Looking for advice concerning my 13-year-old

Discussion in 'Substance Abuse' started by SadFlower, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. SadFlower

    SadFlower Member


    I have been reading this forum for a while and I really feel for all you mothers and fathers out there who are dealing with issues similar to my own.... I want to start by saying that I really appreciate all the wisdom I've read so far.

    I'm a 39-year-old advertising manager, recently divorced, with two daughters. I'm here because I've found out about a month ago that my 13 years old daughter is smoking weed. She's a smart kid, skipped one grade, always very successful... but I think the divorce (which was pretty ugly) was hard on her. Add to that moving to a new city and being adopted (which she's always struggled with). I've always tried talking to her and letting her know that she could always talk to me, and she did use to share some of her feelings but recently it's been a no go.

    We're fighting almost every day now. I found out that she keeps smoking weed despite her drug screens coming out clear (I have no idea how she does that) and her sister told me that she saw her sneaking out. I've sent her to a therapist who told me after three sessions that the problem is me being too "demanding"; right now I'm looking for a different therapist.

    Other than getting her into therapy, not giving her money, punishing her, and drug testing her, what more can I do? I am desperate and I would love to hear anything you have to offer. Right now I would do just about anything. Thank you.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Thirteen. I'm guessing, if she skipped a year, grade 9? Yikes! Hormones, teenage pressure, and spending all her time with older kids. Add some additional life stress - the divorce, plus a major move, two of the biggest stressors in life - and... It's not hard to see where she's coming from.

    Adoption muddies the waters. These kids already feel like misfits, even when they love their families and are in stable environments.

    What did she have to give up in making the move to a new city, new school, etc.? Friends, for starters, but there will be other things. Any way to replace some of that?

    In general there are two approaches when we find our kids are on drugs. Some take a hard-line, tough-love approach, and sometimes it works. Sometimes it backfires, and there is no sure way to tell ahead of time. Others dig to get to the root of the problem and make changes there, and that's not a guarantee either because it takes time, and our kids can be in over their heads really fast.

    I will be starting a private conversation with you as well.
  3. SadFlower

    SadFlower Member

    Thank you. Yes, she's just started the 9th grade. And I think you're right about some adoptees feeling like misfits... my daughter told me a long time ago that she loves us but "it's not the way it should be".

    She did had to give up on her friends when we moved. She's made new friends, but they're not exactly the positive type. I'm certain they give her the drugs. They're so not like her and I really don't understand what she finds in them.

    About the "getting to the root of the problem" approach... that's EXACTLY what I'm afraid of, that it'll take too long and by then it'll just be way too late.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Teenage girls are... sub-human. I'm serious. What does she find in them? They are likely the ONLY people who have reached out to her. The academic kids and the athletic kids and the "artsy" kids, all tend to be snobbish and fairly closed groups.
  5. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Okay that is not possible unless she uses the well sample from a clean person in which case she is a genius or more reasonable is that she does not smoke weed but another king of drug like plant that is not illegal or not searched in drug tests or she just smokes grass as the idiots in my country some idiots payed 500$ for 10 kg of weed that was actual weed like grass that grows in your vegetable garden and they did not realized but at least they where not arrested because that is not illegal just stupid and well they where lucky that the police could not arrest them for drug consumption.
    But again what she smokes might not be weed but some other plant that gives similar effects. Weed has a very powerful and strong smell very strong so do you smell such a thing one her?
  6. SadFlower

    SadFlower Member

    Getting a clean sample from someone who doesn't smoke?? I haven't thought about that. It's possible, I guess. I'm not happy to say this, but I've learned to identify the smell... and I do smell it here sometimes but I didn't really think she's smoking again because of the clean tests. It is possible that she's also smoking something else.

    I feel so stupid and naive dealing with these things. I've never used drugs, I know nothing about that world, and I have no idea how to solve this.
  7. SadFlower

    SadFlower Member

    New developments... I've confronted daughter about the weed smell in her room despite the tests coming out clean and she told me which this innocent look in her eyes that the smell can take "months" to disappear. Yeah, right. When I said I don't really believe that she started screaming and cursing and telling me that she hates me because I supposedly never trust her. I told her that she's taking a drug test right now, and she went into full tantrum mode. That told me everything I needed to know.

    Now she's out somewhere, probably with her friends, smoking weed again. I'm not sure how to proceed. (And I still don't know how the tests always turn out clean...)
  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There are a lot of ways to beat a drug screen and substance abusers know them all. What type of test are you using? Hair follicle tests are probably the most reliable. If you are using the urine test, is someone watching her? Otherwise, it is very easy to pull a switcheroo.

