MaryZ's support thread for parents of troubled teenagers

(479 Posts)
MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 10:12:41

I am starting this thread in the hope that it will become a safe space for those of us strugging with very challenging teenage behaviour.

I'm hoping that it will be a support thread, rather than descend as so many threads do into a "criticism of the parents". Those of us in this situation know that it is pretty much impossible to just "tell them to stop" or to "ground them", and taking away phones, money and gadgets leads to lying stealing and running away sad.

Sadly it seems cannabis is at the bottom of an awful lot of these children's problems, and I'm hoping we can talk about that here without having to defend ourselves against the "cannabis does no harm" brigade. So if anyone tries to turn it into an argument about whether cannabis is addictive or harmful, could you please just ignore them and hope they go away - or start another thread which I can hide where they can argue away happily.

Anyway, sign in if you are interested. I'll be back later.

Mrsrobertduvallsaysboo Sun 28-Oct-12 17:12:52

MaryZ..... I have so much respect for you.

Lilka Sun 28-Oct-12 17:39:17

Agreed Mrsrobert!

I didn't even think about covering up holes with posters etc, but that's a good idea. I just can't stand holes, such a constant reminder of it. But it's so pointless fixing things that will be broken again in a week

It's very rare for her to go for DS. It's me usually if anyone. At times in the past I have had bruises down my arms and been thinking 'oh god if anyone sees they'll be thinking my (non-existant) partner is bashing me around'. And they'd be way more sympathetic if that was the case. It's such a horribly common attitude - if your partner hits you, it's his/her fault, but if your child whacks you, it's your fault

stickyj Sun 28-Oct-12 17:45:50

My DS1 is now put "in a box in my head". Because I can't deal with him any more. He uses drugs, lies, steals from me, has just got done for drink driving and has had his finger on the self destruct button for years.

Yes, I feel guilty. Yes, I always wonder what I could have done to change things. Yes, the others, all three of them have suffered and yes, I shouldn't have stuck up for him all the times I did.

BUT my Dad died, he came to the funeral. He had a one day "amnesty" from me, his stepdad who brought him up from 12 weeks, his Dad and his siblings. I hugged him and he was ok for a while.

he then went out to the "shop". He came back obviously high, to me and those who could tell.

He has broken my heart so many times.....I have texted him so many times and told him this, he doesn't seem to get it. Well, he does but just chooses to ignore it. On my birthday I got a txt at 2am, wishing me a Happy Birthday. I know that he txted me then because he never sleeps, cos he's high/drunk and just can't.

Whatever has happened, he is still my son but the love I feel for him is in that box with him, the box in my mind. I love him but I don't like him for the havoc, distress and the the way he has totally fucked up my other kids and me. he has virtually destroyed my relationship with his stepdad, my DH, because I have always tried to love him whilst defending his crappy behaviour, even tho I knew it to be so wrong.

It is hard to lose a child and I will just have to wait for him to grow out of it or die. That is my reality...I dread the phone ringing because one day I know, I just know, that I will have to identify my son's body.

Because I didn't have him here for Xmas and he was on his own...guilty mum

Because I didn't buy him food and left him to starve...guilty mum (although he always seems to find money for drugs)

Because I should have stopped him earlier and put my foot down...guilty mum.

I have three other kids, they are fine. That keeps me going, they are doing fine, great in fact and three out of four is not too bad.

BUT he's my son and I miss him. I gave birth to him and I miss him. sad

BitchyHen Sun 28-Oct-12 18:14:25

Hi, just signing in to tell you parents what a fantastic job you are doing. DD1 is just your average stroppy teenager(atm).

However I work as a TA in a Pupil Referral Unit for 14 to 16 year olds and supportive parents make all the difference in my job.

I think cannabis is at the root of many behavioural issues for the teens I work with. It can be very difficult for us to deal with kids who are suffering extreme mood swings, or sleeping it off during lessons. I can only imagine what it must be like to live with that.

I have a great deal of respect for you all.

xxDebstarxx Sun 28-Oct-12 18:27:53

Ooops I hope I haven't butted in on this thread...I posted earlier without reading the thread properly. My son hasn't taken cannabis or any other drug as far as I know...he is an extremely troubled teen and I do get grief from other parents who would never let their children be like him.

xxDebstarxx Sun 28-Oct-12 18:35:00

Oh god I hope I didn't sound smug then saying he hasn't taking drugs ... just hasn't got to that point yet as far as I know...he practically hibernates and refuses to do anything.

Lilka Sun 28-Oct-12 18:36:41

Oh no this is a thread for parents of any troubled teens not just teens taking drugs, Debstar. At least i hope so, because my DD doesn't do dope either

Lilka Sun 28-Oct-12 18:39:52

I'm definitely not being smug either. There but for the grace of God, and I certainly don't think I'm going to be able stop her if she decides to do it

Ineedalife Sun 28-Oct-12 18:45:18

Hi all, can I sign in too. I am usually to be found on the SN children board but do venture over here sometimes.

My troubled teen was 24 this week and things between us are relatively good ATM.

TBH, I am hardly seeing her as I am not looking after her Dd anymore. This is good for us but I do miss seeing DGD.

