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.

Tracey176 Wed 06-Mar-13 07:41:38

Hello Maryz thank you for the invite to here x
Phew I have finally arrived in the right place for my stresses and strains! Have decided that I am pretty useless at tech!!
So, my stresses, well that's one 13 year old boy who is going off the rails at quite a pace, and I don't know what to do, I just want my baby back sad
Is it wrong to wish you a never had children? I am stressed to the max and my husband is just moping around wishing he could have his son back....sigh..

Footface Wed 06-Mar-13 07:49:46

tracy what sort of things us your son doing if you don't mind me asking.

Tracey176 Wed 06-Mar-13 07:56:25

Footface - god that sounds awful, I just can't ne'er stand what makes them behave that way? Hope things get a bit better for u soon.
Maryz - I am lucky as ds1 is 17 and its ds2 that is the pain, I can see this escalating but feel totally powerless to stop it, the school can't handle him and just keep saying that they don't understand why as the other off the rail kids at the school have genuine reasons to behave in that way?? Very helpful.....not!
I have high blood pressure which we are struggling to control and trying to stay calm is not an option in my house unless he is allowed to do what he wants.
I found out last night that he is now selling drugs so its just a matter of time before the police are here.
Maybe I try and block all that out because my biggest fear for him is, because he thinks he is 'gangster', that he will end up in a fight being stabbed or something similar.
Part of me laughs inside at him when he is giving it large about his gang etc, I mean we don't live in 'da hood' it's a leafy middle class suburb of surrey for gods sake!! And the other part of me just groans and thinks what next?

Tracey176 Wed 06-Mar-13 08:02:43

Footface - it started in primary school with defiance and a major run in with one teacher and then just slowly got a bit worse every term. Now if I can get him to school he refuses to go into class and if approached by a member of staff he just tells them they are a prick and their lessons are shit, he spends most of his time being excluded and then we have a reintegration meeting and back he goes. Yesterday he told the head teacher to fuck off and so here we are excluded for the rest of the week. He is moody, hangs out with some very undesirable characters, walks out if grounded, regularly tells me to fuck off your a shit mum or more frequently your a c**t.
I know it's not anything like what you are experiencing but I have no one to talk to who has experienced this and feel pretty helpless. My best friend has two children the same age and they are so well behaved 'normal', she doesn't know how lucky she is!

Maryz Wed 06-Mar-13 08:51:52

Tracey, I think you should go back to the earlier thread on this and read some of the advice on that - there are a couple of great posts by Flow, I think.

It is hard to know why teenagers do this - sometimes it is family circumstances, sometimes undiagnosed SN (ADHD or ASD), sometimes it's because they have met a particular group and decided to opt out of mainstream.

It doesn't sound as though school is doing your son much good, so maybe a managed move to a PRU unit might be better - ok he will meet even more undesireables, but at least he won't be at home half the time (I hate school suspensions - imo they are a punishment for the parents and a reward for the child).

I will repeat the advice I was given and that I didn't believe. You can't change him - if you haven't managed to punish/reward/bribe him into behaving by now you never will. What you can do is change yourself. Learn to cope with it, not to react, to stay calm, to disengage

Find someone to talk to in real life - your local youth drug intervention centre may do family counselling (they call it family, in fact your ds is unlikely to go, but it may well help you and your husband).

I would ignore as much of his behaviour as you can. I used to walk away from bad language and name calling because I couldn't stop it, so calling him on it just resulted in me losing my temper and a humungous row.

You can introduce a few rules that you can enforce - for example no drugs in the house, and if you find any you will destroy them. You can enforce this by searching his room - not as a punishment, but as a way to keep your house drug free. Do it when he isn't there.

He may go ballistic, but so what. Of course as a consequence of this, you need a no violence (from anyone - you have to not shout, scream or punch walls either). Any violence against people should result in calling the police. On this board, any of us who have called the police have had a pretty good outcome.

Be nice to yourself - get some fresh air, get out of the house, talk to friends (but don't talk about him if they are going to give you simple solutions which obviously won't work), do something for yourself every day.

