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PeachyDoodle

Ugh, I have to enforce a boundary with dd

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And I don't want to.

I have wanted to give her this thing/privilege for a long time. But I told her she could not have it so long as she persisted in a certain behavior. Well, today's the day she was supposed to get the thing... and the behavior hasn't stopped.

She knew her options. She made the choice. She has to deal with the consequences (and I know I'm being vague, but the consequences are natural consequences because the behavior and the privilege she wants are connected). 

The worst part is that she will internalize the consequence, feel guilty, and beat herself up about it incessantly. But she likely won't change her behavior. 

She can still have the thing she wants later, if she makes better choices. But I was looking forward to giving it to her today. So I'm sad, and also fighting with myself to stay strong and enforce this boundary I set. It's hard.

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I feel the same way about something with my 12yo.  She seemed to be calling my bluff for a while, and now that she knows I mean business, it may be too late for her to fix it.  I may have to decide if I want to give her another way to earn the privilege.  It is something I want for her, which makes it harder....

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PeachyDoodle,

I get that the behavior and the privilege are connected. But, what about the underlying reason for the behavior? One thing I have found with my daughter's issues is that reason-based consequences aren't going to have the desired effect on behavior stemming from emotional disorder. If she will go through the process of internalizing the consequence and guilt and still be unable to change her behavior, then she may need more help with the behavior than 'natural consequences."

That's not to say you should cave and change your mind about the consequence. Rather, could you sit down with her and help her come up with a plan to improve things? Would she be open to that (once she calms down after the bad news)? Such a plan is most likely to succeed if it's her idea and she has help making it happen.

Edited by Ravin
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I understand what you are saying, but trust me when I say it's not a behavior caused by an emotional issue. It's a choice she makes. She will beat herself up because that's how she responds to every consequence. We have had many, many discussions about it. At a certain point, I have to let her figure it out on her own. She can continue to make the poor choice, or she can make a better choice. I cannot allow her to have the privilege as long as she makes the poor choice, as there is a health risk. She understands this. But it doesn't make it easy.

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What do you think is the disconnect between "beating herself up over the consequence" but not realizing she could have influenced the outcome?

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20 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

What do you think is the disconnect between "beating herself up over the consequence" but not realizing she could have influenced the outcome?

I think it's that she does realize she could have influenced it but didn't, which makes her feel bad. And then she uses the self-flagellation as a way to avoid taking responsibility. She turns every mistake into a moral failing and then concludes that it's beyond her control.

Edited by PeachyDoodle
Sorry for typos -- I have a broken finger and it makes typing difficult!
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7 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

I think it's that she does realize she could have influenced it but didn't, which makes her feel bad. And then she uses the self-flagellation as a way to avoid taking responsibility. She turns every mistake into a moral failing and then concludes that it's beyond her control.

 

Don't know if you mentioned her age but this may be an important observation on your part. Does talking through potential consequences ahead of time help at all? I mean laying out all the details like "if you...then I will?" "This is how you can avoid this consequence..."

As hard as it is, I probably would stick by the consequence you have set but brainstorm with her what would help her make the connection in the future. "Brainstorming with her" and letting her come up with solutions may be important so she can take ownership of her behavior and not declare it a moral failing for which she is not responsible albeit devastated by it.

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I have felt like this and had it be a maturity issue, where some time passed and then the child was ready to handle the thing, and before — was at an age where it seemed reasonable but maturity was not there yet.  

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16 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

I think it's that she does realize she could have influenced it but didn't, which makes her feel bad. And then she uses the self-flagellation as a way to avoid taking responsibility. She turns every mistake into a moral failing and then concludes that it's beyond her control.

Unfortunately I know a lot of people like this.  But she's the 13 year old, right?  She might need some more scaffolding in how to be successful.  Lay out smaller steps and consequences (and maybe even rewards) for achieving the bigger goal of this privilege. 

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hugs.  I have to do the same with dudeling.

I had a big sweet carrot out there, of something he wanted - if he would just____.  he won't. he doesn't want it enough to do anything, he just wants it to be given to him on a platter.  I'm firmly of the opinion, that isn't doing him any favors. (and he has developmental disabilities.)

I remember the times my mother caved, and my not respecting her for caving.    

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She's 14 in two weeks.

