View Full Version : How do you parent a depressed teen?


wifeandmom
05-16-09, 08:38 AM
DD has had episodes of atypical depression since Junior High. She's 18 now and a senior in high school. She should be graduating next month, but probably won't.

DD was prescribed Prozac at the end of March and did really poorly on it. We discontinued that after four weeks and she was switched to Wellbutrin three weeks ago. We haven't seen much improvement from "baseline" but she is functioning better than she was three weeks into the Prozac.

The problems we have are with her behavior:
-skipping school
-failing classes (because she won't do the assigned work)
-lying about where she is and who she's with
-staying out late without telling us where she is (like 11:30 on school/our work nights)
-general disrespect (arguing, swearing at me, etc.)

DD doesn't want to do counseling, so all we have to resolve her depression is the Wellbutrin and time. (she also takes 40 mg Adderall XR am and 10 mg IR pm)

How do we deal with the behaviors? Do we just stay silent and let the consequences (like not graduating) fall naturally on her head (DH's preference)? Do we continue to impose discipline, like taking her car away, eliminating spending money, etc. to try to get her to do her school work, go to class, etc (which we've done)? Do we remind her to do her school work, try to encourage her to get off her bed and do something (my preference)? Since she's 18 and won't follow our house rules, do we ask her to make other living arrangements?

Her depression is creating a huge wedge in our family. DD doesn't interact with DS16 at all, isn't interested in family activities, backs out at the last minute on every agreed upon activity (whether it's positive, like shopping, or negative, like household chores). DH and I argue with each other about how to deal with DD and we both argue with DD. What a mess!

Help??

Bluerose
05-16-09, 10:53 AM
I’m sorry things are so strained in your home. And all I have to offer is what you have already mentioned.

In US I know kids are in school longer and therefore continue to live at home longer. Here in the UK most children leave school at sixteen and if they don’t have a job within a year many are told to find somewhere else to live. Sounds harsh I know but there is a lot to be said for kicking the chicks out of the nest.

If I may suggest that you try one last time to get through to her. Sit her down and explain calmly that you have tried everything you can think of to help her and ask her if she has any suggestions of her own. Ask her if there is anything else you can do because you and the rest of your family cannot go on living like this.

Then when every avenue has been exhausted, give her a final ultimatum. Let her know that you have tried everything you can think of to help her because you love her and now you are going to give her six month (or however many months you want) to respect the house rules and start taking responsibility for herself or she will have to find somewhere else to live. It’s harsh but she needs to know you mean it.

wifeandmom
05-16-09, 11:08 AM
Thank you, Bluerose. DH is a Brit. He finished school at 16, moved to the States and was in the military by the time he was DD's age. He's the ADDult in the family. That's the perspective he's bringing to the situation. I'm the NT adult who was a relatively compliant kid, graduated high school at 17, went on to college and finished in four years. I have always thought DD would follow a similar, if somewhat slower, path (silly in retrospect). I want her to experience the gradual independence of living in a college dorm, the fun of campus life, the intellectual challenges of philosphy and political science debates in classes, etc.

She isn't really at a point where we can have a calm conversation most of the time. When she is, her patience wears out after about five minutes. It's hard to build a stronger relationship that way.

The other night I told her: "I feel like you're swimming in the ocean and Dad and I are watching from the shore. You're normally a good swimmer, but for some reason, you're having trouble. I don't know if you're tired, or the waves are too rough, or what. All I know is that you're struggling. Dad thinks we should wait for you to swim to shore on your own. I think you need help - maybe a float or someone to help you to shore. What I want to know is, do you want us to let you swim on your own, or do you want us to help you?" She liked the analogy, but wasn't able to tell me which she wanted.

In my heart, I feel like we need to bring her closer to us to give her the emotional support she needs to pull herself out of this dark hole. It's pretty difficult, because she's pretty "locked down" emotionally. DH just as firmly believes that a few months bumming couch space from friends will teach her how to cope. I just don't know if she's got the energy and mental strength to cope??

firstdesserts
05-16-09, 01:12 PM
We've been there too. DD dropped out of school, played around, made bad relationships, got married to a guy who has never worked more than a couple weeks at a time (he's got his own struggles). They are both out of work, and they have a baby (DD is 24).

Recently, they both essentially disappeared. DD only talks to her mom (my wife). Turns out DD is working through whatever it is that is bothering her (mostly about me). I guess they need this time to get it together. It kills me that anything we've tried to do to help, encourage, confront, etc. has not helped them much. I feel more innept than when my kids were babies. There is a wall of alternating noise or silence between us.

I do have hope it will work out for our daughters. Please continue to seek help for your girl. Don't just wait to find a medication. It wouldn't hurt to get a different perspective (2nd Op) from someone else who may discover something else (personality disorder, bipolar, drug use, something she's not telling you...).

