MaryZ's support thread for parents of troubled teenagers - Part 2 here's to a peaceful 2013

(810 Posts)
Maryz Tue 01-Jan-13 15:57:49

This is a continuation of this thread which I set up as a safe space for struggling parents of challenging teenagers.

This is meant to be a welcoming thread, where everyone can come and moan, whinge, bash ideas off each other and support each other as we face a new year and new challenges

Newbies in particular - come and join in. When ds1 started going off the rails I felt very lonely as there was no-one in real life I could talk to. Being able to be open and honest on here has helped me cope over the last few years.

Many of us have extremely challenging teenagers, some are involved in alcohol and drugs, some are violent, some are struggling with depression, anxiety and various SN. This thread isn't here to judge people and tell them how to parent or to simplify and minimise their difficulties.

So if you think we should simply tell them to come home and night, and take their phones away if they don't, you are probably in the wrong place. Also if you think a few joints or a couple of pills are harmless, go and start a thread about it somewhere else.

The mantra of this thread is - don't look back, guilt is a wasted emotion. You are where you are now, carry on from here. You may not be able to change them, but you can change how you react to their behaviour, so pick your battles, take a step back and try not be too emotionally involved, and FFS, be nice to yourself.

So here goes: here's to a calm, peaceful and positive 2013.

MuchBrighterNow Mon 25-Mar-13 08:36:44

Katfinks, sounds like you are going through hell there. Try to be kind to yourself. Can you focus on the small things like having coffee with a friend, noticing first signs of Spring etc.

I know what it is to be out of your mind with worry and stress and anger and annoyance, yet have to hold it together because we are mums and have other dc depending on us... it's incredibly tough. We have to look after ourselves first so we can stay strong enough to cope with what's happening.

I constantly tell myself it will not be like this forever.

I had a friend who wasn't in good health and was trying to climb a hill whilst we were out walking. She just took lots of little steps until she made it. We called these " Bobby Steps " after her. I keep reminding myself to take little Bobby steps and not allow myself to get overwhelmed by the bigger picture.

I started a behaviour diary a while ago Stig , it helps to have a written record. One day when Ds is healthy and happy and sorted I will show him and maybe he will say sorry [fantasy emotion]

flow4 Mon 25-Mar-13 09:25:10

Oh poor you, Katfinks. It sounds like you are doing the very best you possibly can under incredibly difficult circumstances. Which is all you ever can do. As Brighter says, be nice to yourself. At least, try to do something nice for yourself today, even if it's a tiny thing.

And practically, if your DD ever does self harm and needs urgent medical attention and you can't get her to hospital, just call an ambulance. Or if it's not urgent, leave it til the morning and call your GP.

They take us into uncharted territory, our teens. We get tied in knots and confused. We feel out of control because we're having to deal with things we never imagined having to deal with, and we just don't know what to do. That's one of the reasons this thread is useful - because sometimes, from the outside, someone else who isn't caught up in the fear and panic can suggest a practical step that you haven't thought of, or aren't sure whether you should do.

One of the reasons. smile

I've had a bad start to today - nothing major - just moody, hungover, son struggling to get up, blaming it all on me, shouting and swearing, then demanding money for cigs... I gave in, and feel pathetic for doing it. Ho hum. sad

Hope everyone has a half-decent day. smile

slippysofa Mon 25-Mar-13 09:52:11

Can I have a bit of a whinge? I found out that DD (age 14) was self-harming and via GP and CAHMS that she had suicidal thoughts - brought on by her ever increased isolation at school. Some of it is paranoia but some of it has evidence-base. Teachers have been crap but enough of that.

I confided in a one of DD's friends' mum who is now in competitive mum mode and now HER DD has all the loneliness/ no friends / being bullied problems, despite her own DD being miss popular and a social butterfly. I feel that this woman is using my DD as a charity case but I don't want to say anything as her DD is the only real friend my DD has. So now I don't want to say anything as she will only try to do a one-up-manship type of thing and that is really annoying given the context.

Told you it was a whinge.

