Originally Posted by David Lopez
Wow. I appreciate your honesty but it seems you are needing some inight about adopted children. When you adopt a child of the age of yours, it is only a survival mechanism to make sure that you are there for good before she will let herself relax and accept your love. The way children do that is to act as badly as possible to test the limits of everyone around them and see who survives. You can see that it makes sense if you are thinking of getting rid of her - it would have been absolutely devastating to her to lose another set of parents if she had allowed herself to become a functioning part of the family.
I think you adopted her because you wanted to have her, and wanted to be parents. She is not a monster, and you did not get a "bad one". You got a child who, through no fault of her own, has been torn from her family and country and passed over in life. Now something good has inexplicably happned to her, and she's not sure she deserves anything good, nor if it is real.
This is my suggestion. First, putting "getting rid of" her on the table as an option is the same thing as bringing divorce up in a fight with your wife. It removes all the trust from the relationship and makes moving forward impossible. You may not have said it to her, but she feels it from you. So first, you have to recommit.
Second, you need to have a game plan that allows her to work through what she needs to, without you and your wife joining in the chaos. She cannot change overnight, but you can give her everyhing she needs to be the child you have dreamed of.
She needs some very basic things:
- to hear and see that you and your wife and her school are forming a team to help her be happy, secure and successful.
- to know you can be trusted completely in all situations. This has to be earned because she has been let down before. You are paying for the crimes others, and there's no way around that but it does end.
- To know exactly what is expected of her, to know what will happen if she misbehaves, and to have that happen consistently. Do not use any spanking or other physica punishments and do not deny her what gives her emotional comfort, for example, if she has a security object, make sure she has it when she is upset, even if she's been misbehaving.
- Time out is a great resource. She will push you to the end of the earth and you have to stay strong, calm and in control. If she will not stay in time out, implement an additional consequence such as taking away something like her CD collection or television time. When you outlast her, and it is truly a war of the wills, you will find that she will start complying in the future.
- Catch her doing things right. It is sometimes a stretch, but if she feels you are the police, you will not get through to her.
- Never withhold love. Tell her you love her, show her you love her.
The one thing your daughter needs in order to comply with you and the school is iron-clad assurance that she can trust the situation before she lets herself become a functioning part of it. If your attitude is to get rid of her, you are proving that her strategy was wise.
Children aren't disposable. You can get some really, really good advice watching the Nanny shows that are on television - maybe even with her. It might open some conversations, like, "wow, that boy is really misbehaving but it looks like he feels like his Dad doesn't care about him. What do you think? What do you think that dad should do?"
I think it would be nice, also,to set up - and stick with over the long term - some positive incentives and some family rituals.
I would start by taking a day to spend with her - you an your wife - to do things that you know she enjoys. Maybe start with a meal at her favorite restaurant, take her shopping, maybe to a movie she'd like to see. At the meal, explain to her what you are trying to do:
"Mom and I have noticed that you are having a hard time, and we see that you feel very hurt and angry. We love you, and we brought you all the way here because we want to give you a better life. We don't always know how to help you, and we need you to help us. Today is a special day because we are starting over. We are people,too, and sometimes we do things the wrong way, and we are sorry we did not understand your feelings. Maybe you can help us.
Then spell out a few very basic rules (don't try to change the world in a day) and consequences.
Watch the Nanny shows on television and implement their ideas. They do work but you have to commit fully.
Also, get some counseling and get her some counseling to get over her past hurts.