Bluerose
05-16-09, 10:52 PM
I was glad to hear your hubby is a brit and my post didn’t come across as way out there. I feel for your daughter, I really do. So many kids are struggling through stuff today, it’s like there are too many choices, too much pressure about school and other expectations. It’s like they become overwhelmed and simply shut down because they just can’t handle any more pressure. I hope she gives some thought to what you said and comes back with some answers. Best wishes to you and yours.

wifeandmom
05-17-09, 11:47 AM
Last night was a bad night for DD socially. Maybe she will realize that 1) she has to take some steps to help herself and 2)what I tell her may actually be right sometimes.

The story:
DD had an end-of-year banquet last night. It was supposed to be a wonderful event, especially for seniors in this organization; it was their farewell. All year DD has dated another member of this group and they were very committed to each other. When her depression started creeping in, her pdoc prescribed Prozac. It caused her to go "bonkers" for lack of a better term; she started into a spiral of apathy, including skipping school and cheating on the boyfriend with another boy in this organization. So she'd lost her bf/date for the event they'd been looking forward to all year. Most of the people know about the triangle, so she isn't the most popular person in the club these days. So she didn't really have a group to go to the event with and ended up having to drive alone.

She was supposed to provide several pictures of herself for the slideshow in tribute to the seniors. We burned several to a CD, but she never turned them in to the guy making the show. I reminded her several times, but she said she wanted to try to find pictures she liked more.

I tried for weeks to get her to go shopping for a nice dress for the event. I finally dragged her into one store last week and she picked something very ordinary. Yesterday I again dragged her to a store, telling her I wanted her to feel great about herself and how she looked. The ex-bf was bringing a date and I wanted her to feel as good about herself as possible. She tried on two dresses and said what she had was fine. Two hours before the event, she decided she wanted something more dazzling (when if finally hit her brain that the ex was bringing a date to the event). Of course, it was too late to buy anything, so she tried on multiple cocktail dresses and eventually settled for a borrowed dress she'd previously worn to an event with the ex.

She spent so long getting ready that she was late for the dinner and had to wander around to find the seat a friend had saved for her.

She had to sit through the slide show with no pictures of herself. She had to see the ex and the "other guy" standing on the stage together as fellow officers, then see the ex announced as next year's president. She had to stand in the front of the ex and his date for about 30 minutes during the presentations to the seniors.

I attended the banquet and presentation (but left when the dancing started). It totally depressed me to think of how badly the evening had gone. I don't know what impact it had on DD.

This was an example of me trying to help her swim, her rejecting my efforts, then having to dogpaddle on her own. I won't know for hours (or days) whether she'll sink further or bob to the surface.

wifeandmom
05-20-09, 02:11 PM
Yeah, she sunk. But on a brighter note, today she agreed to start therapy if I do too. I am thrilled to have made that small step of progress. Now, if I can just convince DH it's a good idea. He says he doesn't want to waste any more money on her, that this is her personality, not an illness, and she'll never change. :/

firstdesserts
05-20-09, 03:06 PM
He says he doesn't want to waste any more money on her, that this is her personality, not an illness, and she'll never change. :/

(Sighing while shaking my head!)

wifeandmom
05-20-09, 09:55 PM
(Sighing while shaking my head!)


Me too!! Honestly, I think he and the pdoc just don't get it. No offense to anyone (like firstdesserts), but is that a stereotypical male perspective? Every woman I've talked to thinks she needs at least therapy and maybe in-patient treatment.

wifeandmom
05-25-09, 06:50 PM
Progress! DH has agreed that DD needs therapy to help her figure out better ways to manage her thoughts, her life, her time, etc. (since it isn't managed at ALL right now).

Driver
05-25-09, 09:09 PM
Maybe its me but it sounds like you haven't given meds a decent try. Prozac is an old school antidepressant, but her reaction sounds like her dose was too high and didn't take it long enough to settle down.

wondra
05-26-09, 10:05 AM
I had severe depression with my young teen daughter, she wasn't acting out just REALLY REALLY sad and unmotivated. Crying herself to sleep, wishing she was dead - it was awful so hard to watch and be helpless. Resulted in horrible self esteem etc. Therapy was the answer for us. She didn't want to do it initially, but was actually really glad to have someone take over and get her help in the end. (She's undiagnosed ADD but doing fine with it so not pursuing meds etc at this point).

I know there has been some different advice, but my opinion is to not give up or expect her to be able to help herself. Kicking someone out may be the answer for deviant behavior or drug use. But with depression it's practically impossible to help yourself and you're not doing it on purpose - mix that in with teenage... (BTW I'm British) That's what I would do, not saying what anyone else should do and not knowing the situation fully. I agree with Driver about the meds too.

wifeandmom
05-27-09, 07:18 AM
Driver, you may be right about the Prozac, but she got so much worse while on Prozac. DD was taking Prozac Weekly (once a week dose that's supposed to be equivalent to 10 mg a day) for four weeks. However, her behavior became bizarre and illogical/risky. She stopped turning in school work, stopped going to classes, really got neglectful with her hygene, started cheating on a long-term boyfriend, broke curfew regularly, etc. She became totally apathetic about how her behavior was effecting every aspect of her life. Since she'd had a bad three-month run with Lexapro two years ago (lethargy, apathy - very similar behaviors), I just didn't dare let things continue with Prozac.

