09-01-2018 06:56 AM
I honestly don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I have "tried everything", and I guess what I am trying to figure out is when do you just throw the towel in and let your kids deal with the repercussions?
Here's what I mean. I have a 15 year old daughter, who, up until starting high school was amazing. She was a straight A honor student, an international sports champion and an all around sweet kid. Her dad passed away in 2016 and we were "dealing with it", and she was doing well, keeping up with sports, keeping her grades up and not acting out.
We had no choice to move and put her in a new school, full of super entitled kids. Immediately, she quit sports, discovered pot and has decided getting in trouble and ditching is cool.
I spent all year last year dealing with the school, addressing possible bullying issues, talking to teachers, talking to the SRO, talking to the moms of the kids and it never got better.
This summer she started sneaking out, using pot regularly, not following the rules, etc.
She refuses to go to therapy, to the point where she will threaten to open the car door, as it's moving, to avoid it.
She went to her first day of school, ditched, and hasn't been back since. She has a friend who she does this with and now that friend is going to do online school while my daughter is choosing to go to an alternative school. She also, recently, handed over all her marijuana (voluntarily) and said she was done and wanted to do better.
She just got the go ahead to start school next Tuesday but was supposed to be attending a class (that was her choice) at her "regular" high school to stay on course to graduate with an LPN. She has been refusing to go.
She told me she was going today, and then just didn't, and I am at work.
She also will not answer my phone calls. So I have shut down her phone and taken away her access to the car.
I am pissed she thinks this is a joke. For two days she has been super sweet and respectful and now here we are, again.
She also likes to remind me that none of this would be happening if her dad didn't die, which is probably true, but I have given her every opportunity to deal with her grief and she flat out refuses. I can't force her to talk.
I am seriously at my wit's end.
I have chased her around for a year and I probably still will, but I am also at the point where I am just willing to let her get in trouble with the school or by the law. It's an awful feeling but I seriously do not know what more to do.
09-01-2018 09:40 AM
Hi @shelby71 welcome to ReachOut and thank you for sharing with us. It sounds like it's been a really difficult time for you and I'm sorry to hear about the passing of your partner. Grief impacts us all in different ways and it sounds like your daughter has been struggling with this. It's really hard when we want to support our kids but then they go down a path that we know is not good for them or adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms. It's great that you have been encouraging her to seek some support and although she hasn't taken up the offer yet, it's really good to hear that she has handed over her marijuana voluntarily to you. I've noticed that you are located overseas so just wanted to advise that the resources we provide will be Australian based. I'm wondering if there is a web-based counselling chat service available in your area that she might be interested in trying? I've found that teenagers don't tend to like to talk in person or on the phone as much but chat might be a less confronting option. An example of a service we have in Australia is eHeadspace or Kids Helpline. It might be worth chatting to the school counsellor to see if they know of any local supports. Self-care is really important during this time and I'm wondering how you are looking after yourself through all of this? I'm going to tag some of our members for some advice and support @taokat @sunflowermom @Happy @Moggy3kids Hang in there you are doing an amazing job We're here to listen and support you.
09-01-2018 10:01 AM
i feel so sorry for you having lost your partner and for you being in this world of pain with your teenage daughter. I understand what you mean by not knowing what to do anymore. It is a hard and lonely job raising teenagers on your own. Hardly anybody IRL is honest about how awful it can be and how unrelentingly diabolical teenagers of this age can be.
I have recently separated from my husband after 22 years and am now on my own with two teenage boys, a 15 year old and a 13 year old and a full-time career. I left their dad because here was no partnership in our marriage including in the job of raising the boys and taking on the hard task of providing discipline and boundaries. Now I am here dealing with it all myself. It is shocking to me that the 15 year old in particular so angry, so moody, so constantly fixated on his phone. It is so depressing to see my beautiful clever son being such an undisciplined sloth. The other boy is much the same. It sounds harsh but they are lazy, feckless and selfish and do so little to help around the house. Like you, I am trying tough love - letting my older boy be late for school and get a detention if he is not ready to come with me when i leave. I just never thought I would have sons whose last words at night were to tell me to F off or to shut the F up. I keep saying that this is unacceptable and hurtful.
