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.

Witco Mon 01-Apr-13 17:09:38

Steph, I hope your DD blows off steam and comes home soon. Parents feel so helpless in these situations but you have our support. MaryZ, your last 2 paragraphs are spot on!

Maryz Mon 01-Apr-13 17:27:40

Stay at home for the moment.

When she comes back, try not to continue the row. Feed her something comforting and tell her to take the night off, and sit down to watch something soothing on the tv. See will she talk to you.

What was the row about? Is it a row that could have been avoided? Was she looking to have a row so she had an excuse to storm off (a speciality of dd's when she is trying to avoid doing something)?

StephofArc Mon 01-Apr-13 18:50:12

I've tried the usual places and no sign, so going to stay here for now and wait. She's 16 in a matter of days and as I understand it SS are less involved with these kids after that, so as it's a private arrangement (her mother consented to me being her guardian privately) I don't know how much they can/will do, though obviously her social worker will need to be told.

Thanks for the advice Mary and Flow, I have calming DVDs and chocolate at the ready! It was a ridiculously stupid row, she said she was 'thick' and never going to pass anything, ever, that she'd messed up her life already and there was no point trying to work it out, she knew it would go wrong. I said don't be ridiculous, tried to reassure her and remind her how far she's already come without patronizing her (don't think I was patronizing, anyway!) and she insisted she was 'thick' and ran off. So I don't think she's angry with me as such, just frustrated and stressed.

Midwife99 Mon 01-Apr-13 19:13:34

Social services did step in to help after they were forced when my DS was 16. They have a 16+ team that will liaise with housing etc if she becomes homeless even if it's intentional. You've been brilliant in supporting her so far even if it doesn't continue but hopefully she'll realise that.

Maryz Mon 01-Apr-13 19:20:26

So it looks as though she wanted a row and an excuse to run off sad. Hopefully she will reappear soon.

Maryz Mon 01-Apr-13 19:21:53

Just one thought - can you post a Facebook message to her - if she has gone to a friends, she might check her Facebook. Just something comforting about how you hope she is ok, you are sorry she is upset, does she need to be picked up. dd went off without her phone once and I was frantically texting her, but forgot that she could access FB from any friend's phone.

StephofArc Mon 01-Apr-13 20:39:41

She's home. Along with an unopened bag of the horrible stuff, I'm so proud of her smile I've chucked it away and given her a hug.

Maryz Mon 01-Apr-13 20:41:09

Oh, good for her.

Did she pay for it, or get it on tick? Because if she hasn't paid yet, she will have to see the person again, and possibly be persuaded to buy more in order to postpone having to pay. This is how they hook in the youngsters here sad

StephofArc Mon 01-Apr-13 20:44:22

She tells me she's paid for it Maryz, I believe her. That seems to be how it works here too, had she not paid for it I would have been tempted to keep it and give it back myself. She was scared to come home in case I kicked her out, poor thing sad

Maryz Mon 01-Apr-13 20:47:43

I wonder if you can get her to trust you?

You are walking the fine line between trusting her (and bear in mind that if she has been/is using drugs she may well have learned to do a lot of lying) and watching her like a hawk.

It is so difficult.

flow4 Mon 01-Apr-13 20:48:37

Oh Steph, that is really fantastic! I'm glad that she's back, but it's really even better that she's 'tested' herself like this and passed! You're right to be proud of her! smile

Witco Mon 01-Apr-13 21:32:38

That's such a relief Steph, thank God she's safe

StephofArc Mon 01-Apr-13 23:09:13

Thanks everyone for the support, really appreciate it. DD has now gone to bed, she's having the day off tomorrow smile I keep telling her I'm so proud of her and she just looks at me completely bewildered grin Don't think she realizes how much she's achieved today.

It's so difficult Mary, I agree. In her defense the drugs/stealing etc has all stopped since she moved in with me (given she's either been at school or at home with me 95% of that time, the bad influences are out of her life and she's been so determined to sort her life out so far I do believe her) but I still feel like we're all waiting for her to crack IYSWIM sad But she's managed 2 1/2 weeks now, I'm hopeful.

Doinmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 14:24:27

A bit of hope for all those struggling.

Awhile ago I was at my wits end with DD15 , drugs, violence towards me, running away etc.

I have had counselling from home/ school liaison officer who has given me coping strategies. DD has had counselling at school, these are ongoing but have already made a difference.

Things are so much better, thank god. I'm not complacent and am aware things can blow up again but just for today all is calm.

I suggested a trip to London with DD but was undecided because of cost, DD said " it doesn't matter where we go Mum , so long as we're together" I nearly cried, what a turn around!

I was in two minds as to whether to post this as I didn't want to come across as smug, again, I'm aware things can go wrong but just wanted to say that things can turn out ok in the end.

My heart goes out to those in the midst of all the turmoil, it's truly awful.

Listen to Maryz and Flow their advice is spot and I thank them for their support and non judgementalness.

Witco Fri 05-Apr-13 19:25:09

Thanks for posting DoinM, it gives me hope grin

flow4 Fri 05-Apr-13 22:10:02

Yay! So glad things are looking up for you Doin smile thanks

Doinmummy Fri 05-Apr-13 22:15:45

Thankyou Flow you've been great x

flow4 Sat 06-Apr-13 00:26:37

You're welcome. smile

Hello,
I am not sure if I am meant to be using this part of MN as this is not my teenager but I will try and explain.

We are emotionally supporting a troubled 18 year old. (We are the vicarage family which is how we found her, but that is kind of irrelevant to our involvement with her).

