Looking for Punishment Advice....

Updated on January 28, 2007
M.T. asks from Centerton, AR
14 answers

My soon to be 14 year old niece that I raise recently stayed out all night without asking or telling anyone where she would be. She had went to the movies with a couple of friends and one of their mothers were supposed to bring her home. I get up around 4:45 every morning so I go to bed pretty early. So I was asleep when she was supposed to be home and I didn't know she didn't come home until the morning. When I got up that morning I called her friends that she was with looking for her and they told me that she told them I was picking her up and left them at the movies. So I franticly called every one of her friends I could get a hold of to find out if they had heard from her and no one had. I was at my wits end and worried sick! My next step was to call the cops and report her missing. Then around 9:00 AM she called me and said that she had stayed at another friends house because she didn't have a ride. I asked why she didn't call and she just said she did't think about it. Well needless to say I finally got her home and she looked like she hadn't slept. I grounded her and will not let her go anywhere, talk on the phone or get on the computer. This is not her first teenage mix up either. This is just another to the list that she's done. Usually I let her get ungrounded for good behavor but this time I told her no way is that going to happen. Well her birthday is coming up and I told her she wasn't getting party because of this. Her brother is telling me that it's not right for me to take her birthday away. What would you do? Have any of you gone through this? It is very hard for me because I am a single mother and take care of my mom and we see things differently. I don't know how to get her back in line and to get her to stop being such a risk taker. I don't want her to get hurt or turn out to be a bad person. She has a lot to offer and tends not to see it some times. She does take care of herself but this stuff seems to keep happening.

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So What Happened?

First of all I want to thank all of you for all your advise and would love to keep it coming. I think that I'm going to just let her have a small party at home with the family, which she doesn't believe I will do this and continues to make plans when she is at school.

Anyway I wanted to update all of you on what is going on in the past few days.... I have since found out that she was drinking and with 4 guys and supposed 1 girl (all of which I knew none of them). She says she spent the biggest part of the night throwing up and she had a heck of a hang over when she came home. This is her 3rd adventure that I know of her drinking away from home. She is only 13 (14 in a week) and she thinks "it's okay" for her to drink. I don't drink much at all (I haven't had a drink since August, it's a couple times a year I might have one drink) and my mother never drinks. There isn't acohol in the house, because after her first drinking adventure I got rid of it and haven't ever brought it back in. So this made me even more scared. The doctor says she hasn't had sex so that was a relief although I'm scared that she would had the situation been right. Well her drug addict, in and out of jail, crazy, and a million other things father and mother decided to buy her a cell phone and not listen to me about it. And I caught her text messaging until like 11:15 or so on a school night. Needless to say she doesn't have the phone any more and hates me for taking it. But she knows on top of being grounded she isn't allowed to be up that late anyway. And the next day she faked being extremely sick so she could stay home and sleep. She has snuck the phone out of my room and used it. And I had agreed to let her best friend stay the weekend with us while her parents were out of town before my neice had gotten grounded and her parents had no other place for her to go so she is here this weekend. I feel like nothing is getting through to my neice still. She doesn't take me serious about anything. She has a bad mouth and it's crazy!

I also wanted to give you a little back ground that I didn't before... I want to tell you about when she got drunk her 2nd time (that I know of). Her old best friend's mother took her and 2 guys out driving around and let them drink. And let them stay at her house without the other girl even there. Of course I was talking to the mother and she was lieing about the entire thing! But long story short I turned the mother in and lots of other things have came out of it. I found out that many of the parents in our community allow their kids and friends to drink, while they are at home with them. And they allow boys to stay the night as well. This is not okay with me and my neice is not allowed around those houses (well the ones that they parents admit it). So after all this happened one of my neices friend's got raped. She had another friend get pregnant and now has a kid talk to her (she's in the 9th grade). And I had her sit down and listen to her about how much it's changed her life and so on. I thought it was affecting her but I was wrong. Then another friend of my neices had to go to the local Youth Bridge, and is still in there, but I had him talk to her about how bad it was and how he wished he never done the things he did (things like she is doing now). And she has toured the local jail, nothing... didn't phase her. Her parents have been in and out of jail her entire life because of drugs, acohol, and crimes, they have had several talks with her. But yet she says to me this won't happen to me. I know how to handle myself and if some guy comes after me he won't get me. And she says that her friends aren't like that, they would never rape anyone. I told her that she is crazy for thinking that. And that acohol will make people do things, including herself, that even they think they wouldn't do. Still she just acts like it's nothing. I'm totally lost and feel like I've lost her.

