Blended Families

Training them to be adults-advice/thoughts? (or just a vent)

I've posted before that SD has moved in with us, and I may have vented a little about how different BM does things versus how I would do things.  I know people have said "your house, your rules" but I'm running into a couple problems with that 1.  DH is more than likely just to let things be 2. It would be unfair to completely pull rug out from under this kid, so I am trying to make the changes slowly.

So, here's my problem (or maybe vent)...SD is very smart but she is dependent on other people for stuff she should be able to do herself.  How does something work?  What's there to eat?  Do we have any xyz? It's like she can't think for herself, or figure things out for herself.  I am trying to be patient and remember that this isn't all her fault.  BM conditioned her to be like this, but seriously she was standing next to the refrigerator and asked me if we had eggs.  Look in the effin refrigerator!  I'm pushing back more (although I didn't on the egg thing because it caught me off guard) and trying to get her to think outside of her little box where people have to supply the info to her.  

My second problem is her shopping list every week.  It's full of things that I usually don't get.  I'm a sale shopper, so this list of very specific, brand name items is getting on my nerves.   Again, I try to remember that she has been conditioned this way by BM for 17 years so my frustration should lie with her (and it does-I haven't been able to speak with BM as much as before because I am so, so irritated with her over this crap).  Of course, then I struggle with if she were my DD and would I feel the same way.  I'm trying hard to not treat her differently than I would DD, but really I don't see us in the same situation with DD because I wouldn't let some of this crap start.

 I think I'm going to make an appointment to see her old therapist.  SD was in therapy for years and I had an appointment with the therapist a few months ago when there were some serious issues, but she changed therapists (to get a different of therapy-nothing wrong with the therapist).  She's an adolescent therapist so I think she'll be able to provide some guidance.

 

Thanks for listening. 

Re: Training them to be adults-advice/thoughts? (or just a vent)

  • As someone who hires and fires interns and younger generations of employees, let me tell you, you are doing her no favors by not sharply correcting this behavior. If they don't learn it at home, they will learn it in a far harsher environment- the real world. We have a whole generation of kids who cannot critically think and feel they are completely entitled to everything. These are also the kids who have to live at home until they finally figure it out at 30. Please don't do that to your SD. She needs to learn about rules and consequences, budgeting and how to locate eggs in the fridge.
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  • I agree with nineoceans.  I can see where you are giving her some sort of grace period, but honestly... don't.  even though BM conditioned her to be a certain way at BM's house, there are specific rules and expectations at your house.  you need to get DH on board.

    and honestly, I'm astounded that a 17 year old has any say in the weekly shopping list.  unless she is vegan and requesting certain things to maintain a healthy diet... then yikes. 

                           
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  • I think most of those things can be solved by telling her where to look and the next time just telling her to check herself. Don't make a huge deal, part of it might be BM, part her trying to see what she can get away with and part laziness. And I am 99% sure your DD will grow up with an annoying habit to someone because you did not find it annoying, we all put importance on different things and very few 17yos thing ahead that they need to get the shampoo they need before they run out, the only thing I think you can do to teach her is to just buy one at a time and stock up if the stuff goes on sale and have her shop with you to learn why it is good to shop sales - get 2 for price of one and have money left to go to the movies for example. If you shop without her she will not learn but that also means sticking entirely roto your list and telling her she can make note of what she wants for next trip. Good luck, parenting a step-teen is hard. 
    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • Please tell me that you are kidding that a 17 can not figure out if you have eggs! I would have told her to get off her butt and look. The shopping list thing is also ridiculous. Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy. She is being set up for failure.
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  • What is she asking you to buy for her?

     

    The helplessness is exactly my SS. He has gotten much better when at our house because we (H) stopped coddling him. You want a drink? You know where to find it. Have a problem? Ok. How would you solve it? You don't know? Then let's talk it out. I do think you have to take it one step at a time And forcing a million changes at will absolutely backfire. If I had to guess this isn't just laziness, but she was raised in an environment where she was taught to be helpless. With that comes a serious lack of self esteem, which in turn causes a lack of ambition, problem solving skills an a host of other thing.  

