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My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

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My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

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My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

After more than 1,5 years of running away from home, living with complete and not very good strangers and coming back, last time just less than one month, my daughter walked out again for the 9th time moved in with a bloke she only knew about 1 month. He is the "boyfriend" and just turned 20 and started an apprenticeship as boiler maker only a few months back. I did not know anything about him as my daughter just really dropped that bomb three days after returning home for Christmas. We don't really understand why she is always walking out, other than the fact that she hasn't had decent friends and that many of those have left home at young ages as well, telling her it is the best thing they ever did. 


Each time, she ran away it was because of something she had actually done wrong and did not want to face consequences for her own actions. We had enrolled her in a private school for year 10, last year. She left in the last term and did not complete the year. she has not attended school for the whole past term this year either. We had told her that if she left again, we could not enrol her. It was our intention to get her back in the state school and see if she could get into year 11 while still completing some year 10 subjects as her grades had been awful in year 10. she left before we could do this. 


On the same day as her leaving, I went to see my daughter and this bloke, told him it was a bad idea she lived with him and that I wanted him to send her back home which did not happen. I tried to find out more about him through his facebook and talked with some people, his sister as well, or adopted sister as I don't know much about his situation other than that he ran away from home as well an that his mother lives in NZ with a new partner. The result was that he blocked me on facebook while I was not even friends with him and blocked me on his phone as well.


A few weeks ago, a centrelink social worker called me to tell me my daughter had applied for centrelink benefits and wanted to hear what I thought. I told the bloke from Melbourne (I am in rural QLD) that my daughter did not need payments, that she simply has to come back home. They asked if they couls speak with my daughters (and mine) counsellor and I said that was ok. It was said counsellor who told them that my daughter could not come home to centrelink. I had put my trust in this woman and had visited her just before where she said she had advised my daughter that she should divorce her parents. It turns out that for the past 1,5 years that she has been counselling my daughter, she has turned her away from us, rather than working towards reuniting her with us and work with the family for her to realise that the best place for her is home with us. I will be lodging a complaint as I found out that she is a mental health nurse and not a counsellor and also found out that she has done this with other teenagers, because she wants to be popular among them. a social worker in centrelink who does not know us, who does not know my daughter has decided that she should get payments but also enrol in school, which she did. i have contact with the principal who knows my daughters story and she told me she will be keeping a close eye on my daughter and she enrolled her in year 10 again. She will now be 2 years older than some of her class peers as we lived in Victoria before and in QLD they are a year in front.  


When my daughter came home the last time, at Christmas, I had bought her some lovely presents, painted her room an got a new Queens bed for her. We have done everything in our power to make her see that home is best for her where she gets help and support. But the boyfriend had other ideas, he did not want parents to stop him from seeing his girlfriend on a daily bases. My daughter just refuses to live by the rules at home. they aren't strict, not as strict as in other families with 16 year old girls. 


I found out that the bloke already had at least 4 other relationships, one with a girl his age, that went bad after 1 year. It was that girl who told me about this bloke. She told me that he was a narcissist, a mummy's boy and that he cannot be alone and only wants someone to cook and clean for him. He had 3 other relationships that all ended bad as well, with three older women. I was told about a bad drug past and that he was on medication for anger issues. I have told my daughter about this but of course she won't believe me. The bloke told her that these are all rumours. Police won't do anything not even visit her to see how she is. I feel so left out as a parent with no tools to make her come back home. I don't like living here anymore, kids can just do what they want in this country and get help with breaking relationships with the only people who will love them for ever. 


She uses that fact, she is always telling me that I should love her unconditionally and that she can just do whatever she likes and I still need to love her, but I have just no respect for what she has done. She has caused so much hurt. i just don't want to hear what a good bloke this boyfriend is and that my daughter learned to cook healthy, while she refused to cook anything at home. 


We had given her a horse three years ago, but she just does not care for it, though she helps a friend look after her horses. 


My husband has not spoken to her since she left on January 20 this year. He blocked her off his phone, its the only way he can deal with it. He does not want to speak about her and tells me to do the same. 


