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.
After DS2 had been handed over to social services at 16 after beating me up, stealing my car, dealing drugs from my house etc etc, DS1 said - I don't know how you carried on so long, you should have thrown him out a year ago. He was only 17 himself at the time.
I posted in the suicidal teen thread a bit earlier, and I apologise for repeating it here. I'm getting to the stage where I sometimes can't talk about it anymore, because I can't tell people how lonely and terrible it seems sometimes, to love someone so very much and to not make everything alright by popping on a plaster or applying a magic-kiss.
Some of this is duplicate posted from the other thread because I am running out of words.
my lovely DS1 (14) is going through a severe depression at the moment, brought on, i think by a mugging incident in 2010, but exacerbated by homophobic bullying at school. he stopped going to school after October half term, has threatened suicide a number of times, but has never actually attempted, is despondent, anxious, upset, has developed a loathing of his smaller brother (13). When he first told me, through floods of tears that he didn't want to live anymore, my beautiful, talented boy has come to the understanding that he just doesn't want to be here anymore. He doesn't sleep well, is prone to sweeping mood changes, seldom goes out, personal hygiene is pretty ropey - no idea when he last brushed his teeth.
The GP got an almost immediate referral to CAHMS. I'm not sure how much use it will be. The counsellor seems to have already drawn his conclusions after two hour long sessions, which has culminated in an hour long telephone conversation with him talking down at me, questioning my parenting and stressing how important he is (we missed an early morning session as i couldn't persuade DS1 out of bed, he was too low). I feel very unsupported by everyone at the moment, so really am just saying hi, place making to an extent and hoping for some support/advice. We're going to see the school next Friday for an update meeting, whe i think. Will press for more support, lesson plans, possibly a tutor, followed by a CAHMS appointment. I am trying to get him to school on Monday to see the school counsellor and on a Friday so he can hand in work he may have completed during the week. That said, he often doesn't feel like working, spends a lot of time online or drawing..
That sounds very difficult and distressing, Snapes. I think the feeling of powerlessness is probably the worst thing about parenting a troubled teen.
That counsellor sounds very unprofessional. Did your son find the session useful? If so, it might be worth enduring that kind of condescension; if not, don't put yourself through it. You might be able to find a charity/children's trust in your area that provides counselling - there are a few in different parts of the country. I managed to self-refer to one when CAMHS told us my DS1 didn't reach their thresholds.
Come and hang out on this thread sometimes... We've all been through awful times, and you can find a lot of support here
Snape, you mentioned DS was subjected to homophobic bullying at school. Sorry if this is a dumb question but is he gay? And if so have you seen the It Gets Better Project? It's thousands of videos aimed at helping LGBT young people understand that their lives really can get better - if only they can survive being a teenager! Have a look: It Gets Better
Been reading and not sure I'm in the right place as DD is only 11 (nearly 12) and not SN in any way. She does fine at school & socially. Teachers and other parents think she's lovely. And she can be lovely. And funny, and mature, and helpful etc etc. Except when she gets in a mood. She's always been moody, since she was a baby, and it doesn't take much for a bad mood to turn into a tantrum and then an outright rage. She'll scream and slam doors and, lately, has taken to being physically aggressive with me. If I try and talk to her or shout or argue back or just listen she'll scream and shout or tell me to shut it or call me names. If I ignore her she'll get right up in my face and shove me or grab me. If I walk away she follows me from room to room. I've taken to locking myself in the bathroom as it's the only room with a lock but she'll turn the light off from the outside and then pound on the door over and over again - she can keep this up for a very long time. And then of course there are the times where I simply can't take it anymore and scream back at her or slam a few doors myself or just tell her to get the fuck away from me. Which of course leaves me feeling like shitty mum number 1.
Anyway, we've got a CAMHS appointment for Monday. She says she doesn't want to go but I have a feeling she will come with me in the end. Even if she doesn't I'll go anyway.
My DS used to do all that. Being followed and trapped in a room is very stressful. Though I'd recommend fitting a lock on your own bedroom door, cos if you need to escape and you're going to be besieged it's a much more comfortable place to be than the bathroom.
If she's hitting you, maybe consider calling the police. She's very young - and I guess smaller than you, so perhaps not very frightening yet - but it might be worth 'drawing your line' sooner. I wish I had...
