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MaryZ's support thread for parents of troubled teenagers

(480 Posts)
MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 10:12:41

I am starting this thread in the hope that it will become a safe space for those of us strugging with very challenging teenage behaviour.

I'm hoping that it will be a support thread, rather than descend as so many threads do into a "criticism of the parents". Those of us in this situation know that it is pretty much impossible to just "tell them to stop" or to "ground them", and taking away phones, money and gadgets leads to lying stealing and running away sad.

Sadly it seems cannabis is at the bottom of an awful lot of these children's problems, and I'm hoping we can talk about that here without having to defend ourselves against the "cannabis does no harm" brigade. So if anyone tries to turn it into an argument about whether cannabis is addictive or harmful, could you please just ignore them and hope they go away - or start another thread which I can hide where they can argue away happily.

Anyway, sign in if you are interested. I'll be back later.

Witchety Sun 28-Oct-12 10:20:12

I'll sign in but although I've got 3 teens, the troubled one is now a dream

That's cos of you Mary though I doubt you know how much your advice really helped my family!

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 10:28:52

Thanks Witchety smile. I must say, I'm doing much better with ds2.

It's great when they grow up, isn't it? I'm getting short glimpses now of the child ds1 used to be, hidden in the grouchy horrible person he has been for the last five years.

Witchety Sun 28-Oct-12 10:31:58

I'm enjoying my teens now. Can't believe I said that!

Went to rock bottom to get where we are now tho, and no drugs involved. Just bad influences from 'friends'

brighterfuture Sun 28-Oct-12 10:38:45

Thanks Maryz . Its really so helpful to talk about this with other parents who've been through the same thing. Parenting a teen who can't see how they are self destructing is so stressful...

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 28-Oct-12 10:44:51

Another one who has come through out of the dark side. smile

Smug, ignorant, mummies who come on here and bleat their moral superiority really give me the RAGE. You were lucky, dear, that's all.

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 11:36:27

Yes, it's horrible how simplistic some people's views can be until they are actually put in the position of having to deal with it.

And I agree, the worst thing (worse than the violence, the arguments, the constant fear that something awful will happen) is having to stand by and watch someone you love destroy themselves and their lives. It's horrible. And for a long time I couldn't talk about it in real life.

I felt so ashamed that I couldn't help him. And my experiences were so far removed from other parents. They were worrying about university places and going mad if their children weren't home by midnight. I was worrying every day about whether ds would kill himself, or even worse kill someone else.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 28-Oct-12 11:41:57

Oh and "it must be the parents" mentality.

No, sometimes it's the child (and their friendship group).

All DH, I, Police, SS, Schoo(s)l, Child Psych and our extended family could do was pick up the pieces until DD grew up enough to see what damage she was doing. 3 years on, she's amazing and I'm very proud of her.

I nearly lost my job and what was left of my sanity. There was NOTHING I could do to make it stop. God alone knows how much we tried sad

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 11:49:18

Jaysus, stop me going back to brighter's thread [mutter].

It's too early for a dingdong.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 28-Oct-12 11:55:33

I lurked and left wink

brighterfuture Sun 28-Oct-12 12:47:01

I'm outa there too .
The worst is not being able to share my traumas with friends locally as I want to protect my ds and his siblings from judgements and rumours. That's why I looked to MN to share what i'm going through..... Everything is peaceful now , just had a lovely lunch with 5 teens laughing and joking smile. Jeez its like living with jeckyl and hyde.

Schlock Sun 28-Oct-12 12:48:50

I learned to stop talking about the misadventures of my own troubled teen (15, girl) a while back because I couldn't stand being judged any more.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 28-Oct-12 12:52:32

Don't let the ignorant shut you up Schlock , you need support and deserve to get it.

I know I did and still do my very very best for my DC. If the professionals couldn't think of one thing that my family should have done to change things, narrow minded idiots have not a hope in hell of making me feel bad or guilty.

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 13:27:52

I have decided that I am no longer going to be ashamed of what ds1 does.

I have decided it isn't my fault. I have done my best, and even if (like all parents) I have made some wrong decisions I did the best I could at the time. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but looking back is a waste of emotional energy that I can ill afford hmm.

I too have had to face parents turning their backs on me in the school car park, people talking behind my back, my younger children being teased and ostracised for being ds1's siblings. I have lost count of the number of people who have told me my son is a waste of space and I should just kick him out.

But I also have very good friends who have stuck by me and been unbelievably supportive (even though I assume some of them are absolutely horror-struck, they have never said anything negative about ds, and have supported me 100%). Without them I couldn't have survived.

So I decided about two years ago to stop hiding things and pretending things were ok. I have been for counselling, and have realised that I can't change him, but I can change how I react to what he does, and although life isn't easy it is at least manageable.