StephofArc Tue 26-Mar-13 19:51:29

I'm new to this thread, been on MN a few days. I've just become guardian to a 15 year old who until a few weeks ago was a school drop out, sleeping rough and addicted to crack. In the last few weeks she made up with her parents, came back to school and went on a detox programme but things have fallen apart with her mum again, this time it seems irreparable so she's moved in with me. She's been fairly well behaved so far but I've only had her about a week and I think we're still in the honeymoon period.

I'm anticipating a horrible easter holiday- she's meant to be sitting her GCSEs in May/June but has missed almost a year of school so I'm trying to help pull her up to half decent grades [gulp] She's still trying to get used to being back in a school environment and despite having finished detox she's suffering from bad shaking/anxiety episodes.

This is my first experience as a 'parent', it's proving rather stressful.

stig0fthedump Tue 26-Mar-13 20:18:59

Steph,

Well done for taking her on - most people wouldn't. I wish you well and I hope the honeymoon period lasts for you. It is unbelievably stressful and I have it somewhat easier than many on here. Please keep us posted and if we can help in any way we will. Helps sometimes just to sound off.

Good luck.

Stig

MuchBrighterNow Wed 27-Mar-13 06:23:24

That friend sounds really annoying Slippy Some people just can't be empathic and need to turn it into the me show, have you anyone a bit less irritating you could share with ?

Hi Steph, she sure has had a hard time of her young life so far I agree with stig about the stress. Please make sure you have a good plan for looking after yourself as well.

Every day that she is safe with you is a gift you have given her.

flow4 Wed 27-Mar-13 06:43:15

It is stressful Steph. I have often thought that if I hadn't had all those good years first, and a foundation of love underneath all the shit, I wouldn't have been able to do it... So if your relationship with this girl is less close, you may not have that to fall back on or comfort yourself with.

On the other hand, kids often save their worst behaviour for the people they're closest to. They behave badly with those people (usually their mum or dad) they believe deep-down will continue loving them; it simply doesn't feel 'safe' to behave that badly with anyone else. So you may not actually get the worst from your ward.

But it sounds like she's been through a lot. It would be natural for her to have some anger and fear to deal with, as well as addiction and exams. If you can help her through all that, you'll be doing a really valuable thing for her.

Good luck. And you know where we are. smile

flow4 Wed 27-Mar-13 06:45:27

slippy, I discovered there are some friends it's better not to tell. Sounds like your friend is one of these.

abbagold Wed 27-Mar-13 10:02:33

Hi im new here. DD15 is going completly off the rails. Have had behaviour issues since Y7. Now its really escalated into serious stuff. Self harm.Overdoses, truancy and the latest issue possible canibis use.though she denies this. has been prescribed prozac by doctor and had a referal to CAMHS. But the initial appointment isnt for another 2 weeks. She has a boyfriend who is a neet whom she frequently meets during schooltime where she just walks out. She is aggressive to both myself DH and DS13 and 12. Stealing and lies are just the norm for her and she cant see she is doing anything wrong. So pleased to find this board and realise im not alone.

stig0fthedump Wed 27-Mar-13 12:20:39

Abbagold,

We too have had a referral to CAMHS but they have decided the issue isn't for them to sort out and instead have sent us to Relate for family therapy. That is great (and I enjoy the sessions) but I can't get my DS14 to attend. The Relate counselor feels that DS should be assessed by a psychiatrist to eliminate asbergers/autism and the GP has now given us a private referral. But again how to get DS to co-operate? Meantime we are advised to tread on eggshells to avoid conflict and prioritise getting him in front of a psychiatrist. I have contacted the school and they will arrange for the head of their learning centre to talk to him. Maybe that will help but I am not holding my breath.

I would have thought if only CAMHS were involved then there would be a more joined up approach. Instead the onus is on us to get him to co-operate where a lack of co-operation is one of the primary problems!

Anybody else having these types of issues? Suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks,

Stig

StephofArc Wed 27-Mar-13 18:09:23

Thanks so much everyone for your support, really appreciate it.

