Just needing support

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by irishabby, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. irishabby

    irishabby New Member

    Hi there, I have four children, 17, 16, 14 and a half and 4. Older two are boys, and have never had any problems at all. The youngest of 4 is also a dream. The 14 year old girl is an extreme nightmare - been diagnosed by psychologist as having conduct disorder and anti-social personality as well. My husband and I went a step further and had a psychiatric evaluation done as well and he gave the same evaluation. This kiddo has spent 6 weeks in a girls home (got kicked out of that), takes off for days at a time, has broken into the house on several occasions, steals regularly, drinks and uses drugs. The experts advice "ignore her, do as many things without her, you've done everything a parent can do, lock her out" etc. I have tried everything I can, and because we are actually good parents - there is nothing in the system to help. Counselling doesn't work, the psychologist said this kid is dancing with a whole lot of acting and there is nothing underneath. The disruption is constant, and its taking its toll on everyones health and well being. And, what is extremely worrying is our safety when she is in the house, or sneaks into the house. Have had to put locks on every window and door. She is able to survive out there in the wide world by lying, stealing and so-on. The police have told me that despite her being a minor they can't force her to do a damn thing. The child protection agency says "oh, just ring the police and report that she has run away again".

    I have tried every which way to communicate, but as you well know reason here doesn't exist. Not in anyway that I have come to know anyhow. Anyway, I have come to the point where I feel that she has so destroyed the trust/love - and the behaviour is abusive, deliberate and manipulative. I also worry about her targeting the boys and younger sister.

    Is it normal to wish she didn't exist - its been a year and a half - and I really feel as though I have no love for her at all. When she is not here the entire house operates in harmony, and I wanted to know if anyone out there knows if these kids turn the corner at some point, or is she heading for jail/juvenile system.

  2. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    It is a heartbreaking situation when a child you love has behaved and lived in an unlovable way. I think it is perfectly normal by teen years to wish you did not live with or in this situation with a difficult child.

    I don't have the same set of circumstances but dysfunction runs rampant in my home also.
    Mother's never seem to give up but we do wear down.
    It sounds as if a long term residential program farther away than where she is familiar may be an option. Take her out of her comfort zone.

    Just a thought. Hope we can offer some other suggestions and lots of support.
  3. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Welcome. I see that you're in Australia so access to certain medical services may not be the same as what they are in the States.

    In my limited experience with my own kids, Conduct Disorder is not a helpful diagnosis. It describes a set of behaviors -- and believe me, you're seeing them in droves -- but it doesn't get at the root cause. Many of the teens who display these behaviors actually have a mental health issue that is driving them to do what they do. Self-medication in the form of drinking and drugs is very common. They steal because they crave alcolol and drugs. It's truly a viscious circle.

    Are there any mental health issues in the family tree that might give you a clue about what is going on with your daughter?
    Is there any way you can get into a different child psychiatrist to take another look? Or can you get an evaluation with a neuropsychologist?

    Only with a proper diagnosis will you be able to put the appropriate interventions into place to help your daughter. I'll see if I can flag down one of our Australian members to give you some advice about the services available in your country.
  4. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Irishabbey, welcome.
    I am so sorry for what you are going through.

    I think it is normal for teens to act out--someone, maybe Bill Cosby? said that is how you learn to kick them out (only it came out funny). When you have one with-an underlying disorder, it is maginfied a million times.
    Yes, it is normal to wish they would just go away, and normal to appreciate the calm and normality at home when they are away, in my humble opinion.

    I agree with Smallworld, that the diagnosis you have simply describes symptoms, not the real issue. I hate to sound like a drug pusher, but it sounds like your daughter needs medications, and of course, intensive counseling. Her street drug and alcohol use are "self medicating." She is feeling lots of anxiety, a huge need for attention, loads of anger and a strong need to control. If she can calm down, she may be able to express these things more coherently.

    Does she skip out of school? Is there a teacher or counselor there she might confide in? I'm trying to figure out a sort of conduit.

    I also agree that a residential treatment center of some type may be the way to go. If she is arrested, wouldn't the court rather place her in a treatment ctr than long-term jail?

    I hope you are documenting everything.
  5. compassion

    compassion Member

    Irishabbey, Hi! My daughter is very similar at age 15. She is diagnosis bipolar, substance abuser and conduct disorder. We are in process sof putting her into long term tratment (dual diagnosis -sustances and mnetally ill) I have treid everything to channel her energy:sports, music, travel, AA meetings She is just very unstable . NAMI is helping me a lot. They have a webiste. Compassion
  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    While NAMI is a very helpful organization, it doesn't have chapters in Australia. An orgnanization that might be helpful to you is the World Federation for Mental Health (website is www.wfmh.org).
  7. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Hello and Welcome!

    I am a little confused that you have been advised to "kick out" a fourteen-year-old and that there seems to be no other options for a child her age.

    This might be a United States vs Australia thing--but aren't you still legally responsible for her behaviors or does she have emancipated minor status?

  8. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Hi & welcome.

    You sound just simply exhausted & pushed beyond your limit. And yes, your feelings are entirely normal ~ understandable.

    As a mother you want to do all you can for your difficult child; the reality at your difficult children age is that unless she is invested in herself ( & that may include hitting rock bottom before asking for help), there is little you can do. You cannot lock her in her room. Unless you have a constant vigil or a room in a treatment facility. Is she mentally ill? Definitely. Is she reachable right now? Not if she keeps running & isn't compliant with treatment.

