Teen help, I'm at the end of my rope

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by zeke11, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. zeke11

    zeke11 New Member

    My 17yo is really doing me in. She is my 3rd child, I have one more younger.

    Right now, although it is Thursday AM at 9:12, she is lying in bed.

    She cuts school and doesn't even sneak around about it, just blatantly refuses to get out of bed. Does this about 1-2 days a week.

    She did this last year (junior year) and almost was suspended for a semester due to academic probation and attendance probation. Now, here we go again.

    This is SO stressful for me. I have had a couple of heart attacks (two years ago) and my heart is functioning at about half what it should. So I can barely afford to deal with the stress of this....

    Just knowing she is snoring away eats at me. I'm all wound up. I don't know what to do anymore. We have tried counseling and she was uncooperative, it was fruitless.

    My eldest daughter, who is almost 23, lives at home and is a body piercer and tattoo apprentice. My second daughter is a senior at college and doing very well. My youngest, a son, is in 8th grade and also doing well in school, but has no interest in outside activities.

    All of my kids were very bright in elementary and junior high, in the gifted program. I feel like somewhere along the line, I failed, since my eldest and now my 17yo are not turning out very well.

    I can't figure out what I did wrong, I was a stay at home mom, this was my career choice and I feel like a huge failure. I dedicated my life to these kids and now this.

    I'm sorry to vent, I just feel so awful.

    What can I do, how can I get my 17yo back on track? If this keeps up I almost feel like I need to just kick her out of the house when she turns 18 in October. Would this make her worse or better? Would she realize her error and turn around or would she disappear forever?

    I no longer trust my judgement or parenting skills.

    Please help.

  2. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    First, WELCOME :) You are not alone.

    One thing I did when my daughter refused to attend school was to CALL the school attendence office each morning it happened, and tell them she was refusing to go. This was more to cover myself .. the courts can and will hold a parent responsible for their child's truancy so it's best not to simply ignore it. Before you use this tactic however, I urge you to speak to her guidance counselor about the situation first.

    Can you give us some background on her history; any diagnoses, medications, therapy, etc.?
  3. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Is the only problem school? Does she have an IEP at school?
  4. zeke11

    zeke11 New Member

    What is an IEP?

    Other problems: occasionally ignores the curfew we set for her, has been caught with beer cans in her room.

    Pros: Does chores, calls to report where she is, always answers her cell.

    We had been in touch with guidance last year when this was going on so they know she has an attendance problem.

    I hadn't thought of calling in and saying that she doesn't want to go to school on the days that she stays home.

    I guess that would be a good idea.

    She is almost 18, I don't think they can hold us responsible at that point. I *think* the cut off for mandatory school attendance is actually 16.

    It just upsets me so much because she has huge potential and is basically throwing it out the window.

    She is not on any medications or depression history, etc.

    Thank you for any additional input.

  5. Kris,

    I hear your concern that "somewhere along the line you have failed" as a parent. I have those days as well - as I am sure that most parents do. But I think it's important to remember that you did all of that hard work when your children were younger. Now is the time that they are taking control of their lives and their destinies. This is a time when you really have very little control, and their choices really are not a reflection upon you or your competence as a mother.

    I am guessing that there are reasons why your 17 y o does not want to go to school. It's not unusual for kids that age to be depressed and not share that information with others, especially their parents. Something may also be going on at school that you are not aware of. Would it be possible to get her to go to see a therapist or counselor? Perhaps the school counselor could refer you to someone in your community. She may be better able to speak to that person and get started in the process of sorting out exactly what is going on with her.

    Hang in there , Kris. Being the Mom of four kids , I know you know how quickly kids change. I really don't think that this situation is a reflection of you and your skills - but more of what is going on internally with your daughter. I'm hoping that she can get connected with someone and share what is going on with her. Ultimately, she is the one in charge of allowing that to happen.