    It sounds like your daughter is taking whatever friends she can find in her new environment. Unfortunately, as Insane said, it is usually the druggies that are most welcoming to new students. In order to fit in, your daughter is abusing substances and as much as I hate to say this, it is probably more than just pot.

    This may sound extreme but is there anywhere else she can go? You need to get her away from this group before this goes any further. She sounds like she is heading down a very dangerous path. I don't think you are overreacting at all.

  9. SadFlower

    SadFlower Member


    Thank you for your comment. We're using a urine test. I don't watch her.... that seemed too extreme and to be honest I didn't really think she could take advantage of that. I haven't really found any evidence, but I do think now that she uses someone else's clean sample. I'm not entirely sure what to do about it yet.

    I totally agree that the druggies are the most welcoming. She was all alone for the first week but then it was like she became best friends with these kids. I was so happy to see her making new friends and settling in.... :(
    I really hope she's not using anything beyond just weed. I couldn't sleep last night... I just kept on thinking, if she manages to hide smoking weed, what else is she hiding?

    Getting away from here might help, but I think it's too extreme for now... she's gone through too many big changes recently and I don't want to make anything worse.
  10. SadFlower

    SadFlower Member

    Just an update.... She disappeared for a night, and after I called everyone i know who might know where she is and drove around the city, she came back at 4 a.m. totally high on something and went to sleep. When I took her clothes to the laundry I found a small white pill in the pocket of her jeans. She claims it's an aspirin. It doesn't look like an aspirin. When I told her that, she started screaming again.

    I'm going to take the pill to my doctor tomorrow to try and figure out what it is. I grounded her but she sneaked out the first chance she got. I don't know where she is right now, but I know she'll come back, she always does.... but what do I do when she's back? It's like running a race I can't win.
  11. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Call the police.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Does your school have access to a liaison officer (member of the police force who spends time at the school, works with the school and parents to address various issues)? They can identify the pill for you - probably more accurately than the doctor, because it's likely street drugs. They may also be able to put you in touch with resources and/or walk you through what options you have through the courts.
  13. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First of all, call the police every time that she disappears. If nothing else, you will create a chain of documentation that you might need in the future. Also, you can probably identify the pill on the Internet. There is usually a number on the pill and if you google the color, shape, and number you should be able to find out what she was taking.

    I think you need to act fast. You daughter has definitely moved past experimentation with pot. My suggestion is to send her to a residential treatment center as soon as possible. It will get her away from the current bad influences and give you time to reassess your next steps. Disappearing overnight it scary but particularly when she is only 13 years old.

    One more thing . . . you daughter has lost the right to privacy when she started using drugs. I would not consider watching her take the urine test too extreme at this point. Another possibility is that she is using drugs that don't show up on drug tests like synthetic pot or over the counter drugs like Coricidin which they take in handfuls.


  14. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    You can also call a pharmacy or a ER to get the pill identified. They will ask you what they need to know to identify it. If it's illegal or homemade they won't know though.

    Call the police. No this is not extreme it is what needs to be done she is too young to be doing this and getting away with it.
  15. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hi SadFlower. Your posts brought back so many memories for me. My daughter is adopted also. While she has always been difficult, the summer before high school she began smoking pot, drinking and running away from home (sometimes overnight). We struggled all during high school with her acting out and I called the police on her numerous times. We en ended up going to court with her several times. We also had her see therapists and they too told me I was too strict.

    Her senior year in high school was awful, she barely graduated. I stupidly thought if she went away to college it would be a good thing. Wrong! She lasted six weeks before she was arrested for pot and drinking in her dorm and was suspended at the end of the semester.

    Adoption seemed to have always been an issue with my daughter and I felt that there was a hole in her heart that couldn't be filled. She blamed me for everything, I was told that was normal and that many adoptees take everything out on their moms. She said awful things to me and about me, even wished I would jump off a bridge. The resource officer at the school tried to help her, she charmed everyone into thinking she was doing well all time while acting out at home.

    The interesting thing was she was going down the same exact path as her birthmother, down to getting tatoos (we are not a tatoo family). Her life paralleled her birthmother's so much that it was scary. She was bound and determined to reject everything about us.

    Fast forward to now, she is 24. She spent time in a rehab center and sober living house, lived on her own and lost every job she got. Eventually she must have decided she got tired of living like she was, smoking pot and drinking 24/7 and began the road to stability. She now has a good job but is involved with a loser boyfriend and drinks to excess. She is far better that she was but will always struggle in life. In a way I think she believes she doesn't deserve a better life even though we have given her every opportunity in the world.

