I don't want my 13 year old daughter back

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015 ( 39 moms have responded )

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I've been having problems with my 13 year old daughter for the past 3 years now. She's been close to being excluded permanently from school. Also being very abusive with in the family home. I have 3 other children as well. Social services are involved but will not do anything with my daughter. They just keep saying I've got to find sum were for her to go.

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Jill - posted on 02/27/2015

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Hi Toni,

I am so sorry you are having so much trouble and with a child so young. I know it can feel like the cause is lost and I know that it is so frustrating. I am sure you are also feeling very scared for her.

You mentioned she won't talk to social workers and mentors. Does she have an adult friend or is there a family member she is close to? Is there anyone at all that she seems to trust, even a little? This person MUST be an adult, not a peer.

If there is, maybe you can arrange a meeting with her and this person. If you have to, attach a reward to the meeting. The reward would need to be something she really wants, not too expensive, but something that is important to her. She only gets the reward if she agrees to the meeting. It might be a bit early to pull in a counsellor or therapist. It sounds like she has her guard up and her HPA axis (stress response centre) is on high alert. If I was in her position, I would probably be feeling very defensive and protective also. This does not mean she does not love you. I am betting she is terrified. When a person is that scared, they make all kinds of crazy mistakes and bad decisions. She probably feels like she is being buried in a hole that she can't get out of.

If she agrees to the meeting, be very friendly, not demanding. Do NOT demand that she open up or talk. Maybe have the meeting while playing cards or doing some other non-threatening activity. I don't know a lot about your family, but you know the things that used to make her happy. Pick one of those things and try to do it with her in a very non-threatening way along with the other adult that she trusts. Sometimes when there is a distraction, it can be easier for talking to happen. But if it doesn't the first time that is OK.

This meeting, if you can pull it off, will not be magic. You will likely have to do this a bunch of times. Your goal in these meetings should be to reattach to your daughter not demand that she change or talk. You will not be able to parent her anymore until she reattaches to you. It is just like animals who attach to their parent and no other animal. Once a child has lost his or her attachment from the parent (a very common problem these days), it takes a lot of consistent, hard work to re-establish the attachment. For as long as she is not attached to you, she will try hard to find someone else to attach to and that is usually peers, only they are not qualified to parent and that is what she needs now more than anything else.

You must reel her back in because right now she is flopping around out there waiting to be swallowed up by anyone who will make her feel like she belongs, anyone who will accept her and that often means drugs, alcohol, sex, crime and too many other destructive forces.

There is a great book on the market called "Hold Onto Your Kids, Why Parents Need to Matter More than Peers by Dr. Gordon Neufeld (Child Psychologist) and Dr. Gabor Mate (Medical Doctor and Addictions Specialist). You need to get it (get the Kindle version if you can) and read it right away. The front of the book explains the problem and the back of the book has a lot of suggestions for how to solve the problem. Good luck!

Carrie - posted on 02/28/2015

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I would take her back in an heart beat, as she IS your daughter, you ought not to deny her in any way shape of form esp when she's this much in trouble/problematic. I would suggest a boot camp like scenerio, send her off to scared straight or boot camp etc, those kids often kick habits and come our alot better/ straight etc. Just dont limit your options , and maybe even work w/ the police to see what all they have available etc...

Dove - posted on 02/28/2015

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All you need to get the referral is to go to the doctor and ask for one.... All of my kids did that by six! If the doctor knows them and knows you and knows your family needs help... getting the referral is a cinch.

I absolutely do not agree w/ 'locking your kid up until she talks' though... I HAVE a 13 year old daughter... approaching that way is a great way to sever relationships worse than this one here has already been severed....

Jodi - posted on 02/28/2015

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Actually, Toni, where I live, you don't need a referral to see a psychologist. But at least you made the call and found out the steps you need to take to get a foot in the door. Now you have something to work towards rather than just saying that you don't know what to do. Look at that as a positive step rather than a negative one. Until today, you didn't know what process you had to go through. You have to start somewhere. It's better than throwing your hands up and saying "I don't want her back". It's actually the beginning to taking control of the situation rather than waiting for your social workers to do it.

