Author Topic: What is a parent to do?  (Read 12583 times)

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Offline Torn

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What is a parent to do?
« on: April 19, 2011, 10:48:51 AM »
I'm probably just going to get flamed to hell and back for posting this, but here goes...

Our 15yo daughter is in a downward spiral.  She comes home if and when she chooses.  She attends school if and when she chooses.  We cannot prove but have very good reason to believe she is sexual active, drinking and doing drugs.  (She readily admits her friends do but claims she does not.)  She has a history of shoplifting and is a pathological liar.  She used to be a straight A student with a bright future.  We have tried various forms of therapy - and she now refuses to participate.

We have offered her rewards for good behavior and denial of privileges for bad behavior.  She invariably chooses the latter.  She uses school as a weapon to threaten us - "let me do what I want or I won't go to school" - unfortunately she has now skipped enough school that it no longer matters.

We've reached the point that we don't know what else to do and are considering the kind of TBS that this forum bashes as "abusive" and "coercive".  We're trying to balancing the rights and well being of our daughter against the absolute need for an intervention.  I personally had such an intervention when I was 16; I was heading down the wrong path and my mother forced me into a private school.  In retrospect I am very grateful; I went on to college and now have a successful professional career.  (In contrast, none of my circle of friends "made it".)  My case was considerably less dramatic however.  I was convinced to go, and our daughter has flat-out refused.

So here I am seeking advise from those whose views are among the most extreme I have found against TBS's.  Doing nothing and allowing our daughter to destroy her life is *not* an option.  She will not participate in any solutions we have proposed.  She is the most dependent independent person I know, and she depends heavily on those she can manipulate - older boys with a car and a job - for she was blessed with natural beauty and a quick mind.  While she believes this is an acceptable path to success we do not, and as her parents it is not only our right but our obligation to take action, which will be against her will and therefore coercive.

This is not intended as flamebait and I am not a troll.  I am posting here because I am sensitive to the inherent risks in the decision we are considering, and am truly trying to do the right thing for our daughter.

Are there *any* programs which would be considered acceptable?  When the kid simply won't participate in our efforts to save her from her poor choices, what's a parent to do?
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Offline thomasC

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2011, 01:32:52 PM »
Let's skip to the important part:

Quote from: "Torn"
Are there *any* programs which would be considered acceptable?

No.

I don't know your daughter.  I'm not a parenting expert.  All I can tell you is that the program is not and never will be the answer.  Nobody deserves it.  In many cases death row prisoners have it easier.

See if you can get her talking to older girls.  As terrifying as this is for you as a parent, it's still part of being a teen.  The only reason 'the program' appears to have any effect is that nearly all of us mature out of this phase on our own.  Don't let a program sales person convince you that your daughter is dead if you don't have her carted off tomorrow.  Unless you think your daughter is into IV drugs, painkillers, prostitution, is suicidal, or has already overdosed you have more time than you think.  Lots of teenagers experiment with sex and drugs.  This isn't the end of the world.  Making her feel like you accept her and genuinely care about her well-being (and not just her behavior) would go a long way.  I can't tell you how to do that.

I can tell you that sending her to the program will send the exact opposite message, and whatever insecurities she has now will have been multiplied 10 fold by the time she gets out.  She will never be able to trust you or any other adult again, and will probably attempt to escape you completely by moving in with her friends or an older boy.  By sending her to the program, you will have validated every negative feeling she ever had for you.
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Offline Anne Bonney

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011, 02:11:03 PM »
Mark1986 is Whooter ?????


I thought he was gone.  Heard a rumor that somebody actually called up STICC.  I'd have LOVED to have been a fly on the wall for THAT conversation.




Re: Mark1986 is Whooter

Postby Dysfunction Junction » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:23 pm
One poster said the other day that they called STICC and asked for John Reuben. When he got on the phone this person referred to him several times by the handle "Whooter" during their conversation and Reuben kept responding normally, apparently not even noticing because he used the name "Whooter" for so long here.


