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Topic : Troubled Teens

Number of Replies: 1351
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Created on : Thursday, June 30, 2005, 01:31:34 pm
Author : dataimport
Is your teen headed down a path of self destruction with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, self injury, depression, or problems with the law? Share advice and support with other parents of troubled teens.

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November 7, 2005, 4:05 pm CST

Troubled Teens

Oh, and Shawna, another thing, 

this is NOT a result of your bad parenting.  Don't think this. 

Try to shut your guilt out of your mind so you can have a clear head to connect with your daughter. 

November 8, 2005, 4:53 pm CST

hate my life

hello im 15 years old and, my mom makes me feel so bad/angery cause she listens to everyone else but the moments i have/need to say something she tunes me out, or she will yell at me if the other kids piss her off and my dad works all the time and when hes home hes eathier sleeping or getteing mad at some one or burning movies, and my brother just plain hates everyone except my mom and dad and my sisters just argue all the time and my 3 year old brother fights swears and pretty much hes bad sometimes hes good and my baby brother is scared cause of all the fighting and my cousin (she lives with us too) she starts fights with me then if i get yelled and and say she started she will be like not even everyone else gets believed except me, and i am scared to bring friends or boyfriends home cause of everyone at my house. 

i just wish everyone can start spending time together & not fight all the time.

like be able to go on a vacation with out all the fighting. can anyone please tell me what you think i should do i need help with this.
November 10, 2005, 12:36 pm CST

Troubled Teens

I really never expected to go through this again but here I am. I have been raising my 4 grandkids. My daughter got pregnant at 16 back in 1985 and I ended up with the baby as she was to immature to raise the child and the dad was in prison. She again became pregnant by the same guy after he got out of prison in 1988. They were married just before the child was born. then she had my grandson in 1990 and a little girl in 1994. I ended up with the 2nd child when she was nearly 4 and cps had me come get the youngest child when they found the baby ill just past her 1st birthday. My daughter was addicted to cocaine and self destructing at the time. Her husband and father of all 4 kids had left the night the last child was born. I got my grandson a year later. The two middle children were angry from the beginning. The little boy was put in an emotionally disturbed special day school and the 4 year old was placed in special classes because she didn't talk. I was referred to a therapist and they were both put on medication. The boy to help calm him and the girl because she was always depressed and crying for no apparent reason. Then when the little girl was about 6 I put her in a tumbling class at the park. She was great from the beginning and loved it. Eventually I took her to a gym and she went on team practicing 20 hrs a week. Her whole attitude changed and she becamea pretty happy kid and I was able to take her off the meds. My grandson played basketball and eventually he was taken off the meds. Things were pretty good for a while and then in 2001my husbnd who had lung cancer in 1996 became ill again. He went through chemo for a 2nd time and seemed much better. But then in the fall he started feeling pretty bad again and I had to pull my gdaughter out of gymnastics to take care of my husband. Nikki had actually become very close to my husband during this time. I also found out that my husband was having an affair for two years. I was’nt terribly surprised as I had been very busy trying to run a business and raising these grandkids. He said he was going to end it and he and I became close again and he started to help with my girl scout troop going on the outings and such. Then he somehow saw this girl again of course she was 18 years younger than him and told me he had to go live with her. I was devastated. I couldn't believe. I was so stupid at age 51. I went into a mild depression and then did what I do and dove back into taking care of the kids and fixing up my house. My gdaughter was 13 by now and she knew what had happened and she was very upset at her grandpa. He ended up finding out that the girl rally did’nt want him now and he came back home. 4 months later he died. It hit my gdaughter for a loop. That summer she maet a boy and they became very clos. His family would come and pick her up and take her to dinner and places. They spoiled her rotten always buying her stuff. With raising a 2nd family money was always tight especially as I had to give up my business. I asked them not too. The boy was about a year older than her and seemed nice. Eventually they decided to just be friends. She stayed friends with him through freshman year even though he didnt go tothe same school. She was very determined to be a virgin on her wedding day. A year later I found out that this boy had gotten into drugs and my gdaughter thought she could help him. He ended up raping her. By then he was already in juvenile for selling drugs. Her mom also got arrested for selling drugs about the same time. They put her in jail and then in a rehab. I did a stupid thingand agreed to take my daughter here after rehab and they put her on intense probation. My daughter got a job and was doing great for well over a year. Meanwhile my g daughter met another boy at school and at 1st things were ok. He would come over here and see her after school. They started dating in October 04. Then things started getting creepy after Xmas. She kept taking off after school to his place. She wouldn't answer her cell phone. When I took her to school in the morning she would be calling him and demanding that he get to school now. I asked her not to talk to people so nasty but she just ignored me. It got so every night I had to go to his house and find her. then in Feb 05 she went on a school tripfor 4 days to learn to cope with diversity and other peer problems. When she got back her boyfriend acted like he did’nt know who she was when she called him. I was sitting at home waiting for her to call so I could pick her up. Next call I got was from her boyfriend telling me she had come to his house even though they had broken up before she went on the trip and that she walked away crying. My daughter went to look for her and finally found her and brought her home. She went into a deep depression and would not eat. She lost 25 lbs and it was almost impossible toget her to go to school. She was in a play at school so we finally got her to at least take an interest in that so she wouldn't let the others in the play hanging. She became very close with a guy that had been her friend since the beginning of the school year. He was also a senior and a counselor at camp. Soon he became her best friend and she started to snap out of her depression. I did find out though that she and her boyfriend did have sex a lot and this kid taught her all kinds of sex crap a 16 year old should not be doing. Her new friend actually liked her a lot and asked her to date but she said she was’nt ready. They became very close and ended up going to the prom together. They started dating that night. He really was a great kid and would not have sex with her even though she pressured him too. He really liked her a lot and she him. However she didn’t fully trust him due to the other two guys she had dated. Then we found out her mom had gone back on meth. My gdaughter changed a lot. She started being really mean to him and demanding things. The more I told her not to treat him that way the worse she got. He did’nt seem to mind though. She started a summer job that was outdoors and the job was very demanding and she kept getting sick. She started becoming depressed and sleeping a lot. I took her to the doctor and they put her on Prozac. She would tell her boyfriend she couldn’t see him til her day off and then call and demand he come over. He always came. Then one weekend he went completely out of character and decided to go drinking with his friends. She was so mad she text him and called him all night. Sometimes he answered and sometimes not. She got angrier and angrier and really started screaming at him. Three days later he brokeup with her. After not wanting to go a day without her he didnt call otr text her for over a week. When he broke up with her he told her he wanted to remain friends and would give her some time before he would see her again. He actually text her over the phone he was breaking up with her. He swore he never would break up with her unless she cheated which she would never have done. This was even worse than the last breakup. I called her therapist and was able to get her in the next morning. She would not eat. It was like she had lock jaw. She dropped from 125 to 102. I had to drag her to work. She text him every night but he never text back. He did come over with his mom (another whole story in itself) after a week or so. They went to a movie that night and had a good time. Our families were also scheduled to go to Disneyland and they ended up taking her and apparantly he treated her horrible while they were there even though he seemed so glad she was going with them. At Disneyland he kept looking at other girls and commenting on them with his brother and cousin. Course the guys were looking at my gdaughter and he didnt care much for that. Then they got back to the motel he would hug her and anyway it was really wierd. The rest of us went to meet them a Disney and then his mother refused to let my gdaughter drive back with them He never called her for like 5 days after they got back. Finally she told him she couldn’t handle the relationship as friends and cut it off completely.  

