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

(810 Posts)
Maryz Cote D'Ivoire 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.

flow4 Fri 08-Feb-13 22:28:24

Oh bloody hell njaw, how stressful. sad

Firstly, I also think you need to take him to the GP first thing on Monday morning. And remember that if you are seriously/urgently worried about his mental health, you can take him to A&E. People tend to think of it as a place you go with physical emergencies, but A&E depts have a 24hr mental health liaison team too, and their triage will assess emergency mental health needs.

If your DS2 loses control in such a spectacular way again, and you think he's dangerous, I'm afraid you will need to call the police. sad

My DS1 brandished a knife at DS2 the night I had him arrested. I had already called the police at that point, and he said he 'might as well' kill himself or stab someone, if he was going to be arrested anyway. He was ranting and raving rather than directly threatening, but it was frightening, and I was particularly scared about what he might do without meaning to, because he was totally out of control. sad

The good news is that 6-7 months on, we have had no hint of a repeat. In my DS's case, I'm about 95% sure it was drug-related, and it doesn't sound like this is the case in your DS2's case. But it probably is still some kind of chemical imbalance in his brain - whether hormones or severe allergy or some kind of disease - and that means it's treatable (or even possibly fixable).

Also, thankfully, my DS2 does not seem to have been traumatised by it (I was much more disturbed). He doesn't like DS1, but he's scornful rather than afraid... With luck, your DS1 won't be affected in the long term either. There's an option of asking for counselling for him too...

And look after yourself njaw. I can't remember whether you're already having counselling, but if not, get it sorted. It is useful.

njaw Fri 08-Feb-13 23:47:05

Thank you both so much for both practical advice and the support. It breaks my heart to think of other people going through this yet it's reassuring to know that people come out of the other side.

We called his GP pretty much straight after and were told they would call back asap. She called at 8pm and was absolutely amazing, took info, went off to the regional hq for MH services and I had a call within 20 minutes from CAHMS Out of Hours. She also gave me some info so I had leverage and the right thing to say and how to get hold of someone who would take action if I didn't get results. I was bowled over as it was the first time it felt like someone was really on our side. CAMHS are going to escalate it from TAMHS so we can get him medically checked as well. Our local area uses the targeted intervention to reduce CAMHS reliance but like you've suggested, something is more adrift than chatting will solve. We can but hope that the only silver lining to the horror of this afternoon is that something might happen now to get him proper help.

If CAMHS won't get involved for whatever reason, has anyone had any experience using private healthcare for adolescent mental health services? I appreciate we are exceedingly lucky to be in the situation where we could afford it but I wouldn't know where to start and I'm not sure about regulation in this sector?

I'm also in awe of DS1 who has been amazing with him. If I were him, I'm not sure I would be as forgiving as he has been. He sat next to me earlier and said "I get it, something's really up, he's not just being a brat. I can't be mad with him" I'm so proud of the maturity he's showing about the situation.

The worst of it is coming to terms that I may need to call the police if he were to go like that again. The thought of involving them is terrifying, not least because my brother is a PCSO in our area and the thought of him seeing his nephew like that is horrible. But it's so much more than that, its the fear of what that level of intervention will do to his record.
I know all the rational side, I have to keep all 4 of us safe and if it comes to it, I won't hesitate. I can't let him physically harm any of us. And yet.. it's horrible and sad and..

Please let this be a peaceful weekend, I just need a couple of days of calm. Just so I have the strength for next week IYKWIM. We haven't looked at counselling for us yet, I think we need to know he's got everything he needs first then we'll look to get ourselves something.

flow4 Sat 09-Feb-13 00:15:52

Re. the police... I can perhaps offer you some reassurance... Nothing will go on his record if you phone early - i.e. if/when he threatens you and you feel frightened, but before he picks up a knife and stabs someone.

The first time I called 999, DS had pushed me over (in a small room so I fell against a wall rather than on the floor), and pulled my hair. They came, spoke to him, asked me what I wanted to do, and went away when I said 'nothing'.

The second time, he had twisted my wrists and thrown things at me. (Then he ran away). They came, asked me what I wanted to do, went away when I said 'nothing', and offered to go and find him and talk to him.

The third time, they came, asked me what I wanted to do, were very supportive when I said I wanted to make a statement, treated the incident seriously (as domestic violence) and subsequently arrested and charged him.

