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.

brighterfuture Mon 29-Oct-12 07:06:32

Signing in before I head off to work. My thread got a bit sidetracked, it was kind of annoyingly entertaining but not much help.

I have 3 ds16 ds14 dd8. Ds16 has always been a challenge. He's bright but has trouble with authority , struggled at school to fit in with peers, I suspect he's ADHD though he never got diagnosed.

For the last 2 years ds1 has developed a serious dope habit. He also takes Mdma , ketamine and acid. He loses it frequently and completely , smashing things up , shouting, crying, self harming. If he's having a bad day the tiniest thing can set him off. Sometimes he's a sweet loving, caring boy. We have sought help for him but he's just not interested. He's still at school just

doinmummy Mon 29-Oct-12 07:57:16

Please help me. I'm crying . Daughter 14. Found bottle of vodka empty in her room. She's smoking. Found stolen goods in her room. We had physical fight yesterday . I wanted to take a knife to her throat. I ran out the house. She didn't come home last night. Can't ring her don't want her back. I despise her.

MaryZcary Mon 29-Oct-12 08:42:31

Ok, first of all, calm down, you don't hate her, really you don't, you just hate what she is doing.

And secondly we have all been there.

You need to take a deep breath and figure out where you are. Try to look at it from positives and negatives - the negatives are obvious, but is she going to school? What is she like generally? Is she happy, what are her friends like.

I think the number one guideline for dealing with really difficult teens is to try very hard not to get emotionally involved. So try not to show that you are upset, angry etc. Calm down and deal with her as though she is a badly behaved lodger - that way you deal with the behaviour pragmatically, rather than trying to make her feel guilty, which seldom works.

MaryZcary Mon 29-Oct-12 08:45:35

strict and bright, it's nice to hear some good news smile

knitted, I have changed my tune completely about medicating teens. I think a lot of teenage depression is dismissed as "just hormones". If our kids had a physical illness we wouldn't think twice about medication and treatment but because we have been brought up to be slightly ashamed of mh issues, we are reluctant to medicate for depression. I now believe a short-term, doctor prescribed, controlled course of a-d's or antianxiolytics might save a fair few teenagers from self-medicating with alcohol, nicotine or drugs.

brighter, your family sounds like mine a few years ago. ds1 is now a lot steadier - still using an awful lot of dope, but not so up and down, so although I worry, life is calmer.

flow4 Mon 29-Oct-12 09:09:44

doinmummy, I know you probably don't believe maryZ when she says we've all been there, but we have (lots and lots of us anyway)... The early teens are really hard when you've got a 'challenging' child - I think because it's all such a shock: they're not sweet and innocent any more, you're losing your 'baby', and it hurts.

Also, at 14 you have all the responsibility but none of the power. You feel like you should be able to stop them, and the law says you have 'parental responsibility', but it's totally meaningless: they do more or less what they want until they learn some self control, and there is nothing you can do about it. You feel like you're failing and that's horrible: it made me terrified and panicky, and sometimes that turned into anger: how dare he behave like that when I'd always done the best for him? I think I did hate my son, but I still loved him too, and that was massively confusing and upsetting - it was a real roller-coaster of emotions for a couple of years.

MaryZ is right about trying to create some emotional distance - I can absolutely see it would be the best way to be - but I have never been very good at it. (And I kept thinking that if he was "just an annoying lodger" I'd've f*cking thrown him out long ago!) My tactic has been to look after myself. I couldn't stop my DS from being horrible and doing dreadful things, and that made me feel bad, but I could sort of 'balance it out' by doing some nice things that made me feel good... And that really helped me deal with all the awful stuff.

Can you do something nice to distract yourself today, doin? Just for a couple of hours? Go for a swim or a coffee with a friend or a walk, or something else you enjoy doing... Come back after lunch, and hopefully you'll feel a bit better, and you can take it from there...

doinmummy Mon 29-Oct-12 10:31:58

I don't want my daughter to come back. I can't take her taunting me and shoving me about. She tried to take my bag off me and I hit her. I want to physically hurt her badly and can't trust myself not to.

MaryZcary Mon 29-Oct-12 10:35:49

Have you any other adult in the house, doin?