And try to live in the "now". You can't change the past, you can't (by worrying) control the future. When he goes out there are two possibilities - one he will come home safely, so what's the point in worrying? Secondly he will get stabbed, mugged or whatever - but you can't stop that so what's the point in worrying?

Your goal is to survive, intact, and hope he grows out of it. Most of them do - as parents we have to try not to become gibbering wrecks while we wait.

Tracey176 Wed 06-Mar-13 09:48:21

Thank you Maryz, have spent a lot of time this morning reading through earlier threads whilst drinking pints of tea. I can't believe how many people go through this and do take comfort from the fact that it isn't necessarily anything to do with my parenting skills.
Will continue to post my moans on here as and when and will read the other experiences too.
I do have friends that I usually talk too but they want to keep their children away from my son, and who can blame them, and they are prob fed up of listening to my woes by now!

50BalesOfHay Wed 06-Mar-13 10:01:02

I've only just found this thread and it feels like the right place even though the issue is different, but redirect me if It's not. I just need to get this off my chest and this feels like the sort of non-judgemental thread I need.

GD (13) and GS (12) have lived with us since they were toddlers (residence order). They are my son's children and they had contact with both parents. We have always had to tread a tightrope between keeping the children safe and maintaining their relationship with their mother, who is sometimes fine and sometimes makes very poor decisions

GS has never bonded with his mother so has always been happy and settled with us. GD has always expressed a desire to live with her mother, which became so strong last summer that we felt that if we had no choice but to let her (she'd have run away to live there anyway so we felt it was best to let her, so that she'd keep a good relationship with us for when it all went wrong). She stayed for 4 months before she was desperate to come home, having found out the reality of life with Mum.

Since she's been back she's been a delight to live with, knuckled down at school etc. But we hadn't realised that her mother was allowing her to sleep with an 18 year old friend of hers, and about a month ago we had to face up to the fact that she was pregnant and totally in denial about it. We've come through ok, she's keeping the baby (due in May) and we'll support her. The 18 year old, and probably her mother, are being prosecuted. GD's dad is being lovely (he's knitting for the baby). Her mother is being vile, calling her a slag etc and refusing to see her, and generally blaming her for her arrest.

My DH is great, our extended family are brilliant, school are supportive, they've identified nursery funding so she can go back to school. My employers have offered me a period of maternity leave so I can look after them and GD is taking good care of herself and feels secure and optimistic about having the baby (as you do when you're young), so in all ways I have nothing to moan about.

But I just feel worn out with dealing with all of the practicalities, dealing with the emotions and being relentlessly cheerful and optimistic. I know it's wrong, but I just really resent that, as a result of other people's decisions, DH and I have to make the major life changes that go with a baby in the family, and at 13 I can't leave GD to look after a baby on her own so although my employers are great it will impact on my future career choices. I'm also sad and angry that an adult male thought that it was ok to have sex with a child, and the thought of it is difficult to get out of my head, much as I try, and although we'll do our best, it's bound to impact on her education and future. I also feel so much to blame as if we hadn't allowed her to go to her mother's this wouldn't have happened.

Thanks if you've read this epic, it's helped to acknowledge my feelings in a way I can't (except with DH) in real life. Has anyone else been through this?

Tracey176 Wed 06-Mar-13 10:55:08

50balesofhay - firstly I def think its good to offload how you are feeling, and secondly wow what a lot to take on board!
I have no experience of this particular subject so all I can really do is just put a chatty message of support on here for u.
I think you did absolutely the right thing for these children and you have said yourself that one of them has thrived in your care. I think sometimes its easy to forget all the great things that happen because they are so overshadowed by other things. I don't really think you could have stopped your GD from going to live with her mum, it's her mums fault that this all escalated not yours and she from the sounds of it clearly has issues?? Sadly you and you husband are being left to clean up the mess sad
I am not surprised you feel so angry and sad but try and focus on the positive, easier said then done I know. I have only just found this website but everyone seems lovely and very supportive.

supersec Wed 06-Mar-13 11:02:39

50balesofhay - I cried when I read your post - it goes to show there are people out there with more severe problems than my own and I have just kicked my son out and my youngest has been excluded from school for smoking cannabis and may possible have a cannabis addiction.