We still have concerns over her debts, she owes the preschool I work in a lot of money which is embarrassing. And now she has left work and gone to uni so the debts are only going to get bigger.

Luckily middle Dd is a dream teen and is now residential at 6th form college monday to friday so is very pleasant at the weekends.

Dd3 is worrying me now though as she rapidly approaches puberty. She has Aspergers and is demand avoidant already, so I am feeling a bit sick about how she is going to be as a teen.

Have bought myself a book about PDA so I can prepare myself with some new strategies in case the current ones stop working. She has no empathy and is similar in many ways to Dd1 which I find scary.

Anyway have rambled enough, I am really glad you started this thread Maryz and will keep popping back from time to time.

xxDebstarxx Sun 28-Oct-12 18:50:36

Thanks Lilka

I just had one of my awful panicky moments then silly I know but cos I know how awful it feels to be judged by the smug parents who have perfect children I didn't want to sound like one of them if that makes sense.

flow4 Sun 28-Oct-12 20:19:20

Yup, signing in too.

DS1 is much better since he went back to college... He's doing a course he wants to do, and he has to be up and out early most mornings, so he can't smoke week during the week smile But every time I get a phonecall from a 'withheld' number, I still expect it to be the police or other trouble sad

Thank god I also have a DS2 who is (so far) charming, high-achieving, polite and generally delightful, or I would certainly have believed I was a Bad Mother.

I can't stand those folk (often but not always ones who don't actually have a teenager hmm ) who come along and tell you that if only you would just do what they would do, and then you wouldn't have any problems at all. If we have any of those on your support thread, MaryZ, am I allowed to just tell them to fuck off?!

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 20:38:17

Yes, flow, do feel free to tell the smug ones to fuck off. But xx, parents like you are very welcome, as long as you can stand to be here - you might find it all a bit scary.

Ineed, I have found the combination of Aspergers and teenage hormones to be an awful one sad. If I were you I wouldn't worry too much about school or results, but concentrate on helping her to be happy if you can. Does your older dd have AS as well? Because trying to talk to ds about money is absolutely impossible - he just sees things he wants, he has no concept of saving and depriving himself of one thing in order to get another more important thing in the future.

sticky, you have had a shitty time, but I forbid you to feel guilty <stamps feet> In fact, guilt and remorse and regret are banned on this thread. We are all starting from today, as we are now, and looking upwards and onwards [hopeful]

flow4 Sun 28-Oct-12 20:48:00

Oh xx, I just realise it may have sounded like I was implying I wanted to tell you to fuck off blush... 'Twasn't you at all: I had just been reading brighter's sadly derailed thread angry sad

Ineedalife Sun 28-Oct-12 20:56:34

Yes maryz, I believe Dd1 does have AS and possibly ADHD too. She was seen by various proffs from age 4-10 but of course "girls dont have aspergers do they", she was eventually discharged with no dx and I was told it was my parenting style which was the problem.

When Dd3 was dx'ed last year when she was 9 it made me all the more certain that Dd1 is on the spectrum.
She is absolutely useless with money and will not accept help from anyone. Tbf I dont think she even realises she needs help a lot of the time.
By luck she never got involved with drugs but she did have a baby at 19 which was a nightmare.
She has a good partner now and DGD's dad takes some responsibility. She is soo clever and can be lovely but I cant live with her anymore and even short holidays are very difficult.

I shouldnt moan, many people are worse off than me but as I said earlier I am a little scared about what is to come with Dd3. Maybe I will get it right this timesmile

flow4 Sun 28-Oct-12 21:15:16

Mary, regarding AS teenagers and money... There is hope...

My friend's AS DS is now 20, and started living independently just over a year ago. There were some really hairy times before he left home - e.g. melt-down because he had lost his money and couldn't understand why he couldn't just take the food shopping money instead. And there have been a couple of sad ones since - e.g. he got hundreds of pounds out of his bank account and told a stranger in the local park, who promptly (we assume) picked his pocket. sad

But he is learning to budget, and more, he is learning to save. In fact, I'd say his AS 'meticulousness' and his 'passions' seem to have actually worked in his favour: firstly, he started to learn about saving because he developed a strong interest in an expensive hobby: he needed equipment that he couldn't possibly buy without saving. Then, after he left home, support staff 'reinforced' the budgeting skills that my friend had showed him, so he learnt how to do a budget breakdown of his income and expenditure, and he now draws up and sticks to a tight budget. He knows exactly what he has to spend on food, bills, etc., and has worked out he has to choose between spending and saving his (fairly small) surplus. Impressively, this summer he saved for his first-ever independent holiday (overland travel); and because that went well, he is now saving for an overseas holiday next summer. His confidence has grown massively in the past year. smile

knittedslippersx3 Sun 28-Oct-12 21:28:31

Can I join? Dd(16) had a breakdown last year, very low and refused to go to school. She completely lost interest in life and felt she was not worthy of anything and had absolutely no self esteem. Got back on track and been great for months but now having a wobble again. No drugs involved so I know I'm lucky that way.

