Online Parent Support Chat

11.5.07

Online Parent Support

Mark,

I found your website and it seems almost too good to be true. Here's my situation:

I have a just-turned 15 year old daughter who, up until recently, has been a good kid. She makes straight A's in school (and she takes gifted level and one AP class) except for math; however, I should have seen trouble coming when she became increasingly disrespectful and defiant - up till recently, her defiance has involved not going to bed when she should and refusing to get off the internet.

It's hard to say what my toughest parenting challenge is. Between her suicide threats, defiance, and yelling and cursing and recent drinking and sexual activity I don't know what to do.

We reached a crisis recently. A senior asked her to the prom, and I made the mistake of letting her go (so far, she had not given me any reason to mistrust her). They were supposed to go to an after-prom (a school-sponsored, chaperoned event), but instead they went to a wild party where there was drinking, pot smoking, and sexual activity. This was the first time (as far as I know) that she was exposed to drinking (she said she did not smoke the pot, but admitted to drinking). When she did not come home by 7am (the after-prom ended at 5am) I called the police. (All I could think of was her dying of alcohol poisoning somewhere).

Now she says I "ruined her life" - the boyfriend is ignoring her. She's blaming me because she says he is afraid because I could have pressed charges on him for carnal knowledge of a minor (he is 19). She has done everything short of sexual intercourse with him. I've told her that if she continues to see him, it must be under my supervision. Am I being unreasonable?

She says I should not have called the police; I tell her that it was his and her choice to lie to me about where they were going and what they were doing.

She's grounded, and has announced that she is "through" with me and will go out whenever she wants to.

Another problem is that she is very one-sided - she is obsessed with joining the army right after high school (which I think would be a disaster; we've clashed about that constantly - I urge her to go to college first). She met the boyfriend in JROTC. I did not want her to join, but made the mistake of going along with it, and I don't want her in that program next year, because it is through that class that she met these new "friends" who drink, drug, and have sex. She says that if I don't let her take it next year, she will fail all her classes.

Part of the problem is that I'm a single parent (the father is not in the picture at all) and we live with my mother, who can't stand the yelling and caves in to my daughter to buy a little temporary peace. For example, yesterday I wanted to take the computer away because she was on the internet until 1am, Grandma said "let her have it for an hour" and daughter would not get off the computer. And I want her to go to a 10-day summer pre-college program (she could earn 2 college credits, and I think a change of scene would do her a world of good). She says "I'm not going and you can't make me" and Grandma says not to force her.

Should I drop out of graduate school (I'm working part time), look for fulltime work, and get an apartment? Or could your techniques work even if there is an uncooperative adult in the house?

Can the 90 minute sessions be done at any time? I'm scheduled to be out of town for work for a week in June (to grade AP exams), and might not be able to schedule them at that time. Then again, I might have to withdraw from the AP reading because I'm afraid that my daughter will run wild if I leave her with my mother for that long.

Can your techniques work in this situation, or has it already gone too far? And how long does OPS last?

I'm thinking about putting her in boarding school, but although she is so miserable here and constantly says she hates me, she does not want to go. She's seeing a counselor (this started last summer when she was diagnosed with an eating disorder), but it's not helping in terms of her behavior.

Thank you for taking the time to read this!

S.

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