This time in our lives will pass and there will be brighter days again and so I work hard to maintain perspective and humour and to find joy in small things like my dogs running across the park and who never tell me to F off! That is all I can recommend to you.
09-02-2018 06:34 PM
Being a teenager is tough. They have loads going on socially and academically.
Their beautiful brains are re wiring which causes them to sleep more, become moody and do silly impulsive things.
I recommend all teenage Parents to read, The Teenage Brain by Francis E Jensen. This book helped me understand them a whole lot better.
Regarding your daughters behaviour I believe she's grieving the loss of her Dad and coming to terms with adjusting to a new school and new city.
When we moved to a new city my daughter hated her school and all the girls in it! She would come home in a bad mood and ask to go back to her old school with friends she Loved!
We asked her to be patient and to give it a least 6 months. She tried her best to fit in etc but she was unhappy! That's when we moved her to another school and Thankfully we saw a change.It hasn't been all nice and rosie but at least she was able to make friends she could relate to!
You mentioned your daughter was a straight A student and sports champion at her previous school , could the new school be at a higher academic level and this is making her feel not so good about herself!
Has she mentioned she dislikes something in particular?
Making new friends can be really hard at 15, maybe the only friend she has is the girl shes ditching school with.
Is there anyone in your community, family member, a family friend that she feels connected to or enjoys spending time with, that may be able to influence her attend school?
I found discussing what they want to do after they finish school and making clear connections between them really helps them want to try harder and attend school.
I took my daughter to a University open day where she sat in lecture theatres, chatted to Professors and Uni students really helped her want to study harder and set clear goals for her future.
@Lan-RO gave some great suggestions which I found very useful.
I really hope I've been able to help you with some of my experiences.
Please look after yourself, self care is really important.
My favourite thing to do is to walk near nature.
Please let us know how you get on and know you're doing an Awesome job!
09-04-2018 03:04 AM
I am sorry you are having this incredibly tough chapter with your daughter. I am sorry for your loss and that you have to do all the parenting on your own. I have a difficult daughter and we have gone through so much this past year with huge changes in her behavior.
I have seen the most improvement when I give consequences for her impulsive behavior. I think you did a great job turning off her phone when she wouldn't respond to you. I know that had to be a difficult thing for you to do. I think its great that your daughter is at least willing to go to an alternative school. Sometimes when things aren't going great I just try to pick out a few positives. Hang in there, we are hear to listen- I am sending you hugs!
09-06-2018 11:00 PM
Hey @shelby71, this must be an awfully tough time for you and your daughter, and I’m so sorry for your loss you’ve both suffered. My heart goes out to you both.
Grief can be a fickle emotion that we all process and handle in different ways, and it does sound like your daughter is still trying to come to terms with losing her dad. It can be so frustrating when we as parents can see the benefits in counselling to help us manage, but our teens aren’t trusting, or ready for help.
I had an interesting conversation with my cousin today about grief which I thought I’d share. She was telling me that her 24 year old son snapped at her, incredibly angry with her for separating from their dad. The first word about any upset of his, 13 years after the separation. She’s tried to talk with him about seeing someone but he won’t, not ready to deal with it yet. He’s been angry for a long time but kept the cause to himself for so long.
It can be a very hard line to find, because while the acting out and poor behaviour isn’t okay and needs boundaries and consequences, the reasons behind the behaviour need
care and understanding as well. I’ve had the same battle since my daughter suffered a trauma so I get how heartbreaking and frustrating the behaviour can be at the same time!
I find self care helps me manage the ups and downs of parenting. Do you have things you do just for you that make you feel good?