     

  • imagecole2144:
    Please tell me that you are kidding that a 17 can not figure out if you have eggs! I would have told her to get off her butt and look. The shopping list thing is also ridiculous. Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy. She is being set up for failure.

    In her defense on the grocery list thing, there are things that DD and DH like to eat so I buy those thing, so why wouldn't I buy it for SD.  Just because she hasn't lived here FT and I don't know the specifics yet doesn't mean she shouldn't get some things that she likes.

     I'm not sure if I posted above, but she is a vegetarian and a very picky eater on top of that.  Things her mother indulged and we are now paying the price. She's also been in therapy for eating disorders, so while things are better now recovery is still relatively new. 

    I visited with my SIL today who is in a similar situation with her SD so we had a chance to vent.  It was cathartic.  I am committed to returning responsibility to her whenever possible, but must remember that 17 years of conditioning isn't going to go away overnight.   

  • imagecole2144:
    Please tell me that you are kidding that a 17 can not figure out if you have eggs! I would have told her to get off her butt and look. The shopping list thing is also ridiculous. Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy. She is being set up for failure.

    Mare you serious?  Your kids will never be able to add to your grocery list?  This is an 18yo not some guest coming to visit. My 5yo adds to our grocery list, you know, things like specific crackers because those are the ones he likes. I think this becomes one of those situations where it is so easy to be tough but who really does that to their "own" kid?  She is 17, not 27 and just moved in and I am not suggesting waiting on her hand and foot but it is not like she should fend for herself. 

    And that was a response to Cole, not Frisky. 

    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • imageLittlejen22:

    imagecole2144:
    Please tell me that you are kidding that a 17 can not figure out if you have eggs! I would have told her to get off her butt and look. The shopping list thing is also ridiculous. Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy. She is being set up for failure.

    I think this becomes one of those situations where it is so easy to be tough but who really does that to their "own" kid?  

    I think this is where I'm so conflicted.  I take special requests from my kid, but I'm setting the stage with her to keep her expectations low.  SD's expectations are fairly high. She's learning though.  

  • imageFriskyPanda:
    imageLittlejen22:

    imagecole2144:
    Please tell me that you are kidding that a 17 can not figure out if you have eggs! I would have told her to get off her butt and look. The shopping list thing is also ridiculous. Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy. She is being set up for failure.

    I think this becomes one of those situations where it is so easy to be tough but who really does that to their "own" kid?  

    I think this is where I'm so conflicted.  I take special requests from my kid, but I'm setting the stage with her to keep her expectations low.  SD's expectations are fairly high. She's learning though.  

    My comments were at others, not you. As for your comment, it is fine to not give everything as long as you give her requests the same weight and consideration you would the other kids and buy her enough food to continue to be a vegetarian. Also I really think a 17yo should be allowed more say than a little kid (I don't remember your kids' ages) just because they are older and should be given the opportunity to make choices for themselves. I let my kids have choices at 5 and 3, hopefully they will not turn out crazy picky but rather learn to make their own choices and decisions.  

    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • imageLittlejen22:

    imagecole2144:
    Please tell me that you are kidding that a 17 can not figure out if you have eggs! I would have told her to get off her butt and look. The shopping list thing is also ridiculous. Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy. She is being set up for failure.

    Mare you serious?  Your kids will never be able to add to your grocery list?  This is an 18yo not some guest coming to visit. My 5yo adds to our grocery list, you know, things like specific crackers because those are the ones he likes. I think this becomes one of those situations where it is so easy to be tough but who really does that to their "own" kid?  She is 17, not 27 and just moved in and I am not suggesting waiting on her hand and foot but it is not like she should fend for herself. 

    And that was a response to Cole, not Frisky. 

    I cannot believe I am about to agree with Cole, but I am.

    There is a huge difference between buying a weekly snack or making sure that there is something (side dish) on the dinner menu that the children like to eat and adding a whole OTHER grocery bag for ONE person. 