Flow- the trouble is I think I probably am the person closest to DD at the moment and I don't know her particularly well sad She's had no contact with her dad for several years, has had a bad relationship with her mum since her dad left that's gotten progressively worse and never got on with her stepdad. School describe her as having an 'attitude problem' in that she can have a go at teachers like most would lay into their parents. So I think she's probably going to lay into me sooner or later when it all gets too much- just going to have to remind myself she doesn't mean it I think!

She finished school for easter today but I'm giving her tomorrow off on the condition that she follows the revision timetable I've drawn up for her from Friday onwards.

DD's stopped hanging around with the group who were supplying her with the drugs now and she's definitely broken up with the bf for good this time, which is good. But she hasn't managed to settle back into school and rekindle friendships yet so the only person she's really spending time with is me. I'm worried she's not getting enough social interaction with her peer group.

She didn't have a great evening last night, 2 1/2 hours ish of shaking and feeling sick sad It's the crack withdrawal, which in some ways is good because I know she hasn't been taking it behind my back, but it's horrible seeing her like that sad

Abba- from what I can gather, foster DD was a lot like your DD at about her age, possibly a bit younger. She finally hit the point a few weeks ago when she wanted to change, not other people trying and failing for her. It does get better, I think they do seem to hit a point at which they don't want to go on as they have been. Hang in there.

Shagmundfreud Thu 28-Mar-13 09:38:43

Called the police on dd this morning. sad

She's making herself late for school day in and day out (just one of many, many things she's doing which is getting her into trouble. Not doing homework also. Rudeness to teachers. Staying out after school without letting us know where she is etc, etc). It happened again today (deliberate lateness) and I told her she was putting DH (who she sees at the better, more caring parent) under real strain with her behaviour (she is), because he has so much on his plate at the moment. He works long hours in a stressful job, and both his parents are unwell. His dad is severely disabled and this week his beloved mum was taken into hospital very unwell. He really has had it up to here with dd's behaviour and is totally exhausted.

When I said this to her she started body blocking me in the hallway, shoving her face in mine and saying 'you think you're all that, that you can say what you like, but you can't stand up for your self when dad's not here' etc etc. I needed to get past her to take my younger dc's to school and she wouldn't let me move. She weighs 10 and a half stone and is strong, so I can't just push her to one side and walk past her. I told her to move or I'd phone the police. The last time she had me up against the wall and was body blocking me and goading me with her nose 2 inches from mine it ended up in a physical fight (I pulled her hair backwards to move her away from me and try to push her into her room) and I'm not prepared to ever let that happen again. I won't be physically intimidated in my own home and I told her this. I then phoned 999 when she refused to stop doing it (as advised by Parentline when I phoned them in despair the other night. She stood there laughing in disbelief that I'd called them, laughing at me crying.

They turned up within 5 minutes and I felt like a bit of an arse. Couldn't stop crying. They had a word with her and told her that if she was physically aggressive to me and I called them again they'd keep her in the cells for a day. Not sure what dd made of it but she stomped off to school and the pcs left.

I feel devastated that I ended up phoning the police on my 13 year old. That they will contact ss. But I wanted them to explain to her that there is a line she mustn't cross no matter what, and that is that she mustn't use physical aggression to try to intimidate me, or be physically violent to anyone in the house.

MuchBrighterNow Thu 28-Mar-13 11:06:14

Hi Shagmund how's it going? Sounds like you had a hellish morning. Well done for drawing the line and calling the police. Do you have the time to do something nice today ? Call a friend, go for a walk ? Just to remind yourself of something good.
Hopefully DD will have learnt from this that she can't push you around, You stood up for yourself and your other Dc which shows them that you are in control of the situation. --even if it feels out of control--flowers

I am having a hard time holding it together. I should be working but just feel so fried inside with anxiety and worry I can't think straight.

Ds has calmed down a bit and saw the psychiatrist and agreed to another appointment which is a step forward, also went to school today for first time in a while and is willing to keep trying to hang on in there.