And on the plus side - he is still here, we are still a family (dysfunctional as it may be grin).

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 28-Oct-12 13:38:41

It's funny, but since I was always so open about what was going on, no-one has ever really been horrible to me about DD.

<Disclaimer - In RL I am, erm, vair assertive despite my hideous anxiety disorder>

In fact, one of my colleagues has been going through a really rough time with her DD recently and is mighty relieved to have me around for non-judgey chats.

I refuse to be ashamed, dammit, and anyone who thinks I should is welcome to come round here and attempt to convince me wink

xxDebstarxx Sun 28-Oct-12 13:51:29

I so need this thread thank you. I had started thinking I was the only one who had a teenager who refused to do what they were asked. Everyone else I know has dream teenagers who get up for school when asked, eats what they are given, clean their rooms and speak politely at all times [rollseyes]

My son on the other hand refuses to get up, refuses to go to school, moans about the food I cook, refuses to clean his room and occasionally grunts at me.

My other son is not a dream but does do a bit better on all counts.

I am trying to resign myself to being a good enough mum rather than the super mums who live near me!

Witchety Sun 28-Oct-12 15:45:37

My daughter left to live with her friend. A month before her exams. Didn't attend her exams!! All those years of getting her through school to fall at the last hurdle!!

Worst thing for me was her teacher ringing me 'to check you are ok, I feel for you' he made me cry! But now I see him as he's ds teacher too, and we both laugh at her antics! She called the head a c u n t once, and along with her head of year, we can laugh. Her school was very very supportive. And took care of me too. I'm forever grateful to them.

Dd is now in college and back home....

Alameda Sun 28-Oct-12 15:51:28

what a good idea, I had a very troubled, very unhappy teen, now 20 and trying to make her way in life having missed huge chunks of formative time through hospitalisation and all that surrounds it

just wanted to add my best wishes smile

ExitPursuedByAaaaaarGhoul Sun 28-Oct-12 15:56:41

Signing in. DD is 13 and not tooooooo bad at the moment.

But you never know.


Mrsrobertduvallsaysboo Sun 28-Oct-12 16:45:28

Dd is 16, with OCD and anxieties. Last year was horrible...self harming, talking about killing herself, running away.
However, hormones have calmed down, she is dealing with OcD better and life is so much better.
I feel strange not having to worry too much iyswim.

I am very open about what we have been through, I refuse to feel ashamed or guilty. Dh however thinks differently. Should be kept within the family. Guess which one of us is having therapy? Him.
And school were fantastic.

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 16:48:22

It's the worry and anxiety that get to me, I think. The fact that I'm afraid to relax, ever, in case some disaster strikes and I should have (somehow) prevented it.

And of course I can't prevent it. I can just almost kill myself trying to anticipate and prevent every possible permutation and combination of what might happen.

It's exhausting. So I have (pretty much) stepped off the rollercoaster and am trying the "what will be will be" approach.

amillionyears Sun 28-Oct-12 16:56:44

Good thread MaryZcary.

Lilka Sun 28-Oct-12 17:06:12

I really relate to the anxiety and waiting for the shit to hit the fan constantly. I have one difficult teen (but nowhere near as difficult as your DS1 or many others) and one who was extremely difficult teen but is now a mostly healthy and functioning adult. But I don't have much hope that my DD2 can make it to where DD1 is, they are just so different

DD2 has shut herself in her room. Well, sort of shut, her door is broken after a shouting/hitting/kicking/breaking things episode last night. It has a hole in it, and a hinge is pretty busted. My ear drums have a metaphorical hole in them after being sworn at, screamed at and threatened for several hours straight. The worst bit was comforting DS, who was really upset and saying how scared he is when she gets like this. That's the thing that really hurts the most. This is not fair on him

I also hate not having any money to do nice things for all of them because I have to spend on replacing doors, phones and other things she breaks . New door and new plates now needed. Or maybe no new door, I'll think about it

MaryZcary Sun 28-Oct-12 17:09:55

I stopped fixing things Lilka.

I have odd posters covering holes in walls. And two doors that don't shut.

The punch bag is getting the worst of it at the moment, which is great.

It's hard to protect younger ones sad, but I've found that my younger two aren't bothered if I'm not. Whereas when I used to get upset and take it personally they were very bothered by it.

Now I just sigh and say "he's off again, stay out of his way" and we do. I pretend not to be worried - and funnily enough since I started to pretend to be not worried I'm not as worried any more confused.

Mrsrobertduvallsaysboo Sun 28-Oct-12 17:11:43

Lilka...I really felt for my ds too when dd kicked off. She once punched his arm when he had a broken collarbone sad
he has had to put up with a lot. We can't go on holiday as a family anymore, so ds and dh are off to Oz on Xmas Day.

I will go wild while he is away (reference to last night's thread!)

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