I just want to turn off too, I just can't bare it. She has done so much damage, last time screaming abuse and a lot of ugly words. We had just started with the 100 hours she needs to complete for her L license, after she succeeded in her exam, the Wednesday before she left. She made all those promises that she would not leave again and then a stupid bloke comes around and lures her into his house with pictures of a new mattress and a love heart on one side, saying "this is your spot". 


What should I do or not do? I have sent her many messages, that I am angry for what she has done, that I don't want to hear about this good bloke. She just answers me to get over it and swallow my pride, but its not pride, its the hurt she caused. how can she do this to her father, her sister, to me and still think its all normal and I should take her out for a coffee or lunch. 


I lost so much in my life, my very best friend when I was 20, to an accident, my mum when I was 20, my 23 year old brother to suicide when i was 30 and ten my long time ex husband abducted my then 9 and 11 year old daughters internationally, after we had been living in Australia fora year, back in 2001. I have no contact with my daughters, 27 and 29, not because I don't want to. I feel lost and sometimes I just don't want to be here anymore. 


Thank you for reading.


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Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

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Hey @Lekino 


Thanks for sharing. Reaching out can be really hard so you should be really proud of yourself for doing so. I'm sure there are many parents who can relate to your situation and benefit from this thread, so thank you for posting. 


It sounds like you're having a really difficult time with your daughter which is sad to hear. Parents generally just want the best for their children and so being rejected by them can be enormously hard to deal with. It must be really hard to watch your daughter keep  disappearing with people who you do not even know let alone trust. I'm sorry you're going through this. After browsing the threads on this forum you may have realised that such a problem is quite common and that you are no alone. I have tagged some regular users as they may be able to provide you with some support and advice @PapaBill @JAKGR8 @sunflowermom @Orbit64 @mrskode @Dad4good @Calamity14 @Shortstuff2 


It sounds like your daughter may be struggling with a few of her own issues. It's good that she is seeking help (a.k.a. seeing a mental health nurse) but it is unusual that the nurse may be trying to turn your daughter against you. Did you contact the MH nurse and ask her why she told Centrelink that your daughter shouldn't come home? I'd be curious to know her rationale for this decision. On the bright(er) side, it's good that your daughter has re-enrolled into year 10. 


In my opinion, I think it might be a good idea for you to try and take a step back. I know that this is a lot easier said than done. You mentioned that you have tried to find out about her current boyfriend, have been in contact with his exes, have sent your daughter lots and lots of messages about how angry and hurt you are. All of this might be a little overwhelming for your daughter, be pushing her away, and doing more harm than good. You have told your daughter your thoughts, you have tried to push her in the right direction, you've tried to get her to come back home. Now, it might be time to take a deep breath and say to yourself "I've tried everything. Now I will just have to let things be." I'd imagine this would be really, really hard to do, because she is your child and you want the best for her and want to be looking over her shoulder. This is just my opinion though, you might benefit from some of the other parent's opinion's on this forum or from getting in contact with a child/adolescent psychologist near you who can provide you with strategies on how to deal with the situation. 


It sounds like you've had a hard couple of years. Please know that there are some great services out there that can help you during this hard time. For example, you can contact Parentline, a free counselling service for parents, on 1300 30 1300. If ever in crisis please call the ambulance on 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.


Wishing you all the best! 


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Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

Hi TOM-RO, thank you for your reply. I have put my trust in this counsellor for 2 years and she has does this. I had no idea and I won't ask her why as she already knows she did wrong and told me about how to complain. It is really sad that a person in her position has done this, especially when she also knew about my two older daughters I have had to miss for so long. I missed out on everything as my ex had done everything to hide them and brainwash them. The whole international court case took to long, hence I never got them back and that was devastating enough. Now a third daughter, due to bad peers as well as a country who thinks children at 16 and even younger are old enough to do as they please. I don't understand this and never will that Australia as a developed country can let this happen. This does not happen in every country, nor do kids get any money from the government at 16 in every country. If this happens often, laws just need to change. Parents need to be back in charge for the good and best interest of the child. She is not an adult, so still a child, though i find 18 early to be called an adult as well, especially knowing that the frontal lobe of the brain and other parts are far from developed and need another 7 or more years. I don't know if I can do it, I have tried that and she keeps sending me messages, some nasty some nice, asking me to go out for a coffee. I just don't want to do this as it would mean that I think it is ok for her to do all this and it is NOT ok. She only does that because she thinks she has the right to do all of this, she does not realise how wrong all of this could go. And how bad for her relationship with us and her 11 year old sister. Parentline can't help, there are no psycholgists here, certainly not for children or teenagers. My daughter has lied a lot to people and consequences for misbehaviour that have resulted in less access to internet through Apps or no phone or anything such as that were translated by her into us abusing her. She did that because people would not take any notice otherwise. it is very hard to find out that your daughter tells people that her father throws computers through the house and things like that when that has never happened. I don't know why she lies, I think once you start telling fibs it is hard to get back to truth. Though the school guidance officers have found that out since they keep notes that did not add up. She has done us a lot of harm with that sort of emotional abuse and it is coming from those kids she has had contact with. Its such a long story. We have given her so many opportunities, apprenticeship, a horse to ride, lessons etc.. I don't like that bloke, he betrayed us so much, all for his own interest. How is it possible that a 20 year old can take in a 16 year old girl?