After the Prozac, DD was on 100 mg of Wellbutrin SR (once a day) for three weeks, then moved to 150 mg XL four weeks ago. She's lifting a little bit out of the brain fog, but it's taken almost two months. In the life of a high school student with six week grading periods, the total of 11 weeks waiting for improvement has been devasting to her grades.

Wondra, my thoughts are that until she learns - through cognitive and interpersonal therapy - to deal better with the normal stressors of life, like relationship friction, multiple projects, etc., she's going to continue in this pattern. I would like to give her the summer in therapy then reassess her status before we decide whether she can continue to live with us.

I don't want to give up, but until she starts showing a pattern of wanting to help herself, we're just repeating the same cycle again and again.

wifeandmom
05-27-09, 08:12 AM
Too late to edit, but: DD was on WB SR for two weeks, not three.

And . . . .

I think the part I'm struggling with is: how do we reward or punish the behavior of a depressed teen? Nothing we've done has made a difference. Grounding for failing grades didn't bring the grades up. Taking away her car for not getting her license renewed, and getting multiple tickets, didn't phase her. Telling her she'll get the car back when she finishes "credit recovery" to bring failing grades up to passing hasn't inspired her to do the work necessary. Taking away her debit card and restricting her cash flow for rash spending didn't seem to bother her. Paying for grades on report cards (because that's our kids JOB and jobs get monetary rewards) doesn't do anything for her. Praising her for good grades on progress reports didn't help - she stopped turning in ALL work at that point. The prospect of not graduating on time isn't any motivation for her to bring her grades up. The usual tools for behavior modification are carrots and sticks, but with our DD, neither has any impact.

So do we continue to impose punishments, or just let it all go and chalk it up to her being too depressed to do any better? I'd rather reward her for her accomplishments, but there just isn't much she's doing that's noteworthy when her biggest accomplishment some days is brushing her teeth in the morning (and I mean that literally).

Wondra and Firstdesserts, how did you handle this with your DDs?

firstdesserts
05-27-09, 01:44 PM
Wondra and Firstdesserts, how did you handle this with your DDs?

Honestly, I wish I could tell you what we did and that it worked. Instead I can only say what we did and it may have helped (right now, at 24, only she can answer that). We (my wife and I) tried all the positive reinforcement, punishment/reward things we could come up with. Mostly we tried to be clear and consistant with what we considered acceptable behavior. We also let her know we were here for her and that anything we could do for her we would.

Obviously, I/we made mistakes. DD made choices that we disagreed with. Scraping our minds to find a solution was driven by the desire to relieve the pain that was being generated. Though the pain was almost unbearable, we never found any satisfactory solutions. I hate to admit it, but given the feebleness of human beings, I don't know that there are any.

firstdesserts
05-27-09, 01:49 PM
I don't want to give up, but until she starts showing a pattern of wanting to help herself, we're just repeating the same cycle again and again.

It does no one any good to allow your relationships with others to suffer needlessly.

wondra
05-27-09, 04:45 PM
Wondra, my thoughts are that until she learns - through cognitive and interpersonal therapy - to deal better with the normal stressors of life, like relationship friction, multiple projects, etc., she's going to continue in this pattern. I would like to give her the summer in therapy then reassess her status before we decide whether she can continue to live with us.
I agree with you about the cycle needing to change and I really see that you're in a tough spot - I didn't meant to sound judgmental or that you necessarily should put up with an unlivable situation just that with depression it's hard to help yourself when you're that depressed and that sometimes you simply can't.

Too late to edit, but: DD was on WB SR for two weeks, not three.

And . . . .

I think the part I'm struggling with is: how do we reward or punish the behavior of a depressed teen? Nothing we've done has made a difference. Grounding for failing grades didn't bring the grades up. Taking away her car for not getting her license renewed, and getting multiple tickets, didn't phase her. Telling her she'll get the car back when she finishes "credit recovery" to bring failing grades up to passing hasn't inspired her to do the work necessary. Taking away her debit card and restricting her cash flow for rash spending didn't seem to bother her. Paying for grades on report cards (because that's our kids JOB and jobs get monetary rewards) doesn't do anything for her. Praising her for good grades on progress reports didn't help - she stopped turning in ALL work at that point. The prospect of not graduating on time isn't any motivation for her to bring her grades up. The usual tools for behavior modification are carrots and sticks, but with our DD, neither has any impact.

So do we continue to impose punishments, or just let it all go and chalk it up to her being too depressed to do any better? I'd rather reward her for her accomplishments, but there just isn't much she's doing that's noteworthy when her biggest accomplishment some days is brushing her teeth in the morning (and I mean that literally).