Sarah - posted on 02/27/2015

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How did this behavior come about? Was there a fight or an incident that you can recall that may have triggered her behavior?
I know you feel at the end of your rope and want to protect your other children and preserve the relationships you have with her siblings. Can you imagine how she must feel, knowing how you feel? She must be terrified. A troubled child does not refuse help when it is offered by someone they know they can trust. I know social services has been involved, but to what extent?
Ask yourself, what could have happened to this child to make her so angry, fearful and silent? Was she assaulted and she fears you won't believe her? Kids who have been raised in loving and supportive homes do not flip like a light switch to being sullen, dark and dangerous without a reason.
Ultimately, you must keep trying different resources until you find a way into her troubles. I know you have not had luck thus far. Jill offers some good advice. All of the mothers here have offered you good advice, don't give up on her, keep trying different resources and keep her safe in the meantime.

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Jill - posted on 03/01/2015

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I agree with Carrie, boot camp is an excellent idea. Wilderness therapy is often used to reclaim at risk youth from their peer influences and it can work very well from a stress management perspective. Great idea! However, once it's over, the child must return to a home where the new attachments continue to be strengthened through family activities and solid structure and boundaries. Good luck!

Jill - posted on 02/28/2015

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Hi Toni,

I want to be clear that you are still a good mom. If you lose confidence in yourself, it will not be helpful. Take a few deep breaths and make sure you are looking after yourself too. Based on your description, I don't think you did anything really wrong. And I realize that you wrote the headline the way you did to get some attention for your issue, not because you have given up on your daughter. If you had given up on your daughter, I doubt you would be asking for help in this forum. I know from talking to other moms, that dealing with "the system" such as social workers and child protective services can be so frustrating. It seems you bash your head up against one wall after another and really get nowhere. There is usually so much red tape and so many policies and procedures that you just feel helpless.

One mom on this forum asked if anything had happened when your daughter was 10 - was there a trauma, a significant loss, maybe a bullying incident or ongoing bullying or some form of physical or sexual abuse? I ask this, too, because in one of your posts, you mentioned that this started when she was 10. If something did happen, it may be a factor in why she has changed so dramatically.

If, however, the problem is what I said - an attachment issue - then it started long before that. It may have started when she was a toddler and has slowly built up over many years.

No matter what, you must start to spend a lot of quality time with her, as much as possible, so she reattaches to you and lets go of the attachments she has formed with the older kids. Given a choice, children will always choose the attachment that makes them feel the best because human beings are hardwired to move towards pleasure and away from pain. If she gets more pleasure from a relationship with you, then the reward centres in her brain will force her to seek that out and she will move away from the other influences. When we activate the reward centres in the brain, it releases a brain chemical called Dopamine and this is like natural Cocaine. It makes you feel so good that you want more and more of it. However, because it is regulated by your own body, it is completely safe. You just have to make sure she gets more Dopamine from being with you than she gets from being with her friends. Usually that's pretty easy to do. That's why Dopamine is called the "feel good" hormone. The only reason a child seeks out peers over parents is if they have lost the connection with their parent(s), but peers can be quite ruthless and judgmental. Most teens feel that being in a judgmental, demanding relationship is better than no relationship at all, but if you offer her a relationship that is loving, non-demanding and non-judgmental, then she will very likely jump at the chance.

Of course, there is always a bit of ego that messes up the whole thing. She will most likely be dealing with feeling prideful, scared, stubborn, lost, hurt, confused, etc. That is why you have to be the adult and continually reach out to her without demands and without judgment. It will take a bit of time but her trust in you will return and she will dump her friends.

But remember, the time you spend with her must be unconditional, non-demanding love. You can't expect anything from her. You cannot be reactive or dramatic. Let her set the pace and the tone for the activities you do together. At first she will resist, but you must keep trying.

Here is a list of 15 things that you can do with her that are non-threatening:
http://www.popsugar.com/moms/Father-Daug...

