MaryZ's support thread for parents of troubled teenagers - Part 2 here's to a peaceful 2013

(810 Posts)
Maryz Tue 01-Jan-13 15:57:49

This is a continuation of this thread which I set up as a safe space for struggling parents of challenging teenagers.

This is meant to be a welcoming thread, where everyone can come and moan, whinge, bash ideas off each other and support each other as we face a new year and new challenges

Newbies in particular - come and join in. When ds1 started going off the rails I felt very lonely as there was no-one in real life I could talk to. Being able to be open and honest on here has helped me cope over the last few years.

Many of us have extremely challenging teenagers, some are involved in alcohol and drugs, some are violent, some are struggling with depression, anxiety and various SN. This thread isn't here to judge people and tell them how to parent or to simplify and minimise their difficulties.

So if you think we should simply tell them to come home and night, and take their phones away if they don't, you are probably in the wrong place. Also if you think a few joints or a couple of pills are harmless, go and start a thread about it somewhere else.

The mantra of this thread is - don't look back, guilt is a wasted emotion. You are where you are now, carry on from here. You may not be able to change them, but you can change how you react to their behaviour, so pick your battles, take a step back and try not be too emotionally involved, and FFS, be nice to yourself.

So here goes: here's to a calm, peaceful and positive 2013.

Maryz Sat 02-Feb-13 20:28:51

He's probably eaten all his painkillers early too, when he ran out of illegal stuff hmm.

You really do have to turn the phone off and just try to get some sleep. Worry about it another time. Do you know where he is?

Can you turn your phone off? I would if it's safe to. I used to do it when the abusive texts started and delete them all in the morning.

I'm so sorry that you are having to deal with this. The upside of prison is they get three square meals, a bed and no drugs (well, as far as I know). And no phones or unexpected visits...

flow4 Sun 03-Feb-13 00:22:06

I hope you're alright, Midwife and Lilka.

Lilka Sun 03-Feb-13 02:37:20

Nope, not feeling ok at all. Still up, too exhausted to sleep confused and my mind is still spinning. I really do need to sleep though

Mary, I started a thread in adoptions. What's up is that I took the kids shopping and DD saw her other mum in the shop. And spent hours with her. You know, kissing, hugging, chatting and now it's 'yay i've met my mum and I love her more than anyone in the world and she's amazing and fantastic and so on' and I feel mixed up and quite shit sad

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 04:14:35

Apparently he is my child for life & so I am guilty of child abuse because I won't help him any more!!

MuchBrighterNow Sun 03-Feb-13 08:00:06

Hope you managed to get some sleep Lilka. You must be all emotionally thrown by this unexpected shock. I hope you have a calm day.
Midwife... it's such an impossible task helping someone who refuses to take responsibility for themselves and then blames everyone else. Can you visualise/ immagine a safe place for him where you can put him in your mind. Create a scene where he is safe from harm and all his / your needs for him are being met. (I use this technique on nights that Ds doesn't come home and I know that he is out there somewhere off his head.) Then allow yourself periods of time when you you can put him safely in there , to give yourself a bit of respite from the worry.

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 09:13:15

He sent one final garbled text (obviously steaming drunk). His POV is laughable (eg shop at Aldi & stop paying for my DDs dance lessons etc so I can afford to support him!) he gets £56pw ESA & has no bills to pay. He had £5000 compensation for an accident last February & spent it in 5 weeks on drugs etc. The fact that he has since badgered me continuously for money when he knows I'm a single parent relying on tax credits is disgusting. I'm at the point where I want to go no contact. hmm

flow4 Sun 03-Feb-13 12:31:14

Lilka - that must be very upsetting. I must be impossible very hard to listen to her excitement at meeting her other mum, and not feel a bit rejected yourself. sad Her love and affection aren't limited, though - she won't transfer them all away from you now - even though it probably feels like that at the moment. This is (just hmm ) a temporary 'surge' of emotion, combined with typical teenage thoughtlessness. It is exciting for her to meet her other mum, and it's bound to be a bit overwhelming and all-absorbing for her at first. Once she gets over the initial excitement, and her new emotions settle down, her feelings for you will be just as strong as they were before, I bet. smile

Midwife, your DS's POV is laughable. Are you actually able to laugh? With him too, if possible? I found this hard, because as well as being laughable, it's also irritating and offensive... But when I managed it, I found my own DS did actually know he was being ridiculous - he just needed reminding. hmm Now I can (sometimes) even get him to laugh at himself when he asks me for more money.

The trouble is, when they've got themselves a drug habit (or several) the money they get is never enough. £56/week = £8/day = one packet of tobacco + one bottle of pop + not enough junk food to fill them up. It's a reasonable sum of money if you're someone who knows how to budget and cooks from scratch, but it's gone in 5 minutes if you're a feckless teen, and it doesn't even begin to pay for alcohol or weed or M-CAT or any other drugs. So they are always short of cash, and always feeling 'deprived'... And it's a very short step from that to self-pity and blaming everyone else. hmm

You are absolutely right not to bail him out of this any more, Midwife - I hope you already know that. He probably does too, deep down - he just doesn't like it.