Yes, we have had conversations of this sort many times. She knows that her response to correction isn't helpful and just makes her even more miserable. I think it is a matter of maturity, which is one reason why I said that at a certain point she has to work it out for herself. I think my tendency at that age was more to turn the feelings outward and get defensive and blame everybody else for what really was my fault. This reaction is similar, just opposite; it's still a form of self-pity. It's hard for me to deal with though because it makes me second-guess my decision. I don't want her to feel like she's a horrible person over something that really has no moral implications. I have told her this (that her choice does not make her a good/bad person), but it still has consequences. 

The consequence in this case is non-negotiable, as much as I hate it. We have given her a month to work on her choices, after which we will revisit the issue.

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I do agree with others, if it is time for a little push I think increasing structure is the way to go.

But if it is okay for it to be in the child’s court, I think it’s okay to wait for maturity.

If they are “supposed to” want it but it’s also something good and you want it for them — I think structure is the way to go.

If it’s just a privilege — I think if they aren’t mature enough they can wait until they are, it is more appropriate. 

If it’s very appropriate and they are struggling, I am strongly in favor of adding structure.  

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Ime things have never gone well here when we have tried to give a privilege without the maturity being shown.  It just won’t go well, something will go wrong, and then — that is a worse problem to have.

Thinking about this is what makes it easier for me to hold back on some privileges until the maturity is shown.

If the maturity is not there for a privilege, how is the child going to be expected to handle that privilege appropriately?

I think it’s really kinder to the child, even if they don’t realize it!

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9 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

She's 14 in two weeks.

Yes, we have had conversations of this sort many times. She knows that her response to correction isn't helpful and just makes her even more miserable. I think it is a matter of maturity, which is one reason why I said that at a certain point she has to work it out for herself. I think my tendency at that age was more to turn the feelings outward and get defensive and blame everybody else for what really was my fault. This reaction is similar, just opposite; it's still a form of self-pity. It's hard for me to deal with though because it makes me second-guess my decision. I don't want her to feel like she's a horrible person over something that really has no moral implications. I have told her this (that her choice does not make her a good/bad person), but it still has consequences. 

The consequence in this case is non-negotiable, as much as I hate it. We have given her a month to work on her choices, after which we will revisit the issue.

what a fun age... not.  dudeling is 14.  as his neuro said, the hormones kick in and everything gets worse...

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2 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

what a fun age... not.  dudeling is 14.  as his neuro said, the hormones kick in and everything gets worse...

Yeah... she really has been (and still is, mostly, not always obviously!) an easy kid. But that makes it hard when I want to let her have something and can't. I am hopeful that this experience will help her take responsibility for her own choices.

I am trying to work on ideas for further scaffolding. Another issue is that when we do brainstorm together and come up with ideas for working on a problem, she's usually all in during the discussion but then proceeds to throw it out the window and refuses to follow through. She can be a little passive-aggressive that way. (She gets it from her dad, lol! 😁) I've asked her why, but she says she doesn't know. I think partly she just doesn't like to make much of an effort. She's used to things coming easily to her.

At least this is one of those times when the privilege isn't life-altering, and she won't be damaged by having to wait until she demonstrates that she's ready for it. She wouldn't be damaged by not having it at all, but it would be nice.

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1 minute ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Yeah... she really has been (and still is, mostly, not always obviously!) an easy kid. But that makes it hard when I want to let her have something and can't. I am hopeful that this experience will help her take responsibility for her own choices.

I am trying to work on ideas for further scaffolding. Another issue is that when we do brainstorm together and come up with ideas for working on a problem, she's usually all in during the discussion but then proceeds to throw it out the window and refuses to follow through. She can be a little passive-aggressive that way. (She gets it from her dad, lol! 😁) I've asked her why, but she says she doesn't know. I think partly she just doesn't like to make much of an effort. She's used to things coming easily to her.

At least this is one of those times when the privilege isn't life-altering, and she won't be damaged by having to wait until she demonstrates that she's ready for it. She wouldn't be damaged by not having it at all, but it would be nice.

I had one who really fit the poem:

once there was a girl, with a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.

when she was good, she was very, very good.

and when she was bad, she was horrid.

 

most of the time, easy and mellow.  but then...yep. human.

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1 hour ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Yeah... she really has been (and still is, mostly, not always obviously!) an easy kid. But that makes it hard when I want to let her have something and can't. I am hopeful that this experience will help her take responsibility for her own choices.

I am trying to work on ideas for further scaffolding. Another issue is that when we do brainstorm together and come up with ideas for working on a problem, she's usually all in during the discussion but then proceeds to throw it out the window and refuses to follow through. She can be a little passive-aggressive that way. (She gets it from her dad, lol! 😁) I've asked her why, but she says she doesn't know. I think partly she just doesn't like to make much of an effort. She's used to things coming easily to her.