She is a lovely girl but has had a terrible life. Abuse from so many quarters and is involved in the gang scene (we are in London). She is very streetwise - drugs, violence you name it. Although she has made me a promise not to take drugs any more....we'll see.

Last week she had terrible things done to her by other gang people (was set up by her "mates") but still won't have it that she needs to get out of that life. She is adamant that she is bad so that is ball that there is for her.

Before I go any further (I could talk for ages and ages about her) I wondered if you would be willing to listen/would be able to offer any advice.

She is not our dd nor our foster dd (though she says we are her mum and dad now) and doesn't live with us - although down the line, from our pov that is an option but her hang up with being bad emans she refuses atm because she says we are our dc are good.

Sigh.

Thanks.

flow4 Sun 07-Apr-13 18:05:35

By all means stay and chat here littlebit. I think many of us would define 'parenting' quite broadly, though there will be distinct differences between being a 'biological' parent and an 'accidental' p/t parent. And (to be very hard-headed for a moment) don't underestimate the gulf between her experiences and your family's... She will bring into your lives behaviour, attitudes, values and expectations you never imagined encountering. I found it hard when my own son did this; I imagine it will be harder still with a young person who isn't 'yours', where there isn't an underlying bedrock of love, trust and history together...

Tracey176 Thu 11-Apr-13 20:39:21

It's been a while since I posted and things have been up and down.
We have gone from my son running away to glue sniffing aerosol sniffing right down to trying to set light to my kitchen and using the super glue to glue cola bottles to my work surfaces.
But the last few weeks have been relatively calm but its the Easter holidays so I am aware it's probably the calm before another storm sad
He has an interview at the pupil referral unit on Tues but he is already saying he won't go so my stomach is already in knots but I am trying to stay calm. Thanks for all your calm words it helps to know that we are not alone xx

Witco Thu 11-Apr-13 21:34:09

God Tracey, it is so hard, isn't it? When there's a lull you wait for the next disaster. You will get wonderful support on here - it has kept me sane in tough times,

maryz Thu 11-Apr-13 22:38:20

Hi everyone.

I'm simultaneously saddened and uplifted by everyone on this thread. In one way it is great not to feel alone (when ds1 first went off the rails I seriously thought I was the only mother in the whole world who was failing so spectacularly), but it's sad to see so many of you coping with similar things.

I do think, though, that it is encouraging to see that some of them (for example Doin's dd) do come about a bit. Kids can improve, then go backwards, then catch up again. They mature at such different rates and the pressure on them these days is so very great.

alittlebit, of course you are welcome here. But I would say the same thing to you as I would say to any parental figure dealing with a challenging teen (especially if drugs are involved) - do keep an emotional distance. Do remember that you can't save them - they have to want to save themselves, and do remember that although we can all bust our guts, in the end it is their choice how they live their lives and our choice must be to look after ourselves. In almost all cases drugs = lying and stealing. If you have children, especially younger children, be very careful of how involved you get. Physically (locking up valuables etc) but most of all emotionally - it is unlikely you can fix her. You can remain steady in the background if the time comes when she wants to fix herself, and I really admire you for trying smile

Tracey, things here are up and down as well, which is why I haven't posted much. ds1 is in the last week of his college course before exams start. And every day I anticipate him throwing it all away and walking out. I'm back to feeling sick all the time and dreading the mornings.

Which is fucking stupid hmm. Because we have come such a humungous way since this time four years ago, when he was suicidal, his bf had just hung himself, he had been expelled from school and was sleeping rough while taking all sorts of drugs.

He has grown up a lot - still gets (probably rightly [sigh]) hassled by the police a lot, still smokes far too much dope and possibly more at the weekends. But he gets up every morning, goes to college, works at the weekend, has stopped stealing, is (pretty much) civil at home.

And if he can improve, and if I can survive, anyone can.

Tracey176 Thu 11-Apr-13 22:50:08

Hi witco yes it does help to come on here everyday is a struggle.
Hi maryz whatever happened to out kids?? I constantly lay awake and wonder what has happened to my son and if i could have made things different, and how luxurious it would be to wake up every day relaxed knowing that whatever i told my little angel he would just do it!! Oh well they are what they are x

maryz Thu 11-Apr-13 23:04:31

I used to do that Tracey, but it's ridiculously stupid.

I think it's innate in some kids to challenge the system. In the olden days of hunters and gatherers they would have been the ones to discover new territory and to catch and tame the wild horses.

In the middle ages they would have been the intrepid explorers, the ones who sailed half way around the world and either returned heroes or got eaten by natives.

But now there is no place for them. They fight authority, and instead of getting away and finding their own niche, they are constantly confined, made to conform, made to feel guilty for wanting to escape. It is very sad to watch, because in the end the only way they can be different is to rebel completely and escape into alcohol, drugs, crime etc.

I think they are just born like that. Obviously some extreme methods of parenting (very strict, or very relaxed) might make it worse. But if you have a naturally conforming and happily obedient child it doesn't matter how you parent it, it will still grow up to be a happy conforming adult. If you have a rebel, I suspect you will have a rebel no matter what.

I think it's important to work out and concentrate on what really matters - your sanity and their happiness.

Is your son completely out of school? ds1 went to the equivalent of a PRU here when he was 16 and it was the making of him. He enjoyed it, got paid a small amount to go, and was suddenly good at everything (and well behaved compared to the others). I didn't much like his friends, but it was very good for him.

Maybe your son will go and enjoy it? Can you persuade him or bribe him to at least try it? And if he has any other interests at all, hopefully he will continue with them.

He is very young, so your priority for the next few years is to look after yourself. When he comes out of it in a few years (which he more than likely will), you don't want him to be visiting you in a loony bin!

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