    Through everything I have learned that nature trumps nurture. When I started on this journey I believed the opposite. I commiserate with you, those are very difficult years. My husband and I now have a close relationship with our daughter even though we wish she would leave the boyfriend. She has matured a lot but boy was it a rough road.

    You can look the pill up on the internet by shape/color/ markings. We had a very good juvenile detective in our community that helped us a great deal during those teen years.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
  16. SadFlower

    SadFlower Member

    Thank you all so much. When I feel like I'm going to explode... writing about this mess and reading your responses grounds me.

    My fear about calling the police is that they would find her with drugs/alcohol, and then she'll have a record for the rest of her life. I really hope she'll be able to make it out of this situation in one piece.
    I called the resource officer (they have an emergency number for the weekend) because she was gone again. He calmed me down (I was a bit hysterical when we talked) and said that he can build a behavior management program for her that will hopefully put her back on track. He also said that he can give me referrals to a therapist who specializes in adopted children, a support group for parents, and a group for adopted teens. I really think the adoption is the main issue here. She hates being adopted. She told me in the past that she really wishes we just left her with her birth mother (completely ignoring the fact that the birth mother abandoned her at an orphanage when she was 3 months old, that considering her lifestyle she had no business raising a child, and that kids in Kazakhstan get kicked out of the orphanage system at 16 with minimal education and end up on the streets as drug addicts and/or prostitutes).

    He also asked me some questions about the pill and said that it's most likely MDMA. I read up on that and I can't believe she's put herself in that much risk. People have died using this drug!!

    I am a bit more hopeful than I was before. Maybe we're finally getting on the right track. Again, thank you all for your support!!
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015
  17. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Good job, Mom!
    It's sad that it takes extreme behavior on the part of our kids to get the attention of people who can actually help but... at least you have a great resource officer.
  18. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Great news, that resource officer is terrific, sounds like he really wants to help kids. The resource officer at my daughter's school really liked my daughter and bent over backwards to help her. That kind of support is very helpful. A therapist that had experience with adopted children is most helpful. Out of all the ones we had only one had that experience and I was very sorry when she left to take another job. I'm anxious to hear how it goes. Your daughter reminds me of mine so much. She actually told me years ago she was sorry I told her she was adopted.
  19. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Well-Known Member

    Hi SadFlower,

    Your post brought back so many unsettling memories for me. Both my children are adopted, but my son really struggled. He was truly a "model" child, though a bit shy. Very smart & talented, but he never really seemed to attach to any of us. My daughter was available for adoption at 6 weeks old, and my son, due to international snafus, did not join us till he was almost 2 yrs. old. Both children are from the same country, but were given to us at very different ages. So many things come into play, I can't point my finger at just one thing.

    You're on the right track. I'd suggest you have your daughter evaluated by a psychiatrist who works with adolescents to rule out emerging mental illness. It's just one more thing to check off your list.
    My son, whom I treasured, let loose with such cruel, foul and hateful verbal abuse when I caught him with drugs that I felt like the world had spun off its axis. To this day, even 8 years later, he still can be so verbally vicious and avoids any acceptance that his behavior and choices led to his troubles, that I can't bother summoning the strength to convince him otherwise. My husband spends hours talking to him, my son nods and agrees, then just goes ahead and does what he wants anyway. He is not verbally disrespectful to my husband, but he abuses the gift of my husband's time and concern with no intention of changing. Because he is respectful to him, my husband continues wasting his time. I don't know which is worse.

    Our children, whether adopted or not, are on their own journey and they must, at some point, take ownership of that. My advice to you is to be prepared to hear more escalating spite and verbal cruelty, and, this is key... don't take it personally. I still reel from the memory when it hits me, and believe me, it's not easier all these years later. The daily sacrifices that go unappreciated and unacknowledged are painful. My son does not know when my birthday is, and has never, ever given me a present, other than the gifts the teacher's made the whole class make when he was in elementary school. Mother's Day, etc., a perfunctory call is occasionally made only because I'm sure my husband badgers him via text to do so. For someone to be like that, they must be hurting terribly themselves, and that's why I encourage you to get professional help for your daughter ASAP. Good professionals with adolescent & adoption experience can cut through the charming facades that our children so often manipulate others with to show nothing is their fault. Once she reaches legal adulthood, you will have few options unless she buys in.
  20. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I believe that any adolescent records would be sealed so that should not be a problem. It is better that she gets caught now than when she is older and it will become part of a permanent record.