Exhausted, stressed, and very sad

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Aspen, Feb 20, 2012.

  1. Aspen

    Aspen New Member

    This is my first post on this site. I come here today because I am exhausted and stressed beyond belief. I've read quite a few posts here, so I know I am not alone, and that helps a bit. My 16-1/2 yo daughter was diagnosed at age 13 with ADD and ODD. She is not currently medicated, but has been on several ADD medications in the past. She refused to take them, or gave them away to kids at school. She has been in and out of therapy, but refuses to go now. She began smoking pot and drinking at age 14, and occasionally dabbles in acid, ecstasy, and mushrooms. She has been suspended from school, truant, refuses to do her homework, etc., etc. since approximately mid-7th grade. We enrolled her in an alternative high school in January. Her attendance is spotty, her grades are D, D, D, D, B. She got a little job a few months ago, and over the past few weeks, has called in sick one too many times, and got fired this past weekend. She is verbally abusive, disruptive, lies, blames, manipulates, does not tell us where she is going, who with, she goes missing for days at a time. In fact, she has been gone for most of the past 5 days, although we know where she is at. Her peer group are all substance abusers. Daughter is refusing to come home and is enraged at even the most reasonable house rules. Our house rules are: go to school, be home by 11 on school nights, by 2 on weekends, no smoking pot in our house, no paraphernalia in your bedroom. She continues to smoke in her room, displays all her prized pipes, has all sorts of wall hangings, etc., referencing drug use. It's a daily battle. She was so verbally abusive to me this past weekend that my husband gave her an ultimatum to either respect our basic rules or consider living elsewhere. She left. He is distraught. I feel like I am going to have a heart attack. I am in therapy, and finding my counselor to be very, very helpful. But I feel desperate. We are terrified our daughter will get arrested, or worse. Our youngest daughter is upset with the disruption and we are very concerned about her.

    Okay. That's a start.
  2. lostwith3adhdboys

    lostwith3adhdboys New Member

    I know how you feel... my son was not as severe because he was not using drugs, so you are living my fear. I'm so sorry. WHat we did for our son was take an equity loan and last march we sent him to second nature wilderness therapy in Utah. It was 26,000 for 11 weeks. Most of the teens there sound just like your daughter. He did great in utah but he did back slide after we sent him to a boarding school in the fall. he came home in december and i'm stressed and exhausted just like you. he manipulates and lies but now he can control his anger. he is "just" failing" his classes and probably wont graduate HS.
  3. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Welcome! Your daughter needs some intense help. It is hard when they refuse it.

    Have you considered a trip to the Garden of Eden? That is when you empty her room of every thing except a mattress on the floor, sheets, 1 pillow, a plain blanket and some very basic clothing (5 plain outfits and a pair of pajamas). Shut off her cell phone (or use the parental controls so that it only works to call you), demand that she attend school --escort her there and sit by their door to ensure she stays there, escort her home and tell her she is grounded. If she leaves (either school or home), call the police and report her as a runaway. If she attacks you, call 911 and demand transport to ER for a psychiatric admit.

    Since she has been fired from her job, she has no money (no allowance!!) so she is limited in what she can do. Hard to buy drugs without cash (be sure to lock up all your valuables).

    (((Hugs))) She is taking you down a tough road.
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi there. Most of the people on this site have younger kids. You may want to post on "Substance Abuse." Most of your child's problems are likely due to her substance abuse. Do you think she was using any drugs while she was testing to get her diagnosis?

    At any rate, as one who had a child who used drugs, there is nothing you can do about any of the other issues until the drug problem is addressed. My guess is that she is using a lot more drugs than you think and doing it a lot more often. At least, that is what we found out (not until after she quit did we know how bad it had been though).

