01-26-2023 09:14 AM
My husband and I are really worried about our 16yo daughters path at the moment. After overcoming significant health issues over the last 2 years, her mental health has declined, she won’t go to counselling and has a new group of friends that are influencing her to drink. We are worried the next step will be drugs. She’s already admitted to trying vaping and marijuana, and just seems really unhappy at home. She’s also been shoplifting, and was caught recently with almost very serious consequences. She admits it’s for attention and the thrill ( it’s the first time she’s been caught).
What do we do in terms of consequences for these poor choices? She isn’t really interested in anything, Like sport or music, we’re at a loss as to how to support her. She really enjoys fostering kittens for a local organisation. This is something we do as a family, and I can’t take that away as a consequence.
shes always had a great relationship with both of us, and until recently was able to confide in other family members as well. This has changed since my mum decided to confront her about some of her lifestyle choices in front of us and “not pussyfoot around the issues any more” ( inferrring that we were!). Our daughter was so upset and feels she can’t trust them any more. She has anxiety and this was her worst nightmare.
We are all hoping this years start at a new school for year 11, new courses and structure, will be what she needs, but trying to help her make good choices in the meantime is stressing us both out.
01-26-2023 11:53 AM
Thank you for sharing. It makes sense that you're feeling worried. It seems like the behaviour that you're noticing is a really significant change from her usual self. I can't imagine how stressed you are and it sounds like you have tried a lot of different strategies to support your daughter. There must be a lot on your plate trying to manage this alongside The situation is made difficult by the fact that she does not want to attend counselling but this is not uncommon by any means. Do you know why this is the case? It can be helpful just for her to know that helplines such as Kids Helpline and eHeadspace are available, if she ever needs support.. like in times where her anxiety might be at an all time high. It might also be helpful for you and your partner to access your own support, if possible. It would give you an opportunity to come up with a plan to approach the situation with the right skills and tools. We also have a one on one coaching program which you might be eligible for. The Raising Children website also has a lot of resources and referrals which you might like to check out.
It is great that your daughter is open with you and that is really important in terms of keeping up to date with what is going on in her life. When setting consequences, you could try to get her involved in the process to give her a sense of control and fairness. We have an article with some suggestions here.
Would your daughter be interested in peer mentoring services? It might give her that element of fun without it including risk taking behaviour. If she isn't interested in sports or music, are there other activities you could do together as a family on a regular basis? This might help add a bit of structure to her week. You're right, starting Year 11 might give her something else to focus on during the term.
We look forward to hearing from you.
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