peanut butter sandwichSo I thought my daughter would earn her cell phone back lickety split, and instead, she breaks a new rule every day and compounds the rule-breaking by lying about it when she gets caught. I was duped. When I saw her texting and being texted by her friends, hanging out with them, and having a normal social life, I was so happy for her. And she was so happy. But I was naive to think the underlying problems had disappeared. Well, actually, I wasn’t that naive. I didn’t think they had disappeared completely, but I did think she was on an upward trajectory. And maybe she still is but she’s taking an awfully long detour back down through the muck.

My daughter has written her share of essays since she lost her phone, but I don’t think she knows what’s going on with her. I certainly don’t. I can’t figure out if she is sabotaging herself because she was doing so well, if she simply can’t control her impulses to do fun things that are against the rules, if she is so angry at me for taking her phone away that she’s back to refusing to follow my rules, or if the freedom, privilege and independence of a phone were all just too much for her to handle. In any event, while she says (cries) that she wants her phone back, she behaves so dishonestly and disobediently that she can’t possibly have it back, not yet  anyway. I’m starting to wonder if I made a huge mistake giving it to her in the first place.

If I had to pick one of the reasons listed above, I would guess that she just can’t handle the freedom and privilege and independence that come with having her own phone. Maybe I was wrong to jump to such a big reward, even though I really thought she had earned it. After six days of breaking rules and lying about it, she finally had a good enough day to earn hanging out with a friend. Then she went somewhere with that friend she wasn’t supposed to go and lied about that. I keep wanting to give that dang phone back to her but her behavior won’t let me. It is sooooo frustrating watching her mess up over and over.

She had to go back to the basics: earning yummy food and earning the privilege of doing chores. Now she isn’t even on the launching pad for earning privileges with her friends again. She’ll really have to earn that one. I guess this is reality with RAD kids. I still have faith in her that she will get it, get her phone back and be able to behave well for longer and longer periods of time. I guess it’s up to me to be more realistic overall and to realize that her good moments are going to be followed by bad ones, bad weeks or months even, until she’s ready for more good.

Note to self: Take it one day at a time.

Photo credit: butter.jpg