At least this is one of those times when the privilege isn't life-altering, and she won't be damaged by having to wait until she demonstrates that she's ready for it. She wouldn't be damaged by not having it at all, but it would be nice.

I'm wondering if there are some executive function issues at play? When a child wants/intends to do something and then doesn't follow through it can look like the child just choosing not to follow through--even feel to the child like they just didn't make the effort to follow through--when in fact their brain just hasn't developed the necessary executive function abilities to do the thing and they need much more scaffolding and smaller steps/goals.

I was that way as a child. I failed and failed and failed to follow through on my intentions and beat myself up over it. Now I recognize all the signs of executive function difficulties in my childhood failures.

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I think if there’s a point where kids feel bad about themselves, that is time for more scaffolding.  Unless they are just being unreasonable in wanting something that would be more appropriate 2-3 years down the line.  

I think that can be hard to tell the difference.  If it’s something where they seem on the young side of an age range, that can be one thing.  If it’s really appropriate to an age range they are in I think that is a reason to add scaffolding.  

When there is scaffolding there is still a lot of room for kids to show initiative and personal motivation.

If there is not inititiative or personal motivation, I wonder if it is getting into “supposed tos”. 

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1 hour ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Yeah... she really has been (and still is, mostly, not always obviously!) an easy kid. But that makes it hard when I want to let her have something and can't. I am hopeful that this experience will help her take responsibility for her own choices.

I am trying to work on ideas for further scaffolding. Another issue is that when we do brainstorm together and come up with ideas for working on a problem, she's usually all in during the discussion but then proceeds to throw it out the window and refuses to follow through. She can be a little passive-aggressive that way. (She gets it from her dad, lol! 😁) I've asked her why, but she says she doesn't know. I think partly she just doesn't like to make much of an effort. She's used to things coming easily to her.

At least this is one of those times when the privilege isn't life-altering, and she won't be damaged by having to wait until she demonstrates that she's ready for it. She wouldn't be damaged by not having it at all, but it would be nice.

 

This sounds like an executive function deficit masking strategy. A very familiar one as I used it a lot as a kid and see DD do it too.

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I mean, maybe it is an executive function issue. Or maybe it's just not important enough to her. I'm leaning toward the latter, honestly. I don't have any other reasons to think that she is truly struggling to figure it out or having a hard time doing what she needs to do, other than the fact that she isn't doing it. All indications are she's perfectly capable and just chooses not to, for whatever reason. Maybe this is her way of asserting her independence. She is not a confrontational personality, so maybe this is more comfortable for her.

As I said, there have been plenty of discussions, plans put in place, attempts to scaffold -- not just on this issue but plenty of others. The result is usually that she simply doesn't follow through on (or actively bucks) the plans she helped design, even with help/reminders/etc. Until she does, at which point she does it just fine. Maybe that means she had to grow into it, or find her own motivation, or whatever, I'm not sure. But my attempts to facilitate it are not usually that successful.

Which leaves me with waiting until she decides she's ready. I am totally fine with that, except that I was looking forward to allowing her the privilege. But the privilege has to wait until then too.

 

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Can you set up very small goals each day for her that will help her reach the final goal?  

This probably isn't the same situation at all, but my dd used to have such a hard time keeping her room clean.  Now, I don't really care about clean bedrooms, but this was beyond messy.  Way, way beyond.   About every six months, I'd tell her it was room cleaning time.  She was actually quite diligent about it when I set aside a weekend.  She would sit in her room for hours and I could see her folding clothes and rearranging piles and working hard (she liked leaving her door open so I really could see all that!).  But, it never really looked any different.  She was really trying but in reality it was just shuffling things around and never making much progress.  She was a teen, so I couldn't imagine why this task was unmanageable for her.  

I finally learned that I really did have to start out doing it with her.  We'd start out in a corner, and I'd step-by-step show her what to do.  Then I'd leave for awhile, until it was time for the next step.  She's a hard worker so it really didn't have to do with motivation.  It just felt overwhelmingly impossible for her, and for whatever reason her brain couldn't figure out what it needed to do to break it down into smaller parts.

Over the years she's actually gotten quite good at organizing things and breaking bigger projects down to smaller components, but it was quite a hurdle for her during those years.

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4 hours ago, PeachyDoodle said:

And I don't want to.

