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14yo dd threatening to disappear for the weekend

(18 Posts)
Number42 Fri 23-Jan-15 09:45:29

Our 14yo dd has ASD - mildly, you would not know it if you met her and in fact she has an active social life. She wanted to go to a party tonight, we said she couldn't (reasons not relevant) and after trying in turn being nice, being sad and being angry, none of which shifted us, she left for school saying calmly she would see us on Monday as she needed some time away from us and would be staying with friends.
It's quite possible this is a bluff, but if it isn't, what should we do?
If she will tell us where she is, then we could turn up to collect her (obviously we can't physically force her to come with us but presumably it will be horrifically embarrassing for her if we show up and having a scene even more so); and if she won't, then we call the police in the hope that the words "my autistic child has disappeared and I don't know where she is" will get them to do something . But will the police actually do anything under these circumstances, or will they just yawn and say "Sorry, obviously a bit of a domestic, not our problem; we'll start taking it seriously if she's gone 48 hours".

fluffling Fri 23-Jan-15 14:09:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Idiotdh Fri 23-Jan-15 22:39:59

What happened, OP, has she come back as normal from school?

Number42 Mon 26-Jan-15 12:57:10

No, she went. She remained in communication with us during the day and told us where she was going to be, which was important - she was clearly v keen to get our permission but equally determined to go. In the end we told her she still didn't have permission; we wouldn't do something drastic like turn up at the party but there would be consequences, and she should be home on Sat night as we had family coming round. She came home on Sat, and we're fining her in effect the contents of her bank account. Not ideal we're not in an ideal world. Our conclusion was that if we used the information she gave us about her whereabouts to attack her then next time she wouldn't even tell us that much which would be actually dangerous as opposed to just disobedient.
(btw suppose no-one will answer this either but bit surprised by the low level of responses to the post compared to others on the board. Was the question insufficiently dramatic?)

LaurieFairyCake Mon 26-Jan-15 13:02:10

Interesting that you didn't get any response.

I'm wondering why you posted the reasons for her not going weren't relevant because once you're in a battle with a teenager they're always relevant grin

If you didn't want to take her then she could have paid for a taxi but if you didn't like the party (for safety reasons) you'd get a different response. Without the reasons it's a bit hard to comment.

Floggingmolly Mon 26-Jan-15 13:07:17

You told her that she didn't have your permission to go; but to make sure she's back by Saturday night...
How do you think it'll go next time you "forbid" something?
Personally I'd have collected her from the school gates if you had good reason not to want her at the party and she'd helpfully given you advance warning she planned to do a runner.

ChillySundays Mon 26-Jan-15 13:18:56

I didn't comment previously as I presumed others would who have been through the same situations. I hadn't been through this and had no idea what to do.

Number42 Mon 26-Jan-15 14:18:43

Fair point - the reasons are always relevant. It wasn't safety; it was OK safety-wise (we believe!); the issue is that she's allowed to be out the rest of the weekend but Fri night we all have dinner together, otherwise we'd never see her. So we'd said no.
Totally fair point re what happens next time we forbid things. Rightly or wrongly we judged it was better to have her tell us where she is than escalate all the way to public humiliation in order to try to "break" her disobedience. Maybe we were wrong. All I can say in our defence is that the ASD makes her react in ways that our other dd does not so we have to tread particularly carefully. I know all teenagers think they know best and other people are not always real to them, but dd particularly so.

Fleurdelise Tue 27-Jan-15 21:45:05

Number42 I was eager to read the replies you got also as at the same time you posted my DS threaten me of going out when I said no. In the end he didn't go ahead with it luckily as I wouldn't have known what to do...

Btw regarding Friday nights family time, we have ours on Sundays. Most of the parties are Friday/Saturday so my guess is that by Sunday he should be ready to spend some time with the family.

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 27-Jan-15 21:55:59

FWIW, we didn't force family night, especially on a weekend, once ours were teenagers. That's the age where they need to start developing independent social lives.

Kleinzeit Thu 29-Jan-15 15:52:13

I do think you’re right not to escalate. My DS has an ASC and sometimes I find myself laying down the law and fighting when with hindsight it would work better if I took a step back. With DS, I tell him that basic safety is not-negotiable: for his sake I need to know where he is and judge that it's safe for him to be there. But most other things we could negotiate.