Lilka Sun 28-Oct-12 21:38:46

She's out of her room, stopped raging, but very tense and avoiding eye contact. I am walking on eggshells

chicken4 Sun 28-Oct-12 21:39:22

nothing like as brave as Maryz, have namechanged in embarrassed manner. Oldest dc has battled against cannabis for a number of years, whilst it has eroded her drive and ambition. She was a talented sportswomen, got badly injured at about the same time as they start partying and started on the dope. Like others it is scary to see the blocked numbers appear, the middle of the night phone calls that don't leave a message (it's the cops folks)
thought we had sort of moved on a bit, finally found a HE course to accept her, and a vocational one with thought of a job at the end, but of course away from home is back smoking, on the dope, missing lectures, not cooking, losing weight.
was home this weekend and it was heartbreaking, she is struggling but may well get kicked off course.........
have other "normal" kids as well, but my god folk do judge sad

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 21:49:51

I'm not brave chicken smile. I'm just coping the best way for me. And being out in the open is helping me.

Cannabis is the curse of the struggling teen in my opinion. It may just be "a bit of fun" for some of them, but for those with SN, those struggling at school, the depressed ones or those with other mh issues, the unhappy ones it becomes an escape. A way of dulling life and enabling them to opt out and give up.

I'm sorry about your dd sad. ds1 has just gone back to college after nearly four years out of education and is really struggling, falling back on the joints to "help him sleep" hmm.

knitted, has your dd seen the gp? Would it be worth going down the anti-depressant route? I know gps are reluctant to prescribe for teens, but I honestly believe that if ds's depression had been taken seriously earlier he might not have started on the self-medicating.

Ineed, ds1 was diagnosed when he was almost 9 - 10 years ago now. At the time I posted on mumsnet about it and there was no-one on mumsnet with a child with AS shock. We were lucky to get a diagnosis, but we mostly got it because he was threatening suicide - even after the diagnosis his behaviour at school was considered to be attitude rather than SN.

I hope he learns to manage money Flow. He is maturing (very, very slowly), so maybe by the time he gets to about 30 he might manage to pay rent hmm

Signing in here too.

Mine are DD1 20 DS1 19 DD2 18 and DS2 15. DS1 has been my most troublesome teen, but the girls have encountered other types of hell too.. anorexia, self harm..

DS1 has smashed my home up, stolen (lots) from us , lied, smokes weed, been arrested....

His worst years were 12-17. He still smokes weed but now has a full time job, pays rent and is gradually becoming a lovely young man. He's not perfect (weed, overdraft!) but compared to where he was a few years ago he is an angel. His is finally on top of his anger problems and mostly is a loving son, fantastic brother and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Just wish he would stop the weed.

My eldest DD1 developed anorexia ( 6 stone at 5 ft 9) after a hellish first year at University.. on the mend now (yr 3) but still has some difficulties. Her younger sister also had eating problems tho not to the same degree, and self harm, depression but has also come out the other side and is happily in her first term at University now.

Youngest son has autism and learning disability and is a bloody BREEZE in comparison grin

I'm not sure how I have got through the last few years..sometimes everyone was in crisis at the same time... but we DID... and I think MN is one of the best resources for support. Many a time I would have gone under had it not been for the wise ladies here!

We can all get through it..

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 22:59:15

Do you know, I'm finding it simultaneously fantastic and sad that there are so many of us in this boat.

Fantastic, because it is great to be able to talk about it.

Sad that so many kids are struggling so badly.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Sun 28-Oct-12 23:02:54

thumbs up for this thread

I shall lurk, because we are ok here

for now

but mary has given me many pearls of wisdom (and the occasional reality check) when I have been pulling my hair out re. wilfull 17yo dd

knittedslippersx3 Sun 28-Oct-12 23:05:47

Medusa -I have read some of your past posts/threads and think you're a great mum.
Mary - Saw the doctor last year and she was referred but not prescribed anything. The school are being brilliant in supporting her and she is seeing school counsellor after half term. If things get worse or don't get back on track the doctor is my next step.
It is sad that there are so many kids struggling but at least they have us mums fighting their corner!

strictlovingmum Sun 28-Oct-12 23:32:11

Signing in too, flow4 and Mary thank you both for support when I needed the most, without judgment and all that bullshit, this was about the only place where I could really say how I was feeling at the time.
Things are brighter, DS is doing well, has a lovely girlfriend he passed all his AS and he's full steam ahead for A2 set for uni next year, no more weed and I hope it stays that way, I got my boy back but with a superhuman effort on all our part.
I still keep an hawk eye on him, but one day at the time it will take time for the emotional bruising to diminish and for trust to fully establish.
Love you ladiessmile

Brightspark1 Sun 28-Oct-12 23:51:30

Signing in. I've been off MN for a while as I have been trying to live more in RL ( with some success). But you've tempted me back MaryZ, you and Flow did a lot to keep me vaguely sane when things were at my worst. I don't need judgy comments, I'm more than capable of judging myself.
DD has been discharged from CAMHS this week, which is wonderful and scary at the same time. DD is working hard for college ( against a lot of prejudice and obstruction from the college) She is retaking a couple of GCSE modules, and our relationship is improving. But she's still not home sad

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