Back off or jump in to save her?(14 Posts)
Have had an awful two years with DD (now 17, 18 in spring) including OD, self harm, depression, eating problems you name it. She has dropped out of college and now lost two jobs. Have never got to the bottom of the problem and she has refused countless offers of therapy etc. Latest phase is sleeping around. In the last three weeks she has been using tinder or similar to 'hook up' with loads of men, usually in there 20's. She has also gone into town and been picked up in bars by men. Quite often she doesn't come home overnight. She will usually text to let me know she is ok and whether or not she'll be home. She is polite and pleasant in the house unless I bring up the subject in which case she gets surly and walks away. Not doing much in the way of chores but does her own washing, will cook sometimes and has started job hunting again as she says, much as she loves us, she wants to move out. If it wasn't for the history of mental health problems I guess I'd let her get on with it but deep down this just feels like more symptoms of low self esteem - it's so risky I wonder if it is actually just another form of self harm. DH and I are now beginning to fall out over it - he can barely speak to her. She pays for her own phone from money she earnt before she got sacked and she still has quite a bit of that left. In herself she seems less depressed than previously, however my experience has been that she appears brighter when the self harm and eating problems are at their worst. No sign of SH at present and eating well. Sorry for long post - wanted to give the whole picture. I'm finding this harder to deal with than anything so far and keep getting very teary. Please help me negotiate this one.
I agree with you that it's a form of self-harm and she's doing something quite dangerous - the chance of infection is high, never mind her physical safety. Is there anyone at all that she can talk to? It must be so hard for you all, but your husband's wrong to detach himself now.
I went through a phase of sleeping around at much the same age, it was certainly low self esteem in my case because I didn't meet up to the high expectations of my parents, we're now NC because of it. About all I can suggest is to always be supportive and to let her know that you want to help her without being judgemental - it's easier said than done, I know. I've always said to my teenage DS and DD that no matter what problems they might have, I will always help regardless of how it happened.
I wonder if she seems brighter when she is self harming because it's a release for the tension? It was for me.
I hope you get some more helpful answers than mine.
Sadly it's classic risk taking behaviour, in the same way boys ride motorbikes too fast. Will she accept help from anyone? I don't know what to suggest but send you & your family disapproved of hugs. Could she have issues with depression?
I would encourage her to move out and be more independent. I think having to stand on her own two feet: living by herself or with other young people, finding and keeping a job and being financially solvent would be the making of her. From ur post she seems lovely but you do appear to want to solve all her problems for her. A break from her dad's behaviour towards her would also be welcomed.
Lovely to have such swift responses! biggreenolives She is on anti depressants but isn't great at taking them and she hasn't appeared depressed or suicidal for quite a few months now, just a bit low now and then. She won't talk to anyone - still texts her old friends but she never discussed the self harm with them. splatter I do think we've been guilty of high expectations in the past because she's so bright we just assumed she would do well but I think we've backed off with that now. Sorry you never rebuilt relationship with your parents. Imperial main task next week is to get docs appointment - she has said she'll do this but I'll make sure it happens. I'm wondering if I should buy her a big box of condoms? Feels a bit like condoning it but I guess it's sensible.
I think you wanting to buy her condoms sums up the heart of the problem. She's 17 almost 18 by that age she knows all about pregnancy risk and STIs she doesn't need you to also organise her sex life as well. As for whether you condone it or not, I would be depress if my parents wanted to know and be as involved in such intimate areas of my life at that age. OP I'm don't want to be seen as having a go at you personally but a lot of parents nowadays seems to find it hard to let their grown up dcs make their own decisions and mistakes and it seems to me your dd is crying out to be allowed to do so.
I also wouldn't buy her condoms. I might buy some for DH and I and put them in the bathroom cabinet though, and replace them as needed if they were getting used quicker than I expected.
I thought it was generally accepted that young people who had eating disorders and similar experiences were emotionally younger than their chronological age, so I think that you should buy the condoms, just as you would (in similar circumstances) for a younger girl. Your daughter isn't showing signs of maturity in other ways; there's no reason to think she's mature sexually.
I know this is likely to be flamed (though I don't care!) but when my daughter was depressed I spoke to the doctor and gave him details of some things I thought he should discuss with her at their meeting. Good as a doctor may be, he/she has a limited time and if they don't think of asking about eg sexual promiscuity (which wasn't the case for my daughter) then it might not be tackled. Her doctor, quite rightly, can't discuss things with you, but they can hear what you have to say.
secretbondgirl there is a bit of me that would love to back off and know far less about what she's doing and if she was happy in other areas of her life, was in college or work and had friends then I'd be fine doing that but this isn't the case - at the moment all she is doing is going out meeting men and staying overnight with them, and it's a different man each time. As Imperial says I think she is emotionally quite young still but maybe she won't grow up till I leave her to it. She has been out of the house since 9pm last night though, to be fair, she has just answered my text and says she'll be home tonight. I have no idea where she is or who she is with. Surely that's not normal even for an average 17 year old? My older children would always tell me where they were going and who they were with, just as part of the general conversation, not because I pried or anything.
It's just not safe that she does that. If she didn't come back you'd have no idea where she was. I know you said she gets surly, but does she actually refuse to discuss it? What about if you and she were in the car today? Surely she's aware enough that bad things can happen to young people and recognise the fact nobody knows where she is would make things much, much worse?
Torn over this. Can you get acvess to her phone- if so and she has an iPhone you might be able to get into her settings and access her frequently visited locations so you can scope them out and see where she is going.
Feeling a bit better today after talking to her. In my head I imagined seedy adult men just waiting to become her pimp and ply her with drugs. Turns out the bloke she was with over the weekend went to school with my older DS who says bloke was very nice but a bit shy and now woks as an IT tech. She has chatted away about where they went and what they talked about and she obviously had a nice time. She texted me to say when she'd be home and then texted again to say she'd be half an hour later. Really, that was pretty considerate. Also one of her job applications has come good and she's got some part time work coming up. Think maybe I need to take secretbondgirls advice and let her make her own decisions and mistakes. Just hope DH will agree with me - he is so upset he can't bring himself to talk to her at all.
Clare1971 dh was so upset when he found out what dd16 had been up to over the summer he said he wanted nothing more to do with her. They hardly spoke for about 3 months and its only now that things are getting a tiny bit better. Makes an awful atmosphere at home though so I sympathise.
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