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how do I overcome negativity?

how do I overcome negativity?

Old 03-08-2010, 08:49 PM
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I try very hard to be a positive person and help other people all the time, but right now I feel so overwhelmed and ready to give up. Don't get me wrong, I am not ready to do myself in or anything, but I wonder how much you can give of yourself before there is nothing left? My DH and I are foster parents, (couldn't have our own) we have a 16 and half year old girl and a 13 year old boy. The girl has been with us for just over a year and the plan was for a permanent placement. We have been fostering for 10 years....I know all the cliches, I know that I cannot control when a teenager decides its time to rebel.....but I just feel so used, unappreciated and hurt.
For the past month she has been wanting to move out of the house....which I can accept and I am willing to let her go. I did not want things to end with hard feelings, so I let a lot roll off my back, because it wasn't worth the fight and I knew she just wanted no rules, no responsibilities and to use my home like a hotel. Despite the fact that I have told her that I am not going to hold her back and help her to move on, she changed her mind a number of times and said she wanted to stay and work things out. Bottom line for us, she is more than welcome to stay but only if she were to respect the rules. Every time she says she wants to stay, she purposely does the opposite and openly defies the rules. I have had enough of the games and of feeling manipulated. I am just done. She is spending the night at her boyfriends (which is what she wanted all along)
I can't help feeling negative about her future and I am so sad for the loss of her potential. I don't feel guilty, but I do feel used, and I do feel angry. I do not want to feel this way, but what can I do to change it?
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:54 PM
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I know what you are feeling. Kids that age are so hard to take care of. Just keep trying. Stay strong. My heart is going out to you.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:13 PM
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I too know how you are feeling; only it was my own daughter. We had a blended family. We raised my two. When they were younger they readily accepted their step dad but then when the rules came along, it was a totally different story. My daughter started running away when she was 13. By her choice she lived on the streets. I never knew if that dreaded phone call would come. She ended up back on my doorstep 17 and pregnant. She is now 22, married with a family and I cherish my grandbabies and her new found respect for parenting. Just be strong in your beliefs and firm in your commitment and boundaries. It doesn't sound like she knows what she wants. Unfortunately it will be her loss if she doesn't make wise choices. That is a hard pill to swallow but know that you are doing the best you can by her. Just don't cut yourself short. Bless you and your DH for all that you have done for so many children. Too many parents just don't give a damn.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:14 PM
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She is young. Like any teen, she wants the freedom.

You're telling her you won't hold her back, but you care enough that it hurts you to see her wasting herself. And she's not completely defiant or closed to wanting to do things right. It sounds like she wants you to be really firm with her.

Ultimately, it comes down to what YOU want. Do you want to finish raising her and get her through high school, or do you want an end to the upset of her disobedience? I think the only way to overcome the negative feelings is to commit yourself to one course of action or the other.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:18 PM
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tough love, that is what it comes down to, have consequences for her behavior, having teens of my own I understand, my oldest just turned 16, it isn't easy even when it is your own. draw up a contract if you have to and get her to sign it and the consequences have to be what they are, don't back down with what you agree on. You wouldn't take that kind of behavior from an adult, why take it from her? there are consequences for everything we do in life, she shouldn't have to skip them just because she is in foster care.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:32 PM
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You mentioned you have been fostering for 10 years now, I assume she is not your first, nor the 13 year old boy. I'm thinking, though you didn't say, there are others. So your question is how to get over the negative feelings. Positive imagery. Think instead of all the good you have done for other children in need. Think of where they might be without you. Even if you don't know, you can hope and imagine they are better off than if you hadn't been a part of their lives. Give yourself a big pat on the back, you deserve it.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:35 PM
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She is testing you, to see if you love her "enough". You giving up says to her that she is unloveable and unloved.
What can you do to change how you feel? Tell her how you feel. How much it hurts you and how much you care and how unappreciated you feel. I agree with Lisanne; decide which way you want to go, and then don't back down. This is just eating you up, I can tell. Been there, done that. Set the boundries and make them rigid, or set her free. My heart goes out to you.
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:24 PM
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spending the night at her boyfriends home is unacceptable is there supervision in his home i have learn the hard way that even the kids you don't have issues with can make big mistakes when they are put in a situation where mistakes can be made. you don't put candy on the table and expect it to not be eaten...
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Old 03-09-2010, 12:08 AM
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I can not give you advice on teenagers as I don't have any, but I was a teen once much like your foster daughter. I was the same way. The other posters are right..you need to decide what you want to do and stick with it. Being that you are a foster parent, you are very restricted in what you can/can't do. I'm sure the rules are the same for the most part as it is in the states. I can relate to you on foster care though as we adopted our son who we started fostering from birth. Have you spoken to her caseworker?? Do she see a therapist? Maybe you can get into some type of family therapy to help your family get through this rough time. I don't know what form of abuse this girl has gone through, but only you know what is best for your family. I really hope that at the very least she will sit down with you and let you say how you feel. I can only say that she will grow up. She is going to fall eventually..just be there to help her up when she does. That is about all you can do at this point. Also, there is a great board that I belong to..... fosterparents.com I used to post there all the time when I was a foster parent. This site is for foster parents and people with relative placements. There are a few birth parents on there also. They would be able to give you some excellent advice!! I still go and occasionally browse through the board to try and keep current. Check it out, I think it may help you.
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Old 03-09-2010, 06:00 AM
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Ugh. You need a hug. And some ice cream. :D

