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

(811 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.

ILoveTIFFANY Wed 02-Jan-13 23:58:09

I had to resort to 999.... 3 bloody times!!

3 nights in cells

She learned, we now laugh about it! Dark times

flow4 Thu 03-Jan-13 00:38:52

I called 999 3 times too Tiff... 3 seems to be the 'magic number'! hmm
The third time I had him charged... He hasn't been violent to me since.

zeeboo, you sound like you are where I was 6-12 months ago. (If you do an advanced search for my name, you'll find lots of my posts)... It's incredibly stressful and depressing, isn't it? Have a look on the other thread (the link's at the top on MaryZ's first post) and you'll find lots of other people have had similar experiences with their teens too.

Be a bit careful about dismissing your DS as 'just like his father'... I know it's easier said than done: my DS also sometimes really reminds me of his dad, and it makes me quite afraid when I think he might turn into the same kind of person... But you'll find yourself hating his behaviour not because of what he's done, but because it reminds you of your Ex - which isn't fair, and will also mean you'll be less able to deal with it effectively. Loads of teenagers are lazy (my son included) - maybe you could try and respond as if he was someone else's lazy teen, rather than your Ex's son, and see if that gives you a bit of emotional distance and helps you deal with it better. smile

Ineedmorepatience Thu 03-Jan-13 10:25:43

Thankyou maryz, that is exactly what I want to do and I have been trying. Until xmas day when she sniped at me that I rarely text her infront of all the family.

In fact I text her regularly but she rarely answers! But we wont go there.

I am so glad I came on here, you know when you just need someone else to say it and then it doesnt seem so awful.

Tbh, I have struggled with her since she walked at 10 months. She is on a mission and only she knows what it is.

I need to be together for Dd2 and 3 and cant continue to let her dominate the situation so easily.

Thanks again maryz and I hope the situation for you and your family improves this year.

Good luck to all of ussmile

lemonstartree Thu 03-Jan-13 12:16:10

please can I join you?

I am at the end of my teather with DS1 14. I think from reading how much some of you have had to cope with that I am relatively lucky; but I /We cant cope with him

He has Aspergers and ADD. Under CAMHS who are nice, but cant DO anything. He lies, steals (was expelled from his nice private school for theft) but he still steals from me and anyone else he can. He is dirty, messy and has no respect for his own possessions or anyone elses. he is aggresive and bullying to his younger brothers. He has had almost no internt/tech acces for a year or two because of persistant pornography downloading ( we have two younger childen 10 and 7 who sufferred his sexualised behaviour) we let it out a tiny bit at christmas with a new computer that all the kids could use IN the room with an adult ; and guess what - Latest is cyberbullying on facebook.

His bio faher has no contact and never has had. He was adopted by my XH at 3 years old. My XH is/was a cannabis addict and alcoholic. DS1 sufferred more than the other two fomr the fallout - abuse aggressiona mood swings eyc till I got rid of XH.( he was 10 at that time)

My DP and I have tried everything. outside the house he's a nice kid - and he can be at home too - he is not aggressive to me ( he is afraid of DP I think, who is much bigger than him - although DP has never ever raised a finger to any of the children and would not) but he is very aggressive to the younger kids and to other children ( at school). He is fiercely bright in as Aspie way, but demotivated and distinterested. he puts in zero effort at school. School are useless, as far as they are concerned because he will ( maybe) get a few GCSE's the fact that he is woefully underachieveing is not their problem. tried to get an SEN statement - ha ha ha !

I think hes an unhappy kid - but he's making all of us miserable too. and he has no self resect and no respect for the house, our property or anything else as far as I can see,

The strain is telling between DP and I - though we try very hard to present a united front. We have support from my excellent brother and SIL, and he attends youth Aspergers 'club' ....

I just see a dismal future for him... and it makes me so sad :-(

zeeboo Thu 03-Jan-13 12:46:11

Thanks guys. I don't think the police would be interested tbh, it's what I call violence but its the same stuff the 12 year old does to the 14 yr old sister and she does to him. It's shoving, raising fists but not using them. Believe me, if anyone had ever actually punched or injured anyone leaving a mark then I'd have acted fast! With DS1 it is just the tone of voice, the shaking aggression in his face, it's the thought of how he may act rather than anything he's done.