  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You didn't fail. You have a child who is wired differently so he is harder to raise. Some kids seem to join the world and it all comes easy and some seem to struggle and make US struggle, but you tried. That makes you a good parent. I'd also like to say that I think your daughter's job is neat!!! My own oldest daughter went for hairdressing then decided her passion is culinary arts. She is a great pastry cook and is back in school. Neither job is NeuroSurgeon pay, but her forte is her creativity and she loves what she is doing...she cooks all the time, even makes wedding cakes on the side for people. (She also still does hair for people and makes a buck from home and is very talented at that too). Not every child is wired to be a college graduate. I could totally imagine my daughter doing tatoos too...lol. It wouldn't have bothered me.

    Just wanted to give you a hand of support, and another perspective on your oldest :D. Your younger daughter's story is over yet, but YOU have done a great job so far. Now it's up to her
  7. peg2

    peg2 Member

    I would suggest just sign her out, that's what I did with my now 19 year old. Was in 1 residential and 1 group home program and after the 2nd we tried school and he didn't want to go. I am a big believer in education but also, if they don't want to go, then you can't force it and at 17, no one will hold you accountable. There'a no point in forcing her to go; sign he rout and that willbe that; he can't go back. Maybe adult school or a GED program will suit her better. My middle son wen tto an adult school, go this HS diploma and is ok now, but ny younger, the one I was referring to above, is not so well. I was tired of getting calls from the school everyday. He would not have turned out any different if he went to school and if you force her to go, she won;t do well anyway.
    Just a thought. Good luck.
  8. zeke11

    zeke11 New Member

    Oh, lots of great support. I'm so appreciative.

    Valerie, we did try counseling. Went to several sessions - my daughter alone with the therapist, then my husband and I alone, then all of us together. Totally unproductive. My daughter refused to talk and would just sit there silently the entire time.

    Last Friday, my husband and I went out in the early afternoon from about 3 till 6. My daughter was planning to go to the homecoming game at her high school. She called me on my cell to ask if it was ok if she had 6 friends meet at our house, they would stay outside on the deck, and then they were going to all walk to the game together.

    First of all, I was SO happy she called to ask permission. So I said ok. Well, we came home and there are about 20 kids in our yard, the deck REEKS of beer. I tell them all to leave and I stay at the back door watching. I see them sneaking cans under the jackets, etc. I tell them: there is to be NO drinking on my property, EVER. Some of them apologize. They all leave.

    My husband does not say anything, does not even step outside. Nothing. This is SO frustrating. When I talk to him about his lack of involvement, he gets angry at me. Says, "well, I heard you telling them." But I keep saying to him that I think we both need to be involved, maybe the kids would be more intimidated by a man going out there. Come on, they know my husband is inside and is saying NOTHING to them. This angers me so much.

    Anyway, speaking to my daughter later of course she lies and says she had no knowledge of any alcohol, she didn't know so many kids were going to show up, blah blah blah.....same old story.

    We feel like prisoners here. We would love to take my 13yo son camping or on a weekend trip like we did with the other kids when they were young, but we are unable to leave our home even for three hours. This is a very depressing situation.
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Welcome! It can be really hard to be a parent, can't it? I do NOT think your oldest is a "failure". Her profession is not a typical or traditional one, but it is not illegal in any way. She will learn a LOT about anatomy, health and safety, have lots of chances to develop her own creativity, etc... She will also be able to make a decent living almost anywhere in the country.

    Your 17 clearly has problems. I don't know if they will come after you since I have no idea what state or country you are in. In some parts of the US they will insist you provide food and shelter and clothing until your child is 21! New York seems to have this. I am not sure if others do. Here, in our town, the resource officer (cop assigned to a school) WILL come after you even into the last quarter of your senior year. Our judges will fine parents who do not make their high school students go to school. I object to it because parents cannot physically force a child to do anything.

    Check the local laws about this. A call to the resource officer should answer your questions. But you SHOULD call in and tell school she refuses to go to school. They may even send out the resource officer or a deputy to take her to school. It is a CYA sort of thing.

    There ARE alternatives to reg high school. My daughter is doing online high school due to health problems. We have also homeschooled her for a couple of years. Most states offer a free online high school. It may be a choice that fits your daughter. Just make sure that YOU do not have to enforce the time she spends at her lessons.

    I would try to have her evaluated for any health problems, then any psychiatric problems.

    I am sorry it is so hard.