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Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

I forgot to tell you that my daughter has no counselling anymore as this counsellor was attached to a GP office and my daughter went to another GP. I have gone to her new GP and have asked for a Psychiatric assessment. Thanks

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

Hi @Lekino 


it really sounds like things have got you down right now.

A tough situation not helped by someone you trust doing something which makes you feel betrayed can't be helping.


I can't explain why it is that at 16 daughters think they are equipped to take on the world but sadly they seem to be being told this by peers and so called professionals.  There seems to be an epidemic of mid-teens leaving home and moving in with older boys (I wouldn't even call him a man if he is a 20 yr old apprentice).


Sadly it seems some are teaching our young about their entitlements and not their responsibilities.  She has no responsibility for her actions and an entitlement to living as an adult at the governments expense.


The sad thing is while we might not agree with it, we do have to learn someway to deal with it.

Sounds like you have tried tried and tried again to share your knowledge and experience with your daughter yet she is determined to move out and do it HER way!


It so frustrating when you can see the good she has in her but then behaves to isolate you from that.  When you say "my daughter learned to cook healthy, while she refused to cook anything at home. " it must be so frustrating have you cutting you out of her learning those life skills.


"she helps a friend look after her horses"  but she just does not care for  the one you gave her must be so frustrating.  You can see the good in her but it seems like she deliberately is excluding the things you give her and do to help her like.  


I don't think your partners approach of blocking her is the way to go.  You don't want to make it harder for your daughter to reach out to you when she needs you.  


My partners daughter story is almost identical to the one you describe except the "man" involved was unemployed.  She was 16 and determined to live with this "man" and there was nothing we could do to stop it.    My instinct was to do "tough love" and push back but my partner kept up the unconditional love.  My partner went through countless sleepless nights, stressed out days and worried herself almost to the point of illness.


Three years later I can tell you the good news is if you stick in there and love your daughter there is a good chance it will improve as she gets older.  My partner now meets 3-4 days a week to take her daughter to and from work or for breakfast and their relationship is the best it has been in years.


To get there my partner had to let her daughter go, she couldn't stop her and by trying to do she was only damaging their relationship.  My partner dreaded it and it was not done with any joy but in the end her daughter was mis-behaving so badly there wasn't a choice.


I know it is hard to see in the mountain of bad  but there does sound like there are a few positives....

 -  she values and wants your love

 -  it sounds like your daughter is talking to you (at least some times) in a civil way.

 -  it sounds like she has a secure roof over her head

 -  if she is saying the guy is such a good guy, possibly the rumours about his past have been overstated?


Adding to @TOM-RO thoughts it might be your daughter might very much still want you in her life but in a different way from what you are used to and expecting given her age?  It is possible she is struggling to find here independence.   Her wanting to be independent at 16 IMHO is far to early but the sad truth is in our society she can walk out the door and there is nothing a parent can do.  


On the practical side, If what you are doing  is not working  it might be time to try something different even if it is not what you think is right.  The truth is as you said she is in a country who thinks children at 16 and even younger are old enough to do as they please and you need to work with her to re-define your  relationship to one she is willing to participate in.


