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Thread: how do I overcome negativity?

  1. #1
    Senior Member daisyboo9's Avatar
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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?

  2. #2
    Power Poster littlehud's Avatar
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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.

  3. #3
    Super Member Quilter2B's Avatar
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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.

  4. #4
    Super Member Lisanne's Avatar
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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.

  5. #5
    Power Poster cutebuns's Avatar
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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.

  6. #6
    Super Member MissTreated's Avatar
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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.

  7. #7
    Senior Member yourstrulyquilts's Avatar
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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.
    YTQ

  8. #8
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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...
    mema

  9. #9
    Senior Member adriansmom's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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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

  11. #11
    Senior Member daisyboo9's Avatar
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    thank you everyone for your reply and your support. I really just needed to vent and have a shoulder to cry on.

    We are the kind of parents that hold the kids responsible for their actions. We have clear, fair, consistent rules and expectations and we follow through every time. We do tell the kids frequently that we care about them but not their behaviour.

    There have been numerous times, that she has come home drunk, or high, and expected to be kicked out of the house. I always say, I am not going to kick you out of the house for making a mistake, but you will have a consequence to help you learn from your mistake. She has told me, frequently that she will do whatever it takes to get what she wants, and what she wants is to live with her boyfriend. The catalyst has been....the boyfriend never wants to be here because they say its boring over here (they can't "hang out" in her room, which they do at his house, they close the door and have sex when his parents are home and in the other room. They cannot smoke in the house. They not only smoke at the boyfriends, but the parents supply them with ciggarettes, including the younger brother who started smoking at the age of 10. They cannot watch resistricted movies in our family room while dry humping on the couch in front of everyone.) If she could she would get up at 5 or 6 in the morning and go over there and crawl into bed with him. She goes over there for lunch and many times is late getting back to class, and is back there again right after school until curfew which is 10 pm. Our feeling is that it is unhealthy (for many reasons) for her tgo be there almost 24/7 and to just come home to sleep a few hours and be back again. We tried to have the boyfriend spend one evening a week, but he would either be sick, have things to do, or find some excuse not to come over. It got to the point that we said he must come and spend the evening before she can go over there. Nothing but problems with them trying to negotitate him not coming at all....so we said fine, we can't make him come over, but she needs to stay home 2 nights per week. It has evolved from there that she will not stay home, will not come home, and wants to spend the night over there, because she is too tired to make it home after being in the hot tub. He lives 1/2 a block away. The boyfriend is 17 a year older than her. He is no longer attending school this year, as he will not make his credits, so he feels its a waste of his time. His parents believe that he shouldn't have to work part time while going to school. He is supposed to be in grade 11 but is in grade 9. He misses more school than he attends for one excuse or another. The younger brother started high school this year and already is on probabtion with a truency officer. I do not agree with the way the parents of the boyfriend deal with these things but it is not my home and not my business.

    The social worker and I are on the same page. We are working together to try and find a soloution for her, but she is too immature and just wants what she wants and she wants it right now. The boyfriends parents were contatcted by the worker, to try and get them on the same page, but they don't see anything wrong with the kids desire to live together because the parents themselves, were married at 17.

    I am letting her go, because that is the only thing I can do. I don't want things to be said that can't be taken back, and I want the door to be left open for her to come back after learning the hard way...or not because she is too stubborn. Either way I want her to know that I still care for her, despite the outcome and I have told her that as well as written her a letter to read later on when she is not so angry. I know she is engaging in detachment behaviour...to make it easier for her to leave without feeling guilty. I know this but it doesn't make me feel any better. Right now the worker has found a bed in a semi-independent living facility, which is 40 mins away. Bottom line.....I am letting her go....but I am hoping she learns from this and comes back, and if she doesn't that she reaches the potential that I know she has!

    Thanks again everyone
    Denise

  12. #12
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    Teenagers are not for the squeamish! Good luck to you. I read this article this week: http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Fa...-of-Teens.html and thought it had a lot of practical, common sense tips to increase positivity.

  13. #13
    Super Member Lisanne's Avatar
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    I imagine the rules at the semi-independent living house will be stricter than yours. I can't imagine a funded place like that allowing her to smoke or drink or stay overnight with her boyfriend.

  14. #14
    Super Member Fiber Artist's Avatar
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    I have five children (now that they are grown I try not to call them kids baby goats )the youngest one was a hard teen I had to set my rules,miss much time at work,and tell myself OFTEN how much I love him.It took 3 years for him to figure it out but he did.Now hes in college!!!!!They can be a lot of work.