I have wanted to give her this thing/privilege for a long time. But I told her she could not have it so long as she persisted in a certain behavior. Well, today's the day she was supposed to get the thing... and the behavior hasn't stopped.

She knew her options. She made the choice. She has to deal with the consequences (and I know I'm being vague, but the consequences are natural consequences because the behavior and the privilege she wants are connected). 

The worst part is that she will internalize the consequence, feel guilty, and beat herself up about it incessantly. But she likely won't change her behavior. 

She can still have the thing she wants later, if she makes better choices. But I was looking forward to giving it to her today. So I'm sad, and also fighting with myself to stay strong and enforce this boundary I set. It's hard.

 

59 minutes ago, maize said:

I'm wondering if there are some executive function issues at play? When a child wants/intends to do something and then doesn't follow through it can look like the child just choosing not to follow through--even feel to the child like they just didn't make the effort to follow through--when in fact their brain just hasn't developed the necessary executive function abilities to do the thing and they need much more scaffolding and smaller steps/goals.

I was that way as a child. I failed and failed and failed to follow through on my intentions and beat myself up over it. Now I recognize all the signs of executive function difficulties in my childhood failures.

 

52 minutes ago, Ravin said:

 

This sounds like an executive function deficit masking strategy. A very familiar one as I used it a lot as a kid and see DD do it too.

All this. Classic EF behavior. Classic. 

That said, doesn't change that she doesn't get the thing. But maybe explore the idea of executive function issues and if it seems to fit, take with HER about that idea, and help her see that she isn't bad/lazy/dumb but in fact just finds certain things hard, as everyone does, and this is her hard thing. Could be simple like remember to brush teeth/hair/shower....or remembering to feed the dog, or whatever. You remind her (thinking you are scaffolding) and she says "in a minute" and then forgets again. Looks like lazy/refusing to comply, but it's different. Just something to think about. 

And I get it....some kids have to learn the hard way, and it KILLS me. I'm like, hello! You KNEW this would happen..why do you make it hard? 

There is a line in Sweet Home Alabama that fits, "Why do you make me be mean to you?" I always think about that scene when weird parenting stuff like this happens. 

https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/f146857a-736e-4e72-a9b5-de574a2ff774

Edited by Ktgrok
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3 hours ago, PeachyDoodle said:

I think it's that she does realize she could have influenced it but didn't, which makes her feel bad. And then she uses the self-flagellation as a way to avoid taking responsibility. She turns every mistake into a moral failing and then concludes that it's beyond her control.

 

As long as you're emphasizing it is her choices and not her moral state of being I think you're doing the right thing.  It is difficult though. 

I know some kids who are tempted to define themselves as "bad" and then get to avoid all responsibility for their choices at all.  It's not they're fault, they're just "bad."  Throw in a little abusive interpretation of religion and it's a recipe for disaster.

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19 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

As long as you're emphasizing it is her choices and not her moral state of being I think you're doing the right thing.  It is difficult though. 

I know some kids who are tempted to define themselves as "bad" and then get to avoid all responsibility for their choices at all.  It's not they're fault, they're just "bad."  Throw in a little abusive interpretation of religion and it's a recipe for disaster.

Yeah, no. None of that coming from us. We are religious, but we strongly emphasize grace and forgiveness. No one sees her mistakes as moral failings except her, and we are very proactive about telling her we don't.

I understand the EF stuff, and it's hard to explain without going into more detail than I'm comfortable with, but while there could be a little bit of that going on with her, I really think we're dealing more with lack of motivation than lack of ability. It's not an issue of disorganization or forgetting to do things, or an inability to break the task down into manageable chunks (this particular issue isn't task-oriented at all). At any rate, even if it is EF-related, I'm not sure how else to approach it but to let it be her problem, since my attempts to help her form a strategy have been unsuccessful. But I'm open to ideas.

Edited by PeachyDoodle
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I think if you are invested in this thing, maybe you have to back off to let it be her thing. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Lecka said:

I think if you are invested in this thing, maybe you have to back off to let it be her thing. 

 

Yeah, that's where I am.

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I think it may be executive function here too, but that's where "just do it" comes in.  Just do it.  (Easy for me to say, I'm not so great myself, but I accept the results of that too.)

In my kid's case, this is an expensive privilege, and if she doesn't want it badly enough to make a serious effort and put herself out there, then she doesn't want it badly enough.  (PS my kid is 12.)

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Mama, I don't know what the choices or consequences are, but I am going to trust that you know your DD better than any person here and want to support that you probably have a really good handle on what you are dealing with with your own kid.