Normally I would suggest councillor to help with this but it sounds like your trust in councillors has been seriously undermined?   Is there someone she trusts and respects which can help you communicate with her about working with her to build a improved relationship with her?    If you do know someone, one of the hardest things for you will be to accept (you don't have to agree with, just accept) she is going to have increased independence and equal say in how your relationship will be moving forward.


Either way I would suggest applying my favorite Adage - "Seek to understand before being understood".  Seek to know why your daughter is doing what she is and be willing to repeat what you hear back to her.  You don't have to agree with it but it might help if you daughter knows you are at least hearing what she is saying.


The final thing I would say, is "You can't look after anyone else if you don't look after yourself."  Reaching out is great step and you do need to do what you need to for your own health.   @TOM-RO  mentioned some support options you can consider.  In addition to those I would say what do what works for you... If that means locking yourself in a room and screaming or crying then do that.  If it means long walks in the scrub then go for it!



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Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

Thank you PapaBill, I am sorry to hear you went through the same thing. I didn't know Australia is a country that does this sort of thing, I don't feel safe here, knowing that this can happen and so many parents fear the same, that they have no rights in this country, though they are the only people who really care for their children. Government is an entity, not a person and does not care. So many people, including police and child safety have told her that they can't force her to go home, she has all these choices, though some said she is far better of at home. I had myself a fight with some of these officers at child safety who think every child who does this has been abused at home. It is always the parents who went wrong. I even got myself a lawyer against them at one stage and they actually backed of. These people think they know it all, most of them young and without children, they also think that children, teens, don't lie. They most certainly do if it gets them what they want.  I reached out to someone from Lifeline, but he is on leave until May now, so I have to wait. 


It could be so much better to live here if the laws get changed in regards to moving out rights of kids. There are probably cases in which children are not safe at home but wherever did they get the idea that these kids could just move out, live on the streets or with total strangers? Those kids who are abused are a minority. We, as the majority, who wants to do well for their kids, by loving, disciplining and helping them grow into good and respecting adults, get kicked. There is too much interference here from people who think they know it all. There should be strict boundaries and strict laws for the safety of children. In my home country they have to go to school until 18 and it is very strictly followed, there isn't any financial government support for kids, they aren't an adult until 21 and they can leave home technically at 18 but if they don't have a job they have to rely on other people for their keep. Most keep studying and stay home for financial support. You know, knowing as a teen that you cannot just run away, that it is just not an option, makes you feel more relaxed. So many parents don't agree with what is going on in this country, in regards to kids, so many mental health issues that have come forth out of this. I spoke with terrified parents whose children are still little, they don't want them to go to school and home school them for those reasons that they are afraid teachers and others will tell them about all their rights. 


I never agreed with the sort of physical punishment at school and at home, such as rulers and belts and all that sort of thing as I never experienced this at school nor at home and I did get the occasional smack on the bottom or was put in the corner with my hands on my head and at school, writing the rule book ten times over or scraping the chewy's off the concrete floor area etc. There was discipline and it worked. We learned about empathy and respect and above all respect for parents and elders. What is so wrong with that? If they don't learn that as children, they will never learn it. 


I have become scared of counsellors indeed, because if they have private sessions with your child, you have no idea what they tell them or what advise they give them as it is all private and confidential. My daughter has become so good at lying, even her doctor was amazed, told us we should grab her and take her to the dessert for three months, no contact with others, just us. It just wasn't possible. 


I know that what you are saying is all right, PapaBill, it is just that in my grief I am so angry, angry with my daughter, but above all with this bloke who lured her away and cut us off from her, telling me that I cannot go to his house, angry wit the powers that be in this country for allowing this all to happen. I have had to go through this tremendous grief when my other children were abducted and had to let them go as well and now I have to let this one go as well. She is just still such a child. The bloke is a manipulator and she won't know when things aren't really right. I lost my mum at 20 to cancer, 1,5 months after my best ever friend died in an accident, my brother at 23 to suicide, my 9 and 11 year old daughters to international abduction (Where Australia mind you made the mistake) and my oldest brother (died at 47 recently)to alcoholism, since he started drinking after the suicide of the youngest. I know that i am a grandmother now as my oldest gave birth to a son in October last year, but I have no contact. Little light there is that her partner wrote me a facebook message promising that I may be able to visit them in the future but that it will depend on my daughter and he told me she is very stubborn. 


