People Are Who They Are!

How Do You Do It!

I am so frustrated! How do you break a child from telling lies and sneaking to do things? I am having such a hard time with Felicia. First of all, she won’t let me get close to her and it gets more difficult every day to even try because she lies every time she opens her mouth. I can catch her red handed doing something and she will stand there and swear she isn’t doing it. I’ve never done anything to really punish her. I don’t believe in hitting and I have rarely grounded them. I have been known to raise my voice because I’m soooooo frustrated but that’s it. Her daddy and step mother would whip the daylights out of her or Hailey and they stayed grounded for something or another all the time. I just don’t believe in that. So what am I supposed to do?

My immediate problem is she got in here early one morning while I was sleeping and made a Facebook page. Hailey has one and she has rules about it and I read her page pretty regularly. She’s only allowed to have people on there from school and she has to be able to tell me exactly who people are that are on her friends page at any given time. We haven’t had any problems with it and it’s much better than having to listen to her talk on the phone all the time, especially in the small space we are in. Felicia had asked to get on Facebook and I told her no, that she wasn’t old enough yet. She did it behind my back and I caught her because she sent Hailey a friends request and Hailey told me about it.

Felicia swore up and down, even after I showed her that the computer kept a history of everything that was done on here, that she didn’t do it. “Oh,” I said, “I guess someone came in here this morning and made a page using your name?” She still insists today that she didn’t do it. (This happened about a month ago.) She’s been grounded from the computer at all until she can own up to doing it, but she won’t give in. I’ve asked her about it about once a week since it happened and she still swears she didn’t do it.

Today I left for a little while to go and get some stuff for my brother and when I came back she was on Facebook. I said, “What are you doing on Facebook? What are you even doing on the computer?” She was trying hard to get the page shut down before I could get across the room and I got to her and moved her hand off of the mouse to stop her. With the page still up, she still tried to tell me that she was not on Facebook! How do you deal with this?

Yes, I have already pass worded the entire computer and I normally log it off before I walk out the door but this was one time I forgot to do it because so much is going on with my brother here doing construction on my house. I don’t want to have to log off of the computer. I want her to be honest and do or not do what I tell her to do. So, how do I get us to that point? I’m just so frustrated.

You know, when you raise your own children, you start teaching them certain things at two and three years old that are like building blocks to other things as you go. I’ve come in, in the middle of these kids’ lives and there are so many things that they weren’t taught at all and they have so many bad habits that need to be broken. Some nights I go to bed and cry myself to sleep because I’m so frustrated and just absolutely exhausted. I’m hoping someone has some suggestions. It’s not like I can or want to just give up. Something has to give though.

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15 responses

  1. Hi LW, I can sense your frustration. While I’m not a parent I can say that I was a very difficult child for my own parents. I know you said that you don’t believe in punishing but it may not be a bad thing to take some things away. I remember that feeling like torture. Of course it wasn’t but it definitely taught me then about consequences, etc… And also about boundaries –pretty much some things that are just normal life stuff. This is just my take. I think my parents took my phone away and maybe I couldn’t watch tv, etc… Nothing major. But as a teenager not having these things, or even the threat or not having these things kept me on the straight and narrow.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    • Thanks for the suggestion monsoon. I guess I have a difficult time with taking things away from these kids because they have done without so much all of their lives. It’s not like they have a lot now to take away. I had already grounded her from using the computer until she owns up to making the Facebook page in the first place but that hasn’t worked. She still won’t admit that she made it and that’s why I was so upset to find her sneaking behind my back and getting on it now. I have grounded her to her room now for a few days but these are short term solutions. What I really need is to know how to get through to her so that we stop having problems in the first place. I don’t expect her to be perfect by any means, but we have some sort of problem almost every day and it needs to stop. She’s angry about her life in general and I don’t know how to break through that barrier.

      June 11, 2011 at 9:55 pm

  2. I know this sounds kinda goofy, but is it worth asking her what she would do if you were the kid and she was the adult? She’ll probably say “I’d just let you go on Facebook!” which gives you the chance to say “OK, so I’m on Facebook and ________ happens. What do I do?” Maybe it will help outline (for both of you) the very specific reasons (long or short term) why you don’t want her to be on it.

    Or you could say “No, let’s pretend as an adult you’ve decided I (the kid) shouldn’t be on facebook. You think I shouldn’t be on facebook because of (outline reasons) and yet you’ve come in and caught me on facebook. The page is right open in front of your face. How do you feel? What are your options for what you do?”

    I don’t know. I was an abused kid, and I did exactly the same things – even into my twenties I’d just outright lie when caught redhanded. The benefit to me I guess was that people didn’t know what to do about it so even though they’d be even more mad about it, I’d often escape direct consequences. The problem with it of course is that it damaged my relationships with everyone at some point or another. All the people who were the best quality people, the kind of friends who would die for you and that you’d die for… well of course none of them wanted anything to do with me. It was a habit I had to break eventually… still have to work on it sometimes. Sigh.

    June 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    • No it isn’t a goofy idea at all. I have tried to talk to her before and ask her what she would do if she were the parent and she had to deal with a child that argued with her all the time about everything. She told me that day that she would just give up and I jumped on the opportunity to tell her that I loved her way too much to give up. I realized then that she was just trying me to see if I would give up because I think that is what she thinks both of her parents have done is just give up on her. This is really a deep seeded problem and a lot of people have said that I need to get a counselor involved but I’d really rather not. Mainly because she and I have to live together for the next seven years or so at least and I want US to work this out. I just get frustrated sometimes, you know?

