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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.

downgoesthefence Sun 02-Dec-12 22:59:51

MaryZ - I wonder if I could have some guidance, please.

DS2 is 16, in Year 11 at school. He has been using cannabis for about two years. He goes out with his mates maybe twice a week and they hang around in parks and I believe smoke dope. He's also started spending a lot of time in the bathroom and I think may be smoking cigarettes or dope in there. I've got a really useless sense of smell so can never detect anything.

He often leaves his phone around and there's usually some messages from him to his mates - drug speak about wanting to get mongulled and that he's just rolled a joint for a wake and bake etc.

I give him hardly any money (I've told him I'm not giving him money just to be spent on screwing his head up. He doesn't say anything to this) and he's not often out of the house, except to go to school. This 'wake and bake' message has made me wonder if he smokes on the way to school. I find rizla papers, tobacco and filters hidden in his room and tend to throw them away - never any drugs. He's doing okay at school and there's been no recent concerns raised about him and drugs at school.

Apart from this nonsense he's a really nce, kind lad - into sports and generally good company.

I know by others standards this isn't a big issue, but I'd really welcome some guidance from you on how to handle things to prevent things escalating.

Lilka Sun 02-Dec-12 23:04:14

Hope the people here had calm (or calmer than average) weekends

Brighter thanks - Things get broken quite often in our house as well. I've not replaced the door yet, it's not worth it and I'm trying to save as much money as possible for the next months at least. I hope today has been okay

We've had quite a good weekend and wonderful dat today smile She spent today playing with her niece (7 months). She adores her. She doesn't have a good grasp of baby care though, tried to feed her Dr Pepper when I wasn't looking. She tries, bless her smile

I take heart from the fact that she's better now than she used to be. She's always been challenging, from the first days I met her. She was an overexcited, vulnerable, anxious, scared, confused, exuberant, funny darling of an 8 year old. She bounded right up to me with a beautiful smile and nervous eyes and very tense muscles. I call her my Hedgehog. Prickly and defensive on the outside, and under that (very tough) shell, small and vulnerable. She likes being called her nickname, although she doesn't know why I picked it! And we've had tough times. I knew we would from the first description of her I ever read, which described a lively, lovely girl aged 7 who couldn't read or write a word, had a Learning Disability, complex PTSD and various behavioural problems. Had had an awful early life and was about to lose her foster family, her birth brothers and sisters and leave everything else she knew behind. Prearation and knowledge does not make it emotionally easier to live with mind. In fact, I have come across the attitude that since I chose this, I don't have a right to moan or ask for a bit of sympathy. But she's better now than she was. Her behaviour is challenging (volatile, and plenty of lying, shouting, swearing, hoarding and gorging food, some stealing and other things) and sometimes destructive to me, herself, the house and everything in it...but way better than it used to be.

So I'm not sure what the point of posting this is, except to remind myself that she's come far and so surely can make progress given more time. Late teens is a hard time for lots of parents, but as an adult we might see more improvements. And also that as hard as she is, and frustrated and upset and angry as I get, I wouldn't be without her, not for anything. Having good days like today makes me all weepy and happy and wanting to shout from the rooftops - or just post a pointless long and rambly post on mumsnet instead blush I remain HOPEFUL. For her, AND for everyone else on here - may we all see progress and things we didn't think possible in the months and years to come

flow4 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:33:16

Lilka, some children have so much to deal with in their early lives that I don't know how they survive at all. Finding new adoptive parents like you is how, I guess. smile

downgoes, you are right about the slang meaning of 'wake n bake'; but if he is getting up, going to school, doing OK, participating in sports, and not having violent mood swings, then I would say that he is probably using very little, or perhaps not even using at all. (I once caught my son on FB chat to a friend, who had asked him what he was up to, replying something like "Nothing much, just hanging out at Joe's having a spliff"... When he was in our sitting room doing his homework and digesting his tea! hmm )

But even if he's just boasting, it does show that he sees drugs as something desirable, so you're right to be concerned. There is unfortunately nothing much you can do about it, though, except:
- Make sure he has reliable information and isn't relying on what his mates tell him about drugs, and
- Try to keep him engaged in as many enjoyable/challenging things as possible. IME, kids get drawn into drugs because they are bored with school and haven't found anything else to engage them...

bright - loads of damage here too (one internal and one external door kicked through; one fanlight window broken; 4-5 punched holes in walls; countless bits of smashed crockery, including some special hand-made bits like our fruit bowl sad ; one smashed telephone; two washing baskets ripped apart (one rattan, one plastic)... And that's all I can remember).