This list is from the owners of this website. I got it in my email today. It is written for fathers and daughters, but it can be adapted to your situation quite easily and be changed to mother/daughter activities. Of course, father/daughter activities would also be useful in your situation. I realize the pictures show very young girls with their dads, but you can do all of these things with a 13-year old as well.

Some ideas from this list:
Bake with her - make something yummy - make sure it is her favourite
Take her out to lunch - treat her like a young adult who is mature
Go walk on the beach or through the woods somewhere.
Go do some photography together. Do a photo challenge together.
Go do something physical together like jogging or swimming.

You get the idea.

One more thing, you need another naturally produced stress hormone/neurotransmitter working in your favour. It is called Oxytocin and it is the "trust" hormone. You get it through human touch. It is so powerful that it is a major factor in how women deliver babies. When you do activities with your daughter, try to do things that involve touch if you can. The more you can touch her (skin to skin) in a way that does not make her feel threatened or uncomfortable, the more Oxytocin will be released by her body. This will help her to re-establish trust in you. I am always amazed at how much my daughters want me to hug them even though they are 13 and 15. I always imagined this need would subside once they were teens, but it has not. There is nothing they like better than curling up with me on the couch to read books together.

Good luck!

Jill (Certified Health Coach and Stress Management Consultant)

Brittney - posted on 02/28/2015

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She's not an adult. You can make her do things. Such as, sit in a room with her and make her talk. Tell her she's not going out of the room until she starts talking. Block the exits from the room so she has no choice but to stay in there with you. That's how you make a person do something they don't want to do. You don't just say "my 13 year old doesn't want to do it. So it's not going to happen". Or "my 13 year old is misbehaving so I don't want them anymore". If you need a referral in order to take her to a psychiatrist then go to the doctor and see if you can get her one. Tell social services you need a referral and see if they do it. Or ask one of her teachers to refer you. Don't just say "she needs a referral so I give up". You do sound like you're ready to give up on her and not even put a real effort into parenting her and getting her help. You're the parent. You can easily tell her she can not go out with friends. Ground her until she starts behaving. No wonder she is mad. She knows you don't want her.

Toni - posted on 02/28/2015

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Jodie thanks a lot 4 ur advice I ave just cum off the phone 2 a psychologist. E has told me because of my daughter age, e wud need a referral off a doctor or even a teacher. So that's how much u know!!!!

Brittany how do u make sum1 do sum thin they dnt want 2 do???? As 4 takin er phone an computer off er she as not got anything like they, they have been took off er long time ago!!!

Jill I willing 2 try anything at the moment a I am defiantly goin out 2 day 2 find that book. Thanks 4 the advice.

Sarah this behaviour started when my daughter started high school cos she started 2 hang round wiv older kids from the school. And I am not blaming any1 else 4 my daughters behaviour as she knows the different between rite an wrong. I have 4 children my oldest is 16 my 13 year old used 2 be close 2 er but now my 13 year old is always fighting an arguing wiv er. As she is all the children.

Chelle - posted on 02/27/2015

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Very good advice Jill! the kind that puts families first...nice to see x

Brittney - posted on 02/27/2015

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How can someone give up on a kid??! She is your child. Make her sit down with you and her father, and tell you both what's wrong. Tell her she isn't allowed to leave the room until she does. Take her phone and computer away until she is ready to talk. Tell her if she doesn't improve then you're taking her out of school and homeschooling her. She'll start talking. Make her see a therapist. She has no say in it. The way you are talking makes you sound like you don't love her. And that's probably why she's behaving like this. Did something happen 3 years ago? Maybe something happened that you don't know about. It's not up to social services to help your kid. It's up to you. You NEED to be making her go to counseling and you need to go too.

Chelle - posted on 02/27/2015

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hmmmmm....re-read the thread.......couldn't find helpful supportive advice myself? maybe I missed a post?

Jodi - posted on 02/27/2015

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Chelle, no-one is bashing her. They are giving advice and she is clearly just not getting it.

