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My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

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My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Casual scribe

My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

My 15 year old daughter will not do anything I ask. That's the short reason for my question.

she will be 16 in 3 months time. She won't go to school regularly, will not obey curfews, does nothing in the house. She lies over even inconsequential things. She has rages when she cannot get her own way. She shoplifts. She smokes dope and cigarettes.

ive been taking her to doctors, counselling and even alternative therapies for many years.

shes been diagnosed with ODD and dyslexia.

She will not attend any psychologists appointments, counselling or even take help from her excellent specialised school.

I have been slowly reducing any extra that I do for her. 

My question is about my legal responsibilities towards her.

I supply housing. She has her own room.

I supply food but it's not what she wants to eat.

I supply clothing but not much lately as she won't wash what she owns and sometimes "alters" clothing by cutting it up and then won't wear it.

I supply medical care. We have private insurance and a regular GP.

She also gets her prepaid phone credit, opal card (which she's lost four times in seven months) and $20 cash each fortnight all without being attached to consequences.

Am I doing enough to cover my legal responsibilities?



Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

We are not able to give you legal advice @Roundell12. From the perspective of another parent I would say yes, looks pretty much like you have the food, shelter & clothing thing covered.


Two other things I want to add.


  1. I used to be that defiant, rebellious, ungrateful teenage girl and ended up leaving home at 15.
  2. Fast forward 30 years and at the 1st sign of resistance from my then-15-y-o son I was Googling adopting-out teenagers.

So if you are posting because you are at your wit's end and can't believe who your beautiful baby girl has turned into then maybe I can help. Just let me know.

Super contributor

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Message contains a hyperlink

Hi @Roundell12 Welcome to ReachOut Parents! I'm so sorry I didn't reply sooner.


Firstly I'd like to congratulate you for sticking in there. A lot, not all but a lot, of teenagers decide that what they need to do to convey their needs and feelings is to act like absolute nightmares. Outright defiance in the face of even the smallest requests, temper tantrums when they are denied absolutely anything, engaging in high risk behaviours often illegal ones but showing no concern or remorse, treating family with contempt and disdain and sometimes threats or acts of aggression and violence. The whole nine yards. And they are utterly exhausting to parent. 

When I did the Triple P Parenting training they suggest that when devising your approach to your teenager you should subtract 10 years and then parent like you would that age. So 12 year olds get similar parenting to 2 year olds. Everything is very simple. Limited negotiations and consistent boundaries. 15 year olds would be like 5 year olds. The introduction of negotiations but more perceived than anything. For example: "Do you want carrots or broccoli?" rather than "what do you want to eat?" And repeated, consistent boundaries with clearly defined consequences that are explained prior to avoid surprise.


Which is all very easy for me to say and not really what you're asking. When you say "legal responsibilities" my understanding is that the legislation comes at it from the reverse. As in, you CAN'T neglect (not feeding, clothing or sheltering them, locking them up, keeping them from attending school), or abuse (emotionally, physically, sexually) them. Which of course you're not doing. So you are absolutely meeting your legal responsibilities.


But you both deserve so much more than that. You both deserve to be happy and to not live with constant conflict. If you're interested, you could give Coaching a go. Click here and have a read about what it is and how to get started. It's free, delivered by trained professionals and very flexible in terms of your availability. 

It can be incredibly helpful in terms of reducing conflict and repairing relationships.What do you think?


There are also many parents here who have gone through or are still going through similar struggles.

I'd love to hear from @Needsainity and @joanne who have both acquired amazing skills from the situations they've experienced.

Frequent scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hello @Roundell12, thank you for contacting us, it must be so emotionally and physically exhausting for you at this time, well done for continuing to parent a difficult teen. From what I have read, you have done everything humanly possible to parent your teen, it's now up to her. It has been suggested for you to participate in the coaching sessions available via reach out, and speaking from experience, they are worth the chat. Follow the link from the above reply, if you want to participate.

I hope this helps. I wish I could be of more help. Take care - I mean that quite literally, you must take care of you!!
Super star contributor

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hi @Roundell12


I'm doing my last session of the coaching course mentioned by Ngaio this week. I can highly recommend it! It's done over the phone and online. The first session was 90 minutes and the next 3 are 1 hour sessions. 


I can also recommend the Triple P parenting course. It teaches tips on how to communicate and negotiate with your teen. 


I'd like to say that I think you're doing really well in such trying circumstances. You clearly love your daughter and have done your best with her. You sound tired after many years of challenging behaviour and I understand and empathise with you. It's not easy, it's exhausting, and infuriating at times.


My daughter has bipolar, PTSD and acute anxiety and will be 15 in April. She was 11 when she started running away and being nearly impossible to parent. She was extremely violent, aggressive and abusive, requiring police intervention and being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. She started refusing to go to school. She was aggressive and abusive at Dr's and psychiatry appointments, and refused counselling. I must admit on a couple of occasions I asked for her to be placed into foster care. 


But through support and learning about her teenage brain and her illness, life is so different. She still refused school last year and is now doing distance ed, so things are far from ideal, but we have a strong relationship now. I really put it down to new communication skills. My daughter just wants to be heard and acknowledged. I was a rebellious teen - very similar to your daughter by the sounds! I rebelled because my mum didn't hear me. Even knowing that, it has taken time and practice but I swear things can improve in a way you might not think possible at this time. 


Your daughter needs you and loves you.  

Take care.




Super contributor

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hey @Roundell12 Just wanted to check in and see how things were going for you both.

Any changes?

Casual scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

All for the worst, I'm afraid. She's been exited from her special behavioural school. I was called in because she'd showed up 2 hours late (after being gone all night from home) and was acting in such an erratic way that they had to lock down the school.

the principal and her social worker were straight out in saying they felt she was affected by ice (meth).

they have said she's exited rather than expelled. This means if she attends psychological counselling and gives clean drug tests then she may apply for readmission.

the drug test showed she hasn't used ice but had used marijuana (which she admits to).

at the moment, she is agreeing to seeing the psychologist which isn't for another two weeks.

i was reasonably sure she hadn't been using ice, but the severity of her behaviour made the teachers suspect it. They obviously hadn't seen her in this state which I have before.

Super contributor

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hi @Roundell12


So glad to see you back. It's great she's agreed to see a psych but I also understand what a stretch of time 2 weeks is in the life of an erratic teenager.

I know how great it would be if you could take her immediately to an appointment the moment she agrees to speaking to someone.

What's your feeling on this, do you want to look at interim options or are you confident she'll stick to her word and go once the appointment arrives?


And I have worked with a number of kids who have very big reactions to pot smoking. It doesn't have to be ice. Any chance she would tell you if itr's synthetic cannabis rather than standard cannabis? 

Super star contributor

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hi @Roundell12, thinking of you and wondering how things are going with your daughter? 


I know things don't magically change overnight and this parenting gig is hard so remember we're here for support Smiley Happy

Casual scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

completley relate to this. my nearly sixteen year old son, refused to go to school last year and is now in in last year of senior school, starting sep. He smokes, refuses to have a bath, brush his teeth, brush his hair and will wear the same clothes for days on end. He argues about everything, is vile especially towards his dad. Has no motivation and will probably not getting any exams next year. 

WE just plod on, providing him with encouragement and love, but he gives absolutley nothing back, to the house, our family or anyone. Im afraid to say that he is on the road to nowhere right now. The thing is hes always been difficult its just intensified 100 fold. what can we do? the only choice is either kep going or go into care. Thats the hard thing, care will never be an option, so its ploughing on.