How do you tell 'ordinary teen behaviour' from something more worrying?(32 Posts)
I've been worried about dd for about 9 months now. She had some issues at her school and we moved her to another school thinking that might be the end of it but in many ways things have been worse.
She's 14.5, doesn't eat much at all because she says she's not hungry. She is insistent that she is not trying to lose weight and the food she chooses to eat isn't 'diet' food at all. She would live on biscuits and desserts if she could.
She's not interested in socialising except via chatting on the phone in a very limited way. She spends her evenings and weekends watching re-runs of TV shows obsessively and occasionally playing Minecraft. She's stopped reading although she continues to draw - she's always loved art. She has no motivation in her school work at all.
She doesn't tolerate physical contact of any kind where she used to be very cuddly and affectionate. She is distant, uncommunicative, angry and frequently extremely blunt and rude. Now and then we manage a chat but we seem to so chronically misunderstand each other that it's no fun for either of us.
I know that a lot of these things can be put down to being a 'teen' but I feel so worried about her. She's being seen by CAMHS as she has OCD although she says she doesn't want to go any more as she is 'fine'. The trouble is that she says that in furious rage with tears pouring down her cheeks so I am not sure how to take that.
I'm at a loss to know what to do for the best. I've backed off giving her advice, asking questions and confronting her as it is horrendous when I do - arguments, tears, hatred in her eyes. I want to be there for her and help her.
Sound so like me at 15.
Would she be interested in doing a mbti or enneagram test to see what her personality type is?
I was always considered grumpy and antisocial. Turns out I'm an INFJ, and learning this made me feel far more at peace with myself
Does she try to talk to you about anything?
I find mine have no-notice outbursts when suddenly they can't stop talking to me about the trivia in their minds. I grit teeth (it's usually their boring obsession) & drop everything & listen. Listen, Listen, Listen.
Reow, that sounds really interesting but I've never heard of it! How can I find out more?
lljkk, yes she does talk to me about YouTube and Dr Who and things like that. I listen but, I know this sounds awful, she is really inarticulate and rambling and every other word is 'like' and so I do lose interest a bit although I try hard not to show it. I take your point though and I will try harder.
My now nearly 17 dd was exactly like that. A lot of them go through the not eating stage. It's very worrying. I found she would open up to me at strange times when the pressure was off, so would suggest just making yourself available as much as possible and asking to include her in everyday things, doesn't have to be special. It's horrible because you want to take the pain (hers and yours) away but they all go through the teen angst to varying degrees I think.
My 16 yo ds was very much like this for the last 18 months or more. He eventually opened up and agreed that there was a problem and has been diagnosed with depression.
He's having counselling, and appears to be a little bit better.
It's fucking hard work.
Im a wreck
I hope your dd turns a little corner soon. I totally agree with it being hard to figure out normal teenage behaviour from more worrying stuff.
Sending you support and
Cosy you can take the tests online.
Google "free Myers Briggs test" and "enneagram test"
You can buy books about them too. Honestly I was amazed at the result, it was like being told all about my weird traits that I'd always thought meant there was something wrong with me. I now feel far more self accepting and less hard on myself if the way I feel/behave doesn't conform to how someone with a more common personality type would behave.
I'd be interested to hear her result and how she feels about it!
Reow what's INFJ? Just asking as I can be very grumpy and antisocial depending on my mood..
It's an introverted personality type. Google it, you'll get loads of info.
Google mtbi or Myers Briggs test. It's all very interesting.
I did my test and dp did his and it really was interesting! dd started one but didn't want to continue as she didn't like some of the questions ...
Aw bless her. Does she not want to continue it? Maybe she could finish it privately and have some time to process what it means.
Did you find it helpful?
I did find it helpful actually. I'm a INFJ -A/-T if that makes any sense? Apparently I'm rare! It was so accurate. It's an Advocate Personality.
Had a major moment with dd late yesterday evening when she called me into her room, unable to sleep. She admitted how down she was and we went for a walk outside, she had a hot chocolate and a cuddle and although shattered this morning, she seems like a weight is off her mind.
Now I'm trying to work out what to do best to help her.
I'm an INFJ too. We are very rare and special
Sounds like she's definitely an IN type. Maybe an enneagram test might be better for her? Though if she didnt like the MTBI questions she might not like the enneagram either.
Would she be interested in trying yoga or meditation? There are some great online platforms she could use.
She had an app called HeadSpace which she downloaded and used around 6 months ago when things were very bad. She kind of reached the end with it though.
I'm going to try to get her to do one of those tests again but I have little confidence in my powers of persuasion with her at present.
I spoke to her CAMHS worker today and we have discussed some simple plans of action for her but the biggest obstacle is going to be getting her to make changes and face challenges. At the moment she yearns for nothing other than sitting wrapped in a duvet watching endless repeats of Dr Who on her laptop. Not eating, not drinking, not communicating.
It's all such a shock because just a year ago she was so happy, chatty, bonkers and enthusiastic.
I don't think she sounds very well TBH. (speaking from a place of experience with my own DCs). Hopefully CAMHS will be able to help - have you asked about family therapy?
No not yet. I will do anything though and so will dp. We're so worried.
Could you and she do yoga together? My daughter had a problem with depression and is completely different now - she does it every day (not just at the studio) and is really into the clean eating thing, too - yoga is very good for anyone who dislikes themselves or has the start of eating problems, etc. It's been fantastic for my daughter and there's a whole community of people out there who are into it. It's brilliant for your body shape, too!
CosyLulu, I do feel for you. Feeling/being helpless is horrific.
I am a huge advocate of family therapy (good family therapy, anyway). It can be difficult and painful, and certainly challenging, especially early on, and for all concerned. But even small changes to family dynamics and communication can have a huge positive affect. Not least because one day CAMHS will be far behind you all, and you'll be going it alone!
Some areas don't have a family therapist so it can be difficult to access, but I'd ask. If CAMHS don't offer it, you might find a charity locally who do. We've been fortunate to have FT through CAMHS but with hindsight, if it hadn't been available I'd have paid whatever it took to access it privately.
For now though, at least she is already within the CAMHS system - hopefully this will be of benefit to you. Also (I know I am in danger of teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here), your original question was about differentiating between an 'ordinary' teen and a teen who's having extra MH issues I think? Your DD is already being looked after by CAMHS for her OCD so I think you absolutely have to err on the side of caution, ie she is not an 'ordinary' teen.
Thanks katronfon. Good advice and I'll ask.
I know what you're saying is right and that there is some wishful thinking on my part that some of this may be 'normal' but also a desire to get some good practical advice from people who have been through similar.
CosyLulu, I have another bit of advice...it's find some support for yourself if at all possible. Of course, you might not need it, but IME it's easy to not realise how much this can affect your own MH, your own physical health, your own self esteem and self worth, your own relationships with family and friends etc.
I'm going to stop being so bossy now
just a thought on that (support for yourself), you may have already done this, but have you checked whether CAMHS have a parent/carer support group? Often they don't offer any support for parents and carers but, sadly, often they do but they fail to tell people!
Katronfon, you are not bossy at all, I really appreciate it.
I am seeing a counsellor myself actually, I started about a month ago. Not just dd related but it helps with that too.
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