Wondra and Firstdesserts, how did you handle this with your DDs?
I don't know the exact specifics either of what worked but I have some thoughts. One was that we really needed to address the underlying issues. Part of it turned out to be feeling sad about her Dad and I not being together (despite this being over a decade on), and the other was self esteem. The first part we addressed by talking about it a lot, really helping her get in touch with her sadness and feel her sadness. Also, getting her Dad to really make her feel a part of his new family and spend more one on one time with her. The second was by reinforcing her qualities (she felt really different and apart from her peers) and emphasizing her uniqueness and creativity to make her feel special rather than weird.

Honestly, I wish I could tell you what we did and that it worked. Instead I can only say what we did and it may have helped (right now, at 24, only she can answer that). We (my wife and I) tried all the positive reinforcement, punishment/reward things we could come up with. Mostly we tried to be clear and consistant with what we considered acceptable behavior. We also let her know we were here for her and that anything we could do for her we would.

I really like and agree with consistency and unconditional love.

With behavioral techniques I think if the punishments aren't working then to continue isn't going to be effective. I'm pretty sure that research I've read is all about positive reinforcement being most effective and punishment not so much (although I read more about younger children). I would suggest creating the thing to be rewarded to positively reinforce if there aren't any that are happening spontaneously. Letting her know that when this thing happens you get ... For instance, if one of the issues is talking back then going a day without doing that gets ... But what's key is making sure that these goals are things that can definitely be accomplished, breaking it down to what can be accomplished and building up from there is a good way to go. You said brushing her teeth is an accomplishment - maybe showering and getting dressed? Again, it's got to be doable. I'm a huge fan of building up the positives. What does she (or did she) like to do? Music, writing, hobbies? Hard to do stuff when you're depressed but in small doses?

I would persevere the meds it can take ages to find the right med/combination/dosage.

Hang in there, she's lucky to have you.

wifeandmom
05-28-09, 07:21 PM
Here's an example of this crazy hamster-wheel we're on. I take DD to school, which is about 10 minutes away by car. I have a goal to leave our house 20 minutes before the tardy bell rings (10 minutes before the first bell for class). This should give her plenty of time to get to class without being tardy.

It doesn't matter what time I wake her up, she will NOT come out of her room until past the goal time. Every day I try a different technique to try to get her moving. Some times I tease, other days I fuss, some days I nag. Nothing seems effective. We always end up arguing as we leave the house at approximately the time the first bell rings. Yesterday I said, "Don't you get tired of always running late and getting into fights about it?" She said, "Yes." I asked, "Then why don't you make a change so it doesn't happen?" and her response was, "Why should I change if you're not going to change?" I tried to explain that the world has rules and she has to adapt to those rules, whether it's start time for school or a job or what have you. But she just felt that as long as I had a reaction to her being late, she wasn't going to change.

Now she once again has detention Saturday for four hours because of excessive tardies. :confused:

I know the theory is to allow "natural consequences" or "logical consequences" for this type of thing, but that doesn't have any impact. She has had multiple detentions for skipping and tardies, failed multiple grading periods for skipping and not turning in work, and now won't be graduating on time. How much more logical and natural do consequences have to be to have an impact??

wondra
05-28-09, 09:22 PM
Yesterday I said, "Don't you get tired of always running late and getting into fights about it?" She said, "Yes." I asked, "Then why don't you make a change so it doesn't happen?" and her response was, "Why should I change if you're not going to change?" I tried to explain that the world has rules and she has to adapt to those rules, whether it's start time for school or a job or what have you. But she just felt that as long as I had a reaction to her being late, she wasn't going to change.

Did she explicitly say what she would like from you? I mean give you an example vs. a generalized comment about your reactions. I wonder if you had her walk through an interaction and ask her to tell you what she felt could have been done differently that would have her not react. Because it sounds like you're trying all the right things - damned if you do, damned if you don't BUT if she tells you she won't have a reaction to a specific way of getting through the morning and out the door then would she be likely to keep her word and not react to something if she's agreed beforehand that she wouldn't, especially if it's something she has thought of? If she's stubborn this could work to your advantage.

Letting her have some control over the situation may help. I'm not saying she gets to deviate and make up the rules - you would both have to agree on something reasonable that she (and you) need to stick to, but that she would have some input.

Driver
05-28-09, 11:19 PM
Every day I try a different technique to try to get her moving. Some times I tease, other days I fuss, some days I nag. Nothing seems effective.

Tried opening the blinds to let in natural light?

wifeandmom
05-29-09, 06:51 AM
Did she explicitly say what she would like from you? I mean give you an example vs. a generalized comment about your reactions. I wonder if you had her walk through an interaction and ask her to tell you what she felt could have been done differently that would have her not react.

She wants me to not get upset that she's (we're) late. I tried that yesterday morning, but I'll lay odds that she won't be ready to leave on time today. I think she just wants to try to foist the blame on me rather than accept responsibility. It's my fault she runs late because I get upset that she's late and she won't be on time until I stop being upset that she's late. (Kind of like abusers who say "You made me hit you. It's not my fault you make me so angry.")

