Teenage troubles - long one!(11 Posts)
HELP!! I have no idea what to do about my daughter. This is a long one! I am a lone parent with a 15 year old daughter. She's never met her dad and has always said that that doesn't bother her at all. We've always been incredibly close, and over the last 2 years, as she's grown up, I've tried to be sensible about her pulling away from me, and allowed her a certain amount of freedom to learn life's lessons and make her own mistakes (within reason!!).
She's always been a great kid. Worked hard at school, been polite, well behaved etc etc, until this year.
Over the summer holidays she spent most of her time with a couple of friends who are also pretty good kids, from nice families. In the last week of the holidays I found out that the 3 of them had been taking drugs almost every day through out the holidays. Daughter had logged onto her facebook using my phone one day, and when I went to go on my facebook I didn't realise it was logged onto hers, and on checking messages there were lots about taking drugs, buying drugs etc. The 3 of them had become friends with a 16 year old at their school who was selling them ecstacy, cocaine, weed. I spoke with the other parents and we had a meeting at the school with the headmistress, the school got the police involved, but when all was said and done, there wasn't much support really other than us parents staying in contact and talking things through amongst ourselves. All three girls were grounded. Pocket money was stopped and any shopping that daughter wanted to do she was accompanied by me so I didn't have to give her money which could have been spent on drugs. We had long discussions, and although she was aware of the health risks and knows all the legal stuff, her reasons for taking drugs were that she enjoyed it and it made her feel good. I slowly lifted her restrictions until I felt I could trust her again, and we sat down together to make a set of "rules" which we both agreed on for things like help around the house, the time she was to be in each evening, pocket money etc.
All seemed to be going well until a couple of months ago when she asked to stay overnight at a friends. I said she could aslong as I had the phone number and address of the parents incase I needed to get hold of her. I said she was to be back by 12 the next day so we could go to her pony to feed, groom him etc. I didn't end up being given the parents details and got a text the following morning to say she'd be home late afternoon. I immediately smelt a rat, and after much discussion with her once she eventually got home I found out she'd stayed in a different town, with the older brother of the person who'd been selling the girls drugs over the summer. I was furious!! Anyway, she was grounded for a week, and we revisited the "rules" to see how we were getting on with them and if we both still agreed on them.
Our rules haven't really worked terribly well. She does very little to help around the house. I've only asked her to bring down her dirty washing and dishes from her room and tidy up after herself. I often come in from work to find biscuit and sweet wrappers lying all over the floor, cupboards open, mouldy, yes mould dishes in her bedroom, her stuff scattered around the house, wet towels in a heap in the corner of her bedroom. The usual teenage stuff I guess. She agreed she would try to stick to the rules from then on.
A while later I went in her bedroom to clear out the dirty clothes etc. In the pile on her floor there were a couple of tops still with shop labels on, and beside them a pile of jewellery still attached to the cardboard shop labels. Also several bottles of perfume and a load of underwear. Over £100 worth altogether. I just had a terrible feeling that she'd stolen these items and I was right. We had a discussion when she came home, and I did get pretty angry with her, but she eventually admitted to stealing the items. She said she did it because I didn't give her money to buy things. My daughter most often gets what she wants eventually. I never give in to her requests straight away as I want her to learn that she can't have everything she wants. If she asks for a pair of trainers, if she doesn't absolutely need them I'll buy them a month or 2 later. She wanted a new phone so she got the one she wanted 5 months later for Christmas. If there's something she really needs then we'll go shopping for it or I'll give her money to go shopping with her friends. I'm a bit more reluctant to give her money these days as I gave her £100 to buy some things for going back to school at the end of summer and it got spent on drugs.
So, we had a big discussion about the wrongs of stealing, criminal records and how they can affect your career prospects, how she would feel if everyone know she was a thief etc etc and she promised not to do it again. 2 weeks later we went on a nice shopping trip together to get her some essentials and head a nice meal out, and things looked like they were getting back on track.
Christmas came, and among her presents she had £120 so she could go shopping in the sales with her friends. She went on boxing day and spent £30, then went 2 days later to spend some more. She arrived home that evening and straight away I could see she had taken drugs of some kind. Her pupils were like saucers and her jaw was going back and forth, and she tried to tell me she hadn't taken anything. She eventually admitted she'd taken something but wouldn't say what. I asked her what she's bought at the shops and the answer was "nothing". On asking how much money she had left, I eventually got the answer "£10". She should have had about £70. To this day she still can't tell me where the money is, and swears blind she didn't spend it on drugs, that she was just given them by someone.
Daughter was grounded again. I told her the most hurtful thing was that I work hard for our money, and it was a big deal for me to give her £120 on top of the presents I'd bought, and that it really hurt me that she'd come home high as a kite on drugs with no money left.