  15. #15
    Super Member Rebecca VLQ's Avatar
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    Daisy, I think that's awesome that she's going to an independent living home. If she wants to be an adult, then she has the opportunity to act like one. Heh. Nooooo, she's not going to like it, because she'd rather lay around with the boyfriend's house, with no rules. That stinks that the bf's family is not on board with you. And that's terrible that she's gone and gotten high numerous times and then came home...to that I guess I'd say she needs a little tougher love because whatever's going on isn't deterrent enough, kwim?

    Keep us posted. One day, she will spread her wings and fly. It just might not be THIS day. :D

  16. #16
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    We have problems with our DS when he was a teen. Looking back all his problems were so minor, but being his parents they were major to us. He is a new Dad and I bet he will be supper strick with his little girl.
    My heart goes out to you bc even though you are letting her go, your heart will ache for her.

  17. #17
    Honey's Avatar
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    We have 3 grown children and 1 that is slowly making his way in that direction. I can't say enough how much I admire you and DH for what you are doing. Parenting (on a good day) is not an easy task. Unfortunatly they don't come with a guide book. Lord only knows that I don't know everything and have made my share of mistakes, but I do know this. Some kids just have to do it the hard way. That seems to be the only way they learn. I also know that there are some kids that you just can't help and it is heartbreaking to admit that. Ultimatly, all we can do is love them and pray that they make the rite decisions. You have done all that you can do and it is so hard to let them go, but sometimes that is all you can do. You will be in my thoughts and prayers for strength and peace of mind.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ladygen's Avatar
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    Denise, my hear goes out to you.

    I was a bit of a rebellious teen myself, and to put out what may be her view - I was confused and irritated as much with myself as the rules I was supposed to follow. Rules I ultimately did follow, but not without anger, most at myself, not my parents. As much as she's definitely testing your love for her, and as much as she wants what she wants (and wants it now), she's probably arguing with herself over what's right and what she wants.

    Good luck, and know that somehow or another, things eventually work themselves out - in days, weeks, or years down the road. I wish, looking back, that I *knew* I could go back to my dad's house after I left. I didn't feel the love when I left, I felt pressured to leave. Make sure she *knows* you're leaving the door open for her, if that's what you're doing.

    You're in my thoughts.

  19. #19
    Super Member Kyiav10's Avatar
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    I think that all teenagers are tough. But teenagers that have been trhough as much as a lot of these teens have it even rougher. She is going through a lot. I respect you and your husband's willingness and ability to take in foster children.

    Has she been through counseling?

    Kyia

  20. #20
    Senior Member daisyboo9's Avatar
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    She has been offered counselling numerous times, but refuses to go, or shuts down totally in the office. She will have to face her issues some day, but right now its whatever she can do to avoid.
    As of right now she has gotten what she wants and is living with the boyfriend.....it would have ended up this way, she was refusing to come home, at curfew I would have had to call the police, and file a missing persons report, told them where she was and they would have gone there banging on the door. They would have denied that she was there and the police would let it go because of her age. If they did find her there they would have just brought her back home kicking and screaming, where she would promptly just up and leave and go back there again....endless cycle. I don't like that she is there, and I don't condone it, but at least she is not on the street. She will learn the hard way when the boyfriend and or his family have had enough of her and kick her out.

  21. #21
    ilovequilts's Avatar
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    Bless you for taking in children who need loving parents! I can only imagine how hard it would be not only for you but also for her. 16 is such a hard age and it's really a make it or break it point, teenagers make decisions that sometimes affect who they are for the rest of their lives! Let her know you love her, she obviously loves you seeing as she comes back and wants to make it work. I was 16 only 4 years ago and I remember those times of hating/loving parents (and ya, I regret the hating part, but you don't realize that until later). This day and age is so hard for teenagers with all the bad choices they have the opportunity to make. It's all about helping them realize their potential, who they can be, and the difference they can make in the world! Remind her how important she is! I know that I was really lucky to have jobs that helped me feel important. The greatest choice I ever made was to volunteer at the hospital in the ER, yeah, I cleaned beds and took samples to the lab but it was a great experience!

    Keep your head up! Tell your daughter you love her everyday (the days you feel like you don't want to are the days that you need to the most) and keep her in your prayers.

    Good luck and keep being an Angel (really, taking in these kids is so wonderful of you and you are to be admired forever!)

    -Hailee

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