I really need help/advice
Well, I'm asking you guys to critique me on my parenting abilities - especially the skills I used last night. This is VERY hard for me, so I just want to ask everyone to be gentle, okay? I realize that I didn't do everything right, but I think I need someone else to point out where I am going wrong, so...
Some background : SD12 was assigned an ABC book either last week or the week before. Basically, she had to go online and find a word from Ancient Egypt for every letter of the alphabet. Then, she had to write three facts about that word, draw a picture and color it.
I'd guess that this was a three or four hour project (factoring in how slowly SD12 works on homework, internet speed, etc.) So, on the day it was assigned, SD12 and I agreed that she would work on it for an hour a day, until it was done, or the night before it was due. Sounds like a good plan, right? I even sat down and helped her with the first three letters, and I checked over her work the first night to make sure she understood.
So, SD12 came home from school yesterday, and said she was hungry (as always!) I asked SD what she wanted to eat, she said popcorn, and I explained that was too greasy, and asked her to eat a couple of cookies, instead, (This factors in later in the story!) SD12 said that she would just rather wait and eat her popcorn, later. I told her that as soon as the ABC book was done, she could eat her popcorn, then.
SD12 sat down at the table, and started working on her stupid book, but she kept asking me "are you going to check this when I'm done?", "Why do you have to check it?". and saying "You always have to check my homework!" That set off red flags, so of course, I told her I was going to check it. No big deal.
An hour later, Sd12 says she is done with all her homework, and puts her popcorn in the microwave, so I asked to see her ABC book. Of course, she didn't do it correctly. That first day, she had done up to letter H. After letter H, there was one fact for each letter, and she just broke up those sentences, so that if I glanced over it, I wouldn't know it was only one fact.
I told SD that it wasn't done right, and asked her to fix it. SD12 sat at the table, with her back to me, mumbling to the dog about how much I don't love her. That's a theme in my house, and I wasn't taking her bait yesterday.
When I go past her to get something to drink out of the refrigerator, I noticed that she had crumpled up the stupid book, in front of her. She made a comment (to the dog) about me being mean, so I walked over to her, got down on her eye level and was very calm. I said "SD12, you're making some bad decisions, and I'm getting tired of the bad attitude. Maybe you need to leave the room, or quit making comments before you get put in time out."
I think that that was my first mistake. I have a bad temper, and I really really hate it when I realize that I've raised my voice to the girls, so sending her out of the room before I lost my cool seemed like a good idea at the time, but SD just went to her room, and laid down on her bed.
A half hour to an hour later, I went back to SD's bedroom, and had a talk with her. I said "SD12, do you know what natural consequences are? That means that I'm going to let you make your own decisions here, but there will be consequences. It's almost 5, so I'm going to get started making dinner, but you don't get to eat dinner until your homework is done. You need to take a shower at 6, and your homework has to be done and ready to hand in until bed. I think you are making bad decisions, here, but I am going to walk away and let you make them. I love you, and hope you come out soon." I was very calm, the whole time.
Then, I called Hubby, and explained the problem to him. Hubby said that I had to let SD12 have dinner. I told him she could have it late, and he asked to speak to her. So, I took SD my phone back, and told her to call me when she was off, so I could have it.
I walked away, and at the other end of my (very small) house, I could hear Sd12 screaming and crying. Some of the gems (lies) she let loose were "Dad, she won't feed me AT ALL!", "I already know that I won't get dinner when it's done, so what does it matter?", and "She wants to starve me TO DEATH!"
A while later, SD came out, and started working on her little book again. When dinner got done, SD had a whole new attitude and asked if she could "please eat with you guys". I think this is where I made the mother of all fuck ups. I totally disregarded what I had said earlier, and let her eat.. and eat.. and eat.
At 6, I told SD12 to get in the shower, and then sat her back down at the laptop to find her facts. At 7, I told SD14 to get in the shower, and at 8, I sent SD14 to bed.
At 8:30, Sd12 started whining. I told her to do her homework, get it over with, and go to bed. At 10 o'clock, SD12 handed me the book back, with two facts for each letter after H. I told her to go back and do it right.
At 10:30, Sd12 started to cry, and went back to the bathroom. She was so loud (with no tears coming out of her eyes, but sobs) that she woke up her sister. Sd12 just got louder, and I honestly think that she was trying to wake up her dad, so he would tell me to let it drop.
She did wake him up. He was pretty mad, too, and was cussing up a storm. At one point, he went to spank her (which she totally deserved, but it was out of anger, and you don't hit a child out of anger), so I got between the two of them. I don't know what happened, but my shoulder hurts so bad today!
At 11:30, SD12 got her stupid book done. She had to be up for school, at 5 this morning.
The homework war is something that I have to deal with, with both of my stepdaughters, each week. I am struggling here. I know that someone is going to tell me to let her suffer the consequences of bad grades, but she doesn't care.
Sd12's currency is food. That's the only thing that she loves enough to be bothered if she looses it. How do you punish a 12 year old for a 17% in a class, when the only motivator she has is food?
I took away her desert, last night, to.
Does anyone have any ideas? SD12 has ODD, so sometimes our life together is nothing more or less then a battle. I'm tired of battling, and I really need help figuring out how to do this, without letting her engage me in the battle!