kids-1 medically challenging who passed 8 years ago, the oldest kids' dad was present only on his weekends (if no one was sick) and my youngest's dad was abusive (thank goodness only to me, but I know that was hard on the kids).

My youngest daughter (now 20) and I still have those respect boundaries regularly broken and get into heated conversation a lot. So I can really relate there too.

Have you contacted Compassionate Friends? They also have sibling support groups. My oldest daughter told me a few months ago she still feels like she is in competition with Adam (my son that passed). This past weekend when she had to be taken to the ER via ambulance, she broke down because her brother died in an ambulance. This is the first time in a long long time that she has shared any emotion regarding her brother. Maybe getting with others who have lost siblings would help. 

I also agree with 'natural consequences' for most things. I did write up a "House Rules" with regards to dishes being left, laundry left in the washer/dryer, etc. that had 'fees' associated with each rule violation as well as the option of paying someone else to do it for them ($5 per load, etc). Seems to have helped a bit. I have a house jar that the $ goes into.

My girls also loved our girls night. Plan a night either weekly/monthly or as a reward to do whatever she wants to do. My girls missed us just being silly and doing hair & makeup so that was one of the things we did.

by Kimberly on Dec. 16, 2013 at 9:24 PM
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I hope she is still in counseling?   Just as it is important for you to spend one on one time with her, it is also important for the entire family to spend time together.    It sounds like she needs constant reassurance that as life changes and everyone moves on in their lives, you are still and will always be family and she will not be left alone.           

I am the youngest in my family.  I had a hard time adjusting to my siblings moving out and moving on.... expecially during Holiday Season.   I remember wishing that it could be like it had been when I was younger.      Maybe you can plan a fun outing for you, your boyfriend and your DD?   You can encourage your older kids to include her in fun events, or plan something with her.

by on Dec. 17, 2013 at 12:57 PM
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Thank you all so much for providing a bit of clarity in this situation. So many ideas were shared which actually gives me some hope.

Although I have 3 other older children, this is new to me. My personality and that of my older ones is very mellow and easy going. She has much more flair (drama) than I am used to. 

We have done certain "dates" together but never planned ahead of time due to crazy schedules. It would probably be a good idea to set a date once she gets her work schedule each week. 

She does seem to be fighting the independant bit, I think growing up and the changes that come right with it scares her. 

Jinx- I will look into the Antler program if it is available here . Alwaysbelieve- I def appreciate your input as you and your children have also suffered the loss of a child/sibling. So sorry for your heartache. Yes, the "always in competition" with her sister is a strong possibility. She is often stating how Carina and I were so close (and we were). She doesn't share her pain openly. When we first lost Carina she would get very upset with me when she saw me cry. Counseling helped her address the heartache but she still doesn't express it much. We share our memories but she seems to bottle up the grief

Definitely will nick the door idea!

Thank you all again for the input. I have always stated it is too bad parenting doesn't come with a manual. Guess this would be the next best thing :)  

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