At the end of my rope

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lily, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Lily

    Lily New Member

    Hi all. I am new to this but need guidance and support in the worst way. My 16 year old (17 in October) is increasingly out-of-control and defiant. She was always a strong-willed child and suffered some depression in her early teen years, but now she is thinks she knows it all and can do whatever she wants and defies her father and I constantly.We are divorced but luckily get along great, and are trying to navigate this together. She used to live with me primarily, but after 2 1/2 years of lying, stealing, sneaking out, taking my prescription medications and alcohol, disrupting school, and lastly, having a party while I was out-of-town and letting kids come who robbed me, she is living primarily with her dad (who lives 10 minutes away). He is seeing what I have been living with and we are both at the end of our rope. This has affected me emotionally and physically (chronic pain) and put a huge strain on my new marriage. We have taken our daughter to therapy in the past when she was depressed, but now that she is defiant, she thinks there is nothing wrong with her and so won't go back to therapy. Her dad and I met with a child psychologist almost two weeks ago who recommended we come up with a list of options if this gets worse...she is going on an organzied trip out of the country for a month this summer and the therapist hopes that may give her some direction; otherwise, she said we need to look into in-patient treatment programs or sending her away to a school for these kinds of kids. Not what I want to do and I am sure incredibly expensive.

    So my bottom line question is: how do you survive this until they hopefully mature out of some of this, and how do we keep her safe in the interim? You can't chain her to her room but every time we let her do something, we are never sure where she is actually going, who she is with or what she is doing. The latest: she came home with her tongue pierced! At 16, she found someone to do this. She won't even let me look at it to see if it might be infected because she says she doesn't need my help!! I need help. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    HI and welcome, but sorry you had to be here. Haha, tongue piercing. My daughter, at one time, had a hundred ear piercings, an eyebrow piercing, a lip piercing (gross!) ANd a tongue piercing. Although she has been straight for seven years, she still has the tongue I would put the piercings on the back burner as insignificant in light of the other stuff.

    I suggest posting on "Teen and Substance Abuse" too because a lot of parents in General haven't gotten to the older kids phase yet, although some of us have. My guess is your daughter is using more drugs than you think. Mine did--trust me, I had no clue how much she used. My own daughter reacted poorly to my divorce and remarriage--I have no idea if this is part of her escalation or drug use, but it was with my daughter. Good heavens, I would NOT send her out of the country in the shape she's in! I'd be scared to death. in my opinion that's not good advice. NOBODY will be keeping an eye on her!

    My daughter did grow out of her wish to use drugs but we had to send her far away (to her dad's in another state) so that she could get away from her "friends" who kept pushing her to keep using drugs when she quit (she was not capable of saying "no" when she was pushed too hard). From my experience, your daughter, being 16, will probably need to WANT to get help for help to work. If you want to get her off the streets, get her into an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) program. I'm not sure she can be put there against her will, but I'd try. It may not cure her behavior, but maybe it will help and you and your new hub will have a break from the worry and so will ex. You may be able to get state money for this, but I'm not sure how. Several here have done it and know how.

    Once they are 18, they are on their own completely and you can't help them if they refuse help. (((Hugs))). Others will come along.
  3. Lily

    Lily New Member

    Thanks Midwestern mom for your help and support. I did try to post on the Teen and Substance abuse website like you suggested (haven't seen it show up yet). The trip she is taking is very structured with a lot of oversight and something she (and we) are really looking forward to. It is usually a good experience for most kids (Israel and Poland) so I think we are going ahead with that. But I hear what you are saying...hopefully she won't screw up and get sent home early.
  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    How do we keep them safe until they mature and outgrow some of these self destructive ways???? That is the million dollar question to which I have no answer but am living through many of the same problems you are. My difficult child just turned 18 and thinks she now can come and go as she pleases and we have no say. We don't ever leave our house unlocked for fear of what she and her friends will do. We have no alcohol that isn't under lock and key and we hide our car keys. If she had the money she would have piercings and tatoos galore.

    Is she driving? If she is then you have car keys that you can take away. Our difficult child has lost her car because she had a bottle of alcohol in the trunk. She is forced to get rides from people now. If she has a cell phone you can take her texting away until she tells you where she is and comes home by curfew.

    Does she have any plans for the future? How are her grades?

