easy child now disappearing and silent

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Carolyn9595, May 16, 2011.

  1. Carolyn9595

    Carolyn9595 Guest

    I know this happens and now it's happening to us. My daughter who has witnessed all the chaos all these years about her Twin Brother (difficult child) is now acting out. They are 15 years old. She has always had a good relationship with me. She is such a comfort to me. Helpful, funny, mostly in a good mood. She is the only one here that laughs. Her laugh is like music. Now she is silent and sullen. She is disappearing for hours at a time. She left Saturday to go to a friend's house around the corner and when I called at 6:30, the friend said "haven't seen her." None of her friends I contacted had seen her. She came back at 8:30 walking and by then I had called the police just to have a record in case I needed one later. I didn't yell at her. Her brother and I asked Where Were YOU?? She said Everywhere! When we asked more, she went out the back, into the alley and was gone again before her brother could catch her. Came back again silently at 10pm and locked herself in the room.
    The counselor came today and she refused to talk to her. My daughter is a homebody. Rarely goes anywhere. I always offer to get a friend and go somewhere. The counselor told me to give her space. I'm losing my daughter! She is furious about something but refuses to talk! difficult child walks to his friends' houses and goes to play basketball all weekend. He gave us a list of all his friends and their phone numbers. (nice!)
    What can I do? I leave her notes telling her I love her and we can talk it out whatever it is. Her brother doesn't know either. Thank you for your advice and support. It is invaluable to me.
  2. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    What's your hypothesis? Do you think she is with friends? Out walking by herself? Do you think she is doing drugs? Meeting with people she doesn't want you to know? Volunteering at the homeless shelter?

    I think with such a radical change in behavior I would be worried, particularly if she is refusing to talk to the counselor.

    I don't know what to tell you. Talk to her teachers at school and see if they notice anything? Are you friends with the mothers of any of her friends? Does she have a facebook page?

    I don't think I would let it go on for more than about a week without trying to get to the bottom of it. What to do though is the problem.

    Sorry, it must be frightening for you.
  3. wintak

    wintak New Member

    oh no...I'm so sorry. My thoughts are with you and your family
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry.
    Is she still showing up for school? Can you communicate with her teachers? That might be helpful
    Will she speak to her brother?
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry that you are in such a frightening position. It does sound ominous. I have only experienced something vaguely similar in raising the kids who are now middle age. Have no idea if your dynamic would make it workable but I'll toss it out for you to consider.

    One of my easy child teen girls stopped talking and interacting as usual. She would not answer questions. I choose to go sit in her bedroom after lights out. As usual I asked permission to come in but I didn't really wait for her reply. I sat on the floor near her bed and did my best to be silent. Eventually she said "why are you in here?" I then replied "I'm in here for alot of reasons. I love you. I'm worried about you. I want you to know that you can trust me. I want you to know that when something happens that makes you uncomfortable, frightened, sad or worried....you are never alone. I'd like you to share with me. If you aren't ready to do that I would like to just sit near you until you feel better. OK?"

    Fortunately her problem was not too complex. The next day she thanked me and said she'd figured it out. I hope your daughter can accept your support. Hugs. DDD
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    in my opinion smething is going on, more than just a reaction to her brother. From my own experience, to me it sounds like she may be experimenting with drugs. A lot of nice kids do...especially shy kids who want to suddenly be popular and, sadly, it works. My daughter was one of t hem. She was not a defiant, mean or bad kid who wanted to hurt us. She simply didn't want to be a wallflower anymore. We did not even THINK drugs when she first started (pot at age 12) because she had never given us any reason to believe she'd do this. However, now that she has been clean for eight years, she has told us everything and we are shocked by the depth of her drug involvement. A big symptom is a sudden change in behavior/friends/grades. Can you buy a drug test and spring it on her? Have you searched her room for clues as to what may be going on?
    Good luck and keep us posted.
  7. Carolyn9595