Nothing damaged for a while now though. smile I used to think it was purely the skunk that gave him the rages - or at least, not having more the day after he'd had lots. But he is still smoking it, though far less - so there seems to be some kind of 'tolerance level'. Also, he was (I discover) taking a lot of M-CAT, and isn't any more - so perhaps the rages were connected to that, or to a combination of skunk and M-CAT...? That's a nasty drug, and no-one seems to know much about it yet...

Doinmummy Mon 03-Dec-12 19:58:42

Here we go again. Daughters BF has just run out in tears. Daughter has been talking and flirting with another boy on the phone in front of BF. I asked her what happened, she told me to fuck off. I went to comfort BF and he told me what she's done. This is not the first time . I've heard her do it before and told her then how cruel it is.

She stormed downstairs screaming at me to fuck off. I slapped her round the head( I know I know) and she hit me back.

I told her to get out and not come back. I'm disgusted with her. This is her all over, unfeeling, uncaring and selfish. Poor BF

kansasmum Mon 03-Dec-12 20:54:00

Just discovered this thread and am working through the posts.
I am at my wits end with my 16 yr old ddsad
She's in her first year of 6th form and has been skipping so many lessons. She has a crappy attitude both at home and school. She is so behind with one subject in particular I seriously doubt she can catch up. So here I am having sleepless nights worrying about her while she quite obviously couldn't give a crap.
On good days she is clever funny and just lovely but I can't remember the last time she was like that. Its all confrontation and argument - she tells me to F* off frequently when I talk to her about school.
We had meeting with Head of 6th form at my request and they have offered to set up all sorts of support and study skill sessions etc and her teachers want to help- but she doesn't give a toss. She told me she'd handed an essay in that was way overdue-she has about 5-6 to do to catch up now. Spoke to her teacher today who called me because she hadn't turned up AGAIN and she hasn't handed anything in. I have told her all evening to get on and write the damn essay but has she bothered -no.
I understand she finds her courses hard but it might be easier if she turned up!
I worry she will be kicked out and then what???
And what I am about to type breaks my heart: I love her but I really don't like her right now.

Have no idea what to do - have said I will support her choice if she chooses to leave 6th form and do an apprenticeship BUT she's not leaving til she has something set up- she has done NOTHING about finding an alternative.
Basically she is a lazy moody rude selfish cow. She takes responsibility for nothing and her room is a tip.

God what an essay......!
At my wits end and feel like throwing my hands up and saying "Get on wit it and if you f* up don't look to me to help." But I'm her mum.

Doinmummy Mon 03-Dec-12 21:42:07

Daughter has stripped off . Should I try to find her? I don't know if I can be bothered . sad

ShakenUpAgain Tue 04-Dec-12 05:39:10

I've namechanged, not sure why - possibly because I feel horribly judged often by my dd1(15)'s actions and I haven't posted on this thread because things had calmed down considerably lately but things have been escalating again recently with her self harming.

Last week she lost her temper and set fire to the bathroom - very scary but I managed to put the fire out before it took hold.

I woke up about half an hour ago to the doorbell. I sleep right at the top of the house so I wasn't sure if I had actually heard it or if I had been dreaming. Dh wasn't in bed with me and I heard a voice I didn't recognise so I got up to see what was going on - it was the ambulance service. She's taken another overdose (5th time). She doesn't take enough to do any real damage, but enough to cause alarm and be taken into hospital for obs.

Dh has gone with her, we have another dd(13) in the house so one of us has to stay put.

I'm pretty sure I know what it's about this time - her ex boyfriend posted a picture yesterday on facebook of him with another girl and she's trying to get his attention despite them both having moved on (officially).

Don't know why I'm posting really other than getting it down in writing because it's 5.40am and I'm wired and worried.

flow4 Tue 04-Dec-12 07:59:05

Oh Shaken, I'm sorry. What a stressful time for you.

I don't have much experience of a child self-harming like that. My DS did it only once. It made me extremely angry - essentially my reaction was "How DARE you do this?"

After that, he settled on less direct forms of self harm like smoking, taking drugs and getting himself into trouble. Someone once said that boys tend to 'act out' and be anti-social, while girls tend to 'act in' and self-harm or become depressed. It's a generalisation, but I think there's a lot of truth in it.

After a while, I found my indignation was still there, but much weaker... Exhaustion and stress and anger muted it. How do you feel about your DD's behaviour?

Kansas, I think you are right that you are going to have to let her get on and make her own mistakes. Around this age, they have to learn to take control of their own behaviour. The difficult thing is, she'll probably then need your help! hmm smile

doin, it's a bit of a mess, isn't it? You were going to get some help... Have you done that?

