Gift Ideas for Badly Behaved 15 yo SD
I need some help with ideas for Christmas gifts for SD who’s 15 but not your typical teen. DH is clueless when it comes to gifts and he’s completely fed up with her behavior. She is completely out of control and holding her accountable for anything has become impossible. She refuses to do homework or chores and screams and yells terrible things at him. He’s not going out of his way to do anything nice for her after the way she treats him.
SD is incredibly jealous of DD 3.5 (her half-sister). I posted before about the issues with gifts. My DD is 3.5 and has a large extended family nearby who likes to spoil. My mom is a major bargain shopper, so she isn’t buying lavish gifts, but she has gone overboard for Christmas for DD. DD has gotten some rather large boxes with toys that aren't all that expensive but it looks like a lot.
SD’s behavior has been completely out of control. She’s facing expulsion from school. She’s failing all of her classes. She’s in general angry and argues about doing anything. Here’s how bad things have gotten - she went off on her dad this morning for telling her tie her shoe and refused to do it. It’s not only her refusing to do chores or homework. She is refusing to do normal things. She is battling mental illness, but this is pure Oppositional Defiant Disorder.
Because of the issues with school DH told his mom to not send anything for SD for Christmas. SD doesn’t have much extended family. My mom offered to get her something, but I’m at a loss as to what to tell her to get her.
DH has tried over and over to get SD to earn things she wants or privileges. But that hasn’t worked. About 3 years ago SD asked for a phone, but DH told her she needed a B average on her report card to get one, so she never has earned the phone. He doesn’t want to just give her things like that without using it as leverage to improve her behavior, but the more he tries to do that, the more SD is pushing back.
SD knows that anything she wants will be used as leverage, so her response to “what do you want for Christmas?” has been shrugs.
Last year, she only wanted 2 thing: a dog and to visit her mom.
A dog or a pet is out of the question. It’s too much work. SD volunteering at an animal shelter wouldn’t work since she would have a meltdown begging for a dog she got attached to. If we got her a smaller pet like a gerbil or a fish as a test if she can care for it – then what do we do if she doesn’t? Get rid of it? It’s difficult enough to get SD to brush her teeth. We can't even get her to tie her freaking shoes. If she doesn’t feed the gerbil and DH has to give it away, SD will be a nightmare to deal with.
DH has nixed any contact with SD’s mom. She’s in a halfway house, so a visit is not possible. Perhaps arranging for her mom to call might work. But DH hates SD’s mom with a fiery passion and doesn’t want her to cause more problems on top of everything going on now.
Here’s the list of problems with normal gifts:
- Clothes - SD has Sensory Processing Disorder and also constantly has hives so she’s incredibly sensitive about what clothing she wears. We don’t know what school she will be going to so the problems with her school uniform may be over in January. Odds are any clothes you buy for her, she will find something wrong with them – it’s itchy, too tight, the tag hurts, the seam is itchy. Something. Shopping is an ordeal. A gift card is a possibility, but clothes shopping is highly stressful for SD and she it's something she hates doing.
- Cosmetics, Perfume, Toiletries, Jewelry – SD’s Sensory Processing Disorder means she doesn’t like anything on her skin. So stuff like lotions and make-up are out. So is jewelry.
- Electronics – DH uses access to electronics as leverage to get her to behave, but it’s never worked. She doesn’t care. She has major problems with fine motor skills and that explains why she can’t play video games. She is terrible at them. For example, she simply can’t move the controller to get her character to jump or have the coordination to hit two buttons at the same time. She gets easily frustrated and gives up immediately at things she can’t do.
- Books – SD’s reading level is very behind (probably grade school) and she hates reading. My mom has gotten her books before and they are never read. Books for reluctant readers tend to be for middle school students (like Wimpy Kids books), but I’m not sure she would read them.
SD doesn’t have any hobbies or interests. She doesn’t really like much music. A few years ago she liked One Direction, but she thinks they’re stupid now. She doesn't like most movies - she thinks superheroes and Star Wars are stupid.
Her therapist and psychiatrist both have suggested her getting more exercise to help with her depression and other mental problems, but getting her to do this has been difficult. She doesn’t want to do it. Maybe some sort of exercise related gift would help with this.
Money is very tight with all the medical expenses for SD so I don’t want to waste money on gifts just for the sake of getting her something. Putting money towards more therapy sessions, maybe occupational therapy to help with the Sensory Processing Disorder and motor skills issues would be better than buying her things for Christmas that she won’t use. But that’s no something to open on Christmas morning and won’t help the immediate problem of DD having so many gifts.
DH did buy SD’s some special sensory friendly socks since she’s so picky about socks. The socks were $12 a pair, so it’s expensive compared to clothes DD has gotten, but I don’t think she’ll understand that and it will look like a pathetic stupid gift.
I really don’t know what to do. DH knows SD will be terrible over Christmas but doesn’t want to try to buy her things to prevent it. He still wants to try to use anything she wants as leverage to get better behavior and doesn’t want to reward her for how bad she’s been. But her anger towards DD is getting worse. I want a calm, relaxed Christmas and SD is going have meltdown after meltdown. It’s already a bad time for her because of all the difficult emotions related to her mom. I’m dreading what she’ll do.