    Carolyn9595 Guest

    As always, I feel better talking to you all than anyone i know! I don't know who she is with but it is not anyone we know. I hope it's not drugs but can't rule it out. She is now been suspended for FIVE days from school for skipping her elective three days. I can hardly breathe! I like the sit in her room idea and yet I'm afraid she'll yell Get Out of My Room! I am such a chicken when it comes to bold steps like a drug test. And then I worry that some step I take will backfire. I feel frightened, overwhelmed and lost. Maybe I will take her to the mall (her favorite place) and maybe she will warm up even though I won't buy her anything.(promise) I'm not sure if I should lay down the law and say whatever it is QUit IT! or take the caring approach. How do I do both? In the meantime, I will do some investigating.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I know it's a tough call, but I had the drug user and the soft approach didn't do anything. She just lied about it and I felt guilty accusing her of doing it. Yet she was. Obviously something big has changed with your easy child...and I would search her room when she isn't home to see if there are any signs of drug use. Heck, I'd even read her diary. When they start getting into trouble, they could get hurt...that's when privacy becomes moot. We have to do whatever we need to do to try to help them and make them safe. The earlier you catch it, if it IS drugs, the better chance you have of stopping it. Trust me, if that's what it is, it only gets worse...There is no place in parenting for those who are afraid of their own kids. We just can't be. And, no, it's not easy to be bold when our kids know how to stab us in the hearts. Here are the signs of a child who is using drugs. Pay attention to it. Wish we had. It went on too long before I, in particular, would admit it.


    Please take care.
  9. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    MWM is right. It may not be - but it was, with Onyxx.

    And drug testing's OK, for the things it will pick up. Spice, bath salts, cold medications - not so easy.

    Hugs... Ain't ever easy.
  10. Rainbird

    Rainbird New Member

    That is how it started with my now 18 year old daughter. She got very private, chose new friends, would no longer really talked to me, skipped class. And all along she made excuses and made me feel like I was being paranoid by questioning her. I took the caring route and the trusting route and it turned out she had been ditching school and doing drugs for two years. Honestly, I would suggest not taking it lightly. The older my daughter got the worse it got. I ended up with no control over her. I hope you can get to the bottom of it all. Big hugs for you.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I read this earlier and have been thinking about my response for a while.

    I truly think you need to really search her room, her facebook page (if she won't let you see it then she shouldn't have it), and you NEED to drug test her. Get the most complete test kit you can. If she has a cell phone, it may be worth it to pay for the gps service so you can see where it is at any time. At least for a month or two this owuld give you some idea if she is where you think she is. Do NOT tell her if you do this. Also check her phone usage. If she is on your plan, or you pay for her plan, then you should be able to see all the numbers she is calling. If there are drastic changes then see what you can find out about the people she is calling. If you pay for a month or so of one of the people searching sites then you can find all sorts of info about them. Including arrest records. This may or may not be worth it to you.

    It truly sounds like drugs to me. Have you spoken to her teachers? The friends that you know? Those friends' parents?

    You also need to have some idea what you will do if you find drugs, etc....? I would be at least willing to discuss rehab, call the cops if you find drugs/paraphernalia, and to limit her world as much as possible. Put alarms on her door/window at night so that if they open it wakes everyone up. Be esp wary if you find empty cans of the canned air used to clean computers. Kids use this as an inhalant to get high and it is deadly. Kids think it is just air so it is "safe" but it is heavier than air and will fill your lungs and you suffocate OR it is so cold it freezes your lungs and you die almost instantly. Having done it before, regardless of how many times, does NOT mean it won't kill you this time.

    Others here have more ideas. I am so sorry all this is happening. I would talk to her about birth control as many who are using drugs are also having unprotected sex. For this I would put a big box of condoms in a place she can find it with-o asking you and also take her to the doctor for an exam and choice of birth control.
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I would also drug test, pregnancy test, and whatever other kind of test you think you need. I went to Miss KT's doctor and requested an order for lab work, then picked her up at school with no warning to take her for testing. She was FURIOUS, but oh well. The drug test came up clean, but the mere fact that I had taken her in randomly suggested I would do it again, and I was all over her like white on rice for the rest of the school year.
  13. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I have a little different perspective and have no idea if my experiences apply to yours. But I'll tell you about how things are here with my 15 year old boy-girl twins. My son is difficult child, bipolar and has been a difficult kid his whole life. easy child says she is afraid that her brother will hurt her. She says he has threatened her with a knife and grabbed her and roughed her up some. Of course she didn't tell me about it until last week and it happened when they were home alone together.

    My easy child is a freshman. She has been different this year. Distant, angry, goes for long walks alone or with our dog, she's upset and crying at times but won't talk about what's going on. She gets angry sometimes if I just walk into the same room.

    I have struggled with what to do too. I decided to be strict about some things - no sleepovers unless I knew the other family - and loose about others like letting her hang out at school for an hour or two. She goes to a small high school - 400 students - where the teachers stick around a long time after school and they really know the kids. That was a tough call but I sometimes show up at school unexpectedly and I e-mail her teachers pretty often too.

    I decided not to force the issue of communication. I found that writing her notes about important things worked well - I think that the sound of my voice was actually triggering her for a while. She has gradually gotten more open with me - occasionally coming to chat with me late at night.