Dh is having a hard time tiptoeing around Ds who is, whilst making a bit of progress, also being a TOTAL arse.
I am finding it easier to let things go with him as I realise he is seriously depressed , maybe Bipolar and can excuse his behaviour when I remember that the bigger picture is trying to get him out of the self destructive hole he's fallen into.

Dh is finding it really hard to let go of the general rudeness and consequently igniting arguments instead of calming them down. They had two major heated arguments yesterday which IMO could have been totally avoided.

It's causing so much stress for me and my other dc who are starting to act out as well.

On top of this Dh is celebrating his birthday this weekend and has invited 70 people over to party !!! shoot me now please before I shoot him

stig0fthedump Thu 28-Mar-13 19:26:02

MuchBrighterNow

I can empathize as DW is the one who struggles most to stay calm in the face of provocation. The big picture is to keep him calm and get him to see a psych or counselor but boy is it hard to stick to the plan. Every time I compromise with him when he's aggressive I feel a bit of my dignity go.

How did you get DS to agree to go to see the psychiatrist? I assume he wasn't keen to start with?

Shagmund

You did the right thing calling the police. DS' school have offered to have their police liaison officer have a chat with him if we need to. Apparently adolescent abuse on parents is not uncommon (at our school which is a good school) and they have done this many times before. Maybe something your school would offer also?

Did you see this article I posted a few days ago? I found it quite useful...

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/2897142/Kids/Adolescent%20Aggression%20Towards%20Parents.pdf

All the best,

Stig

flow4 Thu 28-Mar-13 20:01:31

Shag you did the right thing. Or the least-wrong thing. Calling the police on your own child feels really shit, doesn't it? But you are absolutely right to draw the line and let DD know you will not tolerate violence and intimidation. You would have felt worse if you had let her do it.

IME (and from everything I've heard from others) the police are really good in these situations - they end up providing unofficial low-key 'social work' for teens, because there's pretty much nothing else out there.

Oh Brighter... Sounds like one of those days where you have to suppress a strong desire to run away to live on a desert island.

Steph, it sounds like your FDD is doing really well, under the circumstances. smile

MuchBrighterNow Thu 28-Mar-13 20:57:51

Too right flow just show me how to get there and I'm off ... anyone care to join me ? grin

Or maybe .....we could leave all our Dc on the desert island for a couple of years till they grow up ... immagine the lord of the flies potential !

StephofArc Thu 28-Mar-13 21:04:23

Ohhhh brighter count me in, FDD is due to start her revision timetable tomorrow! eeeek!

I asked her if she wanted me to help, she said yes, because she's flicked through the CGP books and she can't remember doing any of it, ever.

We're going to kill each other by the end of tomorrow, I can just tell.

MuchBrighterNow Thu 28-Mar-13 21:17:13

Is there anything available online Steph. I am not in the Uk so not sure what's available but I've subscribed to a revision site for my Ds2 which has lessons and multiple choice ,quizzes etc. and follows the syllabus. He likes it because it's all laid out really clearly and you get to see how your score is progressing. maybe something like this could help with the revision.hmm

I reckon just focus on how great it is that she is willing to try and how proud you are rather than the academic outcome... good luck !

StephofArc Thu 28-Mar-13 21:29:01

I've found a few online resources Brighter plus a few ipad apps she's had a go with already and seems to like- I wonder how long it will be before my ipad becomes 'her' ipad! I think they like things on the computer apart from anything! hmm

Absolutely, we're going for her best rather than the best IYSWIM. Apart from anything, I think she needs this to give her something to focus on, and hopefully seeing what she's capable of when she puts her mind to it will keep her on the right track too. We'll get her through her GCSEs for now and save aiming for Oxbridge until A level grin

So grateful I found this thread, good to know I'm not the only one with a challenging teenager. Wish I could offer more help to others but I only have almost 2 weeks' worth of parenting experience so far! Though I do have a scary number of years worth of teaching experience, so if I can offer anyone any teacher perspective please do let me know.

stig0fthedump Thu 28-Mar-13 23:40:41

Steph

I think your teaching experience will be a big help. Sometimes as a parent it is really hard to get perspective as we are so emotionally involved - something teachers are much better at.