Now THAT'S some funny stuff right there.  :rofl:  :cheers:  :nods:
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Offline Torn

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2011, 02:28:34 PM »
thomasC,

I want to make sure we're using the same terminology.  When we talk about programs, are we talking about *any* institution in which a teen is enrolled against her will, whether it a short term "boot camp" or a longer term boarding school?  I've already ruled out the short and medium term programs which I agree sound more damaging then helpful, but am considering a longer term boarding school which includes family therapy.  I am not naive enough to believe its all her fault - I have read The Family Crucible - but she refuses to participate in any form of therapy, and there are no "older girl" role models we can offer her aside from those she already knows.

If I understand your position, no form of intervention is acceptable unless her behavior is an imminent threat to herself or others.  Is that correct?  Part of the problem is that, until she is 18 we are *legally responsible* for her which in addition to providing her room and board means we're liable for any crimes she commits, including shoplifting.  She has already been caught twice and we've been given the bills.  She is also destructive to our personal property and her behavior toward her younger sister is emotionally damaging.

We may have a philosophical difference here.  I cannot agree that a 15yo should be given free reign to make life altering decisions for herself, particularly as she is *not* the sole victim of her choices.  I appreciate your thoughtful response.
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Offline brian23083

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 02:34:41 PM »
Torn, you know your daughter best.  I see value in both ThomasC and Mark1985's advice.  My advice is to be a parent first.  Think of the long term and dont worry about whether or not your daughter will like you or hate you.  Dont try to be her best friend, be firm and look after her best interests.  She may say she hates you for awhile but in the end she will thank you for being there for her and getting her past this.  She will be an adult soon herself and will see that you were trying to help her not hurt her.  Dont ignore the red flags like so many other parents do.  Stay involved, talk to professionals at her school as a start and keep an open mind to the direction and advice they give you.

Good luck
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Offline Maximillian

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2011, 03:24:51 PM »
^industry troll^

 :guesswho:  :jerry: "The many faces of Whooter"  Now he posts as Marc1986 and Brian23083 just agreeing with each other.  Whooter,,,you sick fuck,,,just give it up already,,,you're not wanted here.

@Torn,,,you should know that these "two" posters are the same guy who is banned from here,,,his son overdosed after finishing his program and died,,,but whooter just keeps coming here to recruit parents to send their kids to the same program that didn't help his son,,,he gets paid for every referral to the program,,,wolf in sheeps clothing,,,roping you in.  watch out for the industry ppl who make money from your problems and hurt your children.  just some friendly advice.
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Offline BuzzKill

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2011, 04:13:19 PM »
Repentant Program parent here - I was in exactly your shoes at one time. I made the decision your considering. Please believe me - Thomas C has given you sound advice which shows real insight into the probable outcome.  I am not sure what alternative to suggest but I do know that the outdoor bootcamps are terribly abusive and dangerous; and the Faux "schools" which focus on behavior modification are as well. They do much more harm than good.

One thing I wish we had done instead is take the money we spent on "the program" and gone on a nice long vacation together. I wish we had gone to see Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, Oz and Israel on that money instead. It wouldn't have been a cure, but it would have greatly improved communication and there would be memories to value instead of all this anger and guilt. This may not be piratical for you but it is something to think about.

Speaking of a cure - there is none but time.  A good therapist can be very helpful. If she won't go, then you go with out her. They can help you learn how to defuse emotional storms instead of fueling them and may have good ideas how to better encourage more positive behavior. They may be able to help the younger child learn coping skills to minimize the emotional trauma. Possibly they can help you understand the turmoil in your daughter's head so you can better understand why she does the things she does, which may help you feel less angry and more sympathetic. The key is a Good therapist. If they don't seem to be helping after several sessions find a new one.