Doinmummy Tue 04-Dec-12 08:12:51

I'm still waiting for counselling . Could be up to 8 months according to GP. Daughter didn't come home last night.

flow4 Tue 04-Dec-12 08:38:32

I think you need to go back to the GP. Tell her/him what happened last night. You need more RL support, doin.

Meanwhile, remember Maryz's mantra: "detach, detach, detach". Don't get involved in her relationship with her boyfriend - really, it won't help anyone - because you are already so angry with her, you won't be able to be constructive. When she calls you a bitch, don't rise to it. Definitely don't follow her - walk away.

I know it's easier said than done. I know they know how to push your buttons. But a situation where you are both hitting each other is deeply unhealthy. It's bad for you both. You really need to do something about it. You can't tackle her out-of-control behaviour while yours is out-of-control too. sad

If nothing else, phone Parentline now: 0808 800 2222. It really sounds like you need someone to talk to about all this.

It must be making you so unhappy, doin. Please do something about it.

Schlock Tue 04-Dec-12 09:12:20

How do you feel about your DD's behaviour?

Tricky one. I swing from angry to frustrated to upset to hopeless. I managed two years of it before ending up on ADs.

The self harm - I'm confused by it because I thought most self harmers did it furtively but she practically revels in it. She regularly doesn't make any attempt to cover cuts/scratches (although denies doing it if anyone asks her openly) and as far as I know she's always told me or her dad when she's taken too many tablets. She then kicks off at the hospital which is what she's done this morning. She refused bloods (usual for her, makes me question if she ever took any tablets at all), ripped off the monitors and is now home because they decided not to force her to stay the six hours as she was disturbing seriously ill children. I have to go to work now and leave her in the house alone, all I can do is text her ever so often to make sure that she's ok.

Last night (early hours) she took 6 propranolol tablets, 40mg each that she has been prescribed for anxiety, that's 240mg. This is the maximum dose given to adults for blood pressure conditions iirc, not that I've ever told her that! She ups what she takes every time but has started refusing (again) to see CAMHS. I'm not entirely sure if it's safe to leave her at home this morning but I don't know what else I can do. A colleague of mine was sacked not too long ago, I've used up all my annual leave and am at my maximum sick days before disciplinary is instigated as I've had to take so much time off already because of her behaviour.

Sorry not to be supporting others on here this morning, I'll come back later but I don't feel that I'm really in the best place to advise because if I knew the answers then presumably I wouldn't be in this position myself confused

flow4 Tue 04-Dec-12 09:56:59

I think it's absolutely fine to come here to get support without giving any. We all do it. There will be another time when you will realise you feel strong enough to advise another poster, and then you'll 'give back' :-)

Have you told work anything? I had to in the end, because DS was excluded. They were much more supportive than I expected.

Doinmummy Tue 04-Dec-12 13:26:07

Daughter has not gone to school today. I'm going to see head of year later.

Sitting at work trying not to cry.

raskolnikov Tue 04-Dec-12 13:44:03

Hi everyone (sorry this is long)

I'm not sure if this is the place for this as my DS1 is 20 now, but the issues have been going on for several years and MN has helped me before.

Ex and I split up 5 years ago and of course my 3 DCs have been affected by it to a greater or lesser extent in different ways. DS1 is very similar to his Dad and has always looked up to him. He left me for OW who is 15 years younger than him (I am 5 years older) and my DS has been in and on/off relationship with a girl for all of that time. She is a year older than my DS. The problem is that he seems to think its ok to maintain relationships with other girls while he is seeing her. They split up for a few months and he spends some time without a GF, and then they get back together and I realise that he's seeing someone else too. We are on about the 6th or 7th episode of this happening. Apparently he is now seeing a 16 yr old girl who lives nearby (his GF lives 100 miles away) and is a friend of my DS2s GF. He's met her family already. There have been occasions where he's tried to bring another GF home overnight shortly after the original GF has stayed. Of course as soon as I realised the plan I told him it was never going to happen and explained that this behaviour was unacceptable. So he hasn't had anyone staying now for several months, until last weekend when GF1 stayed. The next morning my DS2 told me about the other girl.

To my mind this reflects his Dad's attitude to women but I'm at a loss to see how to explain how completely unacceptable it is. He seems to have no respect for his GF at all, and was astonished when I said he appeared to be sleeping with 2 or more girls at once and that my DS2 and DD thought he had several GFs on the go. He says they are just friends of course.