Driver, as far as letting in the natural light, I do that on weekends. On school days, it's not very light yet before 7:00 a.m. here, so that's not much help. I try turning on the room lights, but that doesn't stop her from going back to sleep. I've tried making her bed while she's in the bathroom or shower so it's less appealing when she returns. But DD can even take a shower and go right back to sleep. I've tried talking to her about not lying down again after she gets up, but it falls on deaf ears. I've tried going back and checking on her through the door every ten minutes. I can tell by her voice that she's lying down, but she says she's up and dressing.

I hate that our school district expects teenagers to be functional before 8:00 a.m., but that's the schedule she has to deal with. She's gotten worse about this over the four years of high school, not better. As a freshman and sophomore, she had time to dress, do hair and make up, brush teeth, eat, and putter a bit before it was time to leave. Now we leave late, she sometimes gets teeth brushed in the car, she always takes food in the car, she sometimes has her hair done, but never has make up on.

Being habitually late is just one manifestation of the problems she's having. Her reliability to do homework, clean her room, etc. has also declined over time. Bleh.

wifeandmom
05-31-09, 07:19 PM
Well, we found out this week that DD has been skipping her first classes pretty regularly. So no wonder she doesn't care what time she gets to school. Just lovely. :(

Driver
05-31-09, 07:24 PM
Sounds like her hypersomnlence is really an issue - I think you're going to need meds & diet to fix that.

wifeandmom
05-31-09, 10:53 PM
Yeah. A year or so ago, she was taking large doses of Omega 3, plus multi-vitamin, plus L-Tyrosine and a high protein diet. She was also seeing a MD who specializes in diet and exercise for overweight kids too. Those things seemed to help.

Then she went vegetarian, started stress eating, refused to take more "pills" than just the Adderall and whichever anti-depressant she was on. It's a pretty vicious downward cycle because even though she KNOWS that she should eat better, exercise, maintain good sleep hygene, etc. she WON'T do those things. I bought the book "Potatoes not Prozac" because it advocates a low-sugar, low-refined carb, high-protein eating plan to manage blood sugar, thereby stabilizing mood swings. DD took the quiz and she matched all the symptoms of someone who should try the eating plan. She said she'd try it, but then refused the foods I prepared. :\

I sometimes wonder if the Adderall is causing more problems than it's solving. When it wears off, she is done for the day, even if it's 3:00 p.m.

She starts back up with a therapist this week. Hopefully a few sessions with the therapist will guide her to want to make changes. Right now DD is so apathetic, we just can't get her to do much to help herself, physically, mentally, academically, or socially.

Driver
06-01-09, 01:26 AM
ADD'ers benefit from the diet advocated in that book.

Also try her on a multivitamin, and/or some ginko biloba.

wifeandmom
06-07-09, 10:56 PM
I'm happy to say that we have officially survived high school. DD ended up failing two of her required courses for the semester. However, the state offers a "Credit by Exam" that is a comprehensive test of the subject; if the student passes the test, credit for the course is awarded. DD had to take two of these exams this past week and was able to "walk" the stage to receive her diploma with her classmates this weekend.

Now we will try to ease into junior college.

wondra
06-12-09, 05:41 PM
Congrats!!

movingforward
08-08-09, 03:10 PM
Yay! Congratulations!

I'm happy to say that we have officially survived high school. DD ended up failing two of her required courses for the semester. However, the state offers a "Credit by Exam" that is a comprehensive test of the subject; if the student passes the test, credit for the course is awarded. DD had to take two of these exams this past week and was able to "walk" the stage to receive her diploma with her classmates this weekend.

Now we will try to ease into junior college.

Musiscience
03-01-10, 10:53 AM
I know how it feels to be in her place. Been there, still am. I had literally a fire inside of me driving me to go forward with my calsses and everything, it is the only reason I suceeded with them. The only thing is that I went out of fuel and now I had to drop out of university, not because of grades, but because I could never beat depression, even if I passed the last 7 years of my life trying to. What I am trying to say is that she can't help herself in that situation, even if she does have this really crazy determination (trust me, it has to be determination like if you were at war all the time), she has to deal with her problems first, because college and university will not be better than high school. This kind of problem follow you like a ghost.

Usual consequences of life will not help, they will only make the problem worst. When these situations happened, I just wished I was dead 10 times more. I think her best shot is to get therapy and the good medication or medication combo.

I know it is not that helpfull (my comment), because I am depressed as I write, but i wish all the best to your daughter and really hope she finds a way out of this, I really do, and congrats for the Diploma! ;)

superjake
05-05-11, 04:52 AM
In cases like this, private military schools like military high schools are an attractive option. Instead of boarding schools where teens are sent to live full-time, military high schools function in a similar fashion as traditional high schools -- students arrive at the campus in the morning and leave in the afternoon to go back to their homes. It’s a significantly less traumatic experience for many teens than heading to a distant teen military school.

