Jenn - posted on 02/13/2012 ( 6 moms have responded )
My oldest stepdaughter has a major issue with forgetting and then not taking responsibility for actions or for her role around the house.
She was having trouble following the rules and when asked why she wasn't doing what she was supposed to she claimed it was because she forgot. Finally I got fed up and made like 6 posters explaining what her expectations around the house were and the rules as well. There was also one to remind the kids of everything they needed to have before they left the house for school or for the switch with their mom on Sunday (we do one week on.. one off). Five of the six lists are in their room including one that explains their routine for the whole day and the posters worked for about 2 days then the forgetting started all over again. This time she claimed she forgot to look at the list.. grrr!
When asked why a rule wasn't followed or a job done she maintains that she doesn't know why and the same for how she's forgetting to look at the lists. No matter how much I ask.. the answer is always the same. We've tried so many things to help the situation and always given her the benefit of the doubt trying to figure out if there was some deeper reason for the behaviour.
Here's some background: My hubby and I met 3 years ago.. we dated for a year and then I moved in. The kids have never been anything but accepting of me and my oldest and I tend to share a closer relationship as we like alot of the same things since I'm only 27. We're adopting a little boy and we've been in the process for about 2 years now and the kids have been excited and on board since day one. They also have a little brother at their mom's house who has remarried and there are no issues there either. We meet and talk regularly with her and her husband to ensure we're all on the same page and we get along well. My oldest was having trouble about 3 weeks ago with friends at school. The school that she's in has small classes and there are only about 14 kids in her class and 6 of those are girls. The leader of this group was picking on my daughter and trying to turn the other kids against her. We never ended up speaking to the teacher or the child's mom as our daughter said it would only make things worse for her.. so we just tried to be encouraging and insist she talk to the teacher herself if things didn't improve. About a week ago things did. We let alot of the behaviour go a while back due to the stuff going on at school but even now that things have improved she is still acting out. She lies often to cover her mistakes and while we are tough she is not scared of us. Naturally, we understand that a certain amount of behaviour is attributed to her age and her beginning to push the boundaries.. and the lying is often a natural way for children to try and avoid trouble. She is terrible for losing things and she doesn't seem to understand that you need to take care of your things. After enough of the losing of items we told her she would be responsible for replacing them out of her own money.. this helped a bit for a time. We currently discipline using a jar system. Certain behaviours like outright defiance of rules or lying will warrant picking a consequence from the jar and most other behaviour issues require picking a job in addition to their four jobs a week. The jobs themselves are very simple and age appropriate and take on average about 10-15 mins each. The consequences range from missing their next sleepover or playdate to writing lines. We have always tried to keep an open line of communication with both kids and hold family meetings to discuss things that are going on in the house and/or to refresh everyone on the rules and expectations of the house. The kids are also encouraged to write us notes about issues they have if they don't feel comfortable coming to us to talk face-to-face.
Lately, we even tried spending extra quality time one on one with my oldest in particular to see if this was all just a bid for attention but it didn't help.
We've just given her so many chances and benefit of the doubt so often and we are just at the end of our rope.
Since September she has lost.. 3 pairs of mitts, 2 hats, her house key twice and several other important items.She has in the past 2 school years lied about her homework (whether or not she has any and whether she's already done it at school) and to take care of all the unfinished homework she simply forged her mother's signature on the signing sheet that the teacher gets proving that we have witnessed the homework's completion.
Yesterday she wanted to have a friend over and her father was really wanting to reschedule it as we were cleaning up the house, but I insisted that we could tidy up really quick and she could come over for dinner and stay for a few hours. I figured that since this was a girl she goes to school with, that it would be beneficial for her to nurture this friendship so she has someone to hang out with at school. So he relented and we told her she could have her friend over on the condition that she really help with the cleanup. Both kids had already been asked to do atleast ONE of the four jobs they had been assigned for the week to help out and our youngest got clean the bathroom surfaces and my oldest got dishes. We started cleaning at 1:30 and were finished by 4pm. My youngest got her bathroom job done, tidying in her room and some in the basement and managed to clean the whole hamster cage on her own. By 4pm.. my oldest had completed all the dishes that were in the sink except some cans/jars for recycling but had left all the dishes not in the sink unwashed. She also didn't wipe down the sink or the drying board. I brought this to her attention and specified what needed to get done.. and I come back about 15mins later after declaring she was done and she still had left the recycling, surfaces and sink drain full of food scraps. She then went to her room and proceeded to try on toe socks instead of picking up the items they got back after keeping their room clean the previous week. (We have a rule that their room and closet floor must be clean and desk, dresser and beds be accessible and useable, or at bedtime we collect anything left on the floor etc in a garbage bag and if they can't keep their room clean that week they don't get their stuff. If it continues to be messy for 3 weeks all the stuff collected gets donated to kids who will appreciate it.) Finally, her dad got after her and told her to smarten up as this was her friend coming over and that she took ridiculously long to wash dishes that should have taken 15 minutes. Her friend ended up coming over even though we had a good mind to cancel, but it was too late and they were on their way. After her friend left my oldest took a shower and I told her that she had less than an hour before bed and she had to be IN BED by 9pm.. she agreed and left to shower. She comes out 25 minutes later and sits in her pjs drawing in her room. I remind both kids at 8:45 that they have 15 mins before bed and my youngest acknowledges but my oldest doesn't. I go into their room at 9pm and tell them its now bedtime.. and my oldest walks towards me and laughs and says she hasn't brushed her teeth. This happens almost every night.. rules state they must brush their teeth at 10 mins to 9pm and my oldest rarely has it done. I then look at the state of their room (which was clean at 4pm when her friend came over) and its an absolute disaster! My youngest admits she simply didn't want to clean up and thats why it wasn't done.. but upon asking my oldest I get an "I don't know" and a "I guess I forgot to look at the list..". Meanwhile, she had two prompts and she was sitting amongst the mess for atleast 20mins before bed! Not to mention this is an expectation we've had in place since I moved in!
We are out of ideas as how to deal with this.. any of you ladies deal with a similar situation?