Obviously things would be very different if your DS actually stabbed someone. sad But for lower levels of violence and intimidation, they are not in a hurry to arrest kids if they don't have to. In fact, I found the police were the best agency I came into contact with - very experienced in dealing with angry teens, very diplomatic and constructive, and all the attending officers were non-judgemental (one custody sarge wasn't, but that's another story angry ).

Calling the police if your DC is violent towards you is definitely the right thing to do, not just because you have to keep yourself and other family members safe, but also because it is awful for a teen if they get to the point where they actually hurt their mum or someone else they love. When they can't control themselves to the extent of being violent, they need some help being controlled, IMO.

I hope you have a peaceful weekend too. smile

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 16:35:27

Please help me. I can't cope anymore .

flow4 Sat 09-Feb-13 16:52:25

Doin, I'm sending you online hugs here: >> HUGS << I'm sorry you're feeling so bad right now.

I think you should phone Parentline (now renamed 'Family lives') on 0808 800 2222. If you're feeling really desperate, you need to talk to someone, and MN folk won't be able to respond quickly enough here.

Their website says:

"Call us any time

"Family Lives offers a confidential helpline service which is free from landlines and most mobiles. Please call us on 0808 800 2222 for information, advice, guidance and support on any aspect of parenting and family life. Our opening hours are 7am – midnight. If you need to speak to someone during the night we can divert your call to the Samaritans who are available to offer emotional support.

"We currently answer 90% of callers with over 70% answered first time. If you don’t get answered first time please do try again.

"Contact us via Skype

"Skype is a fast, free and efficient way of us delivering support for anyone needing our help. It allows callers an opportunity to access our services in a way that is more convenient. To use this service you will need to have a Skype account. To set up one up, please visit www.skype.com. Once you have your Skype account and are signed in, please use this link to get in touch with us directly. Once you have Skype installed please open the Skype Dialler and call 0808 800 2222 and press the green call button. You will then be connected to our helpline confidentially and free of charge."

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Sat 09-Feb-13 17:21:11

Doin,you can cope and you will because like all of us you have to.

Now, make yourself a cuppa, if you can go somewhere by yourself.

Tell us what's up.

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 17:33:02

She's smashed her bedroom up. Wardrobe doors been ripped off. She wants an I phone for her birthday next week. I've said no because of her behaviour . She said what's the point in behaving if I don't reward her. Sounds so trivial but I can't stand the mental strain of it all.

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 17:35:22

Doctor has put me on diazepam and I feel like taking them all. I want to shock her to make her see how she's affecting me.

Midwife99 Sat 09-Feb-13 18:06:09

Oh Doin so sorry to hear that. Don't do anything silly - just try not to let her get under your skin. Of course she can't have an iPhone!! She smashed her room up! You're absolutely right. If she threatens you or becomes violent call the police.

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 18:26:06

She says she wants to be taken into care. I just can't reach her.

Doinmummy Sat 09-Feb-13 18:27:53

I spoke to parent line and they weren't much help really . A lovely lady who just kept caking how I felt and how difficult it must be for me.

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Sat 09-Feb-13 20:14:04

No, don't do that (though I understand the thought).

She won't look at it from your point of view. When she gets to this stage she can't look at it from your point of view.

You need to learn what we have all had to learn the hard way - take a step back, take emotion out of it, look at her behaviour dispassionately as though you were looking at it from a distance (and I certainly don't think it's easy, it took me years and lots of tears).

Her room is just that, a room. In the greater scheme of things it is just a room. Rooms can be fixed, just leave it.

If she wants to go into care, call SS for help - they are unlikely to take her, and even if they offered to she is unlikely to really want to go.

You are right to not buy the i-phone. But don't discuss it or say "you can have one if you behave" - that may result in 2 hours of behaviour, and then a riot when you say it isn't enough. Just stick to "no i-phone at present, we will review it in a month".

Has your gp suggested counselling with the anti-d's? I found the most useful counselling was the one I accessed through our local voluntary youth drug group. They had a parent support group, and I got a family counsellor through that who really understood. And being able to talk about it did me so much good.

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Sat 09-Feb-13 20:14:28

I'm around for the next hour, by the way.

Are you on line now?