Can you get any social services help? Presumably they were involved at the beginning. I get the impression they tend to disappear once they know children are in a caring and loving new environment.

My two nephews are the subject of a residency order -they are only 7 and 9 and live with their aunty on their father's side. My sister is an alcoholic and drug user and doesn't see them anymore now. They have problems and I dread them becoming teenagers.

50BalesOfHay Wed 06-Mar-13 11:07:42

Thank you Tracey. The funny thing is that GD is happier than I've ever known her (my mum pointed that out to me, and she's right) and I think it's because she's resolved the longing to be with her mother. I guess at the moment I've dealt with the crisis and am now allowing myself to go through all the conflicting emotions! I'd like to string the lad up by his balls though!

At the end of the day, a baby is just that; a new life in the family, and is to be celebrated, and I am genuinely coming to terms with it, and once it's here I know we'll love it. When the GCs came to live with us it was a huge adjustment and we'll just have to adjust again. And if GD copes then as she matures she will take on the responsibility more and more. It doesn't have to be the end of the world for her, and one day DH and I will have a life as a couple again. Good job we both like family life.

There I go again: relentlessly cheerful and optimistic!

supersec Wed 06-Mar-13 11:08:47

Can I just say that mumsnet has always been my saviour and you always feel better when you have had input from the lovely people (mostly) who post on here. I would not talk to ANYONE about our problems, I am so ashamed. I have even changed my name on there a few times as I so ashamed - how ridiculous is that?

50BalesOfHay Wed 06-Mar-13 11:24:26

supersec: Social Services have been involved on and off, but because they know that we'll look after and protect the children they don't feel the need to be involved. I know I shouldn't mind about this, but once we agreed to have the GCs with us they completely withdrew, leaving us to go to court for a residence order, which their mother contested (she was legally aided, we weren't) It cost us around £10,000. It had to be done, but it did hurt a bit!

We have got lots of support around us, we'll cope practically, and we're a close family but now I need to deal with my feelings about, as Tracey put it, being left to clean up the mess and DH and I need to get past the impact of our feelings that GD has been violated (she still sucks her thumb and is the opposite of a precocious 13 year old, no-one could think she was older). We'll get through, but I feel very sad, despite all the optimism.

50BalesOfHay Wed 06-Mar-13 11:30:26

Oh supersec, don't be ashamed. No-one whose opinions matter will judge you. Anyone who does judge can just mind their own business. I've been amazed at how nice everyone in real life who knows has been (at least to my face, if anyone's saying stuff beind our backs then I really don't give a toss). You just have to hold your head up and know you're doing your best.

None of us can control what other people do, only how we respond. I'm sure your boys will come through, and you'll get beyond this rough time in your life.

Tracey176 Wed 06-Mar-13 15:43:47

I used to work on the basis that there was always someone worse off than me but its so easy as a parent to get sucked into all the crap that some of us have to put up with and feel alone or isolated. There is a lot of support even though its only verbal on here and I appreciate all of it.
My ds2 had just told me that he is a regular drug user which confirmed my suspicions, he won't disclose which drug but I expect he will tell me in his own time.

Supersec - don't dread their teenage years they may pleasantly surprise you and never feel ashamed sometimes life just dishes out rubbish after rubbish but that makes us the stronger person (at least that's what I tell myself!!)

I have cried a lot lately and have decided today that I will not cry anymore. I have created a stable loving home and if he still can't tow the line then so be it, he has choices but so do I........long may it last......give me an hour and I will be crying again!

Footface Wed 06-Mar-13 19:34:49

tracy sorry it's taken all day to come back, I think you need to state what your rules are and what action you will take.also agree that you should search his room and destroy any drugs you might find. Preferable when he's not there so you reduce the confrontation.

Definitely call the police if there is any violence. This is something I wish I had done.

Being excluded from school is an absolute nightmare for parents and I really don't understand why schools still do this with teens like ours as it really has no affect, other than to cause the parents stress because they have no idea what to do with them.