    We have a couple rules in our house:

    1) Snacks and drinks are purched using reasonable daily serving sizes (I DO take into account 16yo boys eat more than an oz) and only once a week.  So if you go through a 6 pack of soda or two boxes of Cheez-its in a week,  Or in DD's case, cheese-sticks, applesauce pouches, or store-bought popcicles....oh well.

    Eat another snack in the house (I keep fresh veggies and fruit), buy it yourself or wait until Sat.

    2) Dinner meals will included something that one of the kids will like, but I WILL NOT COOK JUST FOR THEM - EVER.  I will make sure that there is a side-dish that they like.  I will not go out of my way to cook one or two things I know they loath (SS hates eggs, so we never eat eggy meals when he is home, but at the same time, since he is just not a fan of eggplant, I will make something with eggplant only once a month, but expect him to either eat it or forgo dinner). 

    In the case of a 17 yo veggetarian - it is up to HER to make special meals if she wants them.  Because ONE person's diet should not break the bank or keep other people from theirs.  

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  • What is she asking for on her list? 

    I have told the boys that I will spend $X on "special" foods.  That is essentially anything beyond dinner, breakfast (cereal), and lunch (sandwhiches).  They can pick one "expensive item" or they can be flexible and I will buy what is available.  They have learned to watch sales and unit prices (when they go shopping with me).  They are 18 and 16.

    Take her shopping with you.  Tell her she can pick what she wants but you are only going to spend $X.  She can pay herself, go without, or substitute brands.  She probably doesn't realize how much it all is or doesn't understand. 

     

     

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  • imageLittlejen22:

    imagecole2144:
    Please tell me that you are kidding that a 17 can not figure out if you have eggs! I would have told her to get off her butt and look. The shopping list thing is also ridiculous. Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy. She is being set up for failure.

    Mare you serious?  Your kids will never be able to add to your grocery list?  This is an 18yo not some guest coming to visit. My 5yo adds to our grocery list, you know, things like specific crackers because those are the ones he likes. I think this becomes one of those situations where it is so easy to be tough but who really does that to their "own" kid?  She is 17, not 27 and just moved in and I am not suggesting waiting on her hand and foot but it is not like she should fend for herself. 

    And that was a response to Cole, not Frisky. 

    First of all, She never said she was a vegetarian. Second, I have no problem with picking up a couple things she wants, if there is money in the budget but OP said she gets handed a LIST with all brand names. I don`t care if it was SD or DS, no child will hand me a LIST of brand name tings they expect me to buy. I try to shop for everyone in the family but the kids are also expected to eat what we have. My mom would always have a budget and while she picked up some things she knew we liked, if it was not in the budget, we purchased it ourselves. I had a job from the time I was 16 so I never thought twice about paying for extras.

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  • WahooWahoo member

    Personally, I am pretty brand-faithful.  I can taste the difference between sodas, ketsup, cereals, frozen meals, cheese sticks (yes, it's just cheese, but you can tell the difference in taste and texture) etc!  However, I also hate paying high prices when I know that in a few weeks the same item will be on sale! 

    Do you have room in your pantry or freezer where you can stock up on sale items that you know SD likes?  For example, if her preferred  yogurt is Yoplait, stock up when it is 10/$6.  Many foods last for a while.  I also usually shop at more than one supermarket, and at Target, so I will stock up at one of those places when an item that we like is on sale.

    Can you tell her the items she prefers are pricey, and ask her to help you problem solve?  For example, she might not be so brand-faithful to some items.  She might be willing to look at circulars to tell you if things are on sale (if you will go to a different store), she might be willing to clip coupons from newspapers or the internet.

    As far as the dependency thing goes, I would set up some ground rules and then allow her to make her own choices.  The more you allow her to take the responsibility for doing things on her own, the more she will be empowered.  It should become a cycle that improves as time goes on.   

