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Author Topic: Reading to Get Ready  (Read 78 times)
Aahz
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 2


« on: May 13, 2022, 12:26:40 PM »

Hi.

My daughter was just diagnosed. Now that I have read a bunch more about it, it describes her perfectly. I am reading Stop Walking on Eggshells for Parents, because I read the original and only parts of it pertained since my daughter is 16.

She is adopted through foster care and has had a lot of issues we've tried to address the entire time, but it looks like some of the strategies we learned from therapists and parenting books actually made things worse. So I am glad to learn how to do better. We have two years before she can leave and I hope it is enough time to get her ready to functional. Right now she is far from functional!

I'd love to hear specifically about some expectations for a 16 year old girl. I think it's totally appropriate to expect her to get up at 7:15 on school days and expect that she showers, brushes her teeth, turns on the pool pump, makes her bed and is ready to go by 8. But we have failed getting her to do these things more than 1 day at a time. I also think she should earn As and Bs because she is very bright.

We also have expectations that she put her clothes away in a certain place because otherwise she just shoves them and complains she has no clothes.

She needs to clean her bedroom and bathroom up once a week and put her dishes in the dishwasher and pick up her trash, and trinkets every day.

Are these things unreasonable?

Thank you all!
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Our objective is to better understand the struggles our child faces and to learn the skills to improve our relationship and provide a supportive environment and also improve on our own emotional responses, attitudes and effectiveness as a family leaders
livednlearned
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Divorced January 2012
Posts: 11886



« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2022, 01:45:53 PM »

Hi Aahz,

Some of the things you expect her to do are reasonable but she is emotionally on fire and probably coping with unresolved trauma. In essence she is special needs, which doesn't mean she shouldn't have chores, it just means you go about structuring the chores in a different way and focus only on the ones that have natural consequences for her.

You may have to let go of some things that are really tough for you, like whether she showers or brushes her teeth, turns on the pool pump (?), or makes her bed, for example. A therapist once explained that it's like being in a bunker during heavy artillery and someone is trying to teach you how to knit. Your daughter may only have enough capacity for things that actually matter to her, and the key is figuring out what those things are.

Different solutions work differently for different people so there will be trial and error. My stepdaughter lived with us and verbal instructions meant nothing to her. If we wanted her behavior to change, we had to show up and kind of depersonalize things. She had to feel the boundary as directly as possible. Less words were better.

For example, stepdaughter was filthy and she would collect dirty dishes in her room. We decided it was logical to expect she would clean her room the night before trash went out. Instead of badgering her, we would show up at her door and announce it was time to prep for trash.

She didn't seem to mind that we knew her room was dirty but she did mind when we stood in her room and looked around while we waited for her to put things in the trash bag. It was super awkward but the distaste of having us stand there awkwardly in her room changed her behavior a little and then eventually more.

She told H she didn't like us coming in and he asked her how could we do it different. It became her suggestion that we bring her the trash bag and she would fill it up and bring it down within the hour so we wouldn't come up.

We did the same thing with dishes. On nights when the dishwasher was almost full we would go up and walk into her room to see what was going on with dishes and watch as she gathered them up, which she didn't like. We went from nagging her about her dishes to letting her know the dishwasher was almost full. If she didn't want us up in her room, she learned to anticipate that comment and began bringing dishes down on her own. Not 100 percent of the time, but a lot of the time and definitely more than never  Being cool (click to insert in post)

Your daughter may not have an issue in the same way, but the thinking can still apply -- it's about figuring out what motivates someone to participate in group work and then structuring the boundary so natural consequences follow. And if you are changing behaviors, expect those boundaries to be tested repeatedly as she seeks to figure out how serious you are about the change.

With being ready for school, you might be able to tie it to sleep. If she is ready on time, that means she's getting adequate sleep. If she isn't, then work with her to figure out what might be causing her sleep to be disrupted? If it's technology, then perhaps it's healthier for her if tech is not available after 10pm.

Then, she might become motivated to be ready at 8am so she gets her tech back.

When you are faced with difficult behaviors that seem confounding, sometimes you have to walk with them to figure out what is actually important and then set up a boundary so that they become part of the agreement, the way you've structured it.

It seems she is dealing with a natural consequence when she doesn't put her clothes away. When she complains she has no clothes, how do you respond?

Blaise Aguirre's book on BPD in Adolescence is really good, and so is Loebel's Having a Daughter with BPD, which I like because there is a section on family dynamics.

Do you have other kids? How long has your daughter been with you?


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Aahz
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What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Child
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 2


« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2022, 09:37:00 PM »

Thank you for your thoughtful response.

She has been with us for 4 years and is our only child.

When she complains about not having clothes, I say she does but they are lost in her room. She gets mad and will put on something she finds on the floor but then cry and say it's hopeless because she can't do anything.

Walking on Eggshells for Parents says to set expectations and limits and follow through every time. So I am trying to find out what the expectations can be. She is in therapy and we are trying to find someone to do DBT with her.

Regarding tooth brushing, isn't it our responsibility to keep her teeth healthy? The natural consequences of not brushing are tooth decay, gum disease and cavities. Don't we have to make her brush her teeth?
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livednlearned
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Gender: Female
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Ex-romantic partner
Relationship status: Divorced January 2012
Posts: 11886



« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2022, 11:41:20 PM »

With her teeth, what have you tried? What is working or not working?

How does she respond, and does she acknowledge her BPD?
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