What to do about my 'homeless' teen

(19 Posts)
Cohomological Mon 07-Oct-13 22:27:00

Let her have some fun with her friends!
If you want to fix the situation you should probably apologise for being so controlling and ask her to live with you again.

I made SS take DD into care for a long weekend. She wised up quickly after that.

Bunnielish Wed 02-Oct-13 19:04:06

Thanks LMarie07. Have just started twice weekly sessions with one of our Council's SW and psychologists. Hopefully we'll do better than last year when DD stayed at a family friend's house for 6 weeks. We all thought it would give us time to work through our issues, but instead my DD just got comfy, although she would stop by our house frequently, mainly for school signatures and money (Grrr!). SS were happy with the arrangement (funny that) and told hubs and I that if we wanted her back we'd have to be less rigid. Happily, the arrangement died a natural death as it was nearing the summer hols, my friend's family went on holiday and my DD was due to go to the Netherlands with her sister for their annual break with Nana.
Our biggest problem currently is managing to successfully (and safely) disengage with our daughter during conversations. We've tried most of the techniques suggested, but few really address teens barring your exit from a room, preventing you driving off, or even making it to your supposed 'safe room' where you can lock yourself away - which isn't really that practical when you've a house full of younger kids, and dinner's cooking on the hob.
I'm hoping the novelty of her present 'home' will wear off. Girls of 15 are always falling out, aren't they? We're not funding her at the moment, and she's got no phone now. Sticking to my guns of 'You can lead a horse to water, and though you can't make them drink, you CAN make them thirsty!
Will let you know how we all progress.

LMarie07 Mon 30-Sep-13 15:47:38

Have you thought about calling the National Runaway Safeline? Our have your daughter call. You can get some great resources for dealing with a runaway youth. And she can get some great intervention for discussing what's going on with her. I hope things work out for you two, in the meantime consider calling 1-800-RUNAWAY.

sashh Sat 28-Sep-13 09:55:17

Does she feel unsafe? Are you sure she is making that up? I'm not saying she is unsafe, just asking if she has any reason to feel that way. And I don't mean in a sensible adult way, I mean in the convoluted logic of a teenager.

Lets cut this down to what has she actually done wrong? Or her version of it.

She stayed out until 3.00 am on a weekend. Was she drunk? Was she drugged?

You have read her texts and she doesn't want to get drunk or take drugs but you are using that to keep her in - remember this is teenage logic.

From personal experience I know it is perfectly possible to go out to places where everyone else is off their head on some substance or other but not do it your self. I quite enjoy being the only sober clean person at a party.

You want her back, what are you prepared to compromise? What is she prepared to compromise.

I know a 15 year old staying out half the night is not ideal, but is it something you could compromise over? One night a week, only on a weekend, not in exam time etc. You can use a mobile phone as a sort of tracker, so you can see where she (well her phone) is - would she agree to this?

Personally I do not think your dh should be touching her, even if she is blocking you in. Do you really want to teach her that a bigger stronger man can physically do what he wants?

What will she compromise on?

finallydelurking Fri 27-Sep-13 19:44:22

Ah! OK, I was going to ask what her previous history was! I have previously (against my better judgement) allowed my DD to places I knew damn well there was sod all adult supervision, on the proviso she kept in regular text contact. But her previous form is good for leaving unsafe situations and returning home. I still don't know if this is crap parenting or not. I suspect I'm in a similar area of the country to you and also have several girls to get through. Good luck.

Bunnielish Fri 27-Sep-13 19:11:27

My DH and sister agree with you Floralnomad, although we did drop some clothes off today. I worry about my parental responsibility issues if she's at this house in town all weekend, but there's not really much I can do unless I force the police to flush her out and risk her running away for real.
Haven't hassled any family that have had her this week (3/4 different ones, I think), or been stressy, begging her to come back. Just had one phone call with her via the Principal's office at school, during which I calmly stated that I loved her, and that she was welcome back home at any moment etc. Her response was that I'm nasty, she hates me, is never living with me and 'that man', she doesn't love me, why aren't I crying about that fact, oh and that she wanted to kill herself, before hanging up on me. All designed to push my buttons according to SW, and I certainly DID cry when the conversation ended. Thankfully, she sounded pretty perky the following night when she was ordering DD2 to bring some books and underwear to school the next day.
SW wants us all to meet up next week to start mediation, so we'll have to see what happens.
Not sure you would have been so happy with her photo text idea, finallydelurking, if you'd read some of her historical texts. We live in a middle class ghetto, where it seems a lot of parents have given up caring what their kids do at night and where they do it. Or maybe they just want to trust them. My daughter proudly tells me that there are regular outdoor parties at a local underpass (but no one drinks/does drugs, of course) and that she wants to go to the next one. I say fine, IF I can talk to a friend's mum who's OK with it too! Friend A went mental at DD and said she better make sure I didn't call her mum. Other texts showed DD was planning to go, but was scared of being left with people she didn't know and that she didn't want to get drunk. Friend B wouldn't promise to stick with her and that she was gonna drink and 'shit'. This was 3 weeks ago and I was fed the same 'sleepover' line whereby I miraculously couldn't check with any parent, that the sleepover was real.
Sadly my DD was given a level 2 caution in June for shoplifting £250 clothes. She wants to go to Cambridge, which is a hard enough feat without having to explain your less than stellar police record. Basically, she can't afford to get busted for underage drinking. Hence her phone ban. Honestly, each time we've called the police 101 line and they ask if she's 'vulnerable', I want to say YES!
Only 4 more girls to get through - I fear for my sanity ;-)

gamerchick Fri 27-Sep-13 15:36:13

Take her clothes and a food parcel. Give her a small amount of money and collect washing.

Don't get stressy and ask her to come home.. let her know she's welcome home and leave it at that.. Treat it as a tantrum and give it minimal attention.

Don't engage with her drama or feed the attention seeking behaviour.

It'll be tough but from experience it's the only way to deal with these types of teens.

She'll calm down believe me.

finallydelurking Fri 27-Sep-13 14:55:08

Hi

I actually think I would deliver the clothes/money, if this is a request from the SW. To show that you are not the unreasonable party. What are SS offering by way of mediation to facilitate her return to the family home? Are they perhaps able to help draw up a 'contract' of what is reasonable behavior from all sides. ie she is perhaps allowed more freedom provided there is no aggression/violence (and I do count 'blocking' in that catergory).

However I would've agreed to the texting solution in the first place and would allow friends to stay if there were problems in their homes (I would inform parents/SS/school whoever was most appropriate, though) Not sure what this says about my own parenting skills though!

Floralnomad Fri 27-Sep-13 11:38:48

I think I'd be telling the social worker that if she wants to she can come and collect the clothes to take to her . If you have at no point said she is not welcome at home then surely SS should just put her in care , likewise if they're taking her stories of feeling unsafe at home seriously surely they should put her in care . That's the point I would be making to them and I also would not be funding her staying at friends houses . At 15 she needs to be under someone's care and if that's not you then its SS responsibility .

Bunnielish Fri 27-Sep-13 11:31:45

Feel so frustrated!
Just had SS on phone asking us to take a packet of clothes and some money to school for our daughter, whilst she continues to stay at yet another 'friends' house. I'm feeling coerced over the clothes, but there's no way I'm funding this charade.
I've asked the social worker if she's questioned daughter about her long term plans and she mentioned that DD has considered staying at current friends long term (wonder if parent knows this!).
DH shocked me yesterday by mentioning a family who took a runaway's parents to court to sue for maintenance whilst harbouring their 16 yo, and won. WTH!
All over confiscating a phone, cos she damn well deserved it!
Just how far am I going to be made to go along with all this, it's so blxxdy ridiculous. I'm starting to wonder who the parents in this relationship are?

Bunnielish Thu 26-Sep-13 10:58:31

I'm hoping her lack of resources will indeed bring her home. Trouble is, for now she's managing to get by on people's sympathy by saying she 'feels' unsafe at home and probably some horrible lies about her stepfather hitting/shoving her a lot. None of this is true, I'm always around on these occasions. We have terrible trouble trying to get her to disengage from conflict - even if we try to remove ourselves from her vicinity, she'll try to block you in (which is very threatening to me as she's 5.9 to my 5.1). I'll try to plead with her to pass, and my husband will give her a couple of warnings and then forcibly move her out of the way. I guess you could call it a type of shoving, but she's given warnings and resists, HARD, hence the reason it may be uncomfortable, but what do you do?
I don't have contact details of any of these parents - we live in rural Cambridgeshire, so I don't know most of them - makes me feel so helpless, especially as I know if I ask the school today, they're unlikely to be able to give me personal info.
I think I'll just have to wait until she runs out of options. :-(

Fressia Wed 25-Sep-13 19:37:27

At some point she will need to come home if no one giving her money ect she needs lunches , clean cloths , food are these other parents she sofa surfing on keeping u informed ect , do u have contact with her friends to try and help x

Bunnielish Wed 25-Sep-13 16:30:11

Thanks sfbunnies, but we have no one local. Her only grandma lives in Rotterdam and my sister lives a couple of hours away. I'm sure both would help, but my DD has her sights set on doing Medicine at Oxbridge or somewhere similar, so I'm sure would be extremely resistant to moving. Must say though, that Hong Kong or Singapore look really attractive to ME right now. I'd like to runaway too! Possibly somewhere without SS.
Starting to wonder what she's doing for lunch money (she normally takes a packed lunch). Should I just wait for her to come back, rather than pleading? Doesn't seem to be getting me anywhere anyway.

sweetfluffybunnies Wed 25-Sep-13 15:35:48

Sorry to hear this bunnie. I'm sure you've already thought of this, but is there a family member she could stay with? Grandparent, aunt or uncle? Maybe as a temporary measure until things calm down a bit.

Bunnielish Wed 25-Sep-13 14:43:20

Oh dear. DD would only talk to me on the phone and is adamant that she hates me and her stepdad, and is never coming home. Three years before uni means a lot of sofa surfing, or housing through SS. I think my teen thinks it will be some Tracy Beaker affair, near our village, in her school catchment area etc., despite me telling her to the contrary. SS REALLY don't want to start this ball rolling and have tried to get me to reason with her (give her total amnesty, more like). Problem is, to her, reasonable would be no consequences ever, and no husband either. :-(

ArgyMargy Wed 25-Sep-13 14:34:44

She's not homeless, she has run away from home. This is why social workers get a bad name. Please trust your instincts, ignore the nonsense being thrown your way. Best of luck. X

sweetfluffybunnies Wed 25-Sep-13 14:29:11

Good luck bunnie, hope you manage to sort things out with your daughter.

Bunnielish Wed 25-Sep-13 13:22:01

Just finished a very upsetting visit from a local social worker about my 15 teen daughter. It all kicked off on Saturday night after I tried to thwart her plans for an impromptu sleepover round a friends house. I said no, after it became clear that the parents weren't home and they tried to convince me that they could prove they would be remaining at home by texting me photos every 30 mins, with a clock in the background (seriously, my A/A* child can be so stupid at times)! Thought I'd won the battle when she came home and agreed with all the reasons I'd said I wasn't happy, only to realise she was getting changed and packing some stuff. Yep, she was going anyway, except somewhere else in the village, to an unknown address. Warned her that I would cancel her phone contract, but she left anyway, texting us a couple of bogus addresses (which we checked) and warning us not to phone the police, which of course we ignored. She came back at 03:00, which was a relief, but I didn't confront her til the next morning, before we went out to a local National Trust place with our other kids. She wouldn't speak to me. Whilst we were out, a Police officer called round and gave her a stern talking to, which obviously had no effect.
To cut a long story short, she's been away from home since Sunday (thankfully going to school), and is sofa surfing at friends houses. However, tonight she is out of options. To extend the amount of time she has before coming home to face the music, she told the school yesterday that she can't come home because she feels unsafe. Honestly, you should see the bruises she inflicted on my DH as he held her to one side so I could leave her bedroom unharmed on Sat. Social services came round to say she's 'homeless', except as far as I'm aware her bedroom's still in the same place. SS are trying to make us come up with solutions to housing her (friends etc), other than the ruddy obvious and it's making me feel so sad and helpless.
Going to school now to try and talk some sense into her. Wish me luck!

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