Don't worry, I've never said he's like his bio out loud but much as I adored my ex he had some serious character flaws and narcissism was the main one and ds1 has clearly inherited it. I don't think I'm judging him, it's just the same as dd has clearly inherited my bossiness, ds1 has clearly inherited his fathers self obsession and view point that the world owes him something. I guess nature can beat nurture some times!

As always last night he calmed down and came and offered me a coffee which is what he does instead of ever apologising or accepting any fault or blame but I know when he wakes up (if he ever surfaces) we are only a few hours away from another explosion and ranting and inability to listen to dh and I trying to be very adult and non parental and suggesting that he needs to work if he wants Xbox live or phone credit or tobacco rather than it being our duty as parents to make sure he is provided with it.
After the row last night he did a job search online and said there was "nothing he fancied" because he wasn't doing retail or anything fast food or catering related again.

Spiderfrommars Thu 03-Jan-13 14:59:10

Maryz you will never know how much this thread and your previous thread have saved my sanity. THANK YOU !!

Maryz Thu 03-Jan-13 15:15:21

Thanks Spider smile

Welcome, lemon. Sadly your son sounds very like mine at that age, and keeping him engaged proved impossible for us sad. So I'm not going to tell you what to do or how to stop him, because you might well end up just marking time for the next four years.

Many kids with AS and ADHD can be slow to mature. So it is sometimes helpful to look at them as being about 2/3rds their chronological age. So your 14/15 year old has the maturity of a 10 year old, but in a teenage body. This can result in huge amounts of frustration, and he sounds very unhappy sad.

You can do a couple of things. You can lock up valuables - I have had a lock on my door for years. You can decide which behaviours are line in the sand behaviours (for us at one stage it was no drugs in the house and tell us if you are going to be out all night - I couldn't enforce anything else). I know this is controversial, but if you are punishing him (taking phone, internet etc) and it is having no effect, it might be worth not doing it any more. Try standing back a bit and considering the bigger picture - if he was happier he might be nicer, so perhaps trying to step away from confrontation might help.

I say this all the time - you may not be able to change him, but you can change the way you react to him, and by doing so you may improve your life, the life of your younger children, and he might actually change a bit too. Of course he might not, but if everyone else is happier it's often worth a try.

Many parents who get to your stage are at the absolute end of their tether. A trip to the gp, and a possible referral to counselling for you might be an idea. Is there any chance of family counselling through CAHMS? He might not go, but it might help you and your dp to blow off a little steam and work out a strategy.

I found that talking about it all in real life was hard, because it seemed I was being disloyal and because anyone I spoke to was horrified, so I ended up being very defensive, which didn't help.

Once you can get to the stage of knowing that you have done your best, that you are where you are now and can only go on from here, it may start to improve.

I would sit down with your dp and work out what behaviour at home you really won't put up with - starting with violence. And what you will do if he does it. We bought a punch bag, which has really helped ds. Often he will go to the utility room thump it for five minutes, then come back and talk. It's like it clears his brain.

Is there anything your son enjoys? Any sport/activity/anything to occupy his mind, anything he really wants to do? It's worth trying to channel a bit of his negative energy into something positive if you can. He wouldn't do cadets or martial arts, or anything like that?

Has anyone mentioned medication for ADD? I wish we had pushed for medication for ds1's anxiety and depression, as he turned it all into aggression and then discovered he could self-medicate with cannabis and vallium, which made him go downhill pretty fast sad.

About school, is there an alternative to where he is? ds did much better out of mainstream school (it was a shock to us). He ended up in a sort of PRU unit (we are in Ireland, so it's different) and now is in college studying to become a chef. Five years ago, I would never have believed that he would be alive, at home and in college.

You just have to hang in there.

Maryz Thu 03-Jan-13 15:16:58

Sorry, that was an essay.