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 13:24:15

I know £56 pw isn't much but why should I have to pay for an adult who beat me up, stole my car, stole my money, verbally abuses me, took drugs in my house, sold drugs from my house, gave keys to my house to his criminal contacts after he left who burgled us in the night when we were asleep upstairs, had drug dealers round threatening us for money he owed them?

xxDebstarxx Sun 03-Feb-13 14:41:32

I haven't been on for a while as I truly feel like I'm intruding. The troubles I have with me eldest are no way as severe. It's basically school refusal and suicidal thoughts I have been dealing with. Although he now says he no longer gets suicidal thoughts.

We had the consultation with the doctor at CAMHS and he said social anxiety disorder and depression and that my son needs to be assessed for ASD. That's the next step.

The school have said my only option left is to home school my son as the next official step will be prosecution for non-attendance. I feel like they are washing their hands of my son and that's unfair.

I'm sorry if these problems seem insignificant in comparison. Please tell me if I'm intruding.

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 14:43:14

You are not intruding DebStar - there's no hierarchy of problems here!! We're all just struggling & need to offload!!

xxDebstarxx Sun 03-Feb-13 15:31:31

Thank you Midwife I appreciate it. I have been struggling with this since he was in Year 9 and it's only in the last few six months that we have made any progress.

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:33:49

How old is he now?

flow4 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:56:12

You shouldn't have to pay Midwife.

I struggled with a similar issue last year, tho my DS was only 16 then. He stole about £1000 from me, and until I fitted a lock on my bedroom, he would steal from my purse if/whenever he got the opportunity... But I still had to hand over £4 every morning if I wanted him to go to college. It infuriated me.

I have always told him I won't support him financially when he's 18 unless he's studying, and that 'pocket money' will stop then and he'll have to get a p/t job. I think I'll stick to that...

Midwife99 Sun 03-Feb-13 15:58:42

He hasn't lived at home for 2 1/2 years so quite why I have to give him money I have no idea!!

xxDebstarxx Sun 03-Feb-13 16:49:03

He's 15 but nearer to 16 now. He would be in Year 11 if he went to school. I can't believe it has taken this long for someone to agree that there is a problem! I've been banging my head against a brick wall for years.

Footface Mon 04-Feb-13 22:56:46

Arrrggghh
Can anyone help me please I'm about to lose my temper. Please can u join your thread!

Bit if background

Stepson ( I honestly don't know where to start) from around 11 his behaviour became difficult. In lots of trouble at school. He walked out of school in numerous occasions. Refused to go to school for a long time. Has been been rude, aggressive, confrontational, avasive, the lying the manipulation. I have holes in my door from where he's kicked and punched. He's stolen from me. Well I've had it up to here.

He's 19 now. Been in prison twice. He ignores us for long periods of time. Tells us to fuck off that he doesn't want anything to do with us..... It goes on.

He is currently homeless after getting kicked out of a sort of half way house, meeting a gf, living with her family for a while leaving there. After two years he decides to get in contain with us.

In the two years that he's been missing his dad has sunk into depression, become moody and an insomniac. Dp is very pleased to see him.

I'm just pissed off. I resent that he's only got in touch with us because he has no money

Dp and I didn't really want him sleeping at home due to other dc's and his unpreditable violence. He brought his girlfriend if all of 8 weeks with him.

I resent paying her hostel bill and his but slightly less.

In the past few years we have asked friends and family to put him up ( this is not an option any more)

I spoke to them yesterday about jobs, tbh they lack motivation and don't seem to give a shit. Meanwhile we are forking out for two people (1 I bearly know) to stay in a hostel. It's a fucking joke

To top it all off ice just had a row with dp and said that they have to stay here for the next few days in the sofa as
1) it's free
2) having to get up at 6.30 might wake them up a bit.

Thing is I can feel my blood boiling as I've honestly only ever tried my best.

When he came out if prison the first time, we set him up in a shared room. After two weeks he'd kicked the door off and gone again leaving us with no hope of getting the deposit back.

There is so much I want to say to ss but I can as I risk him breaking contact and dp will suffer.

Any ideas

Footface Mon 04-Feb-13 22:57:38

Sorry for typos fat fingers

Footface Mon 04-Feb-13 23:09:45

Sorry to go on, but I'm so angry. Please ignore me if I'm butting in on a private thread.

Last time ss was around dp got him a job working with him. He refused to do any work though and didn't turn up the next day. This was at great risk to his dad as the company preference is no criminal records.

