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Casual scribe


New here and looking for help and advise. My 15 year old daughter breaks things, screams, curses, threatens me. She's been in trouble with the law, she almost got a felony charge of breaking and entering but luckily the property owner didn't want to press charges. She doesn't go to school. I've caught her doing drugs. She put her fist through the fish tank, broken a new bedroom suit, tv, punched holes in walls, and so on. I also have 3 younger children in the home. I'm concerned for their safety with this type of behavior. She refuses to take her medicine for depression and anxiety, she refuses to go to counseling. I've set up for a counselor to come in the home so she can't refuse to go but she just won't come out of her room when they're here. She says she's fine and doesn't need it. Tonight I got to my breaking point and asked her gram to come and get her after she broke her bedroom door, screamed at me and pushed me. I don't know what to do at this point. She's gotten in trouble multiple times at school. In school suspension, detention, out of school suspension, she's stolen things from school and other places, fights. She has a disorderly conduct charge and a fine that she must pay but she won't. I'm at my wits end. I'm trying to talk to her father to see if she can stay with him but he's not very open about it. I've called the police on her multiple times for smashing and breaking g things. She will destroy the entire house and now the police said if we call again they will give the property owner a $1000 fine and the landlord said if that happens I will have to pay it. I can't afford to pay a fine so I'll be evicted. I'm in jeopardy of losing my home, I'm concerned for the safety of my other children who are 8, 2, and 7 months. And frankly I'm tired of being screamed at, and abused by my own daughter. To make matters worse I can't force her to go to counseling or participate because legally she's old enough to make her own medical decisions but I'm the one who's legally responsible for her and has to put up with her out of control behaviors. At this point I don't want her back in this house. It's only a matter of time before one of the smaller children gets hurt. Can I make her stay with her gram? What can I do legally? I won't kick her out on the street but I feel if she has somewhere else to go and I make the arrangements like I did to ight to have her gram come get her it should be okay. I feel like nothing has worked. I've taken phones away, grounding, even inpatient therapy. I'm at a loss here. Please help!!!
Prolific scribe

Re: Help

Hello @WorriedMama and welcome to ReachOut,


It sounds like things have been overwhelming for you recently with your daughter. It can be difficult to cope when your child is being aggressive or rude towards you and others. Is there anyone you can talk to about what's been happening recently? While it's great you're looking for a solution with your daughter, it's also important to look out for your own mental health. 


Unfortunately, we can't give legal advice on the forums and as we are an Australian-based forums, many of our external links and helplines will be unavailable to you. However, this American webpage here has several links to parent helplines that may be able to provide you with more detailed and specific advice.


I'm also going to tag in a few members who can offer some of their fabulous support: @Orbit64@Faob_1@PapaBill@JAKGR8@sunflowermom.

Parent Community Champion

Re: Help

Hi @WorriedMama 


It definitely sounds like things are out of control and on the far more serious than simple mis-behaviour.

Your are caught in an impossible situation.  An out of control teenager who by the sounds of it is threatening the rest of the family.    As a parent, you can do everything "Right" and sometimes end up in a situation where things go horribly wrong.


When I read your post, the bit that lept out at me was what you fear could happen to you and your other children.  "Losing my home, I'm concerned for the safety of my other children who are 8, 2, and 7 months."


I know when things were bad with my ex and I the thing that made me take action in the end was the impact I saw it having on my children.   I am sure you would endure a great deal for your older daughter but when your daughter's behaviours  impacts rest of the family so seriously, I think you need to be making the smaller children safety your the priority.


When you have offered her assistance and done all the things you can up to and including inpatient care sometimes you just have to accept that this is beyond your control.       No one doubts you love and care for your daughter, and sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to let them make their choices and take the consequences.     She is definitely old enough to make an informed decision about her actions and in turn the consequences of those actions.


By choosing not to take her medication and refusing counselling she is making a choice. You are not responsible for the results of her choices.  All you can do is guide and support her.  If she makes bad choices your heart breaks, you become frustrated and dumbfounded at how they can possibly choose what they do,


I am not suggesting you write off your older daughter, but if she is not taking medication and is a threat to your younger children or yourself you must act to protect your family.   I don't know where you are and what support is available to troubled teens to help her find "somewhere else to go" so I cant advise you with practical support on how to make arrangements.


If things are as bad as they sound finding alternative accommodation for your eldest needs to be a priority, because if a "Caring" neighbour involves child services and there is a police record of violence at the home things could get very complicated very quickly.


I wish I could do more to help. 

Know that with the way things are it is only human to feel scared, frustrated and hurt.  Dealing with that on top of dealing with your daughter can seem unimportant but I would encourage you to look after yourself as well because you have small children who need you to be there for them







Parent Community Champion

Re: Help

Hi @WorriedMama ,


Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences with us, I can hear the struggle, and frankly impossible, situation you're in . . .


Sorry I cant help fix the situation or help you escape this nightmare. My only hope is that you keep fighting for your family and searching for a place for your daughter to stay.


Apart from family and friends, do you know of any other facilities? 

Casual scribe

Re: Help

Thank you for your response. So, I hsd her gram come and get her that night. Turns out her gram took her to one of her friends houses and now she's at her boyfriend's house and refusing to leave and go with her gram. Then she sends me a message saying if I make her go she will call the police and tell them I kicked her out and have me charged with child abandonment. I told her to go ahead and call them because I didnt kick her out on the street. I sent her to her grams. I don't see where that is illegal. Any suggestions to get her to go or what to do now?
Parent Community Champion

Re: Help

Hi @WorriedMama ,


I'm not sure there is an easy solution to your situation. I know its extremely hard when your child leaves and refuses to come back (been there!).


For me (and not saying this is best for everybody in the same situation - and not sure what its like in the US), but I pestered child services. They were able to order a safe custody warrant giving the police the ability to extract my son.


Of course this doesn't fix the problem, as your child may simply run away again. However, it did help me access more services for a longer term solution.


Its a horrible experience you are going through right now, thoughts are with you.    

Parent Community Champion

Re: Help

Hi @WorriedMama 


I am afraid being Australian I dont know of have any experience of US laws in this area.  I doubt whether anyone could seriously consider it child abandonment when you have arranged somewhere to stay else to stay.


Without knowing your daughter, I couldn't guess at her motivation.  It could be  she is scared she has gone to far and is lashing out or something quite maliciously planned.


Part of what is happening her is your daughter is making choices.  If she chooses to stay with her boyfriend that is her choice.  That choice has consequences, some she will love - the freedom, some she wont - lack of support.


I would encourage you to reach out and remind your daughter you still love her and provided she acts appropriately.. i.e. none of the extreme behaviour of the past she is welcome back in your home.

AND re-iterate she needs to choose to both modify her behaviour and come home. 


While it might seem like this is a devastating turn of events, it might be the best thing to give your daughter some time to reflect on her choices and options.   While the situation with my partner and her daughter was not as extreme as the one you are living, it was only by letting her daughter choose to live somewhere else at 16 that they were able to move their relationship forward into a more positive one... they are out having breakfast as I type so there is hope that this could be a step towards your daughter understanding of how the real world actually works.


Parent Community Champion

Re: Help

Dear @WorriedMama 


I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. Teens are so challenging and we think they are so grown up but they are really just children. 

I'm not sure I can add anything, just some scientific theory that has been mangled by mainstream education and psychology. 


Ed Ford and Tom Bourbon developed a program called Responsible Thinking for Juvenile offenders which was adapted for all parents and now is used by many schools across the world. I highly recommend their book Fundamentals: Discipline for Home and School. It is based on the scientific theory by Will Powers called Perceptual Control Theory. and is very easy to read. (If you do get it I am happy to talk about it but it's years since I have read it.) The basis is one we are all aware of; that we can't control/motivate/encourage anyone else. We are all responsible for our own behaviour. 


How does this apply to you? If your daughter didn't want to be with you, she would find a way to get out. Not a reassurance but it makes me wonder what she really wants. This is one of the questions they ask. 

What does she want/need? This is why she needs a counsellor. Maybe you can go together as you said she won't go. Maybe she will if she thinks you are the one with the problem.


Before you can do any of this you, or another adult, might be able to build a bridge by having 'quality' time together. This can be something she enjoys doing or going for a walk or repairing the damage she has done or playing games. It sounds like this might be tough for you at the moment but it can be anyone else who may break down the barriers for you to get in. There is something really upsetting your daughter. I wonder what it is. Hospitalisation may be the best option. Safety first as others have said! If she had a broken back you wouldn't hesitate to take her to hospital. 


Also it can help to remember that anxiety often presents as anger in teens. If this is the case, there is some stuff you can do at home. Grit your teeth... it's hard to be positive at the moment, especially with daughter. Hug yourself and be prepared. 

  • Acknowledge or identify her fear – don’t dismiss or ignore it. 
  • Try to identify the anxiety before it turns to anger and wait until she actually gets anxious before you step in to help.
  • Praise her and catch her doing anything good.
  • Try to be a good role model for managing your own stress and dealing with your own anxiety.

You might find some links interesting if you haven't read them already while you were racking your brain for ideas.

Now I've shared a great deal here and very quickly. My main intention is to send you positive thoughts and well wishes. BIG BIG HUGS you can survive this!

Community Manager

Re: Help

Hi @WorriedMama,


There have been some really beautiful words from @PapaBill @Dad4good and @JAKGR8 here- I hope you know that you are not alone and there is always someone here to listen Heart


I can't begin to imagine what you must be going through right now- I can hear that you love all your children very much and you have been trying everything you can think of to support your daughter while keeping your younger children safe.


What were your thoughts about some of the links @JAKGR8 sent? One thing that always makes me smile coming to this community is the time and love that our parents put into supporting others!


Before coming to ReachOut, I worked in acute inpatient mental health services with young people going through very similar experiences to what your daughter is going through, @WorriedMama. Of every young person I saw, there was a strength and determination, and while not every one identified that they needed support or help, most people came to understand themselves and their experiences better and take steps forward. I want you to know that there is hope- I see it everyday Heart When they are ready, teens do take steps forward, and I hold hope for your daughter that this is the path she will choose in time Heart


Right now, this must hurt more than I can begin to imagine- and we are here to lend a listening ear whenever you need to chat Heart 

Parent Community Champion

Re: Help

Just read this article

Had to share.