The fact that this keeps happening over and over again amazes me - the GF keeps taking him back and wants to settle down with him. She's very wealthy and attractive so keeps him hooked (he's materialistic and narcissistic). How on earth do I get him to a place where he has a normal one on one relationship?

hadagutsfull Tue 04-Dec-12 14:22:29

I have been lurking on this thread for a while now, feeling sympathy for all those who've posted and taking comfort that I'm not the only one - I hope that doesn't sound selfish!

Am at home from work today off sick. Just had a call from Deputy Head regarding DS's latest antics. Apparently the same Deputy caught him trying to truant from a lesson yesterday but had a chat with him and sent him on his way - didn't report it or log it in any way, tried the reasonable approach. Fast forward to this morning and DS left the school site after registration and returned again about 30 minutes later with some younger boys. Again he was sent on his way, which shows that - despite what he says - not all the teachers are on his back! The call home (the latest in a long line) was to keep me informed and also to let me know that they don't want to exclude him but he's pushing it that way.

This sounds petty to what a lot of you have/are going through, sorry, but there's a lot of back history too. I know that he's smoked weed in the past and suspect that he still sometimes does. He's mentioned that a lot of kids in school take Mcat but I don't know if has although he says not. He does have major mood swings at times. He's hanging around with boys that I would prefer him not to and just doesn't seem to be able to shape up and take control of his future. He wants to apply to a particular company when he leaves school (which could be next year and he'll still only be 15 - August bday) and KNOWS that he needs to get 5 GCSEs to even be considered. He is very capable but just coasts along doing the bare minimum. If he would only give a little bit more effort he could do so much better.

How can I make him see sense? I don't think he really does want to spend his days hanging around on street corners smoking weed but sometimes I think that's where he'll end up. Other times he can be great - we spent a lovely day together on Sunday, shopping and then having a meal. DH is working ridiculously long hours at the moment and is like a bear with a sore head so I try to avoid mentioning anything to him because it just all erupts into a major row, but nothing ever gets resolved. It's just like going round and round in the same old circle.

I find myself being suspicious of DS all the time. When he's angry and being bloody awful I don't like him, when he's out I'm wondering who he's with and what he's doing, and when he's nice I'm wondering what's coming next! These teenage years are awful. I grieve for my lovely little boy and just wonder what the future will bring. This has gone on a bit hasn't it, sorry! Should post little and often ...

thriftychic Tue 04-Dec-12 16:24:35

can i join this thread ?
its ds2 that i have a problem with. He is 13 now and things started to get hairy when he started high school . Its his aggresive behaviour that causes the worst problems .
had to ask a neighbour to just come into my house this morning , so embarassing but it was the only thing that wouldve stopped ds2 in his tracks . he had been grabbing me and slamming me against the walls with his fist in my face and i was scared sad so shouted to the neighbour as i saw him getting out of his car.
ds2 has recently been diagnosed AS . to everyone else he seems perfectly normal , they wouldnt imagine how abusive he can be and i am struggling to know what is Aspergers behaviour and what isnt . tbh today i just feel like hes pure evil sad

MaryChristmaZEverybody Tue 04-Dec-12 16:43:15

Hey, everyone.

Sorry I haven't been around. I'm currently dealing with ds2's behaviour deteriorating - but I do see a real difference with him in that I know he loves me, and he himself is worried about his mood swings and behaviour, and doesn't like being in trouble, so I'm hopeful I will be able to work with him to sort it out. It's exam year for him, so he is under a lot of pressure sad.

I haven't time to read back through everyone's posts as I'm just heading out for taxi duty, but I'll be here tonight and have a good read. Sometimes, though, it helps just to write it all down to clarify your thoughts even though none of us can really come up with much in the way of "answers", if that makes sense.

I've decided that flow is me, as every time she writes a post I think "I was just going to say that" grin.

MaryChristmaZEverybody Tue 04-Dec-12 16:45:15

And now I have to go quickly, as I've just got a phone call to come and collect ds as apparently there has been an "incident" today. FFS, an incident, can't they just tell me what he did?

I think I'll home school him.

I'm just taking a 5 minute breather before I go as I'm afraid I'll crash the car

flow4 Tue 04-Dec-12 16:46:49

thrifty, that is so hard. I have a friend whose son has AS, and he experienced nasty violence from him too. My friend said exactly the same thing about not knowing what was AS and what was 'just' teenage behaviour. His DS grew taller than his dad, my friend, and the violence got worse. Once he broke his rib. My friend struggled on, but things got very desperate.