      Abuse, neglect, abandonment and such all just have such an impact on children’s lives and each child reacts differently to it. She is still angry and I think sometimes that she just feels safe taking it out on me right now. At least that’s what I hope is going on. I’ll survive it, especially as long as I have friends to talk to about it. Thanks so much for your input and honesty LOM.

      June 11, 2011 at 10:08 pm

  3. I am with Monsoon. They need to learn consequences. With their background probably more then other kids. Because what they’ve been taught was so utterly wrong. And lying is probably the way they realized they would get out of a beating. So taking away is pretty much the only option. Unless you want to put them on additional work/task/duties for not being responsible and not respecting your ground rules.
    As a teen I thought my parents were super strict, but today I very much understand why they did it and actually think it wasn’t that bad.
    And a gut feeling tells me that you feeling sorry for them because of their past will not help the situation. The past is the past and they also need to learn to move on. They can’t get away with things just because. Treat them like any other child and I am sure in a while you will see some change.

    June 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    • Thanks Irony. I think you are definitely right about treating them like other kids. I think Felicia goes into a severe panic every time I ask her something because she got whipped before so much. I’ve tried to remind her that I have never hit her and really have not done anything to punish her at all since she’s been here. I want her to realize that there is NO reason to lie to me. Hailey figured that out early on and she and I get along fine because of it. She actually brags to her friends about the relationship that we have. I know I just have to be patient and hopefully a lot of this stuff will work itself out.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  4. Emmy

    Hey, my friend! I miss you when you’re not blogging! Sorry I’ve been absent – we’re trying to get our shelter kitties adopted out.
    Those girls are lucky to have you. I’m so sorry they’re giving you a hard time. Having worked with the public (and kids), I take an interest in studies about child parenting. This may not be worth much, but there are studies about this stuff, and here’s what I found most compelling:
    1. When trying to change a behavior, adults told one group of kids to stop doing something. The other group of kids were asked to promise they would do what the adults wanted them to do. It was found that kids were much more likely to keep promises than they were to stop doing stuff the adults told them not to do.
    2. Kids respond to responsibility. It was found that families whose livelihoods depend on the children, were more likely to have children who are loyal to the family. For example, farming communities or even kids in third-world countries. Maybe start slow and tell the girls that the family depends on them, ask them to grow plants, ask them to help you in some way?
    There was yet a third one and I’ve forgotten it. But I know you’ll get through this, you’re probably doing a much better job than you give yourself credit for. Think of it as an experiment. That will make it more interesting for you, try different methods and keep a journal, maybe. You’ll feel like you’re getting somewhere.
    Also I’ll try to find you some places to read these studies – I just notice them in the Boston Globe and New York Times. I’ve tried some stuff out on badly behaved kids in programs, and some of it seems to work quite well, at least for the time we had together.

    June 13, 2011 at 4:42 pm

  5. Emmy

    ps The font is black on black in the comment box, sorry for the paragraph messiness.

    pps Also I know you have the kids helping, but maybe emphasize the “I depend on you” part of get them to do more unusual stuff like gardening!

    June 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    • Wow. I like these ideas. I kind of do the responsibility thing by taking them to work with me. They know that if they go with me to work and help me put the cards out that I get done faster and it makes my life a little easier. It also helped them to know what I did and that it wasn’t that easy. I also let them see exactly what I make every week or don’t make and let them see the bills as well so that they can see that it doesn’t always add up. It helps them understand the stress that I feel about money and why I am constantly on them about turning out lights and not wasting anything.

      I don’t know about the garden thing. Not sure I’m up to it myself physically. My brother keeps after me to plant one but like I told him, it costs money to get it started and I don’t have it. Felicia does still go to Donnas house and she has all the animals and has planted a garden up there so she is getting a little bit of all that. I need to sit down and talk to Donna and get her to convince Felicia that I need the stuff that she will give me out of it so she’ll feel good when she brings me stuff home.

      It’s just so complicated sometimes. It’s like a game that I’m too old to be playing. If these kids had been in a good environment all along it wouldn’t be that difficult. But because of their background, it just gets so frustrating. I would be very interested in reading those studies. I’m so far behind on “child rearing” anything since my kids have been out of the house for twelve or thirteen years. Thanks for your input Emmy.

      I miss being here too when I get busy like I’ve been!

      June 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm

  6. Don’t know if she’s old enough to understand, but one thing I have (I hope) impressed up son is the easiest thing to lose and the hardest to rebuild is a person’s trust in you.

    June 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    • Oh, I so agree Expat. That’s what I’m trying to get through to her. There are two kinds of people I can’t stand and that’s liars and thieves. I believe in always being honest and working for what I have. I will have a very hard time trusting her again now.

      June 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

  7. just found your blog and i love it! and your header is adorable 🙂

    June 13, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    • Thanks Christina. I’m always happy to have a new friend.

      June 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

  8. 1. She has to experience consequences. She does the wrong thing, then she gets a consequence. She must own and take responsibly for her own behaviour and decisions. Tell her the rules and the consequences and then go through with them. It will be hard but that is what she needs to know.
    2. She needs to complete a cyber safety course. Talk to the local library and see what they offer. Or the school. She needs to know how to keep herself safe online.
    3. Just keep talking with her. She may appear not to listen, but it does go in. Talk about where you think things went wrong with her mother/father etc.
    4. Tell her that you will always love her, though you may not always like what she does.

    June 15, 2011 at 9:11 pm

  9. I like that FD. Very straight and to the point. You make it sound easy and here I was pulling my hair out! lol

    June 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm

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