Sometimes....14 yr olds are really just.............................14yr olds.  And sometimes, 14yr olds have to suffer the consequences of their actions.  That's just the way it is.  And sometimes, as a parent, it really does hurt us more than it hurts them.  And it's ok to be hurt about having to be the adult in charge here.  

It's kind of like being a manager at a fast food place.  You have lots of teens you are in charge of and you lay out all the proper rules, state regs, etc.  And sometimes, even as much as you like a teen employee, they don't follow the rules and regs, and you have to fire them.  And it sucks and is no fun, but it's how it has to be sometimes.

 

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Just now, happysmileylady said:

Mama, I don't know what the choices or consequences are, but I am going to trust that you know your DD better than any person here and want to support that you probably have a really good handle on what you are dealing with with your own kid.

Sometimes....14 yr olds are really just.............................14yr olds.  And sometimes, 14yr olds have to suffer the consequences of their actions.  That's just the way it is.  And sometimes, as a parent, it really does hurt us more than it hurts them.  And it's ok to be hurt about having to be the adult in charge here.  

It's kind of like being a manager at a fast food place.  You have lots of teens you are in charge of and you lay out all the proper rules, state regs, etc.  And sometimes, even as much as you like a teen employee, they don't follow the rules and regs, and you have to fire them.  And it sucks and is no fun, but it's how it has to be sometimes.

 

Thank you ❤️

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I don’t know if this makes a difference for a boy or a girl, but my oldest is a boy and he is this age, and he is quick to feel like I am putting pressure on him or that I have ownership of things instead of him.  I have backed way off to give him space to step forward.  

It is not my preference at all!  It is his preference, though.  

Edit:  on the bright side, he has stepped forward!  Not exactly how I would do it or for everything, but overall, he has stepped forward.  

Edited by Lecka

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14 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Yeah, no. None of that coming from us. We are religious, but we strongly emphasize grace and forgiveness. No one sees her mistakes as moral failings except her, and we are very proactive about telling her we don't.

I understand the EF stuff, and it's hard to explain without going into more detail than I'm comfortable with, but while there could be a little bit of that going on with her, I really think we're dealing more with lack of motivation than lack of ability. It's not an issue of disorganization or forgetting to do things, or an inability to break the task down into manageable chunks (this particular issue isn't task-oriented at all). At any rate, even if it is EF-related, I'm not sure how else to approach it but to let it be her problem, since my attempts to help her form a strategy have been unsuccessful. But I'm open to ideas.

 

Strategy would be very dependent on what actual thing it is, so hard to say from here.

I'll just say that for me, I thought for years that a lot of my EF issues were just laziness or lack of willpower or not caring enough.  It wasn't until I realized that wasn't the case that I was able to make changes - because before I just thought I wasn't strong enough, careful enough, considerate enough, conscientious enough, caring enough, etc., so I had all the wrong ideas - ways to motivate me to care more or be more considerate or whatever, which sometimes worked but often didn't, because actually I already DO care and I already AM considerate - I just needed ways to enable my brain to focus on the right things at the right time.

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1 minute ago, Lecka said:

I don’t know if this makes a difference for a boy or a girl, but my oldest is a boy and he is this age, and he is quick to feel like I am putting pressure on him or that I have ownership of things instead of him.  I have backed way off to give him space to step forward.  

It is not my preference at all!  It is his preference, though.  

Edit:  on the bright side, he has stepped forward!

She hasn't expressed this, but it is possible.

I definitely have started to feel a need to back off, myself. I think there are certain things that she will not take ownership of unless I do. She likes the path of least resistance.

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4 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Yeah, no. None of that coming from us. We are religious, but we strongly emphasize grace and forgiveness. No one sees her mistakes as moral failings except her, and we are very proactive about telling her we don't.

FWIW, there's a dark side to insisting that her mistakes aren't moral failings - it denies her grace and forgiveness.  Forgiveness is for sins, and if her mistakes aren't sins, then they can't be forgiven.  So how is she to deal with them, if there is no forgiveness for them? 

As well, there's such a thing as sins against conscience, things that aren't inherently sinful, but if a person who mistakenly believes they *are* sinful does them despite believing they are sins, then that person *does* genuinely sin, even though the action itself is fine.  It sounds like that's where she is: regardless of whether her mistakes are inherently sinful, she believes that she *has* sinned.  But no one will offer her forgiveness, but instead, with the best of motives, everyone just tells her it doesn't matter, it doesn't make her any less of a good person.  But rightly or wrongly, she's convinced that what she's done *is* morally wrong, and *does* make her less of a person - aka she's sinned against her own conscience.