He flow, actually she is bigger than me now. Only just, but still. That was kind of the turning point for me where I decided I finally needed to get some kind of professional help with her. As for the lock on the bedroom door - I bought a lock about a month ago, just need to find the time and a bit of spare cash to get someone to fit it for me.
Ah. That was the turning point with my DS actually: it was as if he suddenly realised I couldn't 'make' him do anything any more, and started to fight about everything, yet didn't realise how big and scary he had become.
If she's bigger than you, then I think you probably do need to call the police if she attacks you. They will come if you make a 999 call, but they won't arrest her or take any further action unless you ask them to. It will send her a very clear signal that you won't put up with any violence.
I wish I had done it earlier tbh, because I tolerated it so many times before I took action, that I think it took longer for my DS to realise I wasn't going to tolerate it any more: I had to call them 3 times and finally have him arrested - which was unbelievably difficult and stressful - but he then stopped being violent towards me entirely, after more than a year of it.
I do appreciate that our situations are a bit different - calling the police to deal with an 11 yo girl probably feels more extreme than calling one on a 16/17 yo boy... But it's violent behaviour you need to stop, whoever is doing it...
As for the lock - I put it off because I thought it would be more expensive than it was - it cost me £40/lock (including the locks themselves) - and it was definitely money well spent. I didn't realise how vulnerable I had been feeling until I had some 'safe space' again.
Can't imagine calling the police on my 11 year old but am definitely going to get the lock fitted. It will feel better knowing that DS and I can both have a safe space to hang out in if she's being absolutely vile.
Here's a question though about physical violence.
Scenario a) DS is 9. Sometimes when DD pisses him off enough he will lose his temper, give her a swift, hard kick and then storm off. (She's a lot bigger than him too, not that that makes much difference)
Scenario b) DD gets in a bad mood which leads to a tantrum at one wrong word from me. I go to the sink to wash dishes and try to ignore her and she comes up behind me and body checks me against the sink. (Or grabs my arm hard enough to leave marks, that's another favourite of hers)
What's the difference? Why does b seem so much worse than a? Or maybe a is just as bad?
In our house, we have always had a strict rule about not hurting each other (I have strong memories of terrible physical fights with my brothers!) and I always dealt severely with anybody who broke that particular rule. And I have to say, I think that the habit of not hurting his sister, little brother and mum were so deeply ingrained that it kept us safe even when my DS1 was raging out of control.
The only person who was unsafe was DH who, as the other male in the house, sadly was on the receiving end of a lot of grief from him.
I am just trying to say that I think it is worth working out a way of stopping the lashing out now, before they get physically too big to stop.
I think the reason b is worse than a is that you should have enough respect from DD that she knows she can NEVER use physical violence against you. You have authority. DS & DD will naturally have little or no respect for each other & so almost anything goes until an adult intervenes.
I just think that (and heaven knows, I have made some whopping great parenting mistakes) but the no physical stuff rule really reaped some rewards when things got out of control.
I know how difficult it is though - my youngest DS who can be very bossy and controlling does the ' shoulder barge' thing or the ' accidentally stepping on your foot' thing when he gets frustrated and it is wearisome having to pick him up on it each and every fricking time ...
Yes Laura I think that's part of the problem. They know that an obvious kick or hit warrants an immediate punishment, no warnings, no second chances (which is why DS usually goes to his room after he kicks her because he knows that's where he'll end up anyway). It's much harder to deal with the subtle shoving and stepping on toes not to mention all the incidents they claim happen when I can't see.
I've phoned the police on my ds a few times, the first time was when he was twelve. There was a turning point also with my ds when he realised that he was stronger than me and I couldn't control him anymore. He turned physical from then on and progressed from the odd shoulder barge and the occaisional chucking of stuff to hard shoving and punching. The second time I called them was after I took his mob off him and he went ballistic and punched me repeatedly in front of his sisters.
I would not tolerate violence from joe bloggs in the street so why should I put up with it from my child, it was such a hard thing to do but my ds had crossed a line and things were escalating rapidly. It's taking a while for the message to sink in but he's getting there, now it's more likely to be walls and doors that get it instead of us. He's still agressive towards his younger sisters and I don't quite know how to handle that, it's more verbal but sometimes not
After yesterday morning being lovely, the (potentially fake) 'I don't feeeeel welllllll-ing' started mid afternoon, he'd agreed that I could trim his hair (it's a mess at the moment, we are talking about taking off half an inch to tidy it up at the back..) at 4pm. Nope. Is now ' scared of metal near his head'. Suggested putting a towel at the back of his neck, so he wouldn't feel scissors. Nope.