I feel sad, angry and broken and yet every day, i have to keep going as I am seeing clients and I have another daughter and husband. He won't seek contact, he is scared to get hurt and I know it may not be right but he has seen how putting your trust in others, has turned out with this counsellor who pretended to understand the parents. As parents, it is already hard to see your children go when they are adults but when they choose to go as early as 16 or younger... it is just too hard and it should be stopped. Is there a way that parents can get together and write to the government? One letter won't make any difference.No parent should have to go through this kind of grief...

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

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Hi again @Lekino 


Grief and anger are both emotions my partner and I went through.  Angry at the stupid things she is doing and grief at the loss of the closeness  of having her daughter with us and sharing her growth.


I tend to agree that many professionals tend to trust what a child (Teenager) says over their parents.  There would rather err on the side of supporting a child move out of a caring family than leaving them in a abusive home.  


It is so hard to see them break away, especially when they do it so (too) young.  

It causes so many feelings of frustration, fear and hurt which if we are not careful can cause us to become angry and behave in a destructive manner.


All I can suggest is hang in there.  Try keeping the constructive dialogue open.


Active listening and acknowledge your daughters point of view.   You don't have to agree with it, but if you dont listen and acknowledge their point of view, how can you expect them to acknowledge yours?

Once we understood what was driving our teen, we found sharing our feelings of frustration, fear and hurt with our teen helped them to understand where we were coming from. 

With a better understanding some of the more destructive behaviour - lying, manipulation and aggression reduced.   She didn't start doing what we thought she should.. it just got a little better.


If you wanted to do something about a petition you could look at  

It is a popular place to find existing partitions or start a new one.  


Hang in there... it is worth it and hopefully things will get better.

Active scribe

Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

Thank you PapaBill, I cannot honestly tell her i understand where she is coming from when i don't. She just says, I can't live under the same roof as you do, why? We are left to guess or she would say something that is so completely untrue and I do tell her then, "well you know that is nonsense." It has everything to do with her being totally free to do whatever she wants. We had rules and certain boundaries and chores to do. She does not understand that it is the wrong choice she made, does not understand what harm this does to her little sister and how selfish she really is. We would not keep her home for ever, only until she was ready to get a job without our support. I cannot be there for her right now as I cannot agree with what she is doing, but i guess if things fall apart, I might be. I just do get angry though, very often, especially when she writes me things. I am most often angry at him and I feel like hitting him if he should ever come close to me, I really feel like that. at this stage, I just can't forgive her for what she has done, not once but 9 times, only this time is worse as she thinks she loves the bloke, no matter how many people have told her that sort of love does not last and moving in as young as you are is not good, she won't listen...

Super contributor

Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

Hi @Lekino, that sounds like a really difficult situation to deal with. I can tell how distressed and worried this has made you. When you say your daughter would make up things that are 'completely untrue', could you give an example of what this might look like? I really relate to what @PapaBill has said about acknowledging your daughter's point of view.

Feelings are not the facts of a situation.. and feelings are not always rational.. although they are still valid. Trying to discuss whether the feelings are justified is likely to be seen as quite dismissive by your daughter. It is okay to not agree but an acknowledgement of how they are feeling can really begin to soothe the situation. At the very least, it lets them know that you have heard them which is very powerful. It can depend on context though, hence I asked for an example.

How do you find some peace for yourself and your family within this situation? Parentline is a really amazing resource that @TOM-RO included above.

Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: My 16-year-old daughter is so naive

Hi @Lekino 

It sounds like a heartbreaking situation to be in and I'm not sure I can add to what others have offered.


Maybe you just need some time to breathe, calm down and come back to it all. I would suggest that when your daughter does want to connect you ensure sometimes it is on your terms. E.g. you are only available for coffee on certain days at certain times, you are only prepared to lend her so much money, restrict the times she is able to call. This can be the case with giving her things as well. She only 'needs' food, shelter, basic clothing and love...and now she has 'left' home they are really her responsibility. She needs to know it is better at home.

Also when you do get together keep her up to date with the rest of the family. Make sure she is aware that she isn't your only concern. 

I wish you all the best.