As for being responsible for her legal issues - shop-lifting and truancy and so on - maybe you can file a beyond control petition with your state court system. They may cal it something else, but you'd go before a judge, explain the problem, show proof of your efforts to control things (therapist business cards and schools records for example) and they will assign her a social worker who may be helpful in getting her to co-operate better.  The worst case senerio,  she'd end up in a state operated program similar to what your shopping for - but the thing here is - they would have some oversight and accountability for any outrageous harm done to her while there - and listen to me now - this is NOT the case with the private run for profit teen help industry.  Also, they would have actual, trained teachers and psychologist on staff. This is also not the case with the private, for profit "school".  I am sure the process varies from state to state, and the resources available as well - but this is an option you should strongly consider. That said - avoid anything called :"drug court".  http://http://podcast.thisamericanlife.org/podcast/430.mp3

I mentioned time being the cure. I have honestly found this to be true. It's hard to believe at the point your at that there is any hope for the kid at all but it is remarkable how things can change once they reach a certain age - they truly do mature out of it.  Focus on damage control -  again a good family therapist can help even if she won't go.  And please don't think I have no idea what your going through. Until she literally runs away with a circus - or off with the "rainbow people" - I got you beat.

I need to get off here now - but one last comment: Read Maia Szalavitz's book Help at any Cost, how the trouble teen industry cons parents and hurts teens. It is excellent and she provides good, sound helpful advice as well as eye opening information about the industry. http://http://www.helpatanycost.com/
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Offline BuzzKill

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2011, 06:03:00 PM »
In my experience, when speaking of the troubled teen industry, those claiming the highest success rates are also the biggest liars and worst abusers.  If they claim anything like 80 or 90 or 97 or 98% success, hang up the phone and block your email.
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Offline Pile of Dead Kids

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2011, 06:34:33 PM »
Torn, Marc, and Brian are all the same poster.

Nuke the thread.
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...Sergey Blashchishen, James Shirey, Faith Finley, Katherine Rice, Ashlie Bunch, Brendan Blum, Caleb Jensen, Alex Cullinane, Rocco Magliozzi, Elisa Santry, Dillon Peak, Natalynndria Slim, Lenny Ortega, Angellika Arndt, Joey Aletriz, Martin Anderson, James White, Christening Garcia, Kasey Warner, Shirley Arciszewski, Linda Harris, Travis Parker, Omega Leach, Denis Maltez, Kevin Christie, Karlye Newman, Richard DeMaar, Alexis Richie, Shanice Nibbs, Levi Snyder, Natasha Newman, Gracie James, Michael Owens, Carlton Thomas, Taylor Mangham, Carnez Boone, Benjamin Lolley, Jessica Bradford's unnamed baby, Anthony Parker, Dysheka Streeter, Corey Foster, Joseph Winters, Bruce Staeger, Kenneth Barkley, Khalil Todd, Alec Lansing, Cristian Cuellar-Gonzales, Janaia Barnhart, a DRA victim who never even showed up in the news, and yet another unnamed girl at Summit School...

Offline maruska

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2011, 06:51:06 PM »
I was in your shoes 4 years ago. There is is hope and you will manage without these programs . We went through hell with our daughter - there were times when I was desperate and scared. The truth is, that we did what every good parents does: be there for her when she needed us and let her make all the mistakes she needed to do. It was the hardest thing in the world...I never gave up on her, I helped her, I listened to her when she was ready to speak, I cried with her, I argued with her....To this day I don´t know why she had to go through all this... To this day I am not sure what helped the most - was it my patience and love? Or time and maturing?  When I look back I don´t know how I was able to survive it:)
So please, don´t send her away. Search for help ,find a good therapist (my daughter refused therapy but I went and it helped me), talk and connect with your friends and family. It is a phase and she will go through it - she needs your love and guidance and daily presence - not to be send away. Nobody can love her as you do. Nobody knows her as you do.
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Offline Ursus

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2011, 07:02:02 PM »
Quote from: "BuzzKill"
One thing I wish we had done instead is take the money we spent on "the program" and gone on a nice long vacation together. I wish we had gone to see Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales, Oz and Israel on that money instead. It wouldn't have been a cure, but it would have greatly improved communication and there would be memories to value instead of all this anger and guilt. This may not be piratical for you but it is something to think about.
I was thinking of one of those family "service vacations," or whatever they're called these days. Where parent(s) plus kid volunteer their time and labor to help those less fortunate or in desperate need due to an environmental calamity or similar. I imagine the time commitment could be on the order of a few weeks or a month. One would have to cough up the airfare (if needed), but, all things considered, that is really small potatoes.