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Sun 10-Feb-13 10:31:14

How are you this morning Doin? Have things calmed down a bit?

njaw Sun 10-Feb-13 14:00:56

You ok Doin?

We are in the weird aftermath, DS2 is being delightful and engaging. Spent yesterday painting his uncles house offering tea and coffee to everyone. Whilst its nice to have the break, it makes it all feel so surreal when he blows!

I really want to do something positive for parents in our situation, been racking my brains for what I could do.

njaw Sun 10-Feb-13 16:18:25

When DS2 had his assessment with TAMHS, the assessor asked a lot of questions about his birth.
As he's 12, I was really bemused by all this and its been playing on my mind. Both DS's were born prem 30 and 31+4 respectively, both placental abruptions, both needed NICU intervention. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why he wanted to know all this though, after all he's now perfectly average sized and his brother his a good foot taller than me!

It played on my mind enough for me to start to read up about the correlation between prematurity and behavioural issues in later life and I'm stunned by the outcome. Supposedly multiple studies have shown that prem babies are twice as likely to suffer problems in later life.

Has anyone else read/been told about this? And does it make any difference in what we can do for him?

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 16:30:44

my son's behaviour isn't as bad as some of the stories on here (we had the aggression, violence, truanting and exclusions when he was 14/15). He smokes cannabis whenever he has money (we give him none since getting a call from one of his teachers at college to say he stunk of it). He is 18 in July and we have just found out he has been stealing from his grandad who is 79 for goodness knows how long. He has stolen from us and his brother - I have to carry my bag everywhere and lock everything away.

we did warn his grandad to hide all money but my son was the blue eyed boy and I don't think he wanted to believe us. His hiding place was a drawer in his bedroom - my son uses his ensuite toilet as it is downstairs. He must have taken hundreds over the past 6 months - he finally laid a trap for him last week. I kept telling my husband that he would ransack the house as his grandad used to leave my son alone there while he went to mass. He took £40 last Saturday.

All the money has gone on cannabis, cigarettes and alcohol. After he stole the money last week he brought his friends round on Saturday night to smoke cannabis when we went out.

He has been told 3 times to ring his grandad to apologise and say he will pay him back but he hasn't done so yet. He is on half term this week and I am throwing him about everyday to try and find a part time job to pay him back. He doesn't even want to do this as he says how is this going to make him find a job!! I am giving him a weekly bus ticket and that is all -he can sit in the library and make a start and visit every shop, bar and restaurant.

He hasn't even got a phone at the moment (well he has but it only accepts calls as he didn't even buy a sim card with all the money he robbed) I have told him there is no internet access until he finds a job.

I don't see what else we can do at the moment - he is hoping to find an apprenticeship after his A levels, which he is expected to fail. I don't know how he will manage to do with no work ethic in him at all.

we will have to double lock all doors and windows in the morning to make sure he doesn't get back in until we get home.

njaw Sun 10-Feb-13 16:48:20

Have you considered reporting it to the police? I know that its the last thing you want to do but if he's not feeling any remorse about it, you might need shock tactics. Or where does it stop?

I would definitely be tempted (as difficult as it is to force a huge great 17 year old to do anything physically) to make him stand in front of his grandfather and admit it. It's going to have more impact if he actually has to see the effect of his actions as opposed to holding a phone away from his ear.

Not sure how you make him get a job, if he really is expected to fail his A's, as heart breaking as it is, would he be better to look at the apprenticeship now? At least then he might be ahead of the pack looking in September. It's really really hard coming to terms that the hopes and dreams we had for our DC's might not realise. DS1 is adorable in most ways but is as lazy as they come. He's extremely bright and it's been such a journey to accept that he's not going to do what I expected of him. That for all my pleading, my crazy work ethic wasn't something he inherited and that he's not going to achieve what he could have done.

Perhaps if you got him moving in a positive direction earlier rather than later, something might flick in his brain that creates a desire to be more in life than he currently is?

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 17:26:55

Reporting it to police wouldn't work - definitely wouldn't make him more remorseful - he has something lacking in that department.