FWIW, it's not necessarily a symptom of her being a foster child. My daughter will be 18 at the end of this month. And we're coming down off of two years of sheer hell. No lie. No exaggeration. She was defiant, out of control, sassy, beligerant, dangerous (yes, dangerous), and everything rotten, with the execption of promiscuous and doing drugs. That really wasn't her thing, but like anger and attitude? OMG, please somebody save me!

In the past year or so, we've been working with psychiatrists, counselors, and finally an endocrineologist (I know...what? An endocrineologist???) and things are starting to straighten out. In her case, she had some medical issues that were compounding the "rotten teenager" syndrome. Her whole life, she was a high achieving, kind, courteous, thoughtful person. And then, for about 2 years, hell on wheels. And now, I'd say for a solid 6 months, maybe more, she's kinda grown up. And your foster daughter will, too.

I, too, was trying to be the peace keeper, the forgiver, the "I love you, but not your actions" mom. And she took full advantage, believe me. Someone said your daughter is trying you, to see "Do you love me enough?" and that's totally true. What worked for us is for me to stop giving second, third, fourth chances. One time, she wanted to go to a dance or something after I'd signed up for the School of Rules And Consequences. So, she kept casually mentioning it. And I said "OH, that's great! Just make sure i have proof of your grades before Friday!" and she kept mentioning it, I kept saying "OK, great!" and when Friday rolled around she "forgot" to get the grades. And I basically told her "I'm sorry, I've not been doing a good job enforcing what I've told you I was going to do. That's not fair to you. I said you could go, as long as you had proof of your grades. You didn't do that, so I must follow through on what I said. It's my job as a parent...I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't." In the past, I would have taken her word, only to find out that she was missing 4 assignments in English or something, LOL! Our school has an online site you can check, and most of the teachers use it. So, I offered a solution. Then later, she came down and said "Oh, I forgot my password, and I tried it too many times and it locked me out..." and I *KNOW* she wanted me to feel sympathetic and go "Ohhh, you tried, so sorry...let's get you ready for the dance. NEXT TIME bring the grades home, ok?"

Heh. But I didn't. I just said sorry, and later did some sleuthing on my own. Because parents have their own account to view their students' grades. While not all the grades were on there, two of the 4 classes she was in were, and one she had like a D or something in it. So, I printed it and put it on her desk. The-end.

So, with your foster daughter...what happens if she's 16 and staying at her boyfriend's? Is she considered a runaway? Delinquent? How old is the boyfriend? Personally, I'd call the cops if he was over 18. I'd use the systems in place to put some pressure on her to straighten up. Does she come back to the house when she needs money-food-laundry? There's gotta be a hard talk about you're welcome to live here, but if you're grown enough to go live like an adult (with the boyfriend) then you can support yourself as well. Which to me, means her giving back the cell phone (if she has one), the gas card, the key to your house, etc etc.

In the end, we teach people how to treat us, you know? How do you want her to treat you? And then be smart about it, and find ways to really let her treat you how you want to be treated. Not to say you should manipulate her like "If you don't do X, then I'm gonna do Y" but more like "THis is what I expect."

It's hard. It's an art. And I think everyone goes through this to some degree or another. <3
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