  5. Lily

    Lily New Member

    Hi Nancy. I think from your description that you and I are parenting the same child!! Mine can only drive with us again until August because she had a minor accident (which she didn't tell me a call from insurance company) and in our state, she goes back to it being like having a temporary license if they are 16. I have no plans to let her drive my car once August rolls around. I told her yesterday, when she told me when she turns 18 she can do what she wants, that that is not the case if she is living in my house and I am supporting her. She said she will just live with her dad then. She has an answer for everything.

    Her future plans are switching to the "career center" in our county for 11th grade to study culinary ( if she gets in). Grades are not bad but could be much better if she would study or do homework. Her other future plans are to just "hang out" and travel the world!

    Thanks for your support and input :)
  6. Lily

    Lily New Member

    One more thing I want to add that I need all of your input on. I know I listed all the bad traits and bad things she has done, but there is still so much good in her too..I would say she is still reasonable and pleasant and behaves 60-70% of the is just the other part that is so scary and difficult and stressful. And I am slowly, with my ex, looking into residential treatment programs and other facilities, per the psychologist. But I just can't believe we are at that point. So I guess I am still hoping we can manage this ourselves until she grows up and matures a bit, as I am just panicked at the thought of sending her somewhere and the rejection that must cause, and also what can happen to them when they are at someone's else's mercy (you never really know about any facility).So is this how your kids are...still lots of good but the bad is really bad? Or am I fooling myself and we are already at the point where I need to be considering a treatment facility etc...
  7. Jeppy

    Jeppy New Member

    I haven't been through all that you have (yet), and am also new here, so I'm no expert, but as to your daughter feeling rejected if you send her away, I wouldn't assume that will necessarily happen. It is sending her a message (which she may not realize until she is older) that you care about her safety, especially if you are meeting regularly with her at the treatment center instead of sending her away with no contact between you after that. If you just ignored all her misbehavior and let her do whatever she wanted, that would send her a message that you don't care about her. It's hard to know what to do - don't beat yourself up about this please.
  8. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    How would you and your ex feel about every other week at each house? It does a couple things. It gives you & him a break from her....but it also gives her a break from each of you.
    Here is how it went with my difficult child. At the early part of the week she was so happy to get away from her dad that she was pleasant with me. By the end of the week she could not wait to get to dad's cause she was tire of me.

    She eventually got so tired of switching houses back and forth that we agreed to try her with me full time. Now that she is 18 she is much more aware of her moods and of me and my reactions. She can now recognize an argument brewing and sometimes she stops it in its tracks. Which of course if we try to do...they just keep going and going like the Energizer Bunny.
  9. dadside

    dadside New Member

    Briefly, from your description, the way she is going, she almost surely will need some away-from-home therapeutic experience. I'd bet on drug usage that may not be apparent now, but will become so if you don't intervene. That her behavior has been increasingly problematic for over 2 years suggests some time will be required to effect lasting change. Major issues will be where she will be, and what supports she will have after the away-from-home therapy.

    IF her average school grades have declined notably over the last 2 – 3 years, you may be able to make a good case that she be “classified” under some category supported by the psychologist you saw. That may lead to your local school payiing for a special school placement. However, if she is not already “classified”, you'd likely be looking at a minimum of three months and probably more before any payment/placement decision was made.

    There are any number of programs that will promise to take care of your daughter's issues. Most can have a positive efffect, a small minority are undesirable places. Your research can help distinguish the good from the bad. It is important to match the program to the student's issues and character as well. The least costly program I'd recommend for away-from-home treatment costs about $6,000, takes a month, and is not suitable for a “hard case”. The most expensive can run over a year, over $100,000, or both.

    Some teens survive OK without intervention. Others can deteriorate and ultimately die. I'd not like to do nothing and take the chance that my teen would turn out OK. Ultimately though, it will be your child's decision. The most that can be done is removing them from immediate access/exposure to the problems, educate them on the issues, give them positive alternatives, and provide good supports. I've seen it work, and I've seen cases where parents did little or nothing. You may not be able to manage a high-cost program, but you can always do something positive for your child's future.
  10. Lily

    Lily New Member

    Thank you both. I will start looking into programs to see what our options are. And we will continue with what you suggest...limiting access as much as possible to undesirable people and things, support, and positive alternatives. I guess I just wasn't ready to believe that is where we are but all of you are telling me the same thing, so there is no denying it. (and we did try the back and forth between houses but right now she is just with her dad mainly because I am burnt out, he still gives her a bit more leeway, and the effect on my marriage).