    I suggest you search for a good drug program for her. If that were my daughter, I'd have confiscated everything she hung on her room and trashed it. You can be arrested yourself if you have that stuff in your house. One day I found a pipe in my car after my daughter had gone to work. I threw it out the window in a panic...lol. It's really not funny, but i just chucked it out the window...it could have hit anyone. I was panicked and scared of being caught with it. When I confronted daughter she insisted it was planted there by some enemy to get her into trouble. I was so naive I believed it. And she WAS arrested and on probation...twice. She didn't stop using drugs until she wanted to stop, BUT s he did stop! We never said it was ok for Daughter to smoke pot anywhere. In fact, I turned her in once when I caught her smoking pot. I am not sorry I did it.

    Welcome to the board, but I sure wish you didn't have to be here. Hugs)))
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Hey hon, *hugs* for your hurting mommy heart.
  6. Aspen

    Aspen New Member

    Thanks for the support and suggestions. I am truly at my wit's end. I totally cleaned my daughter's room yesterday afternoon. I threw away anything related to drugs, paraphernalia, posters, tee shirts, etc. If and when she returns home, she will be furious. I am aware that she is doing a lot of drugs, as I have spent a great deal of time over the past few weeks, reading her journals. It was a revelation. I drive the child to school every day, and if I walked her to the door, she would probably punch me. Trust me when I say we have tried everything, and I mean everything. She refuses to comply with any request, even common courtesies. We do not have financial reserves to spend money on inpatient programs and the like. We are in a tough spot. I am aware that the place where daughter is staying has parents who condone drinking and smoking marijuana, by minors, in their house. I sent the mom a message, and said I am aware, and she has not responded. I could call the police? I'm contemplating it. I'll be honest though...my child does not want to stop using drugs and absolutely will not change her peer group. Right now, I am in survival mode...trying to figure out how I, husband, and 14 yo daughter can make it through this. To say it's heartbreaking would be an understatement.

    With regard to difficult child's diagnoses...she was 13, and drug tested at the time. Negative. This child has been a behavioral challenge since she was a toddler. It's been tough. I think her drug use began in 8th grade, and really took off last summer.
  7. Aspen

    Aspen New Member

    Yes, I think posting on the substance abuse forum is probably in order. Thanks so much!
  8. I'm no pro on this because we have no ODD, and we squashed anything drug/rebellion related very early on with our older kids. I am not into judging, because different things work for different families, but my spidy senses tell me your house rules are too lenient, so it might be time to tighten the ratchet. Example: don't like our rules, live elsewhere. Of course a hot-headed ODD teen is going to choose to have drugs and freedom from your rules. I know your are broken-hearted over this, I am not trying to make you feel bad.

    Any time our older kids got out of whack, we reeled them in big time and "readjusted." They experienced new rules for a while, and life went better for them when they followed the rules. It wasn't fun, and they hated us, but benefited from the attention, rules, and on some level, knew that we really really cared. We also had no problem removing certain friends from their lives, and each time we did, it turned out to be the right decision. They do so much better without bad peers influencing them.

    My favorite book for communication between parents and teens is "Have a New Teenager by Friday." The fact that communication starts with you, and teens trust you when you react a certain way is a big theme in this book. This won't "fix" your ODD, drug-addicted kid in a week, but it will help you learn to communicate with her, if you are having trouble in that area.

    Communication is everything, even with drug kids. They can't hear you when they are using, and they use because they are hurt/empty/angry and out of the loop with their family. You have to fix the drug problem first. Then she might be able to start hearing people who love her. I also think that if you believe she is "dabbling in" other drugs and you can name them, then she is probably using a lot and not dabbling at all.

    I hope you post over in the substance abuse forum. The people on this board really know a LOT. I really hope you get a superior therapist for her, very quickly. I know you are doing the best you can. Time to up your game so you can save her.

