Awful, just awful, that is what Hanna`s behavior has been since last Sunday. She has been ripping her mattress up to make a house for her stuffed animals (so she says), she lost or threw away her good coat, refused to shower,brush her teeth, comb her hair, use deodorant, and rather then put clean clothes on she put them on over the dirty ones. She had been going to school looking acceptable, therefore they could not do anything even though her hygiene routine was not being completed. She thought it was pretty cool to get away with this. She clearly understood that Mom was not liking what she was doing.
Well, finely I had had enough so when I had the teacher on the phone to discuss some other things that were going on we had a chance to come up with a possible solution for the manipulation which was taking place.
Yesterday morning the plan went into action. Hanna had not showered the night before as she was supposed to and she had a medical appointment so she would have had time to shower in the morning, but still chose not to. She did not do any of her other hygiene routine either. I called school and told the teacher Hanna would not be there until she had done everything she was supposed to do. She heard the conversation, (I made sure she did). I took her to her appointment and she gave everyone there the poor me, I want to go to school, nonsense with tears and all They bought her whole sad story. Oh, how I wanted to set her down right there and give her a good talking to. Like kid, you are always telling me how you want to be like the other kids who are 14, yet you are acting like a preschooler. I was the "good" mom and restrained myself because I figured all of that logic was going to blow right over her head anyway.
We came home and without saying anything I began my day. After about half an hour of screaming at me and throwing shoes she was ready to do what she needed to in order to get out of here. (Staying home with me is torture for her). She showered, brushed her teeth, put clean clothes on, and all the rest of the routine in about 45 minutes. She also had to pick up all the shoes she had thrown out of the basket. She had to then call and ask if it would be okay for her to come to school. She went, Hallelujah! Peace and quiet!
When she got home Dad asked her how her day was going and she said "not really good, I in big trouble". She then had to explain that she had earned 6 lunch time detentions and could not wash tables for 6 days to make up for the unexcused absence. Losing lunch time means no time to "look" at the boys and not washing tables means no money. Hanna really likes both boys and money.
This will likely work, at least for the next 6 school days. I am sure she will be facing these consequences many more times. We can not have her pulling home and school apart with her manipulation. We are a team and we need to work together or she will make all of us crazy. Having good days is something that Hanna is capable of doing, but it feels very uncomfortable and scary for her. I think at some level she will always have a need to frustrate the people who care about and for her because it ensures that no one gets to close to her.