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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

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hi ,I didn't realise this was an Australian sight ,I'm in England, are you still able to help,Lisa
Casual scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

I'd love some advice around this matter, lisa
Star contributor

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hi @Rowan2011,


That is okay, many of our parents community are also joining us from overseas and we are happy to help. The main thing to keep in mind is that some of the services we refer to may not apply overseas, and some of the advice from parents may not apply in countries outside of Australia. We would encourage you to check any advice against your local policies and services Smiley Happy


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Prolific scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Update on my 16 year old son. 


My son spent the whole summer in custody. We spent substantial time and effort to write a detailed submission to the Magistrate to ensure they had a full background on what has happened to our son and a best and worst case outcome for him. 


His case was finally discharged without orders or penalty due to the extent of the time spent in custody. New we are several weeks down the track and what we predicted if there were no court Orders on him has happened. 

1. Homeless or at a very unsavoury location that he will no divulge to anyone

2. Back on drugs, however now it is pills (diazepam), probably dope and other drugs

3. Unable to communicate clearly due to returning to drugs and unreasonable demands

4. No school attendance

5. No apparent intention to engage with counselling even though he committed to it in court


I’m not sure if there is a positive out of this, except that his last supporting person (the aunt of his girlfriend) has withdrawn any support due to his drug use at her house last night (apparently he has been turning up there for a meal most evenings). She has told him two nights in a row he is not welcome there now. She lived a much tougher life than either myself or my wife. She says it is the tough love approach. Once he realises he no longer has any support, he will have to seek and engage in help. 


I have communicated my care, love and support for him via a carefully worded text message, and have directed him to contact one of two services that can offer him drug counselling and support. It is heart wrenching, however we cannot do anything more for him until he is prepared to seek help. To date he as refused any help or counselling at every turn. 


One resource that has helped us recently is a website and podcast series called Talkingtoteens. For our very difficult situation, it has provided my wife and I a renewed perspective and approach in the language we use to talk to and offer help our son. Some of the podcasts precisely cover issues and behaviour that have been dealing with for a long time now. I my only regret is that we did not find this resource a long time ago.


For parents that thought we had an empty toolbox of ideas to understand and deal with our son, it gave us a completely new repertoire of ideas and tools to change how we were approaching our sons behaviour and situation. I’m not sure if it will help him, however it enabled us to change how we were dealing with him, how we thought about what was going on in his head and provided us renewed hope when we both had hit the bottom of our well. This at least has lifted our spirits and provided a much needed boost to our mental state and thinking. 


If we have a breakthrough where our son takes a positive step, I’ll post again. 

Active scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hang in there, you are doing everything you can x
Parent/Carer Community Champion

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Dear @Orbit64 

My heart goes out to you.  I know you are living a nightmare right now.  I think its good that the Gf's Aunt is doing the tough love approach too.  You are right he will have to seek help soon.  Do you keep tabs on him through the cell phone?  Does it have a tracker?

We are here for you, I am more than sorry you and your family have to go through this.



Prolific scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hi @sunflowermom 


Thanks for your comment. I don’t track him on his phone as if I do he is likely to turn tracking completely off as he has in the past. So I have one of my apple devices set up as an “approved” one to open his iCloud account which I believe would enable me in an emergency to track his phone if it is on. So I save this action for a dire emergency. 


Some of the reading / listening I’ve done suggests the tough love route simply does not work. However, we are not left with many options now. He has consistently refused to engage in anything. So it seems that if his avenues of support narrow down, he will have to seek it from the youth support services for housing, drug counselling etc. He still has an allocated Youth support worker and we stay in close contact with her. 


The Youth support worker has a face to face meeting with him next week and is trying her best to get him to voluntarily engage with some of the services available to him. My wife and I dare not hope too much!


I send a text once every few days, just the say hi type, or are you okay. He rarely if ever responds. I do that just to hope it maintains some kind of connection, however tenuous and fragile that may be. Each time he does engage, I tell him I care for him and I love him and want to rebuild a relationship when he is ready. 


I have stopped using any language with “drug” in it. I realised a couple of months ago that when anyone asked him about his usage of drugs he always denied he had a problem or what he was using. So I struck on the idea one day to discuss with him how he was. I specifically said “you just asked me to get you a whole lot of things and you explained what they were and clearly. Remember on 6 December, you were unable to express yourself, you could not construct any thoughts in sequence and you could not remember even a couple of things to ask me”.