    It's so normal to feel the harmony & peace with a difficult child out of the house. At first, it seems unreal ~ then you get used to it. Things are back to "normal".

    Sending you very gentle (((hugs))) this morning. I'm glad you found us.
  9. Janna

    Janna New Member

    No, it's not abnormal for you to feel happy when she's gone. I've been in the same situation.

    B has made his bed and has caused many problems in the home. He just spent 8 months in, yet, ANOTHER Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) (this would be his 4th :faint:) - trying to learn how to be a human. He has lost the trust of everyone in this family, and honestly, I don't *really* want him here.

    As long as he is following expectations and behaving appropriately he can stay. However, I had him emancipated (he is his own adult now, I have no responsibility over him), and if he acts stupid, he can get out.

    I know nothing about Australia. Hopefully, Marg will come along and offer something. She is from your neck of the woods.

    I'm just wondering if there isn't some type of Residential center she can go to where she won't get the easy way out (i.e. kicking her out) and have to actually follow through.

    Sending hugs.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, Marg here. As far as Residential Treatment Center (RTC) goes, I don't think we have this in Australia, although until recently I didn't think we had neuropsychs either, and I've since found out we do. So in the area ofmental health, I'm almost as much in the dark. My eldest (easy child) is a health care worker (occupational therapist in the hospital environment) and has access to SOME information about services, but is also learning as she goes in this regard.

    From my actual experience - my sister's adopted son went off the rails like this, kept running away and went on the streets on drugs. She did everything she could, although with hindsight she enabled him for far too long even when she thought she wasn't. But by then there were children involved and she was desperately trying to improve her grandchildren's environment, except everything she gave them, her son and his girl would hock it for drugs and neglect the kids.

    However - end result is, the girl got her act together quite quickly when she realised that she would lose her kids. She threw him out (because he was the main one hocking stuff) and clung to my sister for support and guidance. Meanwhile my sister's son ended up in the prison system over the next ten years, in and out. Over those years he became a "serial father" and she has a string of grandchildren, some of whom she doesn't know much about. However, her son is now clean, gonig straight and trying to make something out of what is left of his capability after frying his brain. He always had problems (with hindsight, much more than the severe ADHD he was reluctantly diagosed with back in the 70s). He turned up at his mother's second wedding (they had talked on the phone a couple of days before, first contact in years) and we all talked to him, were impressed with how he is really making an effort now. He's not around much but when he is in contact, things seem to be ticking along. He had a rough time of it but is now doing what he can, and his kids are his reason for trying to go straight.

    It's the best I can do for now in terms of reassurance because I really don't have enough expertise here. However, if there is any chancwe you can get your daughter in to see a psychiatrist (rather than a psychologist) I think you might have more doors open for you. Do you have a Health Care Plan on her? It's done through your GP and also opens up services for her, bulk-billed where possible. A psychiatrist's diagnosis would carry a lot more weight and perhaps have more chance at finding out what is really going on. From my experience, a psychologist alone was not able to make a confirmed diagnosis of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) in our kids, we needed others on the team to have their input as well. Add to this the inexactness of medical science, and you get a vital need to always challenge the diagnosis to keep revisiting it (where possible) to see if perhaps something important has been missed. I mean, a kid can go off the rails like this if they suffered abuse early on, for example. And people don't always recognise that abuse can take many forms and come from many different places. My easy child was sexually abused in the school playground, when she was 5. The perpetrator was 7 years old and himself a victim of sexual abuse, we worked out later (from his words and actions) but she was too terrified to let us know for several years. As far as we couldwork outm there were only a couple of isolated incidents andwe dealt with it as soon as we found out, but there wasn't a lotwe could do. But if abuse is worse, or goes on for longer, or... many other possibilities, who knows what it could do?
    Anyway, that was just an example.

    If you are in Sydney (as I am) I may be able to track down some other possibilities for you, but chances are you have probably already developed your own contact network and could probably teach ME a thing or two! Besides, Sydney is a big place and if you're in a different neck of the woods then my help would be limited.

    As for the legal stuff and whether we are responsible for what our under-age kids do - I would need to check this out, the local cop shop should be able to tell you if you ask, but I think if your kid is a runaway and you can't do anything about it, you don't get held responsible. I know my sister wasn't held responsible for her son's break-and-enters.

    A thought - do you have extended family? Make sure they are safe too, and have put locks on their windows and doors. My nephew broke into my parents' home and stole their stash of cold cash (in the freezer - it's amazing how many people think, "No thief would ever think of looking there!")

    Sometimes you get a kid who is like this, despite all efforts to prevent it. If you can get to the bottom of it and find out what has been going on to cause it (assuming there IS a cause) then maybe it is something you can work on. But if you're just shooting in the dark, you end up lurching from crisis to crisis and it's no wonder you get fed up with it all and just want to walk away from the problem. And if she won't cooperate - then the best you can do is keep yourself and your family as safe as possible. For now. And hope she gets herself sorted, if shewill no longer comply with what you want her to do.

    Have you tried some alternative contacts? Maybe try to get in touch with (Father) Chris O'Reilly? (Youth Off the Streets). Pick his brains if you can, or someone else's who's been there done that. I have a friend in the village who has contacts with Chris O'Reilly, but I don't know if it would be needed or if it would help.

    I've got a busy couple of days, I won't be around much but I'll keep tabs on this thread. Also my husband will be doing the same, he lurks on all my posts. He's also a member of this site (very handy sometimes!)