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SD is still trying to situate herself as an adult in the house

attempting_to_maintain_composure's picture

Like that's any different from these past two weeks. Or the past five years.

She came home from counseling this afternoon and told FDH that her therapist thinks that when there's a problem in the house, all three of us should sit down and talk about it and that she agrees with him (which makes me think she's being dishonest about what goes on in our house because that is what we do ALMOST every time - save for one time when SD had to apologzie to me when FDH was sleeping and the hullabaloo with the dog).

Then, she proceeds to tell FDH that she has to say something before she loses her nerve. Completely ignoring that just moments before she said she agrees with her therapist about all of us talking as a group about issues. And then she starts telling FDH that she hates the house rules, there are too many, and that they're too hard to follow, dumb, and childish.

So, SD is going to be bringing her rules with her to counseling next week. We have made it VERY clear to SD that we don't expect her to be perfect and follow all the rules to a T every single day. But we have told her that we expect her to do her best to follow them and that, if we notice she's struggling, we will sit down with her and figure out how to help her. BUT that is not to say that we will be abolishing the rules or changing any of them unless FDH and I think it's necessary (mainly, by adding more freedom as we see she's able to handle it in the way of extending her bedtime, giving her more freedom to go out when she wants without an adult, stuff like that).

And, honestly, these aren't just rules that will make our living environment better, they're rules that will make SD better equipped to live with other people throughout her lifetime. OK so some of them won't transfer into adult hood - like doing her schoolwork and respecting her bedtime. But most of them will.

But, I wanted to put this out there to all of you. Below are the house rules that SD has to follow. At age 14, do these sound too impossible to follow? Or, is SD being, as FDH and I suspect, overdramatic and acting this way because she wants us to mold our house to her desire (no rules) and to model GUBM's house because she just can't get over the fact that she's NOT FDH's partner/wife nor an adult in the house??

Quick side note: We sat down and talked about all of these with her and explained to her what we meant by all of them. I've thrown in little notes as needed to explain some things about why we have the rule phrased that way.

1. Be honest

2. Respect yourself and others (NOTE: basically, we want her to eat well, get the sleep she needs, get exercise, and to respect the belongings of others in the house)

3. Admit to errors and mistakes when you can (NOTE: this is largely because she has HUGE EXTREME reactions when FDH or I point them out to her)

4. Clean up after yourself

5. Keep yourself and your bedroom clean

6. Chores should be completed the day you're asked to do them

7. Dad and AtMC need to know where you are at all times. Before you leave the house without one of us, let us know where you're going, if you'll be with anyone else (and who you will be with), and how long you would like to go out. (NOTE: We tweaked this one since SD now has her own key so she can get into the house if we're not there).

8. Be polite and courteous to household guests (NOTE: Kind of falls into respect yourself and others, but, she has had specific issues with being rude and snarky with guests in our house so FDH wanted to have a rule to address it specifically).

9. Schoolwork needs to be done before funtime activities

10. Be kind with your words and actions (NOTE: this sounds similar to numbers 2 and 8, and it is, but it's separated to address her tendency to scream back at me and FDH and her tendency towards punishing the animals and we explained that to her when we went over them for the umpteenth time this past March)

11. If you are having a problem, need something, or want something, talk to us about it so we can help you. We can't help you if we don't know.

12. Personal electronic use is limited to 2 1/2 hours a day and should be used outside of your bedroom. If you want more time, you need to ask, but also need to accept the answer you get.

13. You are guaranteed downtime every night for one hour before bedtime.

14. Respect your bedtime.

As I noted throughout this, we could probably compress some of them. Of course, SD is nitpicky enough that certain things she would argue as not being under the house rules and us being tyrants. Then again, she's accusing us of asking too much of her as it is. What those rules all boil down to in the most basic form: Be honest, be courteous, polite, and respectful of yourself and others, do your schoolwork and chores, you will get downtime, respect your bedtime, and let us know when you need/want something.

So, now we get to sit down with her AGAIN to talk about this. I hope she's thought about what she wants out of this beyond "get rid of the rules" because that's NOT happening.


attempting_to_maintain_composure's picture

HAHAHAHAHA. After the crappy ass day I had, I really needed that laugh!

She REALLY does. And I don't think FDH gets this. I wouldn't even be entertaining her telling us this if I were him. I would instead make sure that I'm home next Thursday (as he usually is) and march her ass down to her therapists office and have a session with her telling the therapist EXACTLY what goes on in our house and handing him the list of rules personally. I wouldn't leave it all to the little liar that is SD.

Only glimmer of hope is that right NOW FDH says he's with me on this. But when she starts, if he caves, I will be SO tempted to just pack SD and her shit into my car and drive her ass back to GUBM's myself.