    Hugs, hugs.
  9. Aspen

    Aspen New Member

    Otto, thanks for your response. I don't think you are trying to make me feel bad. I've come to this forum for suggestions and advice. I agree that it's time to up our game. We are trying to figure out the best way to do that. Yesterday, my husband told our daughter "if you don't want to follow our rules, live elsewhere." She packed her bag quickly and left. Problem is...she is a minor and we are legally responsible for her. So, we've got a conundrum. She texted her dad tonight to let him know she was staying at a friend's house. I realize the impression is that we have been lax, and to some extent that may be true. But when you have a child who doesn't respond to gentle love, tough love, counseling, NOTHING - what do you do? If we ground her, she climbs out her window. She could care less if we take her cell phone or laptop. She could care less if she gets suspended. She doesn't care if she flunks all of her classes. When she was a sophomore, we paid for a "math intervention" class for her, because she was flunking geometry. The class met once per week, after school. I picked her up at 4:00 every Wednesday, and she would tell me how much she was learning. After about 4 weeks, I got an email from the teacher who asked why we paid for the class if daughter wasn't going to attend? Turns out, difficult child never went to a single class. We have talked, done written contracts. Everything. Trust me...everything. Counseling. Alternative high school. Sometimes, difficult child will cooperate for a day or two, but as soon as she hears "no", it's game on for her. This is truly exhausting.
  10. No, no, no, please don't think I don't think you haven't tried everything. I was just going off the one post you wrote, that didn't have all this info in it. I do know how tired, sad, and worried you are. We are members of this same club we didn't expect to be joining....our difficult child has us very worried at times, as well. There is nothing like fighting to the bone for your kid. It is exhausting. I get it.

    I know someone on this board has the wisdom to help you. I offer you prayers and an ear. Hang in there.
  11. Aspen

    Aspen New Member

    Otto, you are very kind. I just hopped over to the substance abuse forum and began reading. There is some amazing info and support there. I plan to post there tomorrow. I am super, super exhausted tonight. Time to get in my jammies and curl up with a cup of tea, I think! Thanks so much.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think you are doing anything less than you can be doing. I tried it all, even homeschooling so she couldn't see her friends (cough). Well, she jimmied the window in her room at night and ran all over town finding those friends and getting high. So we put bars on her windows. She still managed to get out of the house, find her friends, do drugs, etc.

    Sometimes turning them in is the best thing we can do for them. Once the courts are involved, often they can mandate rehab and therapy and the child has no option other than comply or face a more serious placement at the state's expense. Some kids go to foster care. Others go to RTCs. I have heard of parents who give up parental rights just so that the state puts the child into treatment centers at the state's expense.

    I am not telling you to do any of those extremes. We didn't. I'm just saying that when kids are devoted to drugs, there is little you can do to stop them. Even heart to heart talks didn't work because when kids (or adults) are using drugs, every word they say is a lie.

    Hugs and post on Substance Abuse. A lot of those parents are currently going through what you are.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Aspen... I'm going to add to THIS thread, rather than to the substance abuse forum thread, because... there is likely more going on than "just" the drug abuse... I'm no expert on drug abuse, I'll leave that to the other capable warrior moms over on SA.

    But... about that ODD diagnosis?
    To me, its a red flag.
    Most of the time, it means there is something else that the doctors have not found yet.
    ODD is a strange diagnosis. It describes behavior - and many of our kids have had that label at one time or another - but the diagnosis stops there. No medications, no therapies, no interventions or accommodations or guidance... it's just a label. Works not too badly as a "place-holder" diagnosis, because the real diagnosis may not be immediately obvious. But... usually, there is something else.

    My understanding is that there are three common timeframes for "hidden" issues to show up... starting school, about grade 4 or 5, and starting high school (8/9). At each of these points, the demands on the child ramp up fairly quickly. If they can't quite handle the new level, things can fall apart fairly quickly.

    You are NOT going to be able to deal with these other problems now, until you (and she) find a way to get help for the drug problem. It messes up everything else. But once she starts dealing with that problem, in my opinion you need to be ready to get to the bottom of other problems...

    Has she ever had a comprehensive evaluation? like neuropsychologist, or doctoral psychologist, or evaluation team?
    How about Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) or Occupational Therapist (OT) evaluations?

    Things that can really mess up a kid, and not show up until later, include sensory issues, motor and neuromotor skills issues, auditory processing disorders, mild forms of things on or toward the autism/Aspergers spectrum...