So I have this problem. I wouldn't typically share this type of information. But here I am with no easy solution. Perhaps its time to throw it out to the universe and see what the universe serves back. I am beyond disappointment and feeling pretty hopeless.
We are raising my niece. My sister was ill prepared to care for herself when she found out she was pregnant- let alone raise a child. There were plans in place for us to adopt her but a well meaning (but criminally stupid) friend of hers told her she'd be able to get assistance from the state and that she would just love the baby so much that she'd (turn into someone else, I suppose) be able to mother this child. So when the child was three my sister asked that we take her. Of course we knew this would happen eventually and this was when we came to have Kayla as ours, that very day. We didn't know what we were in for.
Kayla is super smart. She threw screaming fits for months but at three you can deal with that. She has ADHD which makes her so intense that she has a hard time forming and maintaining friendships. She wears on our daughter Brooke. She was diagnosed in kindergarten and we had high hopes that the medication would help everything. It did not. It did stop the incessant noise making and make it easier for her to concentrate on homework. Still, I begged the doctor- we still have so many behavioural issues- the kid would argue with me if I made eye contact with her. She way over reacted to everything. Stealing began to surface as a problem.
I have been convinced that either she needed a different medication or the addition of a medication to the current one. Finally, after jumping through all sorts of hoops, seeking counseling which I was happy to do, putting her in Karate (at a cost of $130 a month, mind you, plus uniforms and equipment) finally, the dr. gave us a prescription that would help with her aggressive behavior. Apparently arguing and the over-reacting is a form of aggressive behavior.
It was like magic,that medicine. Make no mistake, she should have been on that two years ago, maybe we wouldn't be where we are today. If I sound angry its because I am. I put my trust in professionals to know more than me and I asked for help. I get the part where they probably hear my story from parents all the time so they have a process they follow. But I asked for help every time I was at that office and the whole time one little piece of paper would have made my life and her life a lot better day in and day out. She and I deserve better than that.
I had high hopes for her for third grade. It was my best year. I loved it and hoped she would too. Especially with this new medication. But the stealing which I thought we'd addressed between her teacher, the principal, the counselor, and ourselves has not abated. She's gotten better at hiding it and better at lying about it when I do find an object that I know is not ours.
In the last two weeks three, now four incidences show me that not only has the stealing never stopped- it is now constant. Last Wednesday was my husband's second day on the job after nine months out of work. He was given a camera to keep in his truck at all times in case of an accident (Yes, that's right, get out the big plaid shirt- I'm now a truck drivers wife- ye gods and yee ha, that's a whole other reason to be anxiety ridden but that's another post, just be glad we're back to work on all fronts) In the short time from the house to the end of the driveway the camera disappeared. My husband was beyond angry. Its a good thing she was gone. You don't start a job after nine months and only two interviews and go in and tell your boss you already lost the camera he gave you on day one. Its that important that things go well. Jobs are non existent in Michigan. The ones that are around pay easily 5$ less than they would have 5 years ago.
Then I found the candy that came from a store. I had already taken back some small items to a business before the camera incident. Today- after being so despondent all weekend that I flat out tell her "I can not talk to you, I am so upset and I don't know what to do with you, this can't keep on like this." - I found some small electronic gaming thing in her dresser drawer. Of course 'a friend gave it to her to help her with her math'. 'Just tell me the truth' finally gets me an "ok, I stole it".
So here I am. We've already told her that there was a police report filed and that an officer would be coming to question her. We're trying to rustle one up through a friend. I've yelled, I've screamed, I've spanked. We've counseled, the teacher's tried, the principal has tried. We have tried implementing positive re-enforcement of good behaviour. Her mother has talked to her. We've driven her past jails. It all scares her. Sometimes she had stopped until the danger of consequence has passed. She really does hate getting in trouble for it but has separated that out from the crime itself and just tried to get better at hiding and covering up. She's good. I'm not stupid, I know I have a relatively short amount of time to turn this girl around but nothing seems to make a dent.
I'm frustrated and worn out. The other little girl has her own little issues. Perfectly normal small, inconsequential issues. Obviously Kayla has a need she's trying to fill. I know she wants more attention from me. But honestly the more she argue with me the more I want to get away from her. Now that the arguing isn't so prevalent we just have this one last huge insurmountable mountain to cross, right? Except that I am about all Kayla'd out. Four years, folks, of constant battling will do that. I'm tired of having my household disrupted to this extent. This morning I apologized to Brooke. "I'm sorry Baby, you shouldn't have to see Momma like this, she doesn't want you to see her like this. I'm sorry I've been so upset for so long." So add in the guilt of having Brooke's child hood altered from what it could be and not so suddenly I am less and less willing to fight the battle of Kayla. I'm at the point where I really don't see a solution that I can believe in. I'm not rallying, I'm tired. I'm despondent and not only do I want to give up I'd really just like it to be over.
So if you have a suggestion or a way out of this feeling- I'm open. I'm listening.