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Parenting Issues Message Board

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Are there any situations in which she accepts responsibility for her actions?Does she make up lies for attention or to devert or control attention (away from the negative things in her past or present) or does she actually believe her own lies? My ex-husband was diagnoses with what they call Borderline Personality Disorder, which is where they make up lies and actually believe that they're true (he could pass a lie detector test on the most bizarre stories he would make up to have something to scream at me about when I got home from work everyday) and truly believe that everything everyone else in their world does is directed towards them (my ex believes that I got remarried just to spite him - why would anyone in their right mind screw up their own life just to spite someone else?). Unfortunately, there is nothing they can really do about it, and a person who has it will only be in denial and insist that everyone else in the world is out to get them, so they'll never accept that they have it (again, part of the disorder). But, there are lots of things YOU can do to help manage your relationship and guide her in the right direction to minimize the negative impact on you, if she does have BPD or some other personality disorder. It could also be the age, though, and not a true personality disorder, but you may want to have her evaluated by another counselor if you suspect a true disorder, not just rebelious behavior.

Some teenagers just make up all sorts of stuff for attention or to "control" the attention and keep the focus where they want it, not on other things that may come out. It sounds like she has a lot of things in her past that she wouldn't want to discuss with just anyone, plus it could also very well be that she has a very low self-esteem from the things in her past and her mother, and making up stuff is a way to "control" how others perceive her or someohow control one piece of her world when there have been so many negative things that were beyond her control and situations where she felt helpless. I'd be willing to bet that her "serrogate" comments were to "protect" herself and try to manage the opinions ahead of time if she were to get pregnant by her sexual activities. Wrong, but creative nonetheless. It shows that she may actually understand some of the consequences of her actions, not that she's making the appropriate choices, but that she understands the possible consequences.

First and foremost, I would get her on birth control, preferrably a longer term one that she doesn't have the ability to consciously decide to take it on her own (she probably won't). Once they're sexually active, they're going to continue having sex, regardless of whether or not you forbid it. If you forbid it, it only makes it more intriguing and will only make her lie more. I know that's hard to hear, but thank God she's not 12 or 13! If she's making up stories about possibly being your serrogate, that's a clear sign she's not using condoms, so you can't trust her to protect herself. If you can't get her to think about STD's and AIDS, you can at least avoid an unwanted pregnancy and another baby that the responsibility for will fall on your shoulders. Again, I wouldn't opt for the pill since it's completely within her control and will give her the option to rebel against you. Talk to the OB/GYN about the shot or Norplant or something else longer term and take the option away from her. You clearly can't keep her from having sex, but you can talk to her about the ramifications of her actions if she chooses to and that it's important to protect herself (talk to her like she's an adult and you just want to make her aware of her options to protect herself since she's going to be sexually active, whether or not you support her decision), and the doctor can check her for STD's and reinforce your message. You can have the conversation with her that you know she's choosing to be sexually active, which is HER choice, and since she is mature enough to have sex, then she is mature enough to take responsibility for her own health and wellbeing. You can also talk to her about the importance of annual OB/GYN appointments and getting checked for things like cervical cancer and breast cancer, etc. (that are not a direct result of her actions, so you shouldn't be met with resistance on that point), and if you haven't been in a while yourself, set a good example and schedule your annual appointment for the same time (you need to go with her anyway to make sure she gets put on birth control and doesn't lie about it).

You're in a tight spot and I certainly understand your frustration and wanting to give up. If her mother was an alcoholic, she's learned that she can't rely on anyone to be true to their word and it's only a matter of time before everyone else will realize that she's not worthy of love and respect, in her mind. She's pushing you away before you can push her away. It's a very difficult situation that you're in, but if you don't give up, she may have a chance at eventually working through all of these issues and making something of herself. If you desert her too, she has no chance, but that's the "excuse" she's looking for and trying to create. It's a lot harder to own up to your responsibilities and easier to blame the world and everyone else in it for your situation, especially when you're a teenager.

Now, that doesn't make it right or any easier on you. The only thing I can really think of to even suggest is that since she's going to be 18 in a couple of months and legally responsible for her own actions at that point, why not trying to treat her like an adult and "respect" her choices, even if you don't agree with them. BUT, she can't lie about anything and has to abide by certain minimal "house rules" that are there for the protection of EVERYONE in the family, not specifically to limit HER activities. If you take away all of your "rules" she'll have no reason to lie. You have to draw the line at some things, like boyfriends spending the night (not because you forbid her to have sex, but because you are concerned about the message that will give to the little ones in your house and, if you're going to respect her as a person, she needs to respect you and your "family" as well), and no drugs or alcohol in your house (those thngs can get YOU in trouble) (if she's doing drugs, though, you need to get her into rehab quick). Other than that, she's free to make her own choices and you'll be here if she needs to talk or would like your advice and to let you know when she has figured out what she wants to ultimately do with her life and you can discuss college or whatever else you can do to help her get there - SOMEDAY (she's not thinking about the future yet, so don't force her). Try not to comment on or criticize her choices or she will rebel just to spite you. Let her know that if she breaks the few house rules that are remaining (the ones like no boyfriends spending the night, no alcohol or drugs in the house, etc. that you absolutely cannot bend on), then she understands that SHE will be CHOOSING to leave (you're not kicking her out, it's a consequence of HER actions that was set ahead of time that she will have to own up to), and that you really love her and hope that she stays (even if right now you really don't feel that way). Putting the responsibility on HER shoulders ahead of time will hopefully help her to realize that it's not YOU that is making the choice to kick her out, it's HER choice to leave if she can't abide by the house rules (again, not too many rules, just the ones that you could go to jail over or otherwise get in serious trouble or compromise the other members of the family) and that you will be sad and hurt if she makes the choice to leave. If you threaten to kick her out, she'll do everything in her power to test where exactly those limits are. If you "empower" her and keep that decision in HER court, she'll be less likely to push the envelope and see how far she'll have to go to get kicked out.

I hope this helps some, and you are also in my thoughts and prayers!

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