I went out to work this week and asked her to do the few dishes in the sink before I got home and hoover the lounge which she did, and I thought she had perhaps learnt her lesson. Day 2 and I asked her to tidy out her underwear/nightwear drawer while I was out and I would bring her home a McDonalds for her tea (she LOVES McDonalds!!). She didn't tidy out her drawer and was back to being a grumpy teenager. Day 3 and we went riding on our horses and she was great. Although still grounded I said she could stay at a friends on New Years Eve. The friends mum rang me to reassure me of their plans for the evening, and I picked her up early afternoon today from the friends. All was well until she started getting grumpy and horrible in the car on the way home. For the last couple of months she's been smoking cigarettes, and spending lunch money and any other money she gets on tobacco and rolling her own cigarettes. She was demanding that I buy her cigarettes and got very angry and nasty when I said no. She went on and on at me and I got quite annoyed with her, and by the time we'd got back to the house she was doing her usual of saying she wouldn't listen to me, would go out if she wanted to even thought she's grounded and I annoyed her all the time.
So, I have no idea what to do!! Sometimes we get along brilliantly, but often she turns into this horrible monster who shows absolutely no respect for me. She thinks she rules the roost and can order me about and make all the decisions. I sometimes get quite angry at her, but try to remain calm and suggest we talk things through. We usually end up having a discussion about what we can both do to make things better, and setting some ground rules which 9 times out of ten she breaks. I know I'm not blame free and the way I react sometimes doesn't help. I can get frustrated and shout at her. I've started walking away now when I feel the anger rise. I sit down and have a cup of tea then go back to try to talk to her in a calm way. We sort everything out but then it's only a matter of time until she does something again. I've tried being understanding and reasonable and talking things through and that doesn't seem to work. I've tried being a bit stricter and that doesn't work.
I remember when I was a teenager and yes, I lied to my parents sometimes, and did things sometimes that they would have probably been horrified at if they'd known. I know I have to let her find her own way in life to a certain degree, but I can't carry on with the way things are. When at home she spends most of her time in her room chatting to friends on one of the social media sites. We agreed to have a few hours once a week to do something together, going out for lunch or tea, shopping, going to the local Sunday market, a trip somewhere. It's never really happened as she can't be bothered or she'd rather be with friends. I work full time and leave the house around 8 in the morning. She leaves for school at 8.25. I always make her breakfast and take it to her in bed so I know she's awake and fed before I leave. 2 or 3 times EVERY week I have the school contact me because she's turned up late, sometimes not until mid-morning. Surprisingly at school she's otherwise not doing too badly. She's in her 4th year of high school and in the top streams for all her subjects. Her homework is sometimes not handed in on time, but other than that her work is generally good. After school I arrive home about half an hour after her, and most days she's gone back out with friends so I don't see her until she's back late evening. We set a rule that she was to be back for tea at 6pm every day, and she could go back out again after tea if she had done her homework. She very rarely comes back in at 6pm, and so food is ruined and has to get thrown out. She never answers her phone when I ring her. We set a rule that I could ring her once when she's out, just to check in and find out where she was and what her plans are. She stuck to this I think for 2 days, then refuses to answer her phone or texts when she's out which she knows infuriates me. It's so frustrating not being able to get in touch with her when I know that she knows I'm trying to reach her.
I just have no idea how to enforce the standards I expect her to stick to. I just want her to come in for her tea, go where she says she's going to go, stick to what's legal and safe and show me just a tiny bit of respect. Sorry this is so long, but I'm at a loss as to what to do to make our relationship better and have come to the end with all of this. It's really affecting me and I'm not sleeping very well. I worry about her when she's out as I have no idea sometimes where she, who she's with or what she's doing. She lies sometimes about these things and doesn't seem to understand why that worries me. I love my daughter hugely, and I know she loves me, but right now I don't like her one bit and I think the feeling's mutual
You sound like a saint to me! What a lot you're having to deal with, and as a lone parent too. I'm no expert - my DD is 17, so older, but she dabbled in drugs this summer. My two DSs (20) also dabbled and still do. I think they all do it socially now and then, but DS1 and DD got into drugs more when they went through a bad time (both say they're through that now). This only lasted a few months. Also all smoked cigarettes and now say they don't. But they could of course be lying to me. All I can say is I was really naive and didn't realise how rife drugs are among the young.
I think from reading your post that the one big thing you have on your side is your close relationship with your DD. I know you describe some negative behaviour towards you, but also a lot of positive and doing stuff together. Also lots of discussions, which is great. I'm not giving you much help here, and that's because I'm having problems with my own DD and so don't feel particularly qualified to give advice. But I am glad of our close relationship and that at least she tells me what's going on. Sometimes a while after, and the same with my two DSs, but at least they tell me. We can't help or advise or direct if we don't know what's going on. So I would say keep that up, but not at the expense of disciplining now and then (which it sounds as if you do). DD says as I don't kick off often she takes it seriously when I do.