AshT
09-16-11, 03:09 PM
DD has had episodes of atypical depression since Junior High. She's 18 now and a senior in high school. She should be graduating next month, but probably won't.

DD was prescribed Prozac at the end of March and did really poorly on it. We discontinued that after four weeks and she was switched to Wellbutrin three weeks ago. We haven't seen much improvement from "baseline" but she is functioning better than she was three weeks into the Prozac.

The problems we have are with her behavior:
-skipping school
-failing classes (because she won't do the assigned work)
-lying about where she is and who she's with
-staying out late without telling us where she is (like 11:30 on school/our work nights)
-general disrespect (arguing, swearing at me, etc.)

DD doesn't want to do counseling, so all we have to resolve her depression is the Wellbutrin and time. (she also takes 40 mg Adderall XR am and 10 mg IR pm)

How do we deal with the behaviors? Do we just stay silent and let the consequences (like not graduating) fall naturally on her head (DH's preference)? Do we continue to impose discipline, like taking her car away, eliminating spending money, etc. to try to get her to do her school work, go to class, etc (which we've done)? Do we remind her to do her school work, try to encourage her to get off her bed and do something (my preference)? Since she's 18 and won't follow our house rules, do we ask her to make other living arrangements?

Her depression is creating a huge wedge in our family. DD doesn't interact with DS16 at all, isn't interested in family activities, backs out at the last minute on every agreed upon activity (whether it's positive, like shopping, or negative, like household chores). DH and I argue with each other about how to deal with DD and we both argue with DD. What a mess!

Help??
I'm only 20 and recently got over this kinda period with my Mum, so maybe i can be of some help.

Generally at 18, Mum wouldn't mind what i did as long as i let her know where i was. At first i HATED THIS. I felt that I was 18 and an adult, and adults don't tell people where they are 24/7.

She explained to me that adults do tell each other where they (i.e partners tell each other and you generally tell people whom you are living with) are out of respect and for safety reasons. She enforced that she was not trying to control me (which was the reason i didn't like it...i HATE being controlled, even as a 5 year old lol) but if she was out until 3am, i'd personally worry, and that's what i do to her.

I'm not too sure but i think perhaps the reason your child may be reluctant to tell you where she is etc, may be to do with the feeling that you may be controlling her also, even though you are just looking out for her safety.

Equally, it may be that she doesn't know where she's going and is just meeting up with a friend, so telling you where she is all the time is a lot of hassle if she doesn't know. So perhaps if she just told you whom she was meeting would be a better idea.

I was never really grounded or punished after the age of 16, my Mum saw me as an adult and worked with what i was saying, listening and communicating until we could reach an agreement. That's something important i noticed when i work with ADHD kids, if they don't feel they are being listened too, they can get really angry and aggressive so compromising is a must.

Also the more my Mother ever tried to ground me/punish me, the more angry i would become, so i'd do more things to anger her and get more things taken away. As far as i was concerned, she wasn't going to control what i did by punishing me so i didn't care what she took.

However there were strict compromises - I was allowed out for example if all my homework was completed before i went. This arrangement fell from my Mum originally saying I wasn't allowed out on school nights at all. So i was ok with the solution. Perhaps doing this with your daughter may work too.


Anyway, apologies if these seemed like loadsa parenting advice, that's not my intentions at all and re-reading this i realise i may sound like that. But hopefully i've given some possible perspectives of your daughter that will help you work with her :).

The 'feeling of being controlled' seems to come with Teenagers quite a lot, and it seems to come with ADHD even more from my own personal experiences :).

Golden Sephora
10-17-11, 07:48 PM
Hi Mom! I have a few questions:



Is she taking any AD/HD medication? I have AD/HD and depression also, and have been taking Wellbutrin and Biphentin. Have you spoken to a Psychiatrist about a combo? It works well for me. No meds are perfect, but this is pretty good.
What is your daughter passionate about?
Do you have a behaviour contract with her?
Is there anyone in your family dealing with substance abuse? Alcohol?
Logical natural consequences are very important and so is "letting the punishment" fit the crime
pick and choose your fights
What are the little things that you are nagging her about?
What is she most afraid of?
What is she running from or to?
Does she have an IEP or any other Learning issue that you know of?
Is she using any substances other than her prescribed meds?
What can you do today, right now, to clear the air and just start from here?
Can you let tomorrow be a new day and really mean it?

Please feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.

Love and Light to you!:):o:D;):cool:

Massari
10-19-11, 01:03 AM
-skipping school


As long as they don't take attendance and she spends that time with her family or studying, that shouldn't be a problem. Some people can only learn from books, no audio memory see :) -failing classes (because she won't do the assigned work)

I wouldn't use the word ''because'' in this situation. Your explanation is likely wrong. She should pass her classes and if she doesn't the explanation is not of a simplistic nature. -lying about where she is and who she's with


This is a problem. You need to find out who she hangs with, also watch for drug abuse. -general disrespect (arguing, swearing at me, etc.)