Probably too much information blush. And not particularly useful either, sadly.

zeeboo, you shouldn't be scared of him. And nor should your younger children. I'd recommend a punch bag for you too. Really, every family with teenage boys should have one.

Ineedmorepatience Thu 03-Jan-13 17:26:36

I agree about the maturity levels of young people with ASD/ADHD.

My Dd1 is undiagnosed but I am pretty certain this is what she has.

Recently I have noticed that Dd2 who is 17 is now equally if not more mature and reliable than Dd1, in fact yesterday when I looked at them together I thought I wonder if people who dont know them think they are really close in age when actually there is 7 years between them.

Obviously they are individuals but I am sure that it is the ASD that is preventing Dd1 from becoming a mature adult who is capable of having adult relationships.

MuchBrighterNow Thu 03-Jan-13 18:07:45

Ineedmorepatience Tbh, I have struggled with her since she walked at 10 months. She is on a mission and only she knows what it is.

I can so relate to this. My Ds1 17 has been extremely challenging in his behaviour since he was born too. He needed constant attention and was always a total risk taker. It was always as though he took in too much information and was over stimulated trying to sort it all out. School/ relating to peers etc. was always a challenge for him. My subsequent dc have been SO much easier to raise.

DS 1 is a brilliant thinker , out of the box , interesting ,curious, daring. He has so much potential but chooses to spend his time constantly stoned... self medicating himself . It's a means he's found perhaps to turn down his hyperactive mind.

He also takes LSD as his drug of choice because it appeals to his creative, crazy side. ( He is very open and honest with me about all this whilst ignoring all my warnings about risks to his mental health etc., etc. He knows I don't approve at all but he doesn't give a toss what I think as he believes it's his life,his choice)

He loves the whole anarchic, No future, world's gonna end, Society's fucked scene. He was always drawn to befriend the kids in care, kids on the outside of the norm and now his newest circle of friends who put on illegal raves and live pretty much outside of society and take copious amounts of drugs, including heroin sad. He says he'd never touch heroin , but if it's around how long does it take before it becomes normalised...

He's mostly in a woolly stoned bubble, ignoring the future and refusing to take responsibility for the consequences of his inaction. He is also selfish, rude, obnoxious ,lazy, entitled, blaming, agressive and insensitive.....

If he was my DP instead of my DC I'm sure I would have bailed out of the relationship years ago ! He makes everything so complicated and confused...

As parents of difficult teens we don't have that option... All we can do is our best and not beat ourselves up about it too much when things go wrong. I have to stop myself grieving for what he could be and believe that he will come through these dark days intact , happy and whole.

Sorry , that was a bit long, just feeling a bit sad and hopeless sad

Toredig Thu 03-Jan-13 19:06:29

Find it so hard to articulate because that hreaks the spell and then I break down. I try not to worry, but find it so difficult. Spoke earlier and he seemed OK but he wasn't in when I got home & he's clearly had people in against my instructions. Can't eat because my stomach's churning.
Really think he should move out because then I won't be under this stress.
At least my Ipad was here when I got home

flow4 Thu 03-Jan-13 21:57:12

Tore, you sound a bit desperate sad

You might want to read these two old threads (again?). They sound like they deal with exactly the problems you are struggling with now. People gave me some good advice.
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1419999-Throw-him-out-have-him-arrested-or-hang-on-in-there and
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1534353-DS17-is-sneaking-people-into-my-house-when-Ive-said-no-and-its-freaking-me-out

If you can get your son to move out, then this IS an option. I would have done it at my most desperate point - if my DS had had anywhere else to go, or if he had been violent or stolen from me again, or probably if he had been 18, as yours already is.

If he stays, you MUST do a few key things, or you will crack under the pressure:

- Get a lock on your bedroom door. It will cost you £40-50 and it is the best money I spent last year. I wish I had done it sooner. If I had had one fitted earlier, I would have saved myself a huge amount of stress, and almost a thousand pounds. sad When you have one, you can lock everything valuable away so that it cannot be stolen; and if you feel at all insecure or unsafe or in need of privacy, you can lock yourself in there. It will give you back some degree of control.