So could you negotiate with your DD in a different way? “OK, you want to spend the weekend with your pals, but if you go then you wont be there on Friday. And we like to have dinner with you once a week. How could we resolve that?” I usually find that so long as I give him time to think about it, my DS is open to giving me what I want in return for getting what he wants. But it can get tricky if we try and hurry things - once we disagree and DS gets dug in it can be very hard to get back to a place where we can have a sensible discussion. DS finds it difficult to figure out what our problem is himself so it has to be DH or me who tell him exactly what the problem is and open the negotiations, maybe suggest possible solutions as he isn’t always very agile at thinking of those either. And sometimes if DS and I have got into a big disagreement I’ll ask DH to step in and act as negotiator, or DH will ask me.

Actually I think the fact your DD came back on Saturday for your family visit means you're doing OK, she understands where you’re coming from and she doesn’t want to defy or upset you. She just wants to do what she wants smile

MuttersDarkly Thu 29-Jan-15 16:06:44

When I was 16 my dad got in the car and home by saying he would call the police and report the pub I was in leading to its closure.

In reality I don't think the police would have given two hoots.

But back then the thought that I would be the object of rage at popular meeting point being nixed made my blood run cold. To the point of immediate surrender.

If there is anybody "reportable", in theory, where she will be do you think a cold har stare and ".these are the consequences of the next choice you make" might work ?

Another reason why I gave in rather than them create a scene, was the fear that people would come out to see what the fuss was about, and in other "cool" people's minds I would be ever more the "little" girl whose parents came and got her cos it was bedtime.

I think looking for her Achilles heel might be a good starting point.

And <big fat hug> I have a 14 yo. I'm holding my breath in case he suddenly turns into a male version of me as a teenager.

MuttersDarkly Thu 29-Jan-15 16:08:24

Fuck. Sorry Brand new iPad. Still working out the glitches in typing. I promise I did actually put punctuation and more words in there than eventually turned up in the post.

Alvah Sat 31-Jan-15 22:37:00

This happened to me this evening! So you have my full sympathy. It is a horrible feeling. My son (14 next week) asked to go to a friends house for a sleepover. I said no because I don't feel comfortable with his family (or him) and so I said how about we find a middle ground and you get to go but come back in the evening? But no, he was upset all evening and when I prodded him a bit he burst and said 'I am trying to deal with the fact that I am always the one who has to come home early and who is not allowed anything, no one wants to be that person'. I could understand and feel for him and in hindsight maybe I should have let him go, but I really didn't feel comfortable about him staying over.

A bit of background. I normally don't let him go on sleepovers, he has been for about 3 in his life. He has been going to his dads at weekends for the last 9 years and is not allowed out on weekend evenings. He has been allowed out with his friends during the week with me as long as he has done his homework and he makes it home on time. However lately he has been restricted to three evenings out a week, because him and his friends tried alcohol, and he was grounded for 2.5 weeks. Two weeks ago him and his dad fell out about him not being allowed to a friends birthday, and he has not seen his dad since. I would like him to go back but I cannot get him to go, and as his dad can be aggressive I am not going to make him go. He said he was really happy at mine because he could be himself and relax here, however I said the same rules would apply as at his dads (not out at weekend evenings) so that he wouldn't be tempted to stay here just so he could get out more. However maybe this is too restrictive?

So last night he announced that he was going to go to this sleepover after all!! I said we need to negotiate new rules for him as I can see that they might be a bit too restrictive. But he was just angry and didn't want to discuss it. He left the house this afternoon with a bag and I asked him when he was planning to come home. He said he didn't know. I asked what was in his bag, and he said it was his stuff... I said he couldn't just go to the sleepover without permission. He said, text me later.

I let him have most of the day in peace and then text him around dinner time to ask if he was coming home for dinner. He said he wasn't coming home at all.

The next hour was hell as he threatened not to come home for the whole weekend and stay at 'someone's house whose parents weren't home'. I said I would have to phone round all the parents and if I couldn't find him I would have to report him missing to the police. He argued for a while and I really thought he was going to stick to it (I guess the threat of calling round all his friends parents and the police helped). I reminded him that he had already ran away from his dad, and now he was running away from me... and that if we as parents weren't able to look after him, then social work would get involved. He's only (soon) 14.

