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#1 of 6 Old 05-24-2010, 06:06 PM - Thead Starter
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I think this is the best place to put this post, even though we really aren't step parents. DH and I are adopting my niece (one of my sister's 3 kids). My sister and her husband's parental rights were terminated. It's been a long, hard process, with a lot of grieving for everyone, not the least of which is her kids.

Elizabeth just turned 11. I have been close to her since she was a baby. DH just met her three years ago, and only spent any significant amount of time with her this last year.

I know she will never see us as her parents. We will always be Nini and Uncle Paul. That makes me a bit sad, but I can deal with it.

She is starting to push boundaries now. We are still negotiating our new relationship as parent-child. But Paul has a hard time. She treats him like a playmate. He does not feel respected, but he also does not feel empowered to do anything about it. He has little experience with pre-teen girls. He gets angry at some of her behavior, but doesn't tell her when she does something wrong. When he talks to me, I tell him he needs to tell her so that she will know. He seems to think she knows when she is pushing the envelope and does it intentionally. I think she does it without thought, and needs the feedback so she can learn where the lines are drawn.

I'm also beginning to think she is borderline ADD. Not hyperactive, just attention issues. I don't think she needs meds, but I will be researching other ways of helping her focus before she starts middle school next year. She cannot keep "forgetting" to bring important things home, like the data for her science project due the next day. I grounded her for that (it was the last in a long line of irresponsible "forgetting"). I ended her grounding today. Was that the right response? Is it too much to expect a kid her age to remember things like that? Was she grounded long enough? I don't know. There's so much to figure out about raising a teen girl, and we don't have much time to do it.

She is very bright, but I worry that all the trauma she went through and that she won't talk about, will come back and bite us in the a** as she enters puberty. But that's a subject for another post, another day.
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#2 of 6 Old 05-24-2010, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimmy View Post
She is starting to push boundaries now. We are still negotiating our new relationship as parent-child. But Paul has a hard time. She treats him like a playmate. He does not feel respected, but he also does not feel empowered to do anything about it. He has little experience with pre-teen girls. He gets angry at some of her behavior, but doesn't tell her when she does something wrong. When he talks to me, I tell him he needs to tell her so that she will know. He seems to think she knows when she is pushing the envelope and does it intentionally. I think she does it without thought, and needs the feedback so she can learn where the lines are drawn.

I'm also beginning to think she is borderline ADD. Not hyperactive, just attention issues. I don't think she needs meds, but I will be researching other ways of helping her focus before she starts middle school next year. She cannot keep "forgetting" to bring important things home, like the data for her science project due the next day. I grounded her for that (it was the last in a long line of irresponsible "forgetting"). I ended her grounding today. Was that the right response? Is it too much to expect a kid her age to remember things like that? Was she grounded long enough? I don't know. There's so much to figure out about raising a teen girl, and we don't have much time to do it.

She is very bright, but I worry that all the trauma she went through and that she won't talk about, will come back and bite us in the a** as she enters puberty. But that's a subject for another post, another day.
What grade is she in?

I see a lot of these behaviors in my students who have not been through what she has been through.
I will say that with her "pushing the envelope" I think that you and Paul are both right. I think there are times when most likely Elizabeth knows good and well what she is doing and she wants to see if she can get by with it and/or what your response/reaction will be. I also think there are times when it is behavior that is done on impulse, without any thought whatsoever.

As for the forgetting things, yes, there must be a consequence, or else she will never learn responsibility. Imagine if it were okay to always forget to pay your mortgage or your car payment!

Is she in counseling? I have lots of students who are in similar situations, having been removed from their parents' care (either permanently or temporarily) and counseling has helped tremendously. It gives them a neutral party to vent to. She may have unresolved feelings toward her parents and you that she doesn't want to share.

Tammy
wife to Kyle 4/27/96
Proud mom of two fabulous kids:
Emily 1/11/03
Travis 10/6/06
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#3 of 6 Old 05-25-2010, 11:15 AM
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I don't have a lot of time to post a response right now but wanted to say that man-oh-man it sounds exactly like a situation that I had with my biological daughter around that age. It's not a fun stage but you WILL get through it ... definitely talk with your DH about the situation ... keep lines of communication open ... It can be really tough on a relationship. Mine was slightly different as it was a new relationship instead of a new child brought into the family but the same kinds of difficulties of what is appropriate parenting and how to deal with certain situations.

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#4 of 6 Old 05-30-2010, 10:17 PM
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Hey, Kim. You know you can call me if you need to talk. I definitely think Elizabeth needs to go to counseling, but it won't do her any good until she is ready for it. As far as her and Paul, he HAS to put his foot down when she behaves that way. Otherwise she is going to think she can always get away with treating him like that.

The forgetful thing? If she has ADD, like Drew, then that is a big part of it. Drew still forgets things on a regular basis. Until she has to suffer the consequences a couple of times for forgetting, it's not going to get any better. With Drew, it is usually school related. And when he started bring home bad grades because of it, he got grounded. (You've heard all about it.) Funnily enough, it doesn't happen quite so much anymore. Part of it is just her age, some could be ADD (have the school test her next year) and part of it could be that she is simply forgetful.

I know you and you WILL find a way to get through this and help her at the same time. You have never failed at anything.

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#5 of 6 Old 06-02-2010, 09:27 PM - Thead Starter
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Thanks again everyone. To answer a few questions, Elizabeth just finished 5th grade and will start middle school in the fall. She is not in counseling now, and does not want to be. She was in counseling while she was in foster care, and I think she really did not like it. She says she is over things, and just wants to move on and be happy. But, we all know that you never really get over things like this.

I would think she just doesn't want to talk about it now, but she does sometimes talk about things with my mom (her grandmother) that she doesn't say to me. I never realized how hard it would be to know she won't talk to me about something but she will to my mom. I think she puts on a bit of a show with us, afraid to say much about the past in case it hurts us or makes us mad since we are taking care of her instead of her parents.

I do talk about her with my therapist, who agrees that she may be borderline ADD. When we finally get a copy of her case file, my therapist will review the psych evaluations CPS did and help us figure out what we need to do next.

In the meantime, we are hoping the adoption will be final within the next month (so many delays). Once it is final, I am hoping that will let Elizabeth relax some, knowing that CPS cannot take her away any more.
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#6 of 6 Old 06-03-2010, 12:29 AM
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My kids are not adopted and have not been through anything bad and they still tell their grandparents stuff they do not tell us. I think it's just part of having grandparents. I'm glad she have you and her granny to talk to.

 
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