This is the fifth in a series of stories to celebrate the five-year anniversary of Momania. We are flashing back to some of our favorite columns and blogs. As a community we are at our best when one of our own is in trouble. The sniping stops, the criticisms cease and good advice is dispensed by almost all. Here are several samples where moms were in crisis and our community offered good advice. You can click on each headline to see the original discussion.
Ladies, one of our own needs our help! I received a note from a regular MOMania contributor who has a big problem with her child. Her child is an older elementary student.
Here is what she wrote: “What do you do when your perfect angel gets caught taking (i.e. stealing) other people’s things at school? This child is not deprived, is an A – B student and genuinely liked by most people. The child has a kind heart, and believes in God. However, whether it is a gem clip or toy this child cannot keep her hands off other people’s things. I am at wits end and afraid if I don’t scare the crap out of her soon a very bad and rough road lies of ahead of her.”
Have any of you guys had a child that couldn’t stop taking things? How did you handle it? Do you think it’s a maturity/self control issue that she will grow out of? Do you think she’s looking for attention for another reason? What is an appropriate punishment for stealing? Should this mom “scare” the child straight or is there something deeper going on?
Let’s give this mom a lot of ideas. She sounds like she’s not sure what to do next.
Yesterday I got a very distressing note from one of the moms in our community. Her battle with her disrespectful teenager had reached critical mass and she had told her almost 18-year-old they were no longer welcome at home. The mother is completely torn up inside not knowing if she has done the right thing, but she felt she couldn’t let her child continue to treat her this way.
The mother’s full letter is below. She is keeping the gender of the child neutral as not to sway the audience. Please be gentle and constructive in your advice or criticism. She is truly looking for a sounding board and some help. She’s not sure she’s done the right thing or even what to do next.
Here’s what the mother wrote:
“My question is … when is enough, enough?
I have a 17 yo who shows no respect to my husband (not the father) and even less respect to me. I love this child, have tried to do the best I can and have twisted myself into a pretzel to be an involved parent. School was never fun, even kindergarten and we struggled every year. The child has graduated this spring and was planning on attending the local community college before starting Georgia State the following year. In my opinion this was a wise decision by this child.
I have been an involved parent, the last couple of years I was not as involved in the activities, but my thought process has been I needed to let go and give the child room to fall and learn how to recover while there was still a safety net. I feel I have been strict, but also very giving and loving most of all. I have had few expectation other than to work hard at school, try your best at swim team, take the seasonal job seriously. Having a 17 yo who is still a virgin, not gotten into drugs, drinking and smoking, I feel I have instilled some values. I always thought to teach by example, work hard, do for your friends and family even when there is no reward for yourself. I have been supporting my mother, a elderly family friend, my child and myself and only recently married a man I had been with for 10 years.
I have had my child in counseling for the past 7 years working on depression, ADHD, bi-polar issues.
The child’s father has been in the picture for the most part, not due to me. Up until the last 3 years we lived 4 miles from the father and other than celebrations (birthday, holidays or some event) he didn’t take his visitations consistently. My child now will have little if any contact with him, but I try to keep the father in the loop as to what is going on at home.
We have less than two months until the 18th birthday. As of last night the child is no longer welcome in my home. In many ways I have nothing to complain about, other than the lack of respect, but I refuse to live with someone how does not respect me. I don’t feel I am asking too much, help around the house, take care of the animals food water and let the dogs out to potty if you are home. Help keep the kitchen clean, load or unload the dishes, don’t leave piles of clothes laying around, keep the bathroom clean since you are not the only one to use it. We have offered to pay for doing things around the house, but $30 a week to feed and water was not enough in the child’s mind. My husband and I just finished installing a fence and will need to paint it in the near future, child wanted to make money and offered to paint it. But didn’t feel that the amount should be based on how good of a job was done.
I feel I have done everything I knew to do, but some how I have ended up with a child I don’t like. This child is selfish and self absorbed and shows little to no concern for the feelings of other. When I stated I would turn off the cell phone the response was “then you won’t hear from me again” I said that is your choice, mine is to not let you control me with threats. I will leave the phone on until the 18th birthday, but after that I will have it disconnected, only due to if an emergency.occurred I would like to have the ability to contact and be contacted.
Have I gone to far to let the child know it is no longer welcome in my home. I was out on my own when I was 17, living in an apartment and paying rent and bills, but that was almost 30 years ago and life was a lot different.then. When is enough, enough? I don’t enjoy living in a state of war at home, my needs are not being met by the child, when my needs are brought up, I get the typical eye rolling, deep exhausted sighs, and blocked out and ignored.
Would changing the locks and security password be going to far? We don’t have a lot of valuables but I don’t want the child in the house without someone being there to make sure….. I guess I don’t have faith in my child to make the right choices anymore and don’t trust this new person in my home.
Okay moms and dads: What do we think? How far does your teen have to push you to be thrown out? Did this teen hit the limit? Would the mental health issues override what another teen might be held accountable for? What does she do now: change the locks, let the teen back in after three days? When does the teen get to come home? How does the mom know the teen is ready to live by the mom’s rules?
We have a great topic from one of our regulars. MotherJane Goose wants us to think about the life skills we are imparting on our kids. Here’s her question:
“@T…what are the things children will need to know to be successfully independent in life?”
“If the goal is for children to be independent ( which it is for me and my children) would parents not want a road map of what needs to be done? What skills should all children have by the time they head out to college? When do you start these skills? I think this also lends into what Mrs. K is trying to say, some parents do not see the need for lifelong skills.”