Dss was excluded so many times, and it got to the point where both dp and I couldn't take any more time of off work to watch him. So instead we would loudly disscuss that I might be having a half day tomorrow/ was owed lieu time/was feeling sick blah blah to make him realise that we could be home at any point rather than a set time, to try to keep him on his toes. Any thing that was valuable either came to work with me or was hidden.

All DVDs over 12 were moved.

supersec I used to change names but have stopped now, I think I realise that I have done nothing wrong. I hope I can hold on to that belief over the coming months.

I don't talk to anyone in rl about it either. I don't want my other dc's to be be ostrisized, or people will try to be helpful and say something like why don't you take his x box, or if it was me I'd kick them out. All really un helpful.

50balesofhay your post brought a tear to my eye, you sound like an amazing, head together type person. I just really sorry this is happening to you all.

Maryz Wed 06-Mar-13 19:42:08

50Bales, it really sounds as though you have your hands full. Does your son have much contact with his children, or is he off the scene? Personally I think your grandchildren are lucky to have you, and hopefully things will improve for all of you.

You sound very calm - but I bet you are the proverbial swan, calm and serene and coping on the surface and frantically paddling at 90 miles an hour under the surface smile.

Supersec, you mustn't be ashamed [gavel]. I forbid it. I keep saying this - I used to think I was a crap mum. I have now decided that in fact I'm not that crap - he is still alive, we are still (sort of) a family, all my children have had blips but I'm hopeful that at least a couple of them will lead productive adult lives.

We are all doing our best in the types of difficult circumstances that most parents only see on tv or read about in books. We should be proud that we are managing, that we are getting out of bed each day and starting again. Getting up no matter how often we are pushed over.

Counselling has stopped me being ashamed. And allowed me to admit it all even in real life. And I have found that when I have told the whole story, I have had a lot of backing and little condemnation. Of course there are a few people who avoid me, and a few more who keep younger children away. But I've found that since I've been honest I have got more support. When I was minimising and making excuses and avoiding people no-one understood - how could they, when I never told anyone?

50BalesOfHay Thu 07-Mar-13 14:22:46

Thanks Maryz, our son has regular contact with his children and they get on well. He was only 18 when the younger child was born so we've effectively been their parents since they were tiny; they were removed from their mother to his care, but he was too young to cope. Them being with us is a situation I wouldn't change; they feel like our children really, and he's gone on to have a two year old with his lovely patner. Dead right about the swan analogy smile

MuchBrighterNow Fri 08-Mar-13 21:40:35

I assumed rather naively that Ds 17 and his first real girlfriend 17 were practicing safe sex. They are seeing more and more of each other. I have always talked to ds about how important it is to wear a condom and made sure they were readily available.

As his girlfriend is in care and has no parents available to look out for her, I took her aside today to talk about familly planning. I was a bit alarmed to learn that they don't always have safe sex. shock She told me that her sister was pregnant at 18..... and although she wasn't actively seeking a baby it wouldn't bother her to be a young mum even if she had to do it on her own confused

I got her to agree to go to the family planning clinic with me next week to talk about birth control.

I next decided to talk to ds who at best is prickly and at worst aggressively abusive. He really objected to me talking to him about it. I tried to stay calm and clear but just wanted to make sure he was clear about the risks and consequences of unsafe sex . He admitted he didn't always wear a condom but it was ok because she'd had her period since! angry He wouldn't reassure me that he'd practice safe sex from now on and became aggressive and abusive.

I feel SO frustrated and annoyed. He is such a slow mo train wreck. He smokes so much dope ,along with other drugs ,that he's incapable of seeing beyond the present moment . When he's not high he's moody , difficult and abusive. He's still at school just but the way he's going it's unlikely he's going to get any qualifications. He can't even look after himself let alone contemplate fatherhood.

His girlfriend is nice enough but has had a very troubled past. She comes from a large family who were all abandoned by their mum. Her dad who was their main carer is now in prison for paedophilia sad I can see why the thought of creating a new family for someone who has lost hers would appeal , but it's the last thing this poor girl needs.

I'm trying to keep to your advice Maryz about detaching and staying in the present moment and not worrying about what hasn't happened yet but my stress loads have just shifted onto another level.