Because, really?? It's impossible to not be an asshole?!

tabby yabba do's picture

I love lists, I really do. It's the nerd in me. Smile

But this is really a lot of stuff, a lot of details. I think a lot of skids would be zzzzzz after about #3.

I think your expectations are reasonable, it's the presentation that needs tweaking?

The more complex the communication or rules, the more room there is for SD14 to voice her displeasure or complain or control the outcome or try to negotiate a miniscule detail. And of course SD14 does this to draw attention away from what the real issue is: she's wrong and she's acting like a PITA.

Simplify it. Reduce this list to your 3 or 4 basic, core, requirements and start there?

1. Honesty (with parents, with self)
2. Accountability (homework, chores, electronic use)
3. Respect (household guests, pets, rules, self, and towards parents)

Sorry if I'm over-simplifying your dilemma.

attempting_to_maintain_composure's picture

We've tried the core requirements before with her. They didn't work. The problem we're facing, as FDH and I see it is that SD wants zero rules all together. It's not that there are too many, because she can't even identify (yet) what specific rules she has a problem with or anything like that. But, we'll see after her next counseling appointment. But, regardless of whether she's just "eff rules all together" or "this one particular rule doesn't work for me", FDH isn't changing the house rules beyond maybe having me rewrite them the way we used to have them and giving SD a chance to not act like an asshole over them.

See, when FDH first tried to institute house rules when SD was a little girl (way before I was ever in the picture), GUBM would scream at FDH in front of SD to shut up and knock it off and then SD would not get any consequences for misbehaving. Then, when he tried to institute house rules after he and GUBM had split, he tried to be amicable and give GUBM a copy of the rules (which are, with the exception of schoolwork since we had her EOWE and leaving the house by herself when adults aren't home, identical to the ones we have today, except there were fewer rules as we had them parsed out by overarching "theme", then later because FDH figured SD wasn't understanding the rules, incorporated a breakdown underneath them). GUBM laughed in his face, in front of SD and said "This will never happen. SD will not have rules."

Ever since that day, SD has been railing against house rules. Anytime it comes up that she has rules to follow in our house, she whines and complains about how hard it is to follow the rules, how childish rules are, and how she wants it to be just like it is at GUBM's where she has no rules. To which FDH usually replies "This isn't GUBM's house, SD. This house is our house and we don't have to run it the way GUBM does. You don't have to like the rules, but, you do have to follow them."

Of course, I think our next week is going to be hell again because SD is oblivious to her shitty ways and has already started badmouthing ME in her therapist's office.

Tuff Noogies's picture

that's what we did - as a family, we all wrote house rules. all of us had input (well, except mss- he had his chance, read them and says "yup sounds good". "anything you'd like to add?" "nope, looks good to me." he's so laid back!)

then i arranged them into two basic rules that get repeated whenever the break one- "take care of yourself and others" (including self) and "take care of your/our stuff".

then the individual rules are listed underneath each underlined basic.

what happens is this- "YSS puhLEEZ quit bouncing the ball in the house." "i forgot." "c'mon now, you know these things- 'take care of our stuff'." "oh yeah."

14 listed out individual rules may be a bit much- maybe ya'll could re-arrange them under a couple of basic categories?

attempting_to_maintain_composure's picture

We had them listed like that in the past. And it didn't work out so well. It's a larger issue of SD just wanting to control things and not wanting rules. But I think it's a good place to take it once she gets over that hump with her therapist.

positivelyfourthstreet's picture

If YOu were HIM these rules would have been in place eons ago and you wouldn't have had to write down even one likely.

These are all sort of basic human decency and common sense type things.

Of course we all know common sense can be rare in this life.

attempting_to_maintain_composure's picture

If I was him, it would have never been an issue. My kid would have been learning basic decency from the moment she could understand it all.

It was sad we had to do this when she was 10. An it's sadder still we still need to have them when she's 14.

Jsmom's picture

BTDT and have the t-shirt. My SD tried this same crap. She took my rules to the therapist and her biggest complaint is I won't let her wear flip flops in the fall. It was Nov and their was snow on the ground here in GA. Therapist told her to get over it.

After that, SD stopped seeing therapist. She later filed papers suing us to live with BM because according to BM we were micromanaging her. Fast forward and we gave up custody. You can not fight the other household and their lack of rules. Doesn't work. Eventually the kid gets what they want.

attempting_to_maintain_composure's picture

That is largely what I see happening when she takes the rules to counseling: Her therapist might agree with her (far fetched) and she will make our lives miserable bc we aren't letting her dictate rules (or lack thereof) in our house OR her therapist will tell her to get over it and she won't want to see him anymore and eventually want to stop visiting. At this point? I would do a dance in FRONT of SD out pf pure joy if she were to say, again, that she doesn't want to visit.