Stig

Sephrenia Fri 29-Mar-13 14:55:31

I think I belong on this thread sad

It's been a long while since I was on MN but I'm feeling pretty bad about my 14 year old DD.

She's always been a difficult child, absolutely hating authority and refusing to follow rules, along with being very verbally (and sometimes physically) aggressive and this has just got worse over the years.

She got so bad at one point that she had me and DH arrested for 'attacking' her with a belt, something we spent two years on police bail for while they investigated and eventually dropped as there was no evidence. Well, no evidence and the fact that she attacked a teacher at her school (she was in year 3 at the time) and the school suddenly changed their minds about us being bad parents.

Since then, the social services have near constantly been involved, she's been referred to CAMHS and recently been statemented for school for emotional and behavioural problems.

The strain its put on my marriage, not to mention on our 10 year old DS, is incalculable and I'm seriously considering having her sectioned due to the things she's been saying such as she will poison our drinks, we've never loved her or given her anything, DS is our favourite and we should get divorced as she thinks I'll suddenly become 'fun' if we do.

I'm at my wits end and have no clue what else to do. I've tried time outs, taking things away, refusing permission for her to go to the groups she likes, not giving money or buying things, time outs, reward charts and more.

As it is, DH and I have been talking about whether or not divorce would be best because she won't give us any privacy or 'us' time and hasn't for years.

The only thing positive I can say about DD is that she doesn't drink or smoke (as far as we can tell), isn't interested in hanging out on local parks or whatever and got herself a part time job that she's been doing religiously.

I really don't know what to do any more confused

StephofArc Fri 29-Mar-13 15:24:27

Oh Sephrenia no practical advice I'm afraid as I don't yet have an awful lot of parenting experience myself, but didn't want to read and run.

How is her schoolwork? If she's very committed to the part time job then maybe she's just not an academic and that's more her thing. I've taught kids in the past who are an absolute nightmare both at school and at home, and then something non-academic like a part time job appeals to them so much more and they start to settle down.

Has she had a CAMHS appointment yet?

Sephrenia Fri 29-Mar-13 15:54:06

StephofArc - When it comes to schoolwork, if it's a subject she likes then she'll apply herself well (such as being level 7c for geography) but if it's something she hates, she doesn't bother (only 4c in maths and English).

She's a very bright girl and wants to be an astronomer but because of her temper and not applying herself where she should, I can't see that happening for her which is upsetting.

CAMHS haven't been in touch yet, but she's seeing a therapist that her school have brought in specially for her, first appointment is the week they go back, so hopefully that will help!

Thank you for replying btw smile

flow4 Fri 29-Mar-13 18:46:25

Hi Seph, it does sound like you belong here. Sorry. And welcome. smile > a wry one <

I seem to remember we had a long discussion about sanctions on this thread's predecessor: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1598441-MaryZs-support-thread-for-parents-of-troubled-teenagers. We concluded (I think) that with certain challenging teens, nothing works: it's not a matter of you 'being firmer' or just 'doing it right' - some kids just don't respond to any sanction.

It is my belief that, if you are unlucky enough to have one of these teens, you can't actually control them; they have to learn to control themselves. Meanwhile, you really only have two choices: throw them out or hang on in there. Only you know which option is right for your DC, your family and you. People out there in the big wide world might judge you, but no-one here will, whichever way things go for you.

If you hang on in there, then you have two main challenges: one is to support them to learn to control themselves, and the other is to look after yourself. It seems (IME and from these threads) that it is really hard to look after yourself when you're dealing with a difficult teen, but it's really important. It's not some self-indulgent luxury; it's a survival essential.

Anyway, you know where we are... smile

Maryz Fri 29-Mar-13 18:49:48

Hi everyone. I'm back.

Sorry, I had a few things going on and I hid the whole of teenagers, as it was upsetting me a bit much. I've been practising the "detach, detach, look after yourself first" mantra - and I'm actually (crossed fingers) doing ok.

I will read the thread as soon as I've poured some wine.

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