No fear. We were moving into a new house, she decides to go for a walk without permission into the woods with a friend and disappears for many hours. We call the other parent and finally the police. They find her after dark walking along the road to the new house. She wonders why anyone is concerned and angry with the fuss
Zero empathy. When I first met this girl she was 11. I stood talking on the phone in the kitchen. I ignored her while she proceeded to light a candle and pour wax on the counter. I just looked at her and motioned for her to watch it (just a precaution not an admonishment.) She then moved outside and started to set pieces of mulch on fire next to the house. She started a fire.
My2cents wrote:It could be anything. First, she is 17, an age when the brain is going through changes, and teenagers tend to underestimate risks.
Does she behave the same way around everyone, or only around the family? If she behaves well in school, gets along fine with friends, listens to teachers, only acting up with the family, then maybe she is reacting to something going on at home. It could be a family problem.
I saw the car shopping incident as passive aggression. Any intelligent near-adult would know you weren't looking for a Camaro. I thought the same thing about walking unsupervised in the woods. She is probably upset about something, but doesn't expect telling you directly to do any good (or can't even articulate it to herself), so she uses indirect tactics to express dissatisfaction.
The best thing would be for her to have a safe hobby that doesn't involve any input from you; playing an instrument, dying her hair, having a pet or a small flower garden, drawing or painting.
She may very well have a personality disorder, or be developing one, but there is a serious danger of you thinking of it that way. If she has a disorder, then she is flawed, and therefore inferior, so if there is a disagreement she is automatically wrong. If you can blame every problem in the family on her disorder, this can distract you from seeing how you or another member of the family could make a mistake.
justsomewhiteguy wrote:If this girl were a boy, you wouldn't be gingerly trying to assess the situation. But we generally don't regard women askance because we have a difficult time perceiving them as a threat, also society requires that we make allowances for them because they are the more vital sex for propagating the species. (Sorry, for some reason this thread brought back all kinds of memories of college social sociology classes.)
Clearly this your daughter has issues. The question is, Are they serious enough to warrant some kind of intervention. Consider, for a moment, all of the various media whores and reality TV stars that seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days. Clearly a good many of them are mentally ill (we have video evidence). But people rarely define their erratic behavior as a kind of mental illness.
I dunno, maybe she'll grow out of it or maybe she'll grow up to be the next Angelina Jolie (you know, during her veil-of-blood-necklace days). The best you can do is try to convey to your daughter your expectations of her and the reasonableness of your demands.
My2cents wrote:There is something I wasn't clear about last time I responded. I'm not advocating excessive permissiveness. There are certain situations (alcohol, truancy) where you need to put your foot down. The key is to pick your battles wisely. Any healthy person will accept that there are limits, and follow the rules as long as they aren't excessive. It's important that she knows what is and isn't important, and why. If you make a big deal out of everything, reacting the same to an unmade bed and a failed class, she might reject rules altogether.
If she is 17, she is a minor (depending on where you live). I think this means she needs parental permission to drive. You can probably withdraw her right to drive until she legally becomes an adult. Odds are, "her" car is in her parent's name and s/he makes the payments, right? You can make her stop driving, and then when she is 18, tell her to buy her own car with her own money. This is not punishment; it's negotiation. You can let her drive the family car when she earns the privilege through good behavior.
If you are the step-parent, and she has been misbehaving since you met her, some of the responsibility is with her parent that you married. If the other parent is still alive and involved in her life, then all of the parents and step-parents should discuss discipline policies so everyone is on the same page. If you, the step-parent, try to use effective methods, but your partner does something else, especially if custody is shared with the other parent, your efforts may be undermined. There is not much you can do if her parent(s) are not on board.
Euler wrote:Let's go by your list, and how I fit as a diagnosed saddistic Narcissist, just to beat the point into your thick head:
Okay, how about starting a fight with 9 guys hoping you'll get to maim the first guy...and only thinking about how much fun that would be.
If you discount that, how about driving up a mountain path (25mph zone) doing 95 just so I can feel my heart beat?
What if I told you, that instinctually, nothing pleasing me more than watching someone break down completely, or seeing something starve to death. Has your "daughter" done any of that? I doubt it.