My tradition, Lutheran, is very big on grace and forgiveness, and with sins against conscience, we tend to forgive first and educate the conscience second.  Learning that what you thought was wrong is actually good doesn't erase the guilt from having done something you genuinely believed to wrong at the time, and in fact the guilt can prevent you from moving on.  Only forgiveness can remove the guilt - and that's why we don't deny forgiveness to anyone who is repentant.  Even if the action itself isn't something that needs to be repented of, their guilt for doing something they (erroneously) *thought* was wrong still needs to be dealt with - and only forgiveness can do it.

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2 minutes ago, forty-two said:

FWIW, there's a dark side to insisting that her mistakes aren't moral failings - it denies her grace and forgiveness.  Forgiveness is for sins, and if her mistakes aren't sins, then they can't be forgiven.  So how is she to deal with them, if there is no forgiveness for them? 

As well, there's such a thing as sins against conscience, things that aren't inherently sinful, but if a person who mistakenly believes they *are* sinful does them despite believing they are sins, then that person *does* genuinely sin, even though the action itself is fine.  It sounds like that's where she is: regardless of whether her mistakes are inherently sinful, she believes that she *has* sinned.  But no one will offer her forgiveness, but instead, with the best of motives, everyone just tells her it doesn't matter, it doesn't make her any less of a good person.  But rightly or wrongly, she's convinced that what she's done *is* morally wrong, and *does* make her less of a person - aka she's sinned against her own conscience.

My tradition, Lutheran, is very big on grace and forgiveness, and with sins against conscience, we tend to forgive first and educate the conscience second.  Learning that what you thought was wrong is actually good doesn't erase the guilt from having done something you genuinely believed to wrong at the time, and in fact the guilt can prevent you from moving on.  Only forgiveness can remove the guilt - and that's why we don't deny forgiveness to anyone who is repentant.  Even if the action itself isn't something that needs to be repented of, their guilt for doing something they (erroneously) *thought* was wrong still needs to be dealt with - and only forgiveness can do it.

Thank you, I appreciate this. We are also Lutheran, and this sums up our approach very well. I just didn't take the time to go into detail.

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5 hours ago, PeachyDoodle said:

And I don't want to.

I have wanted to give her this thing/privilege for a long time. But I told her she could not have it so long as she persisted in a certain behavior. Well, today's the day she was supposed to get the thing... and the behavior hasn't stopped.

She knew her options. She made the choice. She has to deal with the consequences (and I know I'm being vague, but the consequences are natural consequences because the behavior and the privilege she wants are connected). 

The worst part is that she will internalize the consequence, feel guilty, and beat herself up about it incessantly. But she likely won't change her behavior. 

She can still have the thing she wants later, if she makes better choices. But I was looking forward to giving it to her today. So I'm sad, and also fighting with myself to stay strong and enforce this boundary I set. It's hard.

It sounds to me that she CAN'T change the behavior.  I'm not making a judgement on whether or not she should have the privilege.  But this is not healthy thinking and holding up this privilege as something "she would deserve if she would just change her behavior" is setting her up for this type of thinking.  If she is not mature enough, then she isn't mature enough ... and you can't WILL maturity into happening.

5 hours ago, Ravin said:

PeachyDoodle,

I get that the behavior and the privilege are connected. But, what about the underlying reason for the behavior? One thing I have found with my daughter's issues is that reason-based consequences aren't going to have the desired effect on behavior stemming from emotional disorder. If she will go through the process of internalizing the consequence and guilt and still be unable to change her behavior, then she may need more help with the behavior than 'natural consequences."

That's not to say you should cave and change your mind about the consequence. Rather, could you sit down with her and help her come up with a plan to improve things? Would she be open to that (once she calms down after the bad news)? Such a plan is most likely to succeed if it's her idea and she has help making it happen.

This ... emotional disorder, executive function, immaturity.  It doesn't really matter.  It doesn't sound like she is actually capable of the change you want to see, at least not on her own.  

3 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

I had one who really fit the poem:

once there was a girl, with a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead.

when she was good, she was very, very good.

and when she was bad, she was horrid.

 

most of the time, easy and mellow.  but then...yep. human.

I really HATE this poem.  This is what plays in my head when I fail at stuff.  Instilled at a young age by a parent who was never satisfied with my efforts.  I grew up believing I was horrid.  it is one thing to dislike a behavior.  It is quite another to label a person.  (I also hate it when people asked if my baby was a "good baby."  As if crying to be changed, fed, or even held made a baby "bad."  No, it just made them a baby.)  

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Interesting and good point about forgiveness. That is helpful for another issue I am dealing with right now.

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10 minutes ago, dirty ethel rackham said:

It sounds to me that she CAN'T change the behavior. 

If I believed that to be the case, I wouldn't impose consequences against it. (That doesn't mean I'd allow this privilege, but I wouldn't frame it as a consequence of her choices.)

Obviously I don't believe it to be the case. Her response to correction is the same, even in cases in which we are all aware that she is completely capable of doing what needs to be done.

I am very sorry for your childhood experiences. That must have been so hard.

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PeachyDoodle, I'm confused. If you're certain that she's going to beat herself up about this, why are you so convinced that she chose to do/not do the thing? Those two facts don't add up.

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1 hour ago, dirty ethel rackham said:

It sounds to me that she CAN'T change the behavior.  I'm not making a judgement on whether or not she should have the privilege.  But this is not healthy thinking and holding up this privilege as something "she would deserve if she would just change her behavior" is setting her up for this type of thinking.  If she is not mature enough, then she isn't mature enough ... and you can't WILL maturity into happening.

This ... emotional disorder, executive function, immaturity.  It doesn't really matter.  It doesn't sound like she is actually capable of the change you want to see, at least not on her own.  

I really HATE this poem.  This is what plays in my head when I fail at stuff.  Instilled at a young age by a parent who was never satisfied with my efforts.  I grew up believing I was horrid.  it is one thing to dislike a behavior.  It is quite another to label a person.  (I also hate it when people asked if my baby was a "good baby."  As if crying to be changed, fed, or even held made a baby "bad."  No, it just made them a baby.)  

Same. As someone who in retrospect realizes I might have had adhd, and has a daughter who had the same exact trajectory in her childhood as I did and who has been diagnosed adhd. I grew up with a sibling who had wonderful executive functioning and I spent most of my teen years believing I was worthless. 

I tried really hard not to let my daughter feel the same but she definitely still has so many moments when she beats herself up for not being able to make herself do something. The shame is real.  It looks so much like a character issue, until you finally realize it’s not. 

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27 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

PeachyDoodle, I'm confused. If you're certain that she's going to beat herself up about this, why are you so convinced that she chose to do/not do the thing? Those two facts don't add up.

 

I've seen this with my ex.  It wasn't an executive function thing, he was VERY GOOD at executive function. Better than most people I've ever met, including people who became professors in medical school. It was a personality thing. It might not be common but it definitely happens.

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It sounds like this is  more a priority / privilege in the mind of the OP than the teen girl.  I don't mean this as a cut in anyway.   It's just that you are right - if she really wanted this, and she's able to do it, then she would do what she needed to do in order to make it happen. 

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3 hours ago, forty-two said:

FWIW, there's a dark side to insisting that her mistakes aren't moral failings - it denies her grace and forgiveness.  Forgiveness is for sins, and if her mistakes aren't sins, then they can't be forgiven.  So how is she to deal with them, if there is no forgiveness for them? 

As well, there's such a thing as sins against conscience, things that aren't inherently sinful, but if a person who mistakenly believes they *are* sinful does them despite believing they are sins, then that person *does* genuinely sin, even though the action itself is fine.  It sounds like that's where she is: regardless of whether her mistakes are inherently sinful, she believes that she *has* sinned.  But no one will offer her forgiveness, but instead, with the best of motives, everyone just tells her it doesn't matter, it doesn't make her any less of a good person.  But rightly or wrongly, she's convinced that what she's done *is* morally wrong, and *does* make her less of a person - aka she's sinned against her own conscience.

My tradition, Lutheran, is very big on grace and forgiveness, and with sins against conscience, we tend to forgive first and educate the conscience second.  Learning that what you thought was wrong is actually good doesn't erase the guilt from having done something you genuinely believed to wrong at the time, and in fact the guilt can prevent you from moving on.  Only forgiveness can remove the guilt - and that's why we don't deny forgiveness to anyone who is repentant.  Even if the action itself isn't something that needs to be repented of, their guilt for doing something they (erroneously) *thought* was wrong still needs to be dealt with - and only forgiveness can do it.