    She started missing school but it was because she was staying home "sick" or going to school late too often. I was worried about drugs and pregnancy too. One day when she said she felt sick in the morning - I just stood there and looked at her. She said she didn't know why she felt sick. I said well it could be a stomach bug, or her late nights, or her diet. She said no it's not any of those. I said, well morning sickness is the only other thing I could think of and she nearly shouted at me "I am NOT that stupid". I said No I knew she wasn't, that she had plans for college. And we left it at that.

    When she started being tardy every week I got on her case, pulled her phone privileges and talked to her teachers and principal. Now she's only tardy by a few minutes once every couple of minutes and her 1st period teacher seems OK with that so I've backed off on pushing her about that.

    One of her late night chats included telling me that her advisory class (it's sort of a counseling class) talked about drugs and that she and another girl were the only ones who said they had never done any and the other kids wanted to know why. My easy child said she told them that doing drugs was stupid and that people who do drugs get seriously hurt. The other kids scoffed at her. She told them her brother (difficult child 1) had gotten both his legs and one arm broken by somebody he was getting high with and she was never going to do drugs. I guess that shut the other kids up.

    We have gotten tougher and tougher with her brother and he's now on probation for being aggressive toward us. We don't leave them alone together ever now.

    Recently we started family therapy with a really good therapist who specializes in working with at risk youth. Our son refused to go more than once but we went anyway. She totally nailed my daughter for refusing to communicate, for picking fights, for sabotaging family time. And she did that in such a supportive and grounded way that my daughter took that in and started changing her behavior at home. When we got referred for wrap-around services that include family therapy I arranged for her to see this therapist individually. That has made an amazing difference. She talks to me now most days - telling me at least a little about her trouble with friends, things that are driving her crazy at school.

    I think we are on track to a better relationship now but I am still very cautious about pushing her to share or include me in things. And her therapist and I communicate a little by e-mail because some of what was happening was simply miscommunication due to my daughter's Learning Disability (LD)'s and the therapist has been able to give me some feedback about that. I have accepted her refusal to "friend" me on FB but that's partly because her godmother is one of her friends and is keeping an eye on her posts.

    I'm not sure my experience applies to yours. My daughter never actually skipped school. She has never, to my knowledge, gone somewhere and misled me about where she was or who she was with. But she knows I will make unannounced checks on her so perhaps that has helped with that. I turn her phone off at night and weekend mornings because it's my opinion that middle of the night plans made by text or cell phone are more likely to lead to trouble and secrecy than ones made in broad daylight. Perhaps that's naive of me but there's something about night that changes our perceptions of risk and reality that I think is biological and therefore much harder for kids to resist.

    Does she have a therapist? Are you doing family therapy? Maybe this would be something to explore. I think that when we started family therapy my daughter had proof of our commitment to her and to our family that she needed to feel safe.

    I would not have her twin try to intercede or appear to be interpreting her behavior to you. With my kids, anything like that ends up with splitting and triangulation. And that is very ugly and destructive. So I would be very, very careful about doing anything like that.

    I hope things get better and that your worst fears are proved groundless.

    Many hugs from one mom of twins to another. It's never been easy has it??
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
  14. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Parenting is just SO hard. It's really difficult because the Mom has to gauge her child's past behaviors and evaluate how they evolve. Sadly I have been there done that with drugs...but not with any of the four girls. Each of them went thru withdrawal stages due to issues that had nothing to do with drugs. One daughter fell in love, ugh, with a handsome manuipulative young guy who encouraged sexual behaviors that were a bit odd..and also encouraged some degree of isolation from others. Another daughter was the subtle object of harrassment and dealt with heartbreaking experiences..all unbeknownst to me..and awkward enough that she did not want to share her pain. A third has been a thorn in my side and impossible to parent as she is basically self centered and dishonest.

    I'm listing these examples because accusing a teen of drug use (with-o direct indicators) can backfire and make the teen believe that the parent sees them as a loser etc. It's a bummer. I would hope that a one on one walk on the beach, a pizza/movie for two at home, a bedtime visit would remove outside influences and allow freedom of conversation. No matter what your choice. We are all on your side. DDD
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    We actually never accused our daughter of using drugs until we were sure. That was over a year into her drug use and the drug use had accelerated by then. Even though we had proof, she still threw a fit and said that we had invaded her privacy and that the drugs were just "for a friend" (a typical line, by the way). Withdrawing to the room is one thing...I had a son who did that when he became thirteen. He was just trying to be more independent and was less interested in doing things with the family. But he never disappeared. THAT is the red flag for me as far as drugs...as well as skipping school.

    I hope whatever you choose to do works out best.