How dares she? First I would cut all her credit-cards and close all her savings accounts to make sure she cannot fund her useless activities with her depraved peers. Then I would help her find reason by getting her to a good doctor to obtain a diagnosis, group therapy and such. She will be resilient but do not fall for her tricks. Only you can help your daughter find reason. Do we continue to impose discipline, like taking her car away, eliminating spending money, etc.

It doesn't look like you are imposing any discipline. I would ground her for a week if she insulted family, with no internet, no computer, and no digital devices of any kind. Those can be used to communicate with depraved peers and cause her to escape her condition. Only books should be allowed. Since she's 18 and won't follow our house rules, do we ask her to make other living arrangements?


Since when it's ok to kick our children out to escape parenting?

Geno
11-20-12, 03:05 PM
Yes. That's totally a wonderful idea, throw your kid with an actual mental disorder out because you can't handle it anymore. That totally doesn't have a high chance of your kid ending up dead or homeless.
(Yes, that was sarcasm ^)

You have to realize she isn't getting angry and swearing at you because she hates you and doesn't appreciate you, not everything is about or because of you, I know this because I did the same thing a lot of the time to my dad when I was depressed. He'd try his best and when he messed up a little I'd act like your kid does to you. Except after a while he figured out it wasn't because I didn't respect him, it was because of needing someone to dump my sorrows on and, without realizing it until later, constantly doing it to him. But a person who's currently depressed is not going to realize that. I know because I had the same type of depression she did.

I eventually went on a very good antidepressant (nardil) and felt better, and now I'm not like that toward him anymore.

SquarePeg
11-20-12, 05:15 PM
Hi, Iīve only just found this thread. We are also going through tough times with our 17 year old daughter. Long story so I will skip some. Problems started around 5 years ago, teachers said she didnīt complete homework and always had excuses why not etc, daughter blamed teachers. She slowly started to develop anxiety issues but every time I asked her what she thought the problem was, she said nothing and that she would try hard at school.
She had extra classes, went to private summer school, worked well there but still didnīt perform very well at school.

Took her to doc and he prescribed valium, no thanks. She agreed to go to a therapist once who did guided relaxation then asked questions about what was bothering her and for her to imagine putting into a balloon and letting it go. She was 12 and he said some kids really donīt want to talk or canīt articulate their feelings.

She said she suffered exam nerves and her mind goes blank so he gave her a guided relation cd which she did twice but his voice really irritated her, me to it was annoying.

So the cycle started of doing badly at school, me punishing her, her promising to do better, trying hard for two weeks and failing. Still denying that anything was wrong.

She has repeated two whole years at school because of failing. Teachers said they wonīt but he in the special programe because itīs for kids that arenīt able to keep up but that my daughter has angry outbursts in class and doesnīt work etc.

Every few months things would blow up, she would cry (she hardly ever cried), she said she wanted to die, nobody understood her or was able to help her.
All the while I tried to talk to her, I knew that she knew what the problem was but wasnīt saying.
Finally at 16 she agreed to therapy. It helped a little with her anger and nailbiting but I felt it didnīt get to the root of the problem. SOmetimes she refused to go or said she was only going because I wanted her to go. She felt that people were trying to change her and take away her anger. She said she had a right to be the way she was.

We have had so many talks and I explained that yes, she has a right to her anger and if that anger works for her then good, but I explained that her anger was getting in the way of what she wanted to get out of life and that underneath the anger lay the real problem.

She went to therapy less and less and was still failing school despite good attendance. Over the last few months both her brother and I were diagnosed with adhd (we suspected her brother had it for a long while, he is a very obvious adhd boy).
I stared to consider that she could also have adhd, the emotional dysregulation, failing school despite good attendance and extra classes, staring out of the window, leg shaking and foot twitching, childish behaviour, constantly changing friends.
She finally admitted that she had had problems since around 12 years old but didnīt want to admit to herself that she was stupid and for everyone to find out. It was the first time she really admitted to herself what had been happening.
We went to the doc and she is now on concerta and is slowly improving, the anxiety, twitching and leg shaking went instantly.
She told me yesterday she feels so free and unburdened, itīs a huge turning point for her and she realises how keeping all those feelings locked up wasnīt good for her. She is now asking for a feather tattoo to represent this lightness of being and letting go. Her dad thinks therapy is a waste of time and keeps going on about how much we are spending on the kids "mental" problems. So of course she feels guilty and this is wrong of him.
I think that maybe your daughterīs adhd meds aren`t effective. Hopefully now she has agreed to therapy it will help but it can take a long time. My daughter started 8 months ago. I know we have a lot of work ahead of us but a lot of damage has been done to her self esteem (a lot of this by the school who should know better).
As for discipline, if she was late coming home she knew she would be grounded so never risked it. The school sends text messages if a pupil is late for class or misses a class so she canīt do this either.
It has often been very hard to talk to her, I have to pick my moments very carefully, she gets impatient, irritated or angry after 5 minutes or what she considers too many questions so I know how you feel when you try and talk to your daughter. Her self esteem is at an all time low, she never dresses up for parties, she feels comfy in trainers and leggings.
It also helped that I was honest with her about my education, I always pretended I was a clever student and went to college, when truth is that I dropped out at 13 (I have only just been diagnosed ADD). She no longer feels that she has disappointed me so much. Just continue to love and support her and always keep trying to communicate, but keep it short and sweet. I hope she keeps up the therapy. Good luck to you all.

Electra2
11-20-12, 05:24 PM
Right medication, extra love and extra patience and understanding.
No need for disipline,your teen probably feels bad enough allready,
even if it doesnt show.
Spread awareness on the ADHD if she agree on it.
Make sure she has lots things or events to look foward too,
that she really personally enjoys .
I once again stress the importance of the right dosis and kind of medication.
Your teen will know her self over a period of time what works best.
Be extremly carefull of critisism even tho its ment to support.
Buy an extra pair of scoolbooks,
make sure she has enough money for food if she loose them and have an extra set of keys.
Mabe you can do small things like help to doubble check her bag so she takes all the books with her to school,
if she feels ok with that.
When it comes to medication,maybe you will have effect of Effexor instead of prozak.
But maybe Adderal is not the right ADHD medication for her,tried Ritalin pill,Stratera or Conserta depot?
Even if she is on medication school is difficult,
could she work instead and take school on the side over the years ?


Alarms,advanced dayplanners and specially good smartphones can help to keep track,
prefferably one of each.
If she insists on having special gadgets or clothes,it might be because of low self confidence,
so think about this before you concider it to be a spoilt attitude, if that should happen.
She might need a little extra help with the homework.
If she says she want to quit school then take it serious,
see if its possible to teach her at home or change school,but dont ever force her to go!
If she doesnt like therapy,have you tried to change the therapy method or therapist?
Hobbies that she is good at might improve her selfconfidence and help her have a break and fun every now and again.

simallenjo
01-11-13, 09:10 AM
Hmm actually few things girls don't able to share with other's, so try to know that..someone is giving problem to her or what? may be that person is very close to your family that's y she is not able to tell anything, or talk with friends and spend time with her, giving time is much important. Try to be friendly with her...

wifeandmom
01-23-13, 12:13 AM
On a whim, I logged onto addforums tonight for the first time in a long time. I had a private message from someone asking how things were going now with my daughter. I thought others might wonder and our story might help someone.

The story picks up after high school graduation. DD and I both started attending therapy with partners in the same practice. I got a lot of emotional support from having someone to talk things through with. I highly recommend therapy for any person dealing with a long term issue. DD's therapist believed the stories DD told her about me being "in her business," "too controlling," etc. I tried to explain that the behavior DD was exhibiting was NOT her normal self, to no avail.

DD's behavior got worse over the summer - shady friends, bad behavior, etc. By the end of the summer, we all agreed she needed to live elsewhere. She bummed around various friends' houses and in November we agreed to let her return if she would resume counseling. She started up with a different therapist of her choosing. This one brought DH and me in after a few sessions and said that she needed a complete psych assessment. Mind you, DD had been treated by a pdoc for her ADHD for two years at this point, and was still seeing him for med management. He was like DD's previous therapist - thought this was mother-daughter stuff rather than a more serious issue.

It took two months to get in with a new pdoc. He initially dx'ed major recurrent depression in January, but put her on Abilify, which is an anti-psychotic. The dose was adjusted upward through the spring. DD's behavior didn't improve at all, but she gained about 40 pounds.

In May 2010, we told DD she needed to be evaluated by the intake department at our local psychiatric hospital. She was admitted for partial hospitalization (there all day, then home at night). She was pretty quickly dx'ed as bipolar NOS and started on Trileptal (oxcarbazepine). Dosage was titrated up to 900-1200 mg per day, depending on her mental state. Trileptal works better for mania than depression, so she reduces her dose when her mood starts to go down for too long (like in the winter). She's tried Wellbutrin but it pushed her too high too fast, so she sticks with just the Trileptal, Omega3's , Vitamin D, B-complex, a multi-vitamin and Lithium Orotate (over the counter) for bipolar and Adderall XR 30 am and IR 10 mg pm (when needed) for her ADHD.

It took about a year for DD's life to reach a "steady state." We found a psychiatrist that only does 50 minute appointments, so DD really was paid attention to more than with previous pdocs. She never was able to stay in junior college and hasn't held a job. But she's stayed out of trouble and has rebuilt some relationships with friends who were willing to forgive her bad behavior. She's generally pleasant, but has a lot of problems with memory (between the Trileptal and the ADHD) and motivation.

A little over a year ago, she met a really nice young man that her father and I both approve of. They were married this past fall. They've moved about 1,000 miles away, near his extended family, and are doing well so far.

The moral of our story: *YOU* know your loved one better than any teacher, doctor, therapist, or neighbor. Trust your gut instincts. If you think there's something wrong with your loved one, don't give up on them. Keep pushing until you get answers that provide real help.