Toni, you contact a psychologist directly. That's what you do.

Chelle - posted on 02/27/2015

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WOW! circle of mums or bashing of mums? Sorry to see you are having a tough time - it must effect all of your children...truth is that there isn't enough info here to judge....if social services are involved - let them help where they can, and your GP! well done for trying to get that help! keep pushing! you will get there - as a family x

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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If all the doors r being slammed in ur face were do u go then. U tell me been as u know!!!!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/27/2015

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Toni, what do you not understand? It is not up to the social worker to get your daughter counseling. It is up to YOU to do that.

Quit asking if they think it would help, and get your kid into counseling.

Jodi - posted on 02/27/2015

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Anyway, I give up. You clearly are not understanding what you need to do to help your 13 year old and you are nay saying every suggestion, so I don't see the point in bothering to provide suggestions.

Jodi - posted on 02/27/2015

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Do you understand what I mean by a counsellor? A psychologist? I am not seeing why you think a doctor would be better than a psychologist. In 3 years, you haven't even TRIED. What about you - have YOU seen one?

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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I ave mentioned it a number amount of times 2 my social worker an he ad z that if my daughter has not opened up 2 a mentor at school that she wud'nt 2 a councillor either. So that's y I am now goin 2 the doctor.

Jodi - posted on 02/27/2015

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And again, I repeat, a mentor and a counsellor are two different things. You haven't even attempted to get her AND yourself counselling.

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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My daughter will not talk 2 any1. She's ad a mentor at school but she wud not open up. As I've z in a few of my posts she will not talk 2 any1!!

Jodi - posted on 02/27/2015

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OK, I just read through this entire conversation and I am still not understanding why you haven't had your daughter in counselling at all in the last 3 years. Having a social worker and putting a child in counselling are two different things.

Trisha - posted on 02/27/2015

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Best of luck. Just remember, don't give up on her. She defiantly lack respect for you right now. You will need to earn it back. Be patient with her. Talk to her.

If you can't get anywhere with the social services team, try to inform yourself. I am sure you can find books you can get out of the library that might give suggestions on how to deal with teenagers/difficult people etc.

Don't give up on the poor girl. She needs you. She has to be going through some tough times right now to get into a situation where she is doing drugs/drinking and stealing. Don't give up on getting her counselling. Try other sources if that one doesn't work out. If you have to, go to your family doctor to see if they can make suggestions They may suggest some sort of mental health evaluations for your daughter.

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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Just looked at the link an got the phone number an will be giving the a call Monday morning. But I'm sure that's the same team as my social worker works 4. However I'm still gonna give them a ring. Thanks trisha 4 ur help.

Trisha - posted on 02/27/2015

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Check and see if this is relevant to you. I highly suggest that if it is you contact them.

http://www.sandwell.gov.uk/info/200219/c...

On the website they state this:
"What to do if you need help - contact us

If you need advice and support to help you deal with any problems your child may have, contact our ACCESS Team on 0845 351 0131.
"

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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I live in sandwell, West Midlands. This is my 2nd social worker, as the 1st 1 never done nothin either. Wat help we ave ad been as little ave we ad I've ad 2 fight tooth an nail 4 myself.

Trisha - posted on 02/27/2015

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Can you request a different social worker? I have never dealt with social services before, so I don't have any experience but perhaps go above that person, and request someone else, or directly request someone who can help you find counselling for your daughter.

Where are you from Toni?

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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We ave a social worker already. He has not done much for Leah yet alone the whole family. I am tryin different methods all the time but nothin seems 2 be workin at the min. But I am still try my hardest! I know being a parent is hard, but at the min I can't see a way 4ward. I will 2 try anything at this moment in time. I ave tried gettin help in the past but doors keep gettin slammed in my face.

Trisha - posted on 02/27/2015

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... You still have yet to commit to the concept of your daughter getting counselling.

Regardless of what you choose to believe, this situation was not only created by your daughter. Unless your children has some mental issues (that should have been addressed by a counselor already) then they are just a product of their environment.