Then 1 night she had a friend over and they decided to go on my space and email all these guys that they were hot. Then a few days later my gdaughter skipped school after I dropped her off and took the bus to meet some guy she had met on my space. This turned out to be a kid thank God bu the was a wild kid. She immediately jumped into bed with him. She wouldn’t answer her phone and told her friend as he was running away. This kid was only here with his family for a short time and was returning to California. She met another boy through him. All of a sudden she had like 4 guys constantly taking her out. She decided to be friends with her last ex also and he was always asking her to come over. After a few times though she told him he made her feel uncomfortable and said she just didn’t want to see him. Now she has basically taken up with one guy who is 20. He is nice and just a friend she says but all the rest of her friends don’t come around and she is trying to sneak out etc. I talked to him and told him you can’t keep doing everything she asks. I think he understands. My biggest problem with heris she is mean to him too. Demanding that he do things. He spends tons of money on her and she expects it. She talks filthy, uses the F word in almost every sentence. She sends filthy things in stick figures to him and other guys on my space. If I try to talk to her she just yells let me live my life. She is listening to rock music that she hated a few months ago. Lyrics talk about slitting throat in your sleep. She keeps texting this stuff to her ex boyfriend and her mom. She keeps texting her mom that she’s a whore and worse. She is nasty to her little sister. She has become so mean. She is in private therapy, on meds and in group therapy. I’m sorry this is so long I just had to get this all out I guess. I am usually such a strong person but this has knocked me for a loop. I find myself in tears every day over this kid. I feel bad too because I know she witnessed the abuse her dad inflicted on her mom when she was only 3. She was also neglected and found wandering the neighborhood when she was only 3. I had also been fighting the school to test her for years and they finally did. She easily qualified for special ed mostly on an emotional basis. She also tested out mentally at 14 though she is 17. I am really worried.  

November 10, 2005, 5:41 pm CST

Does Dr. Phil read these things??

Hey I have a question Does dr. Phil occasionally come read stuff from this section?? Anyways I can't get rid of my anger from the past I dunno why. I think about stuff that people especially my parents have said to me that hurt my feelings and the way they treated me, I just can't get irid of it.  in my old house I just scream it off becasue it was common to hear child abuse noises or screaming fighting etc bac there, so no one would call the police. Now I feel like screaming but i cant cuz neighbours would hear. I just like wrote all over a blank peice of paper and i still feel mad right now. I try to think happy thoughts but i cant stop feeling shitty. This anger is really getting to me and im scared if i dont get rid of it soon it'll become who i am. I dont want to be that miserable person rarely happy at skool I wanna hav a normal life. I dont self harm which is good but i have no outlet of my emotions if i do hav outlets theyr='re not that good. