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Joining the Sh*t Parent club

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Casual scribe
dbenn81

Joining the Sh*t Parent club

Hi, I am struggling with my 13 year old daughter who is the baby of 4.
The last 18months have been a rollercoaster we have ventured through inappropriate social media use, sexualised social media use, vaping, stealing alcohol (not sure if it was drunk) stealing money, taking others personal items, repeated prank calls to emergency services, physical and verbal fights at school which lead to on going suspensions and then exclusion, refusal to meet home expectations (which are very minimal), verbal abuse towards all other members of the family, roughness with others property (not yet to the point of damage but close), physically engaging with her brothers and father, consistently doing things in her own time with no regard to the impact on others, absconding from home and most recently self harm and refusing to go to school.
Don’t get me wrong I still at times have my kind, compassionate and happy young lady engaging with me but more and more I have an angry, unregulated and mean young lady in front of me.
Her externalised behavior impacts the whole household. It’s hard being the only one with a better understanding because I end up in the middle of each relationship. Her father becomes very unregulated because his view is she gets away with everything and should just do as told. Her brothers are anxious all the time because she verbally abuse them and if they stand up for themselves she will physically engage with them just because. Her sister has moved out. My husband and I (her father) fight when ever he lets her manipulate him into stopping to her level.
I have made my way here today because even with my exhaustive skill set I am now at a loss. I am on my edge all the time, our home is not a nice place to be. I worry about her and the impact this has on my other children. I worry about my marriage. I acknowledge she requires different parenting than my other 3 children, I am very lenient in comparison, I give lots of warning and timely reminders, ignore a lot of secondary behaviors to address the primary behavior and pick my battles carefully but there are still expectations and consequences because that is the real world. e.g. be ready for school and in the car by this time or your privilege of a phone is taken because my employment which your making me late for supplies it. However when I hold up a boundary and initiate a consequence I am verbally abused.
Today when I was faced once again with 45mins of not getting out of bed until the last minute and being told to shut the f*#k up and then had complete refusal I lost my cool, I ragged at husband calling her behavior names (she’s behaving like bi*ch, she’s just being an **bleep**) and then I screamed at her that she was consistently selfish, never considering anyone else except herself and causing unnecessary stress on everyone in the house.
So currently I am home not at work and she is in her room not at school and I feel I have entered the ‘Sh*t Parent Club’ because this morning. Behaved like a teenager not an adult.
Rant over….
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Bre-RO

Re: Joining the Sh*t Parent club

Hi there @dbenn81 welcome to the community! 

I'm glad you decided to open up about all of this - it sounds like you've needed to witness some big changes in your daughter - processing those changes and figuring out how to respond while taking care of the household is no easy task. 

I'm not surprised that you hit your limit this morning, after all, parents are only human and I can see that you're doing all you can to navigate these transitions as best as you can. You're also one person and I can imagine the pressure you're feeling to smooth over conflicts and make sure everyone's needs are met. In the midst of everything, is there anyone you can lean on? Do you and your husband have support? 

It sounds like your daughter is going through a lot internally and it must be hard to watch this unfold for her. I'm curious to ask if your daughter is connected to any support through school or mental health services? I'm also wondering if the two of you ever have the chance to get out and spend some time together? You mentioned that at times you still have your kind, compassionate happy young lady - do you find those times are a good opportunity to open conversations about how she's feeling? 

Once again, thank you for trusting us with your worries. I'm going to send you an email to check in so keep an eye out for that. 

Active scribe
JodieT

Re: Joining the Sh*t Parent club

Thank you for posting. It sounds like you are doing the very best you can. I have come to this forum for support and your post resonated with me. My daughter is exhibiting the same behaviours and our family sounds very similar.

How are things going now? Have you found some things that support your child and are having a positive impact on your family. 

I am desperate need of trying something new.

Mod
Stormy-RO

Re: Joining the Sh*t Parent club

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Hi @JodieT welcome to the forums. I'm sorry to hear that you're going through a similar situation with your daughter and family. I'd like to start by commending you for reaching out and looking for support to manage this situation. You don't have to go through it alone.

