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15 year old daughter with drinking and drug use issues

15 year old daughter with drinking and drug use issues


15 year old daughter with drinking and drug use issues

My daughter has depression and anxiety , but won't see a therapist as she has chosen not too, and apparently that's her choice. She's been drinking for a few years now without me realising, and for the past couple of years has been smoking weed and has tried other drugs. She lies about where she is, has tried self harm to the point where she has been to emergency for help.

The rule in my house is that there are to be no alcohol or drugs used. My house, my rules. This afternoon she informed me she was having a pool party with her friends and she would be drinking, regardless of what I thought. When I said no , she got verbally aggressive, as is normal with her when I say no to something. I took her phone, as she basically told me to get F#$@&d several times, and I felt she didn't deserve to have it (I pay the bill). She has since left the house with the two girls that were here, and I cant get in touch with her to find out where she is staying. 

When she yells she sounds and acts like her father, who was very aggressive and a heavy drinker, which triggers me way too much for my liking, as I yell back at her. Now I feel awful for yelling, and worried about where she is and what she's doing. I want to get her help but there doesn't seem to be the right sort of help for her- everyone says she needs to want the help for it to be available. 

What can I do? 


Re: 15 year old daughter with drinking and drug use issues

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Hi @upsetmum, I am so sorry to hear about the situation that you are going through. I imagine it must be so stressful and upsetting for you as a parent. It must be so difficult for you to be triggered by your daughter's behaviour. You aren't alone - this can be really common in parents who have separated. It can add an extra layer of emotions to an already charged situation. I am sure this may be something you have thought of but I am wondering if you know the girls she is with and if you are able to reach them or their parents? If you become worried for your daughter's safety, you could call the police to conduct a welfare check. It might be worth keeping in mind that this can increase the tension in the relationship, so only do so if you are feeling concerned. 


You could also look into some support for yourself to assist in dealing with this ongoing situation. You could contact Parents Line which is a telephone service or head to the GP to start the process to see a psychologist. For your daughter, you could also just make her aware of the services that are available to her in case she ever feels like reaching out. We also have an anonymous youth forum which she may like to post in and a list of relevant services here.


Please feel welcome to keep us updated Heart

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: 15 year old daughter with drinking and drug use issues

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Hi @upsetmum,,

Sorry to hear about your situation with your daughter, and it's great you've come here to connect and get a few suggestions and support. We have a 16 year old son and 14 year old daughter and I'll be honest with you and say we have issues at our end too and things got pretty turbulent on Saturday night and both of our kids stayed overnight with friends. However, he heat played into that too. It was so hot no one was thinking clearly. My number one is to keep communication going and I thought I had to be the adult and apologise for letting things blow out of proportion while also mentioning him not doing his chores. Our daughter's been testing her boundaries and has dabbled in drinking but I'm hoping that's all it is. I don't drink very often and my husband occasionally  and since I found out about my daughter drinking, I've really drawn a line in the sand. 

We've been quite challenged about how to respond to our teens' undesirable behaviours. I've felt pressured to "put my foot down" and give them ultimatums, and yet no one responds well to ultimatums. Somehow, you what that sensible part of their brain to suddenly wake up  and do the right thing. Get themselves back on track. However, that can turn into a lot of wishful thinking. 

While I'm personally like you when it comes to using drugs and alcohol, but at the same time I have worked in the health system and consumption of drugs and alcohol can be viewed within the framework of "self-medicating", which makes sense when you say your daughter experiences anxiety and depression. That's not to soften what she's doing or to provide an excuse, but it suggests that if she works on the underlying issues or could use some relaxation techniques that she might not need the alcohol and drugs...a big step probably requiring professional help. This isn't something I've experienced, but I've had a few friends who have been through rehab but not when I've known them. 

It would be great if you could get in touch with one of her friends or the parents where she is staying and just get a message through that you hope she's okay and if you're fine for her to come home. 

Meanwhile, I wanted address getting yourself through this. Do you have a few close friends you can share with? Going for a walk helps me to clear my head. I think it's also good to acknowledge your emotions. Perhaps, write them down on paper. I know when things blow up with our kids, my emotions are so super-charged. I'm one to feel hurt more than anger, but it's very raw. It's a pain like nothing else. I was trying to explain it on the weekend and our kids are more precious than ourselves and I hurt even more when bad things happen to them, than when I hurt myself. There are so many intense emotions you can't put into words and when relationships strain or even break, there's nothing like it. So, I'm thinking of you. My last thought is getting in touch with your local area Health's Youth Health service or an agency when works with youth at risk of being homeless. 

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,



Community Manager

Re: 15 year old daughter with drinking and drug use issues

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Hi @upsetmum , 


I just wanted to check in and see how you're doing today. Did your daughter end up coming home? 


I think that @Birdwings 's advice is  fantastic , and I know that as a parent myself I definitely identify with the pain that we go through when   our kids are suffering - I remember reading a quote from Elizabeth Stone that really resonated with me; “Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.". 


If you think getting a bit more support for yourself at the moment would be helpful, we do offer a free one to one parents support service, where you can have 4 free sessions with a child and family professional either online or over the phone - you can check that out here


We also have some resources on the ReachOut parents page on drug and alcohol use that you might find helpful-  the right approach is different for every family, and you need to do what feels right for your family, but I did really like some of the practical tips shared here, and there's some great other resources including a video of different parents sharing their experiences here


@Birdwings  I'm sorry to hear that the weekend was a rough one for you and your family - that super hot weather can definitely add another layer of stress and make it much more likely for tempers to fray. Have things settled down now? 


Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: 15 year old daughter with drinking and drug use issues

Thanks very much for checking in with me, Janine. I wasn't sure how it was all going to work out at the time, and my husband and I were both pretty hurt. However, by late Sunday afternoon, my sensible self had resurrected itself and I was able to reach out and build bridges. I thought it was important to show our son we were concerned about him and looking out for him. He took off once from youth group but was hiding in the park across the road watching who was out looking for him. Who cared. He was with the youth group and leaders and I got in touch with one of them and asked him to pass on it was fine for him to come home and he passed on he was okay. 

However, I have to admit that we're in a very  good situation with our son because he goes to youth group at our church and our friends overlap. We have those layers of mutual community connection around us. Our daughter isn't involved with the youth group atm and I don't know her new close friend or her parents, and this has been exacerbated by covid and isolation and events not being held at the school. However, we've lived in the area for 20 years and she's been friends with some of her friends since she was born through playgroup. I am currently working to build more connections with our kids' friends' parents and just parents of teens in general. We need to stick together and inform each other of what's going on in our local areas. We live near the beach and I'm concerned about the tourist season and my daughter and other local teens being out and about. I should mention that my daughter was hit by a girl she didn't know when she was at the local park. She was with a group of friends, but this has brought my concerns to a head. 

Thank you for mentioning that quote. I was thinking of that quote but couldn't remember it well enough. It describes exactly how I feel as a parent. 

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get our house ready for Christmas. Yikes!

Anyone else having trouble there?

Best wishes,



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