You need to be the adult here. You need to sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of what is bothering you. Two lists in fact, one of things you can control and one of things you can't.

You need a no violence rule, and to call the police if she hits or hurts you.

Can you get any help from her school? At least go to your gp and look for an appointment with CAHMS or ring social services. You need some real life help with this.

doinmummy Mon 29-Oct-12 10:43:45

Rejected twice by cahms and family mediation. I am alone and scared of what I'll do to her. She follows me taunting me. She grabbed my bag off me.

MaryZcary Mon 29-Oct-12 10:45:26

Then call the police. Seriously, do.

I only had to do it once with ds.

Keep your valuables locked up, don't engage, try very hard NOT to react and just walk away.

Is it just the two of you? Is there anyone in real life you can ask for help or intervention, or even somewhere she can go for a few days so you get a break?

doinmummy Mon 29-Oct-12 10:46:05

SS don't want to know

MaryZcary Mon 29-Oct-12 10:47:25

If you really get to the end of your tether you can call ss and tell them you won't have her back. The result won't be nice, but they will have to step in.

If she is violent, then the police will help. It takes persistence but they will.

You sound pretty desperate atm, so you need to talk to someone. What about friends and family?

doinmummy Mon 29-Oct-12 10:56:20

Police, friends and family have talked to her. She doesn't care. I sent her to her fathers but she came back. I want to hurt her so she's not safe here.

HappyHalloweenMotherFucker Mon 29-Oct-12 11:15:37

doin, I have seen lots of your threads about your dd

things are escalating in a very scary way

call SS and tell them what you have told us before something goes very badly wrong

MaryZcary Mon 29-Oct-12 11:21:01

Tell ss or the police that.

Seriously, if you feel you are going to hurt her you need to tell someone.

With me, it's always been the other way around - I've been afraid he is going to hurt me.

Ungratefulchild Mon 29-Oct-12 11:22:34

Oh how lovely to see this thread, very timely for me. I have this morning made an appointment with a counsellor as I'm really not coping at the moment.

Ds1 is 19, smokes weed (has done for years and years), takes other 'party' drugs and drinks alcohol. All to excess. He is a very clever, talented and handsome boy but has totally mucked up his education. He is currently in college doing an HND but is in severe danger of getting chucked out. He's still in bed as I write and should be there!

He is very aggressive after the drug taking and my house is full of holes and broken doors. He loses stuff constantly because he is so out of his face. He has had several accidents while under the influence. He recently managed to get a temporary job in a shop for over Christmas and started on Saturday. However on Friday he stayed out all night, came home at 10.00am and went to bed. He was supposed to do a 4 hour induction shift from 12. He did manage to get there but only after I shouted at him for two hours and dropped him off and dealt with the horrific verbal abuse.

I can't sleep, I can't relax ever. I keep imagining identifying his body after something has gone horribly wrong. I think he may be depressed? (was very suicidal a couple of weeks ago but was on a comedown) and he is certainly anxious. His behaviour is very self sabotaging.

There is no one I can speak to in real life. My partner is not his dad (we have been together since he was 2) but finds it hard to be supportive. He wants me to chuck him out. I can't do it, even although recently I've found myself threatening it a bit.

flow4 Mon 29-Oct-12 11:52:20

doin, so sorry things are so bad sad

You sound like you are at the very end of your tether.

I have experienced the taunting and being followed around and having things snatched too. It is terrible and frightening and infuriating.

I have also experienced being 'rejected' by CAMHS and counselling and social services, because DS didn't reach their thresholds. It makes you feel desperate because you need help but you can't get it.

You can take some control in this situation, doin, really you can. You need some space and distance from her, urgently. You can't control what she does, but you can control what you do.

You have some choices...

I also think you should phone social services and tell them what you have told us. It might not be enough to get their help, but it might be.

Is there anywhere you can go for a day or two? Your DD is 14 and she will be fine over night on her own, but if you want to make sure she has some 'backup', tell someone in your family or 'phone SS and tell them you are going away and why.