He finally came round and told me he was at this friends house (sleepover friend) and would be home at 11 as that was when everyone who wasn't sleeping over was leaving. He has half an hour from now to come home, or I will have to start the search. His friends mum has gone out partying apparently, Granny is babysitting, and she's not picking up the phone to confirm he is there. Fingers crossed he will be back home soon.

Good god, this is so stressful... being too strict leads to them acting out and being too lenient puts them at risk. What to do...

Number42 Sun 01-Feb-15 16:46:09

Thanks for the various messages, feel supported. Kleinzeit really interesting to hear your perspective (though ASD manifests so differently in girls - various people we have told about her diagnosis have just said that we must be wrong!) Yes, think you're right - she wants what she wants! Problem now is that she is having a slow-burn version of one of her meltdowns - instead of an hour of shrieking rage which then passes, we've had a week of constant low-level hostility: telling us we are rubbish parents, we have no relationship with her etc. Sigh.

youmakemydreams Sun 01-Feb-15 17:08:47

As a parent I don't agree with what your ds did as someone who used to be a 14 year old girl with parent who let her do the least I can see why she did it.
I too think that family meal on Friday is going to cause huge problems over the next couple of years. She is growing up and she will want to go to parties and she should be allowed to.
She half did the right thing in the end she told you where she was and she came home when asked on the Saturday she was making a huge point and I think you need to listen. My parents never found the middle ground between too strict and too lax. What they found was a teenage daughter that hit 17 and was heading to Uni soon that told them nothing and came and went as she pleased. They were far stricter than my schools boarding house was and I pulled away and quietly ignored them in the end. I never got into trouble or anything like that but I totally ignored their rules.
Meet her in the middle somewhere. Let her go to these parties but she has to be there for a family meal on another night of the week. Teenagers by nature are never around you will see less and less of her and keep forcing her into family time on one of the two nights of the week her friends will all be doing something better and you will just make sure she's never arpund.

chocoluvva Thu 05-Feb-15 10:05:51

42

I really sympathise with you. As it happens, my DS has a diagnosis of mild ASD too. His older sis doesn't, but she is also very difficult to reason with. She will listen to no-one, not even people who she has the greatest respect for. Everyone can tell her the same thing and it will make no difference. Even with tiny things. So I completely understand how difficult it is for you. DS and DD need to have every last little thing justified to them.

DS did a paper round to raise money for an expedition. He was very proud of raising money completely by himself without doing sponsored events or having help. And he was determined to do the 6 day a week paper round for as long as possible. But he nearly got the sack because he wouldn't do it the way he was told to and consequently made mistakes.

But as you say, they do still want the approval of their parents. Once DD was 15 she'd sometimes ask to do things I didn't want her to do and knowing that if she didn't get her way she'd do something else that was stupid in order to exercise her right to choose what she did, I'd sometimes tell her that I wouldn't or couldn't stop her, but I didn't think it was a good idea.

I know people will think that's cowardly or trying to have my cake and eat it, but it was all I could think off. She didn't do anything drastic and the atmosphere in the house was much better and we have quite a good relationship I think, but IMO she made needless mistakes (and still does now she's 18). But they're her mistakes...

Some teens and adults are extremely strong-willed and other parents probably don't understand that when they see teens like my two who are pleasant, kind and softly-spoken to them. I agree with posters who say that compromise is the way to go.

And I wouldn't insist on a family Friday either at this stage. Pick your battles and all that.

Number42 Thu 05-Feb-15 12:46:20

Thank you choccoluva. Yes, it is very hard to explain to people how impervious dd is to normal influencing. It's even harder at the moment because all we get is a consistent wall of hostility, which when we challenge it (why are you so angry all the time; this isn't an OK way to behave; we are finding this upsetting etc) we just get back the same response "I hate you and I'm angry with you because we have a bad relationship". Which is meaningless really: it's just saying "I have angry feelings towards you because I'm angry". It's so horrible - we have no idea of how you respond to this hostility. (Occasionally I have fantasies of if only we lived in some traditional society where we could just lock her up in the women's quarters with lots of fierce old women who wouldn't take any of her shit and would make her go to the well lots and bring them water!)

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