To my shock and surprise he agreed with me. He had been clean for about 6 weeks at that stage. I managed to repeat it several times while he was clean. My intention was to ensure that if he got back on the drugs and was incoherent again, I could use the same language and hope that a little light bulb of memory or recognition would be triggered. I have also suggested this to any support workers that come into contact with him, don’t use the “are you using drugs” question. Instead ask him about his state of mind, ability to reason and remember things. He is very intelligent and is exceptional at reasoning if he is clean, and it is something he is proud of. So he may admit a problem here even when he denies drug use or a drug problem. 


So I try to keep the discussion around, are you healthy? How are you feeling? Etc. I get no response, but I hope that one day it makes a difference. 


I’ve been following your progress with your daughter, it is great to see you have made great strides with her. What is really apparent in all of this, is that we have to try a whole repertoire of ideas to find something that works for us and the person we are trying to help. I can only imagine the depth of trauma you have gone though recently.   

So it is great to see what you are doing has achieved some progress for her. Well done. 


Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

I am in the same boat with a 15 year old son.   Can I have him removed?  He hardly has any walls left in his room.   He has knives from my kitchen set, screwdrivers, etc.   I'm actually afraid of him.   Two weeks ago he had ordered something from some pot site and I heard the mailman and went and got a package and he came running out of his room and threatened me with a lamp and a vacuum.   He told me my work computer was done (I work from home) and so I gave him the package because I cannot be without my work computer!  What the hell.  He cares about nothing - consequences - I say no drivers permit until you have a B average, and his response is "OK I'll wait until I'm 18 then".  I've offered money for good grades, have met with teachers who say is perfectly competent and very polite, yet he tells me he cares about nothing.   I'm not even sure where he gets his drugs.  This is all in the past 6 mos.  Before that it was just a simple struggle with homework.   Drugs make it all worse.  I'm actually afraid to have him removed as well because he will come back and burn the house down or something.   What do I do?   

Prolific scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Hi @tracyliz 


i have posted previously on Family Violence Restraining Orders. We are in WA. I would suggest a visit to the Children’s Court in your state to find out how it works there. 


In WA it was straight forward. My wife attended the court, explained all the events. She was grilled hard, however could explain all the events and details to the satisfaction of the Magistrate. She was granted an FVRO on the day. This then has to be served on the child by the police. That can take some time longer, it can be 3 to 7 days in our experience. The police have been terrific here, however this is one thing they really don’t like issuing to a child. So you may have to prompt them or advise where your child is so that they can serve the notice. 


The terms of our FVRO was no approaching the home within 100 m, not contact with my wife or her workplace (unless a lawyer or police officer as present or for agreed family counselling). We only applied he FVRO with my wife named on it, as we wanted one of us to be able to deal with him if needed, even though it was intended to protect all of our family.


I found a youth accommodation facility for him to move into before the FVRO was served on him so he had somewhere to go to. However I would firstly prioritise protecting your family, then deal with helping him if you can. The hostel applied for Independent emergency Centrelink payments for my son, which to my surprise was granted, then converted to Independent later. 


The Police in WA can also grant an immediate 3 day VRO that takes effect as soon as it is served on the child. We discovered that no one would tell us about these avenues to protect our family. All of the services don’t want children being issued with these orders until things go critical.


From your description, I would act ASAP as we had to, simply to ensure our safety and his. I empathise with you. It is heart wrenching and hard to contemplate how this occurs. Our son was also ransoming equipment and irreplaceable items to get what he wanted too. 

Prolific scribe

Re: My legal obligations towards my 15 year old daughter

Message contains a hyperlink

Hey there @tracyliz and welcome to ReachOut Smiley Happy 


I just wanted to let you know that we are an Australian service, therefore some of our resources and services linked will not be accessible to you in the US. You are still more than welcome to use our site and forums as any of the articles or other posts may be helpful to you Smiley Happy


This website over here has several helplines that might be able to help you. Including Parenting My Teen which might be able to link to you more appropriate local services as we can't give legal advice here. What do you think?


While all this is happening, it's important to take care of yourself. Do you have anyone you can talk to for support, such as a professional or someone you trust? 



I'm also going to tag in some other members for their advice: