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So many issues(9 Posts)
So I'm a bit rusty at this parenting thing - for a host of reasons I have just had a 14yo granddaughter parachuted into my world.
At the moment, there's a place for her at a local school - but she's refused to attend the admissions meeting three times now; well, we got there yesterday an hour late and guess what? it was too late and we were sent away with fleas in our ears. Tomorrow is the last opportunity, otherwise the place will be withdrawn and we'll get offered a place at somewhere which could be miles away. And she'd refuse just as much then.
It would help if she'd go to sleep, but no - she wants to watch zombie movies and youtubers all night, then at 7am, I get a gobfull for knocking on the door. If she does actually deign to arise she then expects to spend three hours on her makeup before going anywhere. DH's opinion is that I should just disable t'internet at 10pm, but I tried that once and got a right telling off. It might have an unexplained outage overnight tonight, after I have gone to bed, just to see what happens.
She doesn't really get that other people have lives and feelings either - she's really milking the "I can't be with mummy you should be nice to me" to the n'th degree and I'm the one suffering. I work from home, so I get it 24x7 right now, and working is becoming increasingly difficult as she honestly believes that my role in life is to watch Dan and bloody Phil all afternoon, just so she's got company.
And just for a laugh, she's a right bitch if she's not eaten anything, but she refuses to eat or drink if she's going anywhere because eating and drinking "make her bloated" so she can't possibly be seen - to the extent that if anyone calls round she leaves the room rather than sit on the sofa where she's visible. So when she has to go out, eg for a school meeting, she won't eat or drink, by the time we get there she's dehydrated and faint...
Reading all the posts on here is making me feel that it's not me being a failure, because other people have similar experiences, but I am still in a constant state of dread.
I know that she's in a really bad place at the moment - she's feeling really rejected, and I am the focus of the anger she feels about pretty much everything. I do my best to be calm, and not get frustrated, but I am used to people (mostly) accepting that the world is the way it is, and understanding the idea of cause and effect, but she doesn't and it's driving me insane. Not to mention the fear about what happens if she doesn't play ball with the school tomorrow.
If anyone has any ideas to offer to get the little darling into the school for the meeting, I'd be grateful. If I could physically pick her up and take her there it would be easy, but she's 14 - apart from anything else, she's taller than me!
Why is she with you?
I think she probably has major issues, and you need to get some counselling and maybe family counselling to try to work through these.
You could start by not telling her what to do, but getting her to tell you what she wants to do. What kind of a job does she want? Where does she want to be in 5 years? What problems does she have with school? etc.
Do you have SS involved? Is this a private fostering situation? If so they should be able to help.
I would also talk to the school and do your best to get them to agree to giving more time, ask for their advice in getting a potential school refuser into school.
You could also try to get the GP involved and try to get her referred, it could be either she has mental health issues (Young Minds is a good charity there) or an undiagnosed SN (Young Minds can also help there).
I know from my own teens, that they just don't react the same way we did in my youth. But then we also didn't tell our parents about some of the awful stuff that was going on, and some children did just drop out of the system.
You really need to get both yourself and your grand-daughter help.
mummytime, I couldn't agree more - we both need help big-time! In truth, I think the school did exactly the right thing yesterday, because she does need to see that there are consequences of not following the rules - just wish they wouldn't be
She's not with Mummy partly because Mum's going through a difficult break-up right now, (not quite that simple, it never is!) and partly because she's actually driven her mum to distraction with her behaviour. Mum has a number of health problems, physical as well as mental, and basically they've just wound each other up to a point where Mum doesn't want to play any more. Do I support her reasons? sometimes yes, sometimes no. It doesn't matter whether I do or not, tbh.
If I can get her into the school, they are offering all sorts of support - pastoral care, counselling, all sorts. The challenge is just getting her into an environment where she can take advantage of the help that's available. I'm also fighting the fact that DG has been taught that asking for help is just admitting that you have a problem and that once you get into the "help" system, you'll be stuck in there forever. She thinks that social workers are a nasty infection that you don't want to catch. I count a number of social workers as friends so I have a different view.
What does she want? "Dunno" is the usual answer. She believes that youtube videos is a workable career plan, which is a struggle.
If I can get her there tomorrow, then at least we're on the right road.
She's just emerged from her room, after 12 hours in bed. No chance of her being tired enough to sleep tonight, so I will have the same struggle to get her out the door tomorrow. Hey ho, whatever will be will be, I guess...
What I should stress is that my strategy at the moment is gentleness and taking one step at a time. I don't think that enforcing harsh rules is going to help me at all - i am trying to ensure that being here is at least not unpleasant in itself, and in some ways I can see that working - just a fine line between providing a safe, comfortable home and getting screwed for a £30 schoolbag at every turn.
You sound like a brilliant Grandma and Mum, by the way.
You sound great, and it is hard. But a key thing is don't panic. There are ways through every difficulty, and ways to catch up on education.
If you have SW friends then maybe getting her to meet one without knowing what they do could help.
If you can find "normal" teens who have issues to befriend her it could help. We meet so many friends of my DD at CAMHS, that we call it the place to be. (And I know girls from a certain private school tend to go private instead, and its hard to get a referral.)
Well, thanks to everyone for the supportive messages - I feel so much less alone now.
So DGD did get up, albeit a bit later than she promised - she got herself organised without complaint and was stood beside the door demanding that we get going ten minutes before I had asked her to be ready. We went, we had the meeting and she was awesome. Sure, she was nervous, but she rolled with it and I am mega-proud of her. Paperwork is done and she starts school next week. She actually seems - well, maybe not enthusiastic, but at least not aggressively refusing and I think she's the positive side of resigned, if that makes sense. There are still lots of issues to deal with, but I honestly believe once she's back in school there will be opportunities to unpick some of those fairly soon.
Once again, thank you all!
Okay with my most awkward teen, when I want her to do something I often use the following technique:
Remind them what she needs to do (eg. Get ready to catch the train to college). And ignore all response unless it is asking my help eg. Ignore "I'm never going there again" and listen to "I need socks".
Then get myself ready (being ready with spare time helps as you saw today).
Then act as if you just expect them to be ready when you need to go.
It often works, but if you respond to the back chat and claims they "won't" I find we've had an argument, wasted time and have less chance of being ready on time.
Hi Mummytime, that sounds logical - and it actually fits well with what's happened before. Sounds like great advice, will try hard to remember it when the fur is flying and my blood pressure is on the rise!
Just trying to settle myself now. We had a good evening last night, she went upstairs at a reasonable time, although whether she went to sleep or not I don't know; at least I couldn't hear the dulcet tones of Phil & Dan in my room which was a good sign I thought!
I am not going to speculate about when the next crisis will occur - that way lies madness, so I will just enjoy the calm bits!
Thanks to one and all.