Maryz Fri 08-Mar-13 22:28:49

It's very difficult MuchBrighter. The trouble is, if she has no secure family background she will have a dream of having a family. She would probably like to have a baby, someone to love, someone who will love her back and always be there for her.

dd is adopted, and I worry that she, too, would like to have a baby. I'm stalling her atm, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if she did.

It's very hard to persuade them that it won't be the exciting, fulfilling, wonderful experience they expect.

But one thing I can tell you for sure - you worrying is no use as a contraceptive, so you need to stop!

TimidLivid Sun 10-Mar-13 16:25:05

just wanted to moan on here its mothers day and my ds is at residential unit and because he has been so agressive thye arent letting him come home today woe is me

Midwife99 Sun 10-Mar-13 16:37:51

Mine is free & hadn't contacted me. Neither has his older brother at Uni. I know teenage boys are rubbish at remembering Mothers Day so trying not to mind. My girls & DH have made a fuss of me so happy!! smile

flow4 Sun 10-Mar-13 16:47:39

My boys have both done well today, but this is the first mothers' day in 3 years that DS1 has marked in any way other than behaving more horribly than usual, because he felt guilty.
It's hurtful even tho' you know you're silly to feel hurt, isn't it? hmm sad

MuchBrighterNow Sun 10-Mar-13 17:03:34

Sorry to hear today is a sad day for you Timid livid.

I got to spend today driving for two hours to pick up DS and his girlfriend who apparently hitched to an illegal rave last night and got stranded trying to hitch back angry.

Ds girlfriend 17 has been staying with us for over a week. I explained to them both clearly yesterday that she would have to go back to her foyer today as I wanted a night with just the family here. I also wanted to make space for Ds to do the homework I know he has for tomorrow hollow laugh.

She refused to be taken to the foyer so, at her request, I left her in town.

Now I am feeling worried because she's not slept all night at the rave and looked wasted, she had a heavy bag with all her stuff in it, which i'd brought with me. She doesn't know many people as she's recently moved here...I don't even know if the foyer know she's been staying with us. I suspect she's lied to them and they think she's at her sisters ( its been half term here). I will phone them later to make sure she's arrived.

She's only been Ds ' girlfriend for a few weeks yet I feel like I've been a total bastard even though I just drove for miles to bail them out and spent the last week making her welcome in my home.confused sad

Whattodowithit Wed 13-Mar-13 12:57:36

Can we all swap our teenagers for something nicer?

I need a bit of a rant. The last time my now 17 year old son was aggressive towards me (he kicked my bedroom door in) I decided never again, and called the police, and he was taken away overnight and cautioned re. criminal damage. That was an amazing turning point for him: although he was not particularly nicer or more polite towards me, he certainly was not aggressive and turned himself around, attended school, took his exams and lost a lot of weight.

Yesterday evening, over a year since that incident, he threw my food processor bowl across the room (because I asked him to wash it up after 3 days and needed to use it), and it smashed to pieces, and then walked right up into my face is the only way I can describe it, until I backed out of the room. What did I do? Nothing (apart from cut off his internet access and shake and cry). Why?

1) I wanted to go to my dance class which I was just about to leave for. I thought if I called the police I would miss it, and I didn't want to miss it.
2) Last time I refused to collect him from the police station and his father (long time separated) had to drive 200 miles to pick him up, and I didn't think that was fair on him as I knew he was busy, and I certainly wouldn't go and pick him up.
3) Surely the police have more important things to do than tell off a teenager who broke a bowl?

I am such a wimp. He is such an arse. I think it's awful that he can get me to back away and sees the power he has as a bully with a temper problem. There is nothing pleasant about living with this thoroughly unpleasant lad, who's a lot bigger than me. His anger and unpleasantness is directed solely at me, has been relentless over the past 5 years or more, and I am beginning to hate him.

TimidLivid Wed 13-Mar-13 14:19:10

whattodo with it thats awful, I get why you didnt call the police as it seemed too much hassle but it f he gets like that again you probably should. its awful all the effort and love they had and put into making them happy and they grow up and treat us like this it is awful its i saddening, I have no solutions just letting you know someone out there was reading your post and knows how it feels

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