He was admitted into upper sixth by the skin of his teeth as he had truanted so much - his attendance this year is now 91%. Every time he misses 3 lessons I get an attendance alert by email which always drives me MENTAL as we went through 18 months of truanting when he was 14/15. I actually asked his senior tutor to throw him out as he was going nowhere but they have said he MAY get 2 Cs in applied business and a D in his English if he works his socks off, which he most certainly isn't. They certainly do not think his attendance and lack of a work ethic is enough to kick him out. I think they are reluctant to anyway in the present economic climate.

He reckons that after half term he has 10 weeks left - he hinted today that he wanted to apply for apprenticeships now but as he is nearly at the end of his courses I don't want him to leave now. What would he do if he left now - I don't think he would get an apprenticeship in the next month? There is nothing to stop him from applying if he is serious, and continuing with college. it would be madness to give up at the final hurdle

I get the impression he thinks he has more chance of getting an apprenticeship now than a part time job? What does everyone else think?

He is not staying in bed all day after he finishes college. If he gets an apprenticeship in May/June, surely this will still be ahead of the pack. I really don't know what the competition will be like - the good thing is he probably comes across a lot better than he actually is but with poor results, who knows? He has 3 Bs and 3Cs at GCSE.

I said to him today if he stole from an employer it would mean prison - he said obviously he knows this and would never do it.

Midwife99 Sun 10-Feb-13 17:35:30

It's horrible when they steal from their own family, when they're in the grip of substance misuse they'll do anything to get the money for it. I don't know what the answer is apart from making him leave home or never leaving him unsupervised around valuables & money (my son sold our possessions when he couldn't get money).

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Sun 10-Feb-13 17:44:13

I would encourage him to apply for apprenticeships now. If he gets one, great. He can then make the decision whether or not to wait until after the exams to leave.

If he waits until the exams are over, he will then need a "rest" and will take the summer off, even if he starts applying in September there will be loads of others who are applying for things then. It might also be better for him to be able to say "I left college to take up an apprenticeship" rather than "I failed all my exams".

I hate cannabis. Hate it with a vengeance. It soaks up their enthusiasm and their concentration and destroys their morals angry

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 17:46:18

until he is 18 we are going down the never leaving him unsupervised around valuables and money route. That is another reason why we are asking him to leave the house this week from 8.30 until 3.30 - we don't know who he would have in the house and we can't physically hide EVERYTHING away. It would just add to the stress walking round wondering what he could possibly have stolen. I have given him a list of things to do to find a job to give him a start.

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 17:56:13

I hate cannabis as well with a vengence maryz. Absolutely detest it but so many parents don't seem to mind. He is a very laid back and lazy person anyway and obviously the cannabis has made this worse.

He will definitely not be taking a rest after the exams but it will be stressful for me having to kick him out every day to find a job as he will be very reluctant to do so. Obviously the need for him to find a job is more pressing now as he must pay his grandad back. It is around £400 but may be a lot more as he won't admit to how much.

If he got an apprenticeship now that would be great. His business studies is mostly coursework and he only has one exam in English left, and a resit, but he has never opened a book or even his bag in the last 18 months.

We will have to get him a suit for interviews. We will just have to wait and see what he gets job wise, left to his own devices. The mother of one of his friends applied for jobs for her son but I am definitely not doing this. He has to do it himself.

Maryz Cote D'Ivoire Sun 10-Feb-13 18:03:20

There's a lovely weed thread at the moment [sigh].

All about how it is relaxing and never did anyone any harm, and is not as bad for you as alcohol.

Of course it's fine if you only have a couple of joints/glasses of wine on a Saturday night. The trouble with weed is that kids smoke it before, during and after school, as well as all weekend. So comparing it to alcohol is ridiculous, as I have never seen a 14 year old drinking from a bottle of vodka on the school bus at 8 am hmm.

It would be tempting to help him with job applications, don't you think? You know "let's sit down and do a cv" type help. That's what I'm doing with ds1 atm. His course finishes in May and I'm desperate that he has something (job, college, something) for September.

supersec Sun 10-Feb-13 18:11:00

he has had his CV sorted out for the last 6 months. He has registered with a very good training agency that reckons they have 60% of the apprenticeship vacancies with employers in our city. He did this in early December as I went with him. He knows he should be looking at the national apprenticeship website but when he is not out roaming he is on twitter, facebook, trainers and clothes websites. He is not feeling any pressure yet. He will do what we tell him which is quite positive but we have to spoonfeed him everything which I don't think is right at nearly 18.

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