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So worried about my 13 yo dd...CAHMs? help please.(24 Posts)
my dd1 is 13.
i'm desperately worried about her. she seems to have so many tendencies that are cause for concern. these include eating in secret; ocd rituals to alleviate anxiety; obsessive use of social media; scratching her legs if very upset.
has just started a new school and although she is making loads of new friends, and its a school with outstanding behaviour in a 'leafy middle class area's he has grown up about 3 years in 2 months, in terms of shattering of innocence (exposure to swearing, seeing alcohol drunk at a party, watching a horror movie at a party, attention form boys on social media and finding it hard to stay internet safe in this area).
she has really low self esteem and has started saying she is thick (this is new, and she is actually above average intelligence) and that she hates her body and is fat (this is not new), saying she is jealous of her sister who is 'perefct'.
she looked at a picture of herself as a smiling seven year old yesterday and said 'l looked happy then didn't i?'
she said to me 'we used to be solid...we just have to accept we do't have a good relationship anymore...i used to tell you everything' .
she hates me and her dad for limiting her use of social media and reading her private msgs , but there were safeguarding issues. she knows that and feels mortified and ashamed about something she did that we found out about. she told me that 'she can't look at me in the same way now' (since this event).
sorry if this post is rambling or incoherent but my head is a bit of a whirl right now.
I'm going to the GP to ask for a camhs referral today. does that sound like a proportional reaction?
I'm wondering if i should send her back to her small private school that she just came from. she didn't have and soul mates and the teaching was uninspiring. and she did have friendship dramas. but it was a very protective environment. but dd would never forgive us. she says she loves her knew school and is very happy. but how can i reconcile her saying this, with all the above?
i feel sick to my stomach I'm so worried about her. even dh who is the complete opposite of an overthinking/ anxious parent is really, really worried about her.
what about the school counsellor?
or is it better to keep these things outside of school with a child who is fiercely defensive of her privacy and would undoubtedly be livid if i spoke to anyone at school?
Some of it sounds like normal teenage angst to me. Perhaps work on building her self esteem ?
To be honest it sounds like you need to rebuild your dd's trust. Not sure of the exact reasons for you reading her private messages? But she is entitled to some degree of privacy.
She sounds v angry with you.
I think advice will depend on which came first.
Did you limit her social media and read her private messages first or were there huge issues before whatever led to the point you felt you were justified to do that.
thanks. we read the msgs when she was in bed after a party in which alcohol was involved. we don't routinely check her phone. we were concerned this and stumbled on a thread between her and a boy. she did something very unwise (in terms of safeguarding) and yet we are the bad guys for checking the phone.
The social media addiction won't help anxiety because of the false images of perfect lives.
I would stick to your guns on that issue.
Also take her out socially yourself so she doesn't have to just interact with school friends at the weekend as they may be causing heartache. I remember at that time PMT was awful for me and would ruin about 2 weeks every month with anxiety. GP could help with this.
i hear what you're saying about trust. but suppose you looked in your child's bag and found vodka. who would be 'in the wrong' the snooper, or the vodka smuggler? (assuming the bag checker was on a instinct that something was wrong rather than routine snooping).
btw, yesterday i was tidying her room, with her permission. i found her diary. i didn't read it.
re her comments about not telling me stuff any more. I'm wondering if this is more a cry for help as in 'you don't know what i'm going through, you don't understand my life any more' (rather than simply being angry at us).
kennington, what do you think is reasonable about the social media? we have got rid of snapchat as she sent inappropriate pictures on it and you can't see exactly what they were as they then disappear. she still has instagram but she is of the view that if we ban that then we will be wrecking all her social life/ friendships.
Breathe OP. I not saying you're wrong to worry- I would be too- but you sound like you're at the end of your tether and that won't be helping. The way you talks about her "innocence" feels kind of like you're keen to keep her as a child. No, she shouldn't be drinking and having sex (if that's what she's been doing) of course, and as a parent it is your job to stop that, but at this age she will be moving away from you and have secrets from you. Her hormones are in a whirl, she's discovering romantic and sexual feelings.
I'm not saying that you have nothing to worry about but this sounds like typical teenage drama and nonsense to me rather than real mental health issues. How's her school work? Are her grades suffering?
Fellout, thank you. in terms of innocence, i absolutely know that this is inevitable but the reason i use the term 'shatter' is because its happened so quickly by virtue of changing school. the massive culture shock is really hard for dd, i think.
i agree also that their is teenage angst in there that is normal. but i believe the ocd and rock bottom self esteem and anxiety are a real concern i have another dd who has no issues at all.
i am the sort of parent that does need to be told occasionally to 'breathe'... but dh is rurally, really worried and this is new too.
I have a teen going through CAMHS at the moment. What I would do is go to the GP on your own in the first instance to tell them about the OCD symptoms, self harm and low self esteem involving disliking her body. The GP will then want to talk to her and will know what to tactfully ask without your DD having heard you. Hopefully they will then refer to CAMHS for an assessment but they may not and you'll need to go back again. I think they hope some problems will go away on their own. It's a long waiting game so I wouldn't delay anymore. (Not saying you are, but best to get the ball rolling straightaway IYSWIM)
I think the anger at you reading her messages is almost a seperate issue, although of course they interact. Do you think she was willing to message the boy like that to shore up low esteem? If so mention that too, well tell them everything obvs but I would think the above symptoms would ring most alarm bells for them.