If you feel unsafe, or she hurts you, or you are scared you will hurt her call the police. Seriously. I dialled 999 three times with my son. The third time I had him arrested. It was terrible, but it was less terrible than the way things had been. And he has not been physically threatening to me since.

Is your DD back home? If not, then make the most of the breathing space you have now. Do something to help you relax. That is the first step. If you are panicking, you won't deal with things well.

Things are really bad now, doin, but they will get better.

xxDebstarxx Mon 29-Oct-12 12:07:26

flow I didn't think you meant me but I do know what you mean about those sort of parents

doin bug the hell out of the ss, police and whoever else you can think of until they got so fed up of you ringing that they do something to help, just to stop the phone calls. Ring every hour on the hour if need be.

signing in to please DS2 12 nearly 13. Started secondary school all gone down hill.

He has always been challenging and i have suspected ADHD, but the school said no.
Now since moving up he is hard work, school always on phone, lies alot to me and even friends, can be nasty, mean and voilent towards sibblings.
But on the other hand can be lovely, a laugh and just my son.

School have asked me to go to GP and get CAHMS so have made appointment. This school have now mentioned ADHD, where as primary school said no way.

Scared at what a cahms means, scared he will get worse, scared i am doing it all wrong

Lilka Mon 29-Oct-12 15:42:00

doin - I am sorry things are so hard right now. If you can't cope at all and think you might really hurt her, you must call ss again and tell them. If she tries to hurt you, call the police. Keeping you in my thoughts

Hi diet. Don't be scared of camhs, it doesn't mean that you have done anything wrong (you haven't), or that you are a failure. I hope you get some help for your son. I know what you mean about your child being lovely sometimes and really challenging others. My teen DD can have such lovely days or part days where she is calm and feeling safe and she can be so loving, but then we can have awful ones. Therapy has helped her with some of her issues, but things have been worse since she started college this September. I understand why, it's so frustrating seeing her slide backwards again though

Ungratefulchild - Counselling has really helped me several times over the years, I hope it goes well for you as well. I honestly encourage anyone who is really struggling to try and access some counselling. We spend so much time focussing on our children, and not enough looking after ourselves, and it's vital we have support and focus on ourselves as well

I have a love/hate relationship with half term, and this half term is not shaping up to be a good one. DD still unhappy and stressed, but back on speaking terms with me, indeed she's being very clingy and wants a lot of attention. "Mum, mum, mum...yes DD?.....Ummm" she has nothing to talk about, she just needs attention. I am just repeating in my head 'be therapeutic, be therapeutic, stay calm'. She's also binging on junk food.

She is so push-pull-push-pull. Really makes me feel on edge a lot of the time. Either she's clinging and wanting attention like this, or she's angry with me and tantruming. I really would love one of her good days right now, I'm only seeing little glimpses at the moment. I hope it's largely college stress and she can settle in a few months, we were doing really well in the summer

How I got DD taken into care

I phoned SS, refused to listen to any excuses and told them that I would not be responsible for my actions if she returned home today and as I had informed them of this they will be liable too. I told them that when the Police found her, they were NOT to return her home as I could not guarantee her safety.(I could easily have strangled her with my bare hands)

When the Police inevitably tried to return her to our house my DH and I told them frankly that we were besides ourselves with anger and could not guarantee her safety, we had already told SS this and if they left her here they will also be liable.The Police took one look at us and left, taking DD with them.

She was in care by 11pm that night. (OK she was out again 2 days later at our request.....) If she had stayed in out house at that time I know I would have hurt her.

doinmummy Mon 29-Oct-12 15:43:16

I don't know where she is. I sort of hope something bad happens to her.

doinmummy Mon 29-Oct-12 15:48:24

If I had her taken into care she would use it against me . It would make her worse. She loves playing the victim.

Lilka Mon 29-Oct-12 15:58:52

doin - what would help you the most? Forget her, what do you need? If you really need time and space from her, then consider it for your own sake. You really do sound at the end of your tether

Refuse to be the victim.

"Mum, you put me into care"

"Damn right I did or you wouldn't be standing here now"

"Oh, right........"

Lilka - Thanks for those kind words. I think if understood what a Cahms involved more i might not be so scared of it. The school have asked me to request one but no explanation of what it actually is.

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