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Old 09-16-11, 03:09 PM
AshT AshT is offline
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Re: How do you parent a depressed teen?

Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
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!

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 .
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Old 10-17-11, 07:48 PM
Golden Sephora Golden Sephora is offline
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Re: How do you parent a depressed teen?

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!
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Old 10-19-11, 01:03 AM
Massari Massari is offline
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Re: How do you parent a depressed teen?

Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
-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
Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
-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.
Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
-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.
Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
-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.
Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
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.
Originally Posted by wifeandmom View Post
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?

Last edited by Massari; 10-19-11 at 01:22 AM..
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Old 11-20-12, 03:05 PM
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Re: How do you parent a depressed teen?

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.
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Old 11-20-12, 05:15 PM
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Re: How do you parent a depressed teen?

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.
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Old 11-20-12, 05:24 PM
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Re: How do you parent a depressed teen?

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.
"Few people have the imagenation for reality."

Last edited by Electra2; 11-20-12 at 05:45 PM..
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Old 01-11-13, 09:10 AM
simallenjo simallenjo is offline

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Re: How do you parent a depressed teen?

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...
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Old 01-23-13, 12:13 AM
wifeandmom wifeandmom is offline
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Re: How do you parent a depressed teen?

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.
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