    I actually see a conflict with your goals on this one.  On one hand, you want her to be more independent and make her own choices / take responsibility for herself, on the other, she hands you a list of her preferences for food, and you are critical and turn her down. I'm not saying that she should have everything that she wants, but you also have to be careful about saying "I want you to be responsible for your own choices / actions," and then when she does something on her own, turn her down b/c it's not the way you would do it.

    image "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.
  • imagecole2144:
    imageLittlejen22:

    imagecole2144:
    Please tell me that you are kidding that a 17 can not figure out if you have eggs! I would have told her to get off her butt and look. The shopping list thing is also ridiculous. Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy. She is being set up for failure.

    Mare you serious?  Your kids will never be able to add to your grocery list?  This is an 18yo not some guest coming to visit. My 5yo adds to our grocery list, you know, things like specific crackers because those are the ones he likes. I think this becomes one of those situations where it is so easy to be tough but who really does that to their "own" kid?  She is 17, not 27 and just moved in and I am not suggesting waiting on her hand and foot but it is not like she should fend for herself. 

    And that was a response to Cole, not Frisky. 

    First of all, She never said she was a vegetarian. Second, I have no problem with picking up a couple things she wants, if there is money in the budget but OP said she gets handed a LIST with all brand names. I don`t care if it was SD or DS, no child will hand me a LIST of brand name tings they expect me to buy. I try to shop for everyone in the family but the kids are also expected to eat what we have. My mom would always have a budget and while she picked up some things she knew we liked, if it was not in the budget, we purchased it ourselves. I had a job from the time I was 16 so I never thought twice about paying for extras.

    I was responding to this comment:  Unless she is paying for her groceries, she needs to eat what you buy

    As for having a job, I started working at 15 and worked full-time every chance I got starting at 17 including spring and summer breaks through college. And we cut off all-non-essentials for SD when she refused to look for a job at 16 1/2. But this girl has just moved in with them and is in therapy. I am not saying to get whatever she wants but asking like she should have flat-out said no is extreme.  

    Jen - Mom to two December 12 babies Nathaniel 12/12/06 and Addison 12/12/08
  • imageWahoo:

    Can you tell her the items she prefers are pricey, and ask her to help you problem solve?  For example, she might not be so brand-faithful to some items.  She might be willing to look at circulars to tell you if things are on sale (if you will go to a different store), she might be willing to clip coupons from newspapers or the internet.

    I agree with this.  use the list as a chance to make her a little more independant and think about things a bit more.

    DS is only 3.5 but I absolutley buy him stuff that I know HE likes.  I know that as he gets older, he'll get to have a say in the grocery list to a point.

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  • imageWahoo:
       

    I actually see a conflict with your goals on this one.  On one hand, you want her to be more independent and make her own choices / take responsibility for herself, on the other, she hands you a list of her preferences for food, and you are critical and turn her down. I'm not saying that she should have everything that she wants, but you also have to be careful about saying "I want you to be responsible for your own choices / actions," and then when she does something on her own, turn her down b/c it's not the way you would do it.

    Thanks so much for posting this.  I really hadn't thought of it in this way.  I haven't actually told her "No" I sure have thought about it Big Smile

    I need to try to focus more on the positive - she is being responsible for herself when she is able to plan ahead and anticipate her needs for the week.  

    Financially, it's a bit draining and this may be more about that than her specifically (although the egg thing was all her).  It's going to be tight with the changing expenses, but DD is out of daycare in a couple of weeks and SD's therapist anticipates cutting her loose in a few weeks too.  It's all coming together, but it has definitely been a challenge.

  • Why not turn this into a teaching moment? Take her to the store with you and have her help you shop, explaining what your grocery budget is and why (mortgage/rent, power, water, etc expenses) she's old enough to start learning about budgets and how they work and why it's important to live within your means.

    Then show her what things you need to buy cost (meals for the family, snacks, drinks, and her items) then explain that given your budget you need to make some adjustments and see if she's open to substitutions, she may have listed the brand name because that's what she knows them as and would be happy with store brands or alternative items.

    If she has been a vegetarian for a while I'd support that given her age and try to have reasonable options for her making her a part of planning and budgeting for that as if she is committed she needs to start learning how to make balanced vegetarian meals without breaking the bank. That may mean including her in coupon citing/sale searching and using lower cost items like pinto beans for food choices. 

     

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