18 y.o. lying and hiding things

Ellie - posted on 09/03/2011 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My husband and I have an 18 y.o. daughter who is a senior in high school. To say the last few years were rough is an understatement. When she turned 18, we told her that if she still wanted to live in our house, she had to follow the rules. The #1 rule for me is HONESTY...and we have caught her being deceitful and now know she's been lying to us yet again. (I've lost count how many times this same situation has happend) Even though she already has a cell phone (she pays for it) I went into her room this am to wash her bedding (trying to be nice) and found ANOTHER cell phone that obviously her ex-boyfriend is paying for that she is using to keep us from being able to see who she is communicating with. I am so completely tired of this type of behavior that I it sends me absolutely over the edge...I have very STRONG feelings about being lied to and she never seems to learn this lesson. She is an extremely high risk kid that we adopted from Foster care when she was 9. We have done EVERYTHING that we know to do to help her and I'm at my wits end. What would you do???

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Ellie - posted on 09/03/2011

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We have always parented with "We say what we mean, and we mean what we say." We are planning to sit down with her tonight and discuss with her what we found, why we are upset and reaffirm what our expectations of her are. It's really more than the lying that is the problem. It's like there are 2 people we're living with, and we're only seeing the "fake" one. She's saying one thing to us, and something completely different to others, playing the victim and acting as if we are ruining her life. We both believe that she will probably need to experience some serious tough love before she finally realizes that life isn't so bad. We are currently in family therapy and individual therapy with someone very familiar with adopted children and their issues. WE are very familiar with adopted children and their issues. I have worked with kids like my daughter for a long time and I understand them better than I want to. Ultimately it is her decision as to whether or not she chooses to live here. If she can't be honest AND respectful, then she can't live at home. She is a very resourceful kid and she is VERY good at making people feel sorry for her, so even if we did try to practice tough love, she has always been able to find someone to "rescue" her. It's not a fun situation to be in, and I have severe PTSD from her previous attempts to manipulate her way out of trouble. As much as I have kept hoping that things will improve and she will finally figure out that we are not the bad guys, I'm finally realizing things won't change and I'm not willing to keep living like this. It will be hard, but we will follow through with our words.

Linda - posted on 09/03/2011

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That accidentally posted before I was done! I was going to say that first of all, you need to tell her you love her unconditionally. Second, you need to establish clear consequences (that you are willing to enforce) for specific behaviors. I don't know if I would really kick a child out for lying (even though I hate it too) but I would probably kick them out for drugs/alcohol/physical abuse. I might suspend more privileges (maybe turn off the internet in the house for a week, not pay for something you usually pay for, ground, etc). Also, she could do extra chores for lying. But she needs to know that you really mean what you say....and you need to follow through with whatever you and your husband decide. I'll pray for you!

Neva - posted on 09/03/2011

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This sounds like a very difficult situation. Your daughter probably had a very rough start to life prior to your adopting her. Unfortunately, just "loving them" is not always enough for these kids. That's not to say that there is no hope, but that the road is an extremely difficult one for all involved. I'm sure that you have been to counseling with her considering her history. You have given her the test, either abide by our rules once you turn 18 or you can no longer live in our house. I know this is a difficult decision, but if you don't follow through on what you say, then she will continue to do what she is doing. I would tell her that she made her choice, that you still love her, that you will be available to her, but that she can no longer live in your house. Does she have a job? You say that she pays for her own cell phone. Tell her you will help her find a job, help her find an apartment, but that you will not pay her bills for her. I would find a counselor that specializes in adoption and adolescents, even if she doesn't go, you should go so that you will know how best to respond to your daughter.

Linda - posted on 09/03/2011

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Do you mean what you say? If she's not following the rules, are you prepared to kick her out? I'm not saying you should, but you should know what you are willing and are not willing to do in your own mind. She's already broken your number one rule, and you clearly haven't kicked her out--so I'm thinking you don't really want to.

Adopting an older child from the foster system is a HUGE act of love, and it usually comes with a lot of baggage. Sometimes kids respond to that love; other times they are too badly damaged, sadly.

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