- Get some help. Ask anyone you can think of. Family, friends (if you have good ones who won't judge), youth service, social services, drugs agency, his school/college, GP, Connexions, anyone... You had him arrested recently, so you may find the Youth Offending Team will help... Take anything that is offered. Ask your GP for counselling for yourself. It really helps to have someone to talk to who is not involved. It is not a sign of failure or weakness to ask for help: it is a sign of strength to know your limits.

- Get a break and do something nice. I have said this before, but I think a lot of mums struggle to believe it's important, or that they deserve it. Go for a coffee with a friend, go for a swim, have a massage, go for a walk somewhere beautiful, do something that will make you relax, or something that will make you laugh... Do one of these things for yourself every day if possible. But if that isn't possible, at least do one of these things today. You will cope much, much better with all the awful stuff if you have just a tiny bit of loveliness or pleasure in your day.

This will pass, Toredig. It really will.

Maryz Thu 03-Jan-13 22:04:34

I'm sorry you are so down Toredig. We really do understand, because we have been there sad.

Flow is absolutely right - you need to ensure your stuff is safe and that you have a private safe space in your house.

And you need help for you. You can't carry on like this, it's exhausting.

everhopeful63 Sat 05-Jan-13 13:25:20

Happy New Year! Coming out of the shadows to say thanks for all the wise words I have received from this thread. I too have a troubled teen and the last years have been exhausting. I try so hard to disengage , I know it works- Maryz- but find it hard. Flow4, your post re boiling pots - FANTASTIC and so helpful, I shall try to remember it when I am tired after a long day and DD is spoiling for a fight because she is feeling dreadful.
This weeks challenge is that 16 yr old DD and her girlfriend of 2 years- have argued and split up on New Years Eve, so we have had drama, tears, and no revision done. This is a pattern in their relationship and they will undoubtedly get together again but much time has been wasted. Only in this safe place here can I say how sad I am to see my beautiful bright DD, so upset and not achieving her potential. I know its her life but its not the one i had dreamed for her.....
Thank you for the support, hope I can joinxxxx

Ineedmorepatience Sat 05-Jan-13 17:04:07

Hi ever, I know exactly what you mean about the life they have v's the life you thought they would have but sometimes you do just have to take a step back and let them get on withit.

Dd1 left school a month before she was due to do her Alevels and went to work away from home, got pregnant and didnt tell
anyone. She moved out, had DGD, got a job and now rents a nice flat and is doing s degree.

Her life is still chaos and we dont agree on anything but she is functioning in society and with alot of support is coping with being a parent.

You will get through this and she will sort herself out and move forward when she is ready.
Good lucksmile

delmonton Sun 06-Jan-13 17:57:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tinkerbelllisa Sun 06-Jan-13 19:43:16

I will try and keep this as short as possible. D(?)S is 16 and has been awful for the past 3 years (possibly more) - His father and i are divorced and have been since he was 2. He has changed his mind about who he wants to live with more than once so may not have had continuity in his homelife. Anyway he has been arrested and charged for assaulting his father between Xmas and NY (i found this out on my birthday a few days ago). He is now going to court the week after next. (not his first appearance) His dad is feeling bad about reporting it and wants to withdraw his statement. As much as I don't want him too,as I think DS will think he can get away with anything, I can understand how he feels. DS is not in education having dropped out of school and college and doesn't seem that keen in looking for work - he thinks there is no point until we see what happens in court. All DS wants to do is sleep all day,play on his PC and stay out all night with his mates (there are probably drugs and drink involved sometimes)
Any advice much appreciated - sorry I just needed to get it all off of my chest
Thanks to those of you that have replied to my original thread.
x

flow4 Sun 06-Jan-13 21:00:23

tinker, I'm too tired to say anything sensible right now (if you read through part 1 of this thread, you'd probably find anything/everything useful I've ever had to say anyway!) but I just wanted to offer a bit of sympathy and moral support. It's grim having to have your own child arrested and charged - I did it too, though it resulted in a Final Warning for my DS, not a court appearance. It did put an end to the violence and aggression though...

