Parenting --Teens/Troubled Teen

Advertisement


Question
It took for my older daughter to tell teachers and pupil support teacher about my younger daughters behavior, she is still as troubled and she is 17 years old now. School have taught older daughter and son and they could not believe younger daughters behavior when i told them. She behaves perfectly in school yet she can reduce me to tears at home. I work 12 hour nightshifts which i really enjoy, and this lets me have time with family on weekdays and also every second weekend. I come home from nightshift and she starts, she doesn't seem to let up from the moment i step in the door. I have finished a 12 hr shift, arrived home in the morning, then straight back out in the car to get away from what she was shouting at me, found a place to park and had a sleep, went home for shower and uniform to go back to next nightshift. I know thats not the answer, but when its a choice of getting away or feeling like you need to strangle your own child, its best to get away. Also, if i stayed, she would shout and swear at me, tell me im weak for having to sleep. She has also been so badly behaved towards her brother and sister that they have walked out the house and stayed with friends. Dad left under very bad circumstances 5 yrs ago, we are now divorced. Daughters behavior has Never been right like my other two children. Nothing has ever worked to teach her good behavior in the home with her family, it worked with the other two children. she has been this way as far back as 3 yrs old, way before her father left when she was 12 years old. After explaining the prob to the school, they sallied about with their own method of help, by way of support teacher. We got desperate and went to family doctor, who referred her to hospital, they seem to think she is suffering from anxiety. My family and i disagree with this, not that we are medical in any way, but surely, we think, that such extreme behavior is not just anxiety. We are NOT trying to diagnose, but we do think their father has some kind of problem and just maybe daughter has the same thing. I told the hospital the following.. dad never took responsibility for his own behavior, he lied so often that his 82 yr old aunt phoned me to ask if i thought he had a problem with telling lies. He has done SO much wrong to other people that he was tried in court for fraud and sentenced to jail. This same aunt already knew of his behavior, many years ago before his fraud jail sentence, he forged her signature to try get money out of her teaching pension, this was reported in the media when he was jailed for fraud. since he left he has hardly bothered with his kids, never seeing them. Married 21 years, he lied to me constantly, hid it so well that no one knew, not even his father. Opened my mail, hid my mail, and forged my signature on many documents.Kept me away from family and friends. I could go on, there aren't enough words to explain his behavior or how badly he let our children down. Son works very hard, from age 16 yrs he has never missed a day of work yet and hes now 23 yrs old. older daughter at university training to be a secondary school music teacher, shes a very talented girl. 17 yr old is also just as talented, if not more, we are all so proud of her and we can no longer tell her this, she cannot take a compliment. she won the schools music award for her year, and would not go to the school award ceremony to receive her award. her music teacher is amazed at her ability but now shes dropped out of school band, given up piano, given up her once beloved trumpet, dropped out of choir and she sings like an angel. She wants drama school, anywhere, she has even went online and ordered a prospectus from New York !, yet she knows i am a single parent on minimum wage. She does this a lot with everything, has hopes, dreams etc that are not in touch with reality.  she lies and never takes responsibility for her own bad behavior, even when she has actually bitten her own older sister, who is actually the only person she feels she can talk to. And still, the hospital think shes only got anxiety. i feel so lost. I cant think where i might have let her down or not done my best for her. Shes a lovely girl when shes behaving. we cant even tell her she looks nice if shes got a pretty dress on, she just curses at us, or throws things, yet shes very petite and slim and looks lovely in anything she wears. one moment she seems happy with the way she looks, next moment she hates it !. Though she always eats well, drinks only water etc, looks brill, if we put a Bin Liner on her she would still look pretty !. she thinks shes horrible, she has a slightly prominent nose bridge and wants a nose job so badly that she deliberately hurt her nose and bruised it, thinking she would get her nose fixed in hospital. Shes just a lovely wee girl and she cant see that. She told school, who then had to involve social worker, that her life was a nightmare. We were then all interviewed by 2 social workers who in the end, felt that we did not need any intervention by them. She also phoned child line uk, to tell them about her abuse, that our family have never done to her. I don't know what else to try.

Answer
Hello Sandra,
I am so sorry to hear how difficult life is with your daughter. She has a serious behavior disorder that leads her to make life miserable for you, her siblings, and even herself. However, you should not have to put up with her behavior. And she should not have the power to drive you from your home in order for you to have peace or to get some sleep.
At her age, this has been going on for a very long time, and now your options are very limited. Ideally, she should be working with a mental health professional who specializes in adolescents with serious behavior disorders. However, I doubt if you could take her to such a professional. The second option is to involve a juvenile court. But I don't know the laws in your country about juveniles, and it could well be that she is now too old to file a petition with a juvenile court and have her declared a youth in need of supervision.
That leaves the final option which is to remove her from the home. Again, I do not know the laws in your country, but in many young people reach an age of majority at 17 or 18 and can legally leave home. That also means that at that age, you can force her out of the home and have her live on her own. While this is a very difficult and serious step, it may be the only realistic step available to you now.
To effect this, you can tell her that in 30 days she must leave the home. You don't care where she goes or what she does (although you obviously do), but she must leave and find a place to live on her own. If she is not out of the house by a certain time on that 30th day, you will move all of her belongings to the street and she will be locked out.
It is time you stood up to her, but this may be the only option you have to have a peaceful home.
Any questions?
James Windell

Parenting --Teens

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


James Windell

Expertise

I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.

Experience

I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at Jimwindell.com

Education/Credentials
I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.