I would say, AS or not, if you are on the receiving end of any violence, or any threat of violence, CALL 999.

hadaguts and raskol, I think people will have lots of opinions and advice about your situations, but your posts are a bit 'buried' here. I think you should start your own thread - just click on 'start a new thread' on the main 'Teenagers' page, and cut and paste when you've written here into a new box smile

Doin, it's really hard having to go to work and pretend everything is 'normal' when you're really upset. Can you get to see the GP after work, or phone Parentline, and maybe take a day off if you need to do? You really do sound like you need some support...

flow4 Tue 04-Dec-12 16:57:38

Oh Maryz, bloody hell! I really, really hated the 'incident' phone calls. For me, they included DS1 playing with fire in the sports hall, breaking someone's nose, having his cheekbone broken, running away, being part of a group of 12 year olds who were all caught groping each other in music hmm... and countless other things... But when the phone rang I never quite knew whether to be ready for an ambulance or the police... sad

Can you really home school DS2? I think I might choose to do this with my DS1, if I had my time with him again...

hadagutsfull Tue 04-Dec-12 17:45:17

flow have taken your advice and started a new thread. Hope to get some advice/sympathy/suggestions!

Maryz I hope it's nothing too serious. DS's school call the most trivial things 'serious incidents' in my opinion.

Thanks to both of you for your advice and words of wisdom in this thread - it's really given me food for thought.

Doinmummy Tue 04-Dec-12 19:10:15

Hope the ' incident' was nothing seriousMaryz . I too dread the ' call from the school' it could be anything from murder to a broken bloody fingernail.

I too think flow is Maryz in disguise. I'm grateful to both of you for reading and replying.

Went to the school today as daughter didn't go in. We are being referred to a new 'Family Service' although I was told we might not fit the criteria. I have also self referred for counselling for me via work .

thriftychic Tue 04-Dec-12 19:13:31

maryz , hope it wasnt anything too awful sad i also dread the school phoning although ds2 is much worse at home .
school phoned 3 times last week , wouldnt participate in construction lesson , refused to do PE unless the teacher put him with another group who werent crayon munchers (his words) then removed him to isolation room (kicking off) and then to check a note that they thought was forged , it was .
flow , what happened with your friends son ? did things ever get better ? ds2 is also taller than me and dh , although not difficult as i am only 5ft 1 . dh did actually manage to get ds2 in the car and drove him round to the police station a few weeks back , ds2 told them we keep him locked up and the police seemed more interested in interrogating dh than ds2 . they contacted school , camhs and social services .
whilst they were at the station another policeman came to see me at home as it was me that ds2 had been abusive to . He wanted to know if i wanted ds2 arrested but i just couldnt do that. needless to say the whole incident made no difference to ds2 behaviour . dh had thought the police might warn him of the severity of his actions and put the frightners on a bit but it didnt work out like that.
i am scared that myself or ds1 will get hurt though . there have been a few near misses.

flow4 Tue 04-Dec-12 19:58:20

thrifty, things did get better for my friend and his son in the end, but things got very bad first. Eventually, his son was prescribed medication to help him manage his anger, and they had support from CAMHS, a support worker from social services, and 4 days/nights per month respite. There were still occasional incidents, but not as many. They were working towards the lad living independently when he was 18.5 or 19.

When my friend's DS turned 18, he became more challenging again, and 'discovered' alcohol... One day there was a major argument, and my friend threw his son out, and phoned social services to say he had done that, and was not having him back. He came under some pressure to keep him at home since there was no independent living accommodation available at that point, and my friend needed to be very strong, but he was very desperate. The lad was housed in warden-controlled B&B accommodation for 5-6 weeks, and then housed in his own (Housing Association owned) flat. He has now been living independently for almost 2 years, and really loves it. smile

As for the police, I think you need to call them at the time you are injured or feel threatened. If you do, they will take you seriously IME, and they will deal with the incident constructively. I called 999 three times, and the third time I had DS arrested. sad It was one of the most awful times of my life, but it did stop his violence entirely.

Doin, I'm really glad you self-referred to counselling. I always forget about workplace support, though quite a few employers offer it. I work for a local council, and we can self-refer to counselling AND there is a telephone helpline you can call 24/7 (I think). Have you called Parentline? Were they helpful?

P.S. I'm not Maryz, honest! grin

Doinmummy Tue 04-Dec-12 21:17:24

I have called parent line and had a weekly telephone chat with someone , she was a sweet lady but a bit wishy washy so not much help.

Have just had a chat with daughters father who up til now has been useless ( telling DD I like playing the victim), he said he spoke to her today on the phone and she shouted and swore at him . He said ( finally) we need to sit her down together and talk to her as a united front. Not before bloody time. I've been suggesting this for years.

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