On the plus side, it'd be a different environment and focus, possibly fun, a chance to feel good about yourself for the help you'd be giving someone else, and the parents need never relinquish the oversight of their daughter to the whims and value systems of strangers.

On the minus side, it does entail a commitment of a certain chunk of time, which may make such an endeavor unfeasible depending on one's circumstances...
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Offline Ursus

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2011, 07:05:58 PM »
Quote from: "Torn"
We're trying to balancing the rights and well being of our daughter against the absolute need for an intervention. I personally had such an intervention when I was 16; I was heading down the wrong path and my mother forced me into a private school. In retrospect I am very grateful; I went on to college and now have a successful professional career. (In contrast, none of my circle of friends "made it".) My case was considerably less dramatic however. I was convinced to go, and our daughter has flat-out refused.
Which program or "private school" was that, may I ask?
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Offline Torn

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #12 on: April 19, 2011, 07:35:56 PM »
Quote from: "Pile of Dead Kids"
Torn, Marc, and Brian are all the same poster.
I found this site while researching schools and my first inclination was to write it off as a bunch of fanatical angry teenagers.  Pile's response only reinforces that image - really, anyone who considers sending away a troubled teen must be an alias for the Evil Dr. Whooter?  Other than him everyone is sane?  Sigh.

Fortunately I have found a few voices of reason here.  BuzzKill definitely has me thinking.  Ursas suggestion is certainly interesting but unfortunately rather impractical for me - I can't take that much time off work.

@Ursas, I won't name the school but its an east coast prep school - definitely not the same type of school we're talking about here.  My daughter would probably be expelled within a week.  Like I said, I was willing to go, because the other choice my mother offered me was to go live with my father.  That wasn't going to happen. :)
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Offline Reddit TroubledTeens

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2011, 07:41:40 PM »
If you don't like her friends now, who do you think she's going to meet in these programs? My best friend was sent to residential therapy centers, she upgraded her drug use from smoking pot to cocaine that was smuggled in and huffing oven cleaner. When she finally got out, she moved to Vegas with a guy she met in the program. She got pregnant by age 19, and the guy started physically abusing her. Last time I saw her, she was trying to get away from him but he was hanging on, she was smoking pot while pregnant, and had no interest in getting a job. She was a college-track kid when I met her in Latin class, her life and personality had totally changed.

I was a bit of a rebel, too. Most of my problems were with my abusive mother. My (divorced) father paid for therapy, I agreed to go. I actually looked forward to it. The first session, the counselor told us that my mom would get the first 25 minutes alone with the counselor, then I would get 25, then we would meet together for the last 10 minutes. What ended up happening is my mother took the whole 50 minutes crying and manipulating the counselor into thinking I was a bad kid. I got pulled in with the two of them for the last 10 minutes, told I was a horrible kid and I needed to obey my mother. Can you blame me for refusing to go again? My side was never heard and I was judged and sentenced. I didn't trust that counselor one bit after that. I don't know what your daughter's experience was like, but that was mine.

There is something at the root of your daughter's problems. Sometimes there are marital or household issues that cause teens to rebel, but it could be something deep and dark, like she could have been molested as a child w/o you knowing it, there are any number of things causing her to 'go wild'. Getting counseling for the parts of the family that are willing to attend is excellent, at least you will be stabilized and have a clear head to deal with the craziness.

I will PM you with a good resource I know about for help. Please, please don't send your child away. My friend who got sent away felt abandoned and thrown out like trash, that was even worse than the abuse she suffered at those facilities. I would hate to see this happen to anyone else. You sound like a really good, loving father; you do have other options. I also can't imagine the court costs are more than what a boarding school would cost (but I realize the sky's the limit if she gets into serious trouble).

Please beware that half the comments on this page are made by industry people who are more interested in lining their pockets than helping your daughter. My heart goes out to you in this time of crisis, I'm glad you are doing research and asking questions. I have faith you will find a safe solution. And might I say, she sounds like a chip off the old block, lol! I'm glad she has spirit and courage, someday those will refine into fantastic qualities.
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Offline Reddit TroubledTeens

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Re: What is a parent to do?
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2011, 08:43:17 PM »
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