Then breezed into the living room, asking to use family TV to play x-box (his bedroom TV broke last year, can't afford to replace it and not happy a him having TV in his bedroom. No, I was watching something, he could use it later THEN I started watching something else. Cue meltdown, I'm a LIAR (well, you broke your promise to get a haircut, so I'm breaking this one. If you don't keep promises, you can't expect anyone else to keep promises) cue crying so much that he apparently was sick in the toilet... But then he was hungry and nothing I offered to cook was what he wanted to eat.
So I suggested that I just make him anything, because no matter what it was, it wouldn't be what he wanted anyway.
Now we're on suicide threats with a bottle of KALMS (...) We've had a reasonable-ish talk that I have taken time off of work tomorrow to take him to school, that the longer he doesn't go, the worse it will seem, he just needs to go in for an hour, I'll wait outside, over the road. I know he's unwell and it isn't his fault, but this is affecting everyone now, we all want to help, but he has to do some of it...I can't wrestle him to the ground, drag him in the car and force him to go to school. I can absolutely tell that I am on a hiding to NOTHING here.
Hey Snape, just lots of sympathy - that sounds infuriating, frustrating and just plain exhausting! Good luck for tomorrow, I hope for both your sakes he just goes to school. Did you see the link I posted the other day?
Quiet (ish) here this weekend. I've had DD & DS spend the weekend telling me to "shut up" and "get out". I tell them that's an unacceptable way to speak to me but the sad thing is I'm grateful that's all I've had to deal with.
Have you ever tried bribery paying him to go? If not, it might be worth a go... Tell him "I'd really like you to go to school tomorrow. I want it so much I'll give you £X (insert appropriate amount)... In fact, if you think it would help, I'd consider paying you something every day."
This worked with my DS for quite a while when nothing else would... But I do appreciate our situation is different, cos my son was disengaged and hated school, but was not distressed like yours.
I can't give a huge amount of advice here, but just checking in and thinking of you all.
Isn't it awful that the one thing all our children have in common is unhappiness . It's as if they would be fine if only there was a happy pill we could give them. Which of course is why so many of them go down the drug/alcohol/quickfix route.
Yes I wish they were happy & the rest would follow. I'm really frustrated with DS2. He's the one who 3 weeks ago punched through a double glazed window, severing the tendons, nerves & the artery in his arm, if you remember. He had 9 hours of surgery & was in hospital 2 weeks. Anyway he's now in a guest house waiting for a place in a supported hostel. Obviously when he was in hospital 35 miles away I spent many evenings visiting & taking him things & collecting his belongings from his GF's flat, washing the cannabis stink & blood off them, phoning benefits, filling in forms, getting him a post office card account so he could get his benefits, liaising with social services & police etc etc. All he had to do was put his sick notes & birth certificate in a prepaid envelope & post them off to ESA last tuesday. I went over with more clean clothes yesterday & he hadn't done it. He had "mislaid" it all & "left it at his mate's house". When I was annoyed & said "I've spent hours sorting it all out for you (he can't write - no use of right hand) & all you had to do for yourself was that ONE SMALL THING!" he started shouting "Why do you blame me for everything, why is everything my fault? I never asked you to sort out my benefits!" Why then has he given them my address?! I bloody give up!! I told him to get out of the car (he was no doubt expecting to be taken out for lunch again) go & retrieve the envelope & put it in the post or his benefits would be stopped. I will forward all correspondence to him unopened from now on. I've spent all my days off carting my other kids about to see to him. Not one thank you, not one effort to help himself. I don't know why I expect anything else.
CAMHS appointment wasn't great. After all that worry that DD wouldn't go with me I think it might have been better to go on my own after all. She tried very hard actually, I was quite proud of her. She came along no fuss but she was clearly upset and left me to do most of the talking. But it was like I was sitting there telling this guy about all the bad things she does which I think felt awful for both of us. The guy we saw seemed to have some good ideas though so we've agreed for now that I'll go back on my own next week. Maybe if he can teach me to respond differently to her tantrums they won't get so bad.