I'm at the point where I am really thinking of moving out of the area. Due to her and her brothers actions I think it would be good for a fresh start and for them nto to know anyone or their surroundings. I have also wanted to move out of the area for a long time but didn't for their sake.

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D.

answers from Shreveport on

Please oh Please do not take her birthday away, you may downsize the party or extend the grounding after her birthday, my Dad took my 13th birthday away because I did not loosed 10 pounds, he gave me a month to do it and I only lost 7 , the point to this story is......I have never forgotten that and Im almost 40, but you do need to get it into her head that she needs to learn responsibilty.
There are so many sickos out there. She is a teenager and she will need to work her butt off to get her party. JMO

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A.G.

answers from Houston on

let me know how this turns out please, this is my worst fear- i have a 4 yr old, but i was one of these trouble children and nothing made me stop, i'm scared about my life 10 yrs from now

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V.B.

answers from Alexandria on

M., God is really using you. Your Mother and the children are so fortunate to have you to take care of them. They should be so grateful that they never put you under any more pressure or worry you but unfortunately they can't see that just yet. I would just have a little cake and present at home. Sounds like she may be headed down what could be dangerous roads if you don't be firm with her. Just let her know you love her so much you have to know where she is and that she should never leave one place without letting you know where she is going or without getting your permission to leave and go to another place. It is too dangerous these days. Too many things can go wrong. You will have to set a certain time that she has to be home by and it can't be so late that you won't be awake. Because you need to be able to talk with her and make sure everything is o.k. every time she comes in. If that doesn't work you may need to try to get some counseling for her. God bless you. You really have too much on you for your age.

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K.E.

answers from Anchorage on

I agree with the other moms. Don give in! She will only learn that she can manipulate you. If you fell really guilty, maybe a small cake at home after dinner, but I wouldn't do presents or decorations or anything. Once she sees you mean business you will se a change in her behavior. Just make sure you dole out punihments you are willing to see through to the end.

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M.D.

answers from Houston on

Wow let me first commend you for taking care of so many kids I think that is awesome! I am a young mother of 2 and it was not to long ago I was just like your niece. I thought I knew it all and no one could stop me. Let’s just say things got real bad before they got any better. Of course I take complete responsibility for my actions as a teenager however a lot of it was attributed to the people I hung around with. It was the older crowed they had no curfews no boundaries and I thought it was completely unfair my parents expected me to be home before midnight throughout high school. The best advice I can give is stick by your original punishment. I always had it in the back of my head that I could stay home for a week or so do some extra chores, be friendly and my parents would feel bad and let me off. Luckily I got out of a bad situation but it took about 2 months of no friends no phone no contact with anyone except my family. Sit down with her and discuss what is acceptable, give reasons not just because I said so. If you treat her like an adult she will probable be more receptive. I would look up local news info about young teenagers in trouble or other things happening around town and show her what can happen. Also there is a law in Texas that anyone under the age of 17 can not be out pase I believe 11 or 12 without an adult. This is punishable with a pretty expensive ticket. Let her know your not being mean just looking out for her. It sounds mean but it could be a huge wake up call. I hope this helps and didn’t frighten you to much. Good luck

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R.A.

answers from New Orleans on

hi,

my name is R. aguilar and i am a 24 year old mother. i was a single mother for a while and now, i'm married. even though sometimes i still feel single. i remember hard times i went with my mom. i use to sneak out alot. a big reason was that she didnt trust me and already expected me to be doing something so i acted out rebelliously and did what she assumed i was doing. also i'm a very private person so i just didnt like talkin about any relationships. also, when most kids ask their parents to do something they say no. my mom didnt let us do alot of things, she may thought they were bad so it was just easier to sneak out. but even though i may have did one thing wrong, at the party i never acted wild because my mothers teachings are always in the back of my head. so with all that said, sometimes the best punishment is to ignore and trust. hard head, need to fall hard sometimes in order to understand. let her be aware of the dangers, getting pregnant, or a stranger hurting her. Also I know it's hard to wear a lot of hats, like mother, you raising your neice and taking care of your mom, and going to school. I've started a women's club to help support moms who are trying to start a business or want a career or just even want help and support. It's going to be at the end of feb. I'm not sure where you live, but i live in new orleans. Hope my advice helps and you can email me if you need anything. [email protected]____.com in there. and God bless you. Finish school, i'm in school too.