You don't have to be perfect. You just need to take responsibility in that your ways have not worked so far, and you need to change your methods.

Your daughter needs to see a counselor. Go to social services and see if they have any way for your daughter to see someone. Let your daughter know that if she is not comfortable with THAT counselor, that you will try again and find another one... but that she needs to talk to someone about her problems.

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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The drug taking as only just started in the last year an so as the drugs. The drinking an drugs are being taken at school as I dnt let er go out as she causes to many problems. An as far as me taking responsibility...... I do I'm not perfect just like u!!!! So plz dnt keep telling me 2 take responsibility cos I do an I will still!!!
But I'm just saying that I'm only human an that there is only so much I can take!!
An yes ur rite she did ave eveythin she asked 4 but only as a reward for doin sumthin. Like 4 instance if she wanted a couple of pound I'd say yes if u hoover the car. So no it wasn't just handed 2 er. A this situation as only been created by my daughter!! She mite be unhappy at home but she will not talk 2 any1 about it, I'm not a mind reader so unless she tells us or sum1 there ain't much I can do!!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/27/2015

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She's 13! Where did she get access to drugs and alcohol (for the last 3 YEARS, no less)??? This, to me, says she started drugging and drinking when she was around 10, so how did that come about? How did she have such easy access?

"An my daughter as ad a gd life never wanted 4 anything wat so ever" I'm taking this as she had a good life, and you gave her every thing she ever wanted...Which could be part of the problem to begin with...but I"m still trying to get my head around a 10 year old getting so involved with drinking and drugs (TEN!!!!)

You've not taken responsibility thus far, which is probably why social services is making you take responsibility now.

Trisha - posted on 02/27/2015

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Please keep in mind, that raising a teenager is NOT easy. So much of it is trial and error.
Both my husband and I have had to own up and own our own mistakes regarding how we are dealing with my stepson, and alter our ways on multiple occasions to find a happy medium.
You have the opportunity to fix this. Don't blame her. It is your responsibility to guide her in the right direction.

Trisha - posted on 02/27/2015

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Toni... She is a child. People generally don't go towards drugs/alcohol unless they are unhappy with life.

I can't even IMAGINE my children having access to drugs and alcohol at that early an age. How old are your other children? Your daughter might just simply be more sensitive to her environment than the others are. In order for you to make this right you need to step up, take responsibility and get ALL of your children in counselling right away. Your daughter will sense that you don't want her. It has to be heartbreaking to know that. It certainly won't incite her to want to make things right with you.

The fact that you have been dealing with this for 3 years, and the child has not seen any form of counselling shows that there is neglect on your part.

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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Hi shawnn, there's is a lot more 2 this story!!! Such as gettin drunk takin drugs being arrested by police! Stealing money from my house. An I dnt mean just a couple of pound, I mean hundreds of £s! So yes as ur right I am frustrated!! She dnt listen 2 any1 weather it be teachers at school police the social worker any1.
An my daughter as ad a gd life never wanted 4 anything wat so ever. She's always been loved!! Up until the point were she's pushing ppl away!! An I an responsible for er but like I say I ave another 3 children that i am also respond bile 4 that dnt behave like she dose!!!!!

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 02/27/2015

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You're frustrated because social services is making you take responsibility for your child?

What kind of life has this child had up to this point, that she's pissed you and others off to the point that no one 'wants' her? How do you think she feels to know that no one 'wants' her?

Hopefully, you can place her with social services, so that they can find an appropriate family that WILL want her, and won't be 'frustrated' at having to take responsibility. If not, get into counseling. BOTH of you.

Toni - posted on 02/27/2015

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Hi Dove, me nor my daughter are in any kind of counselling at all. Social services are trying to help the family stay together. But at the min it's hard my daughter will not talk to anyone. I just feel so frustrated as social services keep saying I'm responsible for her.

Dove - posted on 02/27/2015

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What kind of therapy has your family been in? I'm assuming you are in counseling as well as her...? Has she been diagnosed w/ anything and is she getting help w/ those issues?

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