My DD was the same (still is) with the constant lateness for school. At least yours is doing well, mine wasn't. I also leave for work earlier than her, and ring her repeatedly till I know she's up. She still misses the Bis though and I feel like I'm treating her like a baby, it's ridiculous.
Don't really know what else to say. Sounds like you're doing what you can. The stealing and drugs are a big worry. Maybe get her more into the horse side of stuff so she has less time to get into trouble??? Good luck. It's so hard
Parenting teen girls is hard, so hugs. Frankly though, it sounds like your dd has a drug problem which any amount of rules cannot deal with. I would get her help asap. Can you get her to the GP or do you have a teen counselling service locally?
Thanks to both of you. I don't think she has a drug problem but I could be wrong. There was a lot of it in the summer, then nothing until last week. I can spot the signs a mile off, and am hoping this latest episode was a one off. She's absolutely assured me that she hasn't taken drugs since the summer and I believe her. We had a long chat last night and she knows how difficult all of this is for me, and she's agreed to try to think how her actions affect others before she does things. She's become friendly recently with the girl she was with on New Years Eve who also has horses, so I'm encouraging this friendship. I've invited the girl over to the stables where we keep ours to ride with DD, and hopefully this will become a regular thing.
God it's difficult isn't it!! I know we'll come out the other side at some point, but that could be years!! I've decided to pick my battles carefully and ask my self if it's really worth it before things we get into an arguement. As you say Peebles1, if I only kick off now and then, perhaps she'll take it more seriously when I do.
I must say, it's very reassuring to read through all the threads on here and to find out I'm only one of many who go through all this stuff. It can sometimes feel like I'm a bad mother or I'm the only one with a challenging child, so this forum is fantastic!!
The teenage years are very hard, for both parent and teen.
The best bit of advice I was given when I started having to deal with my DS when he was 15, was to stay close. Agree that being a teen is hard, school is boring etc, but they can get through it with your help. And pick your battles, as you do.
They are all exposed to drugs, I have had endless conversations with DS about them. I do not bother about a bit of weed, but not on school nights and talked to him a lot about the stronger stuff. He tells me that he does not take anything else, I am not too sure.
Just keep doing what you are doing, being a caring loving mother and that is what she will remember when she comes out of her teens. Good luck.
By the sounds of it, you are doing a wonderful job and I totally agree with op that relationship is most important thing, although teenagers will test to the limit! I think it was very honest of your daughter to admit that she took drugs because she liked the feeling, most young people wouldn't be able to be that open with their parents. Sorry, I don't have much advice but I think there's a lot of positives in your relationship with your daughter x
Have you considered that your daughter may be a victim of sexual exploitation? I work in that field and reading your post, a lot of the possible signs are there (behaving out of character, spending time with different friends, older males, using drugs, being taken to different towns, unexplained gifts/items). It might be worth having a read up on the barnardos website, see if any of the signs seem familiar. Often a victim will say they've stolen items rather than admit they've been given in exchange for sex. I don't want to alarm you, but it's worth considering.
My goodness OP! This all sounds dreadful! I would try and get her help asap for the drug use, teen counseling, or something similar. I would also keep a really close eye on everything she does and not be too trusting. try and engage her with the horses much more, so she is busy and has no time for much more. Hugs to you and stay strong! I really sympathize with you for what you are going through!
I'm so sorry to hear this I hope you manage to work it out. The only answer I can offer is the mystery drug with saucer sized pupils and jaw movements- MDMA.
hi sorry to read all that you are going through.my teen is older but ive had some awful trauma with him so i know just how you feel.
I just felt the need to say that you sound like an an amaising mother! THe fact that you are a single mother has absolutely no bearing on your daughters actions ( just in case you had any guilt). Making mistakes and getting cross is human - your daughter needs to see that as much as your relentless patients .
My Dh followed the advice in the book, get out of my life, but can you take me and Alex to town first.- to show your teen how to be a good person - my ds walked all over him ( I had distanced my self for preservation purposes) but relentlessly my Dh showed my ds how to be a decent human being, forgiving without apologies, shouted at and much much more- my ds was so selfish, it seemed he was unable to see a one else's perspective. But slowly, very slowly he is returning to us, with our relationship intact .
You, my friend, by what you have posted, shows you too are showing your daughter how to be a good person and you still have a relationship with her- so give yourself a lot of credit, a pat on your back and a large glass of your favourite tipple. There's no advice from me as there isn't any magic formular , you'll have to continue to worry, pick up the pieces and keep on keeping on. X
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