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R.M.

answers from Houston on

Best wishes on taking care of your loved ones. God will bless you for this. Stand your grounds, I would have a family party at home, cake a few presents that's it. It is hard because we all love to give them parties etc, but last years our girls didn't get to go trick or treating because of some school issues. It was tough, but they survived.
This will show her and your nephew who is worried for his sister that you will not put up with this type of behavior. I am sure he will remember this in a couple of years when he starts trying these thing(assuming he does). Hope you get the guidance you need.

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C.L.

answers from Little Rock on

stick to your punishment maybe she will learn a lesson and plus if she knows you wi ll cave in everytime for her being good all she gotta do is do what she wants them be good whoa big whooop punish that girl she is 13 should be playing with barbies

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M.T.

answers from Houston on

I WOULD NOT give in. This day and time...the world is a very scary place. There are TONS of wierdos in the world. My heart was beating fast when I was reading your request. I was relieved to hear she had returned home, safely. How about having a "family" birthday? I have three small children and know, one day, I will have to deal with these things. Good job on raising your neice and nephews!

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S.G.

answers from Houston on

God bless you! I couldn't do what you do and stay sane. That being said my mother was tough on me when I left the house. I had a strict 11pm curfew and if I was 1 minute late, I was grounded. She wanted to know who, what, when, where, and how my evening was going to pan out. I wouldn't take her birthday away totally but I would only allow a celebration with the family and nothing more. As for letting her get off grounding for good behaviour, no way. Once she is grounded, she needs to stay grounded. No negotiations. My sister lets her kids off for good behaviour and because of that they don't ever take grounding seriously. They know that if my sister grounds them they can clean their room and she'll let them off.
As for that "I didn't think about it" business, she thought about it. She thought about what story she was going to tell you. Not to scare, you but when I did that business of telling my mom I was staying at a friends house, we were really sneaking out and meeting up with boys and partying. If she looked like she hadn't slept then you could take it a step further and make her take one of those at home drug tests from Walgreens or drag her to a doctors office and have her tested.

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J.F.

answers from Little Rock on

Stand your ground and do not give in. There's no telling what could have happened to her. She is old enough to know right from wrong. Taking her birthday party away from her is not a crime, nor will it scar her for life. The mother that posted that bit about her father doing that because she didn't lose 10 pounds is probably more scarred from that reason rather than not having the party. She didn't do anything wrong, your niece, however, did. Anyway, my point is, you are the adult, she is still the child. She is to learn responsibility and consequences of not following through. Tough love is just that, tough, for all parties involved. But don't postpone her grounding because of a birthday. If it's too much to bear, postpone the party until an undisclosed date (so she won't 'be nice' until then) at least until she understands that she must obey the rules.

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A.L.

answers from Houston on

Hello,
Of course it is your decision and you know your niece more than anyone on this forum, but I would say that I agree with her brother on this. Her birthday is a day to celebrate the entire year, and that would be punishing her for all year... even the parts where she did good.
I would set a reasonable consequence .. like no telephone, internet whatever for a certain amount of time, and stick with it. And of course talking (as opposed to lecturing) is always a good thing.. explain the dangers and the love you have for her... adn the position that it puts you in. Maybe if she is able to have empathy for your feelings then maybe she will be less likely to do it again.
Just my .02 cents and hope it works out!
A.
www.onlyonceimages.com/blog

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H.L.

answers from Little Rock on

First off, I would not accept her response of "I just didnt' think about it" when you asked why she didn't call you for a ride. This sounds very suspect. By her leaving the movies and her friends and lying to them about you picking her up makes me think she may have been out all night with maybe a boy. She hadn't slept??? Her story has too many holes in it. She left her friends and told them you were picking her up and then she told you that she didn't have a ride and stayed with a different friend? Yeah, she would lose the birthday party and a whole lot of other things. I really suggest getting in her business. With my 13 year old, I give her a phone curfew, I ask who she is talking too, I read her notes, I check her backpack, read her journal and everything, and she hasn't even given me reason to not trust her. Before she goes with any friends, I have to talk to their parents, they have to spend some time at my house too.

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D.

answers from Baton Rouge on

Doris is right... taking her birthday away is something that she will never forget WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE IT AWAY ALONG WITH EVERY THING ELSE!!! Not losing weight is one thing (I don't agree with that)... but what she did!!?? OH MY GOODNESS.... her life as she knows it should no longer exist! There is no telling where she was or what she was doing and I have a feeling you will NEVER get the truth out of her!
Set the punishment and stick to it!! I say NO BIRTHDAY at all! Matter of fact... if you really want her to remember... tell her that she will remain 13 until further notice (past her actual birth date) and whatever privilidges she was set to earn by turning 14 are GONE!

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