Do you know what the shit did, he took out a mobile phone contract out using our address. With no means to pay for it, leaving us to deal with the debt agency. I'm still really angry about that

njaw Mon 04-Feb-13 23:42:30

Sorry for those I missed in last few days, went to inlaws then came home last night and DS2s peaceful few days came to an end in A and E after he blew out all his knuckles smashing his hand into a wall.

footface I just wanted to send you a virtual hug, last night I was really mad with DH as he exacerbated the situation massively. But when I calmed down, as annoyed as I was, I couldnt help but be in awe of his ability to stay in the midst of the horror when DS isnt his biologically. After all, I'm DS mom, its natural for me to want to sort it. I cant begin to imagine how it is for Step Parents who have all the responsibility but so often, precious little gratitude for the important part they play

I really wish I had an answer for you, I dont but I respect you hugely for hanging on in there at what must be a horrendously challenging time and really hope it works out

Footface Tue 05-Feb-13 00:08:47

njaw thank you for your support. It's very hard being the step parent. I've been involved with ss since he was two. I thought that I did have maternal love for him. But I now realise I don't. I want the situation sorted for a quiet life, but sometimes I can bearly look at him. I know that it doesn't help the situation, but I can't stop feeling this ball of anger.

I think it's compounded by the fact that its very duffucult to talk about in real life. People's response is kick him out. It doesn't help.

flow4 Tue 05-Feb-13 09:17:44

Footface, this isn't a private thread and you are very welcome - although of course we all wish we didn't have reason to be here! hmm

It is very difficult to deal with the anger. I was also at the point where I could barely look at my DS. I felt that I didn't love him any more - that he had behaved so badly that he had somehow 'broken' my love for him. It was desperately upsetting - I felt a real sense of bereavement. Now, 12 months on from his biggest 'betrayal', and 6 months on from the time I had him arrested and charged after he smashed things up and threatened us - which was also the last time he was violent towards me - I can feel some of that love repairing. My trust in him is very damaged but I can feel affection and loving feelings - if not the same powerful love I had for him when he was young.

I just wanted to say that your feelings are are normal, reasonable response to the way your DSS has behaved. I felt just like that towards my DS. Please don't let his terrible recent behaviour undermine your past relationship with him, if that was good. It's terribly sad to hear you say "I thought that I did have maternal love for him. But I now realise I don't", as if you've caught yourself out somehow. If you thought you had maternal love for him, then you did. You just don't now - and no wonder - because he is behaving too badly and you are too caught up in the anger and hurt.

But no-one can wipe out that past love. Not even him.

That feels important to me, because if we didn't ever love them, then why on earth did we put up with all that shit?

Maryz Tue 05-Feb-13 09:36:45

Morning all. Sorry Footface, I missed this thread last night. Of course it isn't a private thread, and you are very welcome (though obviously it's sad that you are here).

I do think it is very hard for step parents. But the fact that you did love him means that flow is right - you do still love him. It wouldn't hurt so much if you didn't sad. But you need to work with your dh (or him work with you), because you can't approach this from two different angles and stay sane.

My advice to you is the same as everyone else - be nice to yourself, take a step away and try to deal with it all less emotionally. So work our yourself what you are prepared to do - financially, emotionally, letting him in the house etc. And then having worked out what you can cope with, talk to your dh and make it clear what you need to make it all bearable.

I think counselling for you and your dh would really help - talking in front of a stranger helped me and dh sort out how we could deal better with ds. Things we couldn't say to each other when we were alone (because we would argue, or blame each other, or ourselves, and because we were afraid to express some of what we felt) came out in counselling and we have worked together as a team since.

We all veer from desperately sad to furiously angry when we look at our kids destroying their lives. But your problem is that you and your dh aren't communicating as you should. At one stage I was ready to throw ds out and was furious with dh for "pandering to him" - but at another stage, he was ready and I was "being too soft".

Kids like this drive you to the end of your tether. But you can't change them, you can only change how you react to them.

<end of lecture>

((((((((((((((((((((((supportive hugs)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

njaw, I hope you are ok. ds has bust all his knuckles at various stages - he now doesn't even bother with getting his hands looked at. He's going to have horrible arthritis when he's older (if he lasts that long hmm).

Midwife99 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:51:15

Foot face - this is exactly what my 19 year old is doing. Abusive & refusing help (because he thinks he's above a hostel) & yet after money all the time. I can't afford to pay for a hostel as a single parent so it's up to him what he does with his benefits. I've decided that he can have what he always wanted now he's 19 - to be "treated like an adult & left alone"!! Ok then! Tough love time I reckon. Your DP needs to realise that he & his gf are adults & their benefits can pay for their hostel instead of drugs & alcohol

Midwife99 Tue 05-Feb-13 10:56:30

Hugs to you all! It is hard to admit that your love for them is diminished & the subsequent guilt! When my son shouts that I love my other children more than him I guess it's now true. sad

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