I haven't faced this myself but re the messages, I would just accept the anger and say, well, we're keeping you safe and that is our job. We're not here to be your friends, we're your parents. I would absolutely veto any mixed parties especially where there is likely to be alcohol. What are people thinking letting 13 year olds have alcohol?! That's not a recipe for disaster, not at all . Ask her what if she would like her daughter to be in that situation in years to come? Might make her think.
Also I think teens are very good at throwing a massive great strop about being stopped doing something grown ups think is dangerous but actually somewhere in their minds, they're glad someone put a stop to it. They get to stop (that must have been as frightening as it was 'exciting') but they save face because 'mum made me'. If she isn't glad you stopped it, she will be when she's older. Someone cares enough to face displeasure from her. She will feel safer in the long run because you've put some boundaries in place. Yes, she'll kick at them, that's her job, but you've got your job too.
I'd explain all this to her, don't expect any response though, but she will be listening. Then leave her to think about it. Eventually, it'll get through. She'll appreciate you eventually, promise! It's bloody hard parenting teenagers. Almost (but not quite) makes me wistful about the toddler years!
have just re read my OP and i can totally see what you mean fallout. but its the first paragraph really that sums up the concern. the anxiety especially.
Social media is nothing unusual I'm afraid. I'm not sure how bad the pics were but many teens are doing this sadly and there have been issues at all of the local high schools in my area.
The rituals and leg scratching are a sign of both managing anxiety and also anxiety.
I have found that the more parents check up or interfere as the teen would see it the more devious teens can become. I get what you are saying about checking and who is the bad guy but in her eyes it is you.
I would ring parentline/young minds who are respectively a parental helpline and a child mental health charity to talk things through. Nothing you have written screams MH issue to me apart from the rituals. But again it will depend how intense/limiting they are.
If you ban instagram the relationship will deterioate further.
OP having read the other responses, I wouldn't say it is just teenage angst. It might be more serious and certainly has the potential to be more serious. Let GP and CAMHS make that desicion but be persistent with them if you think they are brushing you off or not seeing the seriousness, or if things escalate. If it all turns out to be nothing much, you can bow out at any stage. Very hard to get help if things suddenly get worse and she's not in the system. Wishing you all the best. Happy to chat more if it would help.
emily, bless you. thanks for your wise words. we actually want to get a GP referral so we can take her to get counselling privately and i absolutely will focus on the self esteem and ocd. i feel 'self harm' would be too strong description but its certainly a worry.
we have said similar to what you have advised to dd; that we know that our 'rules' will make her mad and that sometimes she will 'hate us' for it, but that we have to keep her safe and do what we feel is right as her parents. and that may be different from what others are allowed to do.
re the boy...she says that in school, everyone is either a 'slut' or 'frigid' and alluded to the fact that she felt she needed to appear more precocious than she is actually feeling in that area, iyswim.
x post. smallwood. hi. social media may be nothing unusual. but self harm in teens is at an all time high and social media is widely acknowledged in playing part.
i am am getting some serious alarm bells for dd. know i'm repeating myself, but dh is really, really laissez faire and usually tells me off for over thinking. but he is worried sick about the drastic change in her whole personality and behaviour in just one half term.
she has talked about feeling frightened but not knowing what of. she said how her rituals have got lots worse lately.
the other night she wanted to stay up late and watch tv programmes later than normal. it turned out she was too frightened to go to bed.
(she has moments of being her old self and talks candidly then shuts us out the next minute- typical teen there!)
What a horrendous culture it is now. Trouble is, if you don't do these kind of things, you're 'frigid' but if you do, then presumably you're a 'slut'. Horrible words. There's no winning that one, is there. Poor girls. I've got a little DD too, makes me so worried for her. Hugs to you OP. I know it's not the done thing on here, but really, things are just too hard sometimes.
thank you emily. your kind, understanding words mean a lot. its just the pits for teens, these days, isn't it? i also have a dd2 who is 2 years younger but a totally different child, emotionally. i often think that dd1's 'jealousy' of her sister is down to wishing she was a bit less complex emotionally.
I would get her help. Go to the GP. Some of this is normal and sone of it is not. She could have depression which could exacerbate the OCD and self harm.
She may not be depressed too, so don't be worried by the idea.
We are dealing with something very similar but also food related (a dislike towards/ED) and have gone to the GP and have just gotten a referral. We are waiting now for the first appointment. My advice is definitely start the ball rolling. The earlier you pick up on these things and start helping her with it the less likely it will grow to an even bigger problem. In the meantime find things she enjoys and do these things with her. Try not to engage negative thought or speak. Just listen to the hard stuff she is working through. Your job is not to try and change what she is working through. The one thing you want up do now is grow a connection with her, not a gap. Don't argue or fight if you can. Get alongside her where you can and just encourage her and do fun things with her, until you can get in with someone who can help her to work through some of what she is feeling, and empower her to get through what she is going through. I hope that helps.
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