I'll be back tomorrow if I think of anything else useful to add.

tinkerbelllisa Sun 06-Jan-13 21:13:37

thanks flow 4 - its not me that had him arrested (this time!) but will read through your posts x

So much for peaceful.
Ds taken away to his dads by police car, 5 hours ago

Kicked off for being asked to turn his telly down in his room, his little sister was trying to get to sleep.His attitude, language and aggression was terrible, he turned the telly back up and told me to fuck off out of his room and then he kicked a big hole in his brand new bedroom door and pushed me and was rather aggressive.

He was chopsy to the police, wouldn't shut up when asked. The police were like hmm and they were a bit non plussed at some of his bizarre comments he was making.

I wasn't the best behaved either I'm afraid, I lost my temper and really screamed at him just as the police came through the door and then dissolved into tears. I was calm up until the point where ds said I don't support him and 'because I take his things away it means I don't love him and I don't support him' he does not understand what a consequence is. It's like banging ur head off a brick wall

I feel bad for him, I hope he's ok but I can't take much more. He's 13

I forgot to say ds has ADHD and is being assessed for asd but as he's very clever at appearing normal he probably won't get this diagnosis. I had no idea actually that children with ADHD and asd can be several years behind on the emotional maturity side of things. He seems to less mature than his ten year old sister and she can be a challenge sometimes but her understanding of life and how it works is superior to his really.

flow4 Mon 07-Jan-13 07:28:56

Oh Ghosts, what a stressful night for you. sad

That sudden fury and loss of control are scary, aren't they? Is he bigger than you yet? For me and my DS, that was the turning point: he grew bigger than me, and started being agressive. For a long time, he had no idea how threatening and scary he was... In his head he was still small, I think.

The hole punching/kicking thing is horrible too... I've repaired/replaced the 3 doors that DS damaged, but some of the holes are just filled/patched...

What's his social life like? Is it possible he's smoking skunk? My DS started at about 13, and his violent outbursts seemed to happen after he'd been smoking it. sad

What are you doing to look after you, Ghosts? That's absolutely crucial...

I don't think he's smoking anything but I can't be a hundred percent sure, I really hope not, that would just the end.

He's still at his dads and will be there all week, I've not spoken to him and I won't be. I've asked his dad for updates and he is fine, acting as if nothing had happened.

I've spent the day feeling like a failure, I've made the mistake of reading some other threads on this board and now I feel like the worst parent in the world, I feel it's my fault he is like this but no one believes me apart from his dad when I say u can't reason with him, he is like a toddler.

I need help, the disruption he causes here affects the girls, regular bedtimes for them has gone out the window, I can't get the two year old into a sleep routine because he keeps her awake and if he hears her havin a little cry he comes out and screams at her shut the fuck up before I shut u up myself. It's twelve am before I get them all to sleep sometimes.

He sits in his room yelling at the telly/ phone/ Xbox and kicks off if you tell him to be quiet.

Sigh. I am not looking after myself. I sleep in my clothes sometimes, my house is messy. I am exhausted

Greensleeves Tue 08-Jan-13 01:17:09

sorry to barge in, but wanted Maryz to have a look at this thread:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1651473-16-yr-old-son-self-harming-and-possible-depression

MuchBrighterNow Tue 08-Jan-13 06:49:52

Ghosts Please try not to give yourself a hard time, I am sure you are doing your best in very difficult circumstances. Its exhausting looking after little ones without the add on of a difficult attention seeking teen.

Can your Ds stay with his dad for a while to give you and him a break. Hopefully calling the police will make him think twice about kicking off.

Could you get him some headphones to plug into the Tv so that the noise stays down a bit ? My ds plays really loud techno and yet screams at us to shut the fuck up if he's concentrating on something and one of us makes a slight disturbance angry ( he's also made holes in doors and walls)

It's not surprising in the face of all this to have let things slip a bit, be kind to yourself.

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