It sounds like you've tried a lot of things in the past and are looking for something new. I was wondering what you've already done which hasn't worked? Has your daughter been able to reach out to any supports outside the family for what she is experiencing? Have you been able to seek support too?

I wanted to link you in to two potential resources which could help. The ReachOut Parent Coaching Service offers 1:1 online coaching sessions which provide support for parents of teenagers. Another place you could go for advice is ParentLine, which offers phone-based counselling sessions. I'd love to hear if you've utilised either of these services before.

Looking forward to hearing back from you.

Active scribe
JodieT

Re: Joining the Sh*t Parent club

Hi,

 

I have a 1:1 session booked in early next month. My child refuses to talk to anyone, although I keep offering that option, so she is aware that it is open to her.

Mod
Stormy-RO

Re: Joining the Sh*t Parent club

Hi @JodieT it must be so difficult watching her struggle and offering her support when she is not ready to accept it. It sounds like you are doing all the right things by being there for her and providing options for when she is ready. Has there been anything that has helped you get through these challenges as you look after your own wellbeing?

Active scribe
JodieT

Re: Joining the Sh*t Parent club

Unfortunately, my own wellbeing slides when she is spiralling. I spend all my time worrying, watching, analysing, trying to get her help. It is really hard to focus on yourself and work and other family members also.

Casual scribe
dbenn81

Re: Joining the Sh*t Parent club

Hi Jodie,
Sorry to hear you are experiencing the similar struggles. It’s a rough hand.
Things settled for us for a few weeks and then they kicked off again and trended downwards for a few weeks where we hit a new low with lots of different and very unsafe behaviours. We were stuck for a while however have started to trend up again.
Here is what has had some success.
* My husband engaged in a reach out session with me it was good for him to hear similar things to what I was saying from a professional. I also took some points away that helped me fine tune some of my ways of working.
*I managed to get my daughter to trial a psychiatrist with a bribe and linking them to a familiar person, then I let her control the outcome. After some testing and few sessions this lead to trialling some medication and a therapist.
*I also use this person to further develop my understanding of her decision making and behaviours.
* I started openly talking to people. I am not a big talker especially about personal things. I keep everything to myself, give blanket answers and plod along. So I stopped doing that if someone I knew and trusted asked how I was I was honest. If they asked how my daughter was I told them the truth without holding back anything. After some recent things I also was very open with my boss and encouraged my husband to do the same. This way the load of trying to keep everything a float was not as heavy.
* I do not let anything interfere with my gym routine, this way I get at least 60mins 6 days a week to focus on something that is 100% only for me. I also get to talk to adults who don’t need anything from me about something I am interested in. I do get up at 4am for this to happen buts it worth it.
* I start fresh with my daughter everyday. On good mornings I encourage her start the day with 2 things she is grateful for by modelling it first. We do this on the drive to school so it is becoming routine.
* I use her currency (phone/seeing a boy) to get her do the things she needs to look after self and I word it in that way. I also bring everything back to you if you will not look after yourself then as your parent at 13 I have to take over. These were negotiated when she is calm and reasonable, written as a contract so very specific, we have both agreed to them and i have it stored in my phone. This way i can direct her back to agreement and uphold it. She has also done this to my husband when he comes down to heavy. Don’t get me wrong it can get heated but I just ride the storm, with safety measures in place and it settles eventually.
*Whenever I see a positive no matter how little or ridiculous it is for a 13 year old I acknowledge it and praise it with drawing back to looking after herself so I am encouraging more positive conversations.
*I have accepted that I can only take each day as it comes and that is a going to be a very bumpy journey for a while before things smooth out.
I hope some of this helps and you get glimmers of light before you reach the opening
Active scribe
JodieT

Re: Joining the Sh*t Parent club

Thank you so much for your reply. You have given me some hope and also ideas to follow up on. I really like the focus on looking after yourself and attaching the expectations to this. My next step is trying to get to her to agree to talking to a professional, currently she is very reluctant. 

Congratulations to you and your husband for making such positive steps. I hope we are in a similar position down the track.