Please help! DD trying to blackmail me. WWYD?(42 Posts)
DD is 14. Has started (amongst other things), playing with naked flames in the house. Because it's fun she says. Can no longer leave her in the house alone as she was doing it while I was out, but now is doing it under our noses in her bedroom.
She has stolen matches (from a youth club) and played with them in her room, and last night put some material in her hair straighteners then purposely left it while she showered. The smell gave her away (again), and I had to threaten the loss of her phone to get her to point us to what she'd done. The smell was horrendous, and the material had started to smoke while she was still in the shower.
She is saying that there is no point in me keeping on punishing her for it, because she will only do something worse next time. OMG!
How can I deal with this, I am not thinking rationally at the moment....
try the local fire station to see if they run an open day you can send her on, or some come round and do fire safety checks to give her a good talking to. maybe if someone scares the shit out of her with the potential consequences she'll pack it in?
What a fab idea Mindy. I have done that already and someone is going to come round and talk to her. thank you
surely there does have to be a consequence though? I told her there would be last time if she did it again.
What about getting her involved with Girlguiding or Scouting?
They do loads of stuff with lighting fires, but in a controlled and safe way.
Ask the local police if someone will come round and talk to her.
There must be more to this as this is not normal behaviour.
What else is going on?
I think I'd be getting her round to the doctors to see if Children's mental health could help.
I would speak to the police too. And maybe have a word with the GP.
Removing her straighteners would be a reasonable consequence (and I am aware of what a loss this would be to a teenage girl!).
I would also sweep her room for any other potential fire starters. She is putting your life, her siblings lives and her own life at risk. You've got to deal with it with the utmost seriousness.
Also, make sure your smoke alarms are sorted.
Finally, just reading this has made me angry with your DD (can you tell?!), but I guess there must be a reason for this behaviour, which needs addressing with empathy (good luck with that).
guides is where she stole the matches from
You say she's trying to blackmail you. Whilst I agree with all the action, what's the issue at hand? Is it that she is pyromaniac, pretty rare, or are there other behaviours? What's the underlying problem?
there is loads going on. she is already seeing camhs and I've had the police round for her stealing.
she has huge issues but the potential fire risks are a priority.
I hardly dare take the straighteners but am trying to pluck up the courage
I don't have a teenager, so not really qualified to give advice, but I genuinely think you must take straighteners away. You need to treat this very seriously. It's not a matter of punishing her (although she does deserve it), you need to keep your family and her safe.
I have to agree that taking the straighteners is the right course of action. As a mother of teenage dds I completely understand why you need to pluck up the courage to do this (shudder to think of the reaction that would cause in my house), but she has to see her very very dangerous actions have consequences.
I would remove anything from her room that could be a fire hazard, for a start. I would do a sweep of the room and remove everything. If I had to keep everything in the house locked up, I would. Also if she has been out, then she needs to be searched for matches etc. Guides (if you still decide to let her go) need to know and they need to ensure that matches etc are not available.
It would be a very bad idea to give her the impression that you can be controlled by her threats. The potential there to escalate is huge and since we are talking about fire, it is dangerous.
Make sure you have enough fire protection in the house - smoke alarms etc.
Get her some more help.
I wonder does she understand that setting a fire could result in her death from smoke inhalation or burning? I know that sounds like a ridiculous question, but what does she think would happen if the house caught fire? If the stuff had gone up while she was in the shower, does she understand she may have been trapped in there and died?
I just wonder when she visualises fire, what does she imagine happens?
Remove everything that could cause a fire straight away, lock away anything of yours that she could take. For her to leave something in her straighteners and leave on purpose until it was smoking proves that she is deadly serious about causing a fire. For goodness sake get your smoke alarms checked. If she stole matches, inform the Guide Leader in order that she can be monitored while attending. I would suggest mental health support ASAP as she is not blackmailing you, she is seriously considering killing you and everyone else in your house.
Remove straighteners immediately.
Anything else that could cause fire / combust easily.
You cannot afford to think of 'her sensibilities' but only of safety.
Great idea about fire safety info.
Speak to cahms / GP.
I don't have a teenager btw but you cannot afford to risk 'the worst' happening.
My dd1 is 14.4
If she did anything like this pretty much everything electrical, especially her (beloved) ghds, would be locked away.
Being interested in fire is one thing. Deliberately fire setting would mean no phone, no privileges, no money beyond lunch money (and even then, maybe packed lunches, no cash).
But I'm mean when I feel like it.
thank you so much for your support. I have removed not only the straighteners but the crimpers and tongs and curler thing. world war 3 will start around 8 30.
I reported to guides about the matches. she apparently dug to the back of a cupboard to find them even though she denied it. I didn't find out til she was caught with them at school.
Off to school now back later.
many thanks I thought I might have been over reacting
If she had them at school, I would talk with the school. It may be something a group of them are getting 'interested' in and egging each other on. They might be able to help stamp it out (sorry, did not mean a pun as I wrote it!).
Have you asked her why she is doing this?
school told me she was playing with matches and she was given sanctions. she told them she got them from guides so I contacted them to see how she had got hold of them. of course they were
she told me that she was experimenting and it was fun.
She is saying that there is no point in me keeping on punishing her for it, because she will only do something worse next time.
There is far more to this behaviour. This is extreme acting out. She is trying to get a reaction from you and trying to gain a sense of control. Take the things away that you need to remove to keep her safe, but I wouldn't punish her more than that. She is right, her behaviour will get bigger until you find out what is going on to cause it. CAMHS should be able to help with this.
I would talk to her. Ask her you she feels, ask her what she feels she needs from you.
I would be very concerned about her.
Ds had a period of doing stuff with the cigarette lighter he took to DofE, bit then saw me forget to put out a candle and he saved the house.
So I suspect that there is a mix of fire wonder but far more important control, without the understanding. Somehow you need to.get to the bottom of this. If she has issues and is stealing as well, she, you and your family are all in serious need of help.
I think you must seek help. Perhaps approach your GP. It certainly needs to be dealt with. It sounds like it could be a mental health issue as in compulsion so if it is not sure the usual steps of punishment and grounding would help.
I don't know if this is relevant to your situation or not but my dsis went through similar as a teen. The worst occasion I know of was when she set fire to her top (while wearing it) in a bar and had to put her arm in loo to put it out. She was prob 17 then but things like shooting an airgun in her room, taking sockets off the wall, burning stuff had been going on for a while.
I don't think (but don't know for certain) that there was anything more to this than teenage hormones, low self esteem and a major clash between her personality and my parents parenting style.
She struggled (as did I) with self esteem, poor decision making (usually boy and alcohol related) until she was prescribed prozac in her mid-20s. A short period of feeling better about herself and life was enough to alter her perspective long term.
For me, the fix was even simpler. I went on the pill and no longer spent 3 weeks month in tears, convinced I was worthless and the 4th in s manic, happy and usually dangerously drunk / flirtatious state.
The reason I am posting this is I think my sister, and I know I, had suffered no great trauma or event to cause our feelings or behaviour - we just found it very hard growing up.
My parents set and enforced rules to keep us safe, punished us for breaking them but always made it clear they loved and supported us. Obviously at the time we resented this but our relationship now is pretty positive.
This essay is probably not helpful but I wanted to say there may not be "a reason" for the behaviour, sometimes being a teenager is just hard and surviving it is all you can aim for.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.