Hmm interesting perspective.  You’ve given me something to think about.

what about scrupulosity?  That’s a thing right?

i was raised in an environment (not my parents but our particular church group) where almost everything could be viewed as a sin through certain lenses and it’s made it hard as an adult to figure things out.  

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I do think it’s possible you may have to just back off on this particular thing.  One of mine is exactly like this and offering a tangible reward doesn’t change anything.  He’s a little younger.  The older I get the more I think reward based behaviours don’t stick anyway.

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7 hours ago, PeachyDoodle said:

I think it's that she does realize she could have influenced it but didn't, which makes her feel bad. And then she uses the self-flagellation as a way to avoid taking responsibility. She turns every mistake into a moral failing and then concludes that it's beyond her control.

 

Sounds exactly like my teen daughter... my commiserations!

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My dd missed out on a big deal thing this year, because her dad and I couldn't trust her to behave herself. We had a lot of bad attitude. It was difficult and I was sad for her, but she missed out. 

For treating the attitude, it had become habitual. She started down that road and it spiralled, she couldn't seem to see and pull herself up because she'd be too far down the self absorbed/self pity path. I had her wear a hair elastic on her wrist and practice snapping it at the first nasty attitude thought. Having a physical association (it didn't hurt her) would be enough to draw her back into reality before the spiral started.  A week of this seemed to help break the habit (somewhat, she's still a teenager!)

*hugs* parenting ain't for the faint of heart!

 

Eta- I don't feel bad at all about this. It is good for my child to learn emotional self regulation and healthy thought processes. 

Edited by LMD
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1 hour ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

It sounds like this is  more a priority / privilege in the mind of the OP than the teen girl.  I don't mean this as a cut in anyway.   It's just that you are right - if she really wanted this, and she's able to do it, then she would do what she needed to do in order to make it happen. 

It is definitely something she wants. But I think she didn't really expect not to get it, even though we were clear about our expectations. We will see if the next "deadline" comes and goes without improvement. Based off our conversation today, I think reality has taken hold. She actually has been more positive about it than I initially expected. We did discuss the need not to go down the self-pity/self-flagellation path and instead use this opportunity to improve, and she seems to be taking that to heart. Time will tell.

But you are right that I have to let it go and make it her deal. She can make it happen if she so chooses.

1 hour ago, Tanaqui said:

PeachyDoodle, I'm confused. If you're certain that she's going to beat herself up about this, why are you so convinced that she chose to do/not do the thing? Those two facts don't add up.

Because I know her? Sorry, I don't know how to explain further without going into detail I'm not prepared to share. You'll just have to trust me. She will go into self-beating mode just as easily for making the choice not to do something she is capable of (despite it being her conscious choice) as she will for not being able to do something. Although, as I said above, I am pleasantly surprised that my direst predictions have not materialized so far. Maybe she is growing out of this stage.

51 minutes ago, LMD said:

 

Sounds exactly like my teen daughter... my commiserations!

Well... at least I'm not alone! She really is a mature kid 90% of the time. But alas... 14.

Edited by PeachyDoodle
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6 hours ago, dirty ethel rackham said:

I really HATE this poem.  This is what plays in my head when I fail at stuff.  Instilled at a young age by a parent who was never satisfied with my efforts.  I grew up believing I was horrid.  it is one thing to dislike a behavior.  It is quite another to label a person.  (I also hate it when people asked if my baby was a "good baby."  As if crying to be changed, fed, or even held made a baby "bad."  No, it just made them a baby.)  

I'm sorry I hurt/triggered you by posting it. my covert narcissist grandmother always demanded we jump through hoops to please her - then she would always tell us how we fell short. (she always took credit when things went right - even if it was against what she wanted us to do, and always censured when things went wrong - even when it was *exactly* what she told us to do.). approbation that didn't somehow make her look good, was never given.

I realized she was a hypocrite when I was 13, and as I started watching her, I saw more and more contradictions of what she said and what she actually did.  (and scapegoats are mostly likely to see reality anyway.)  and I had less and less respect for her opinions.  (and the day I called her bluff.  mawahahahah!)

 to me, the poem is simply a reflection on how wild the pendulum can swing in a single child.   because children are 3D beings - not cardboard cutouts.

4 hours ago, Tanaqui said:

PeachyDoodle, I'm confused. If you're certain that she's going to beat herself up about this, why are you so convinced that she chose to do/not do the thing? Those two facts don't add up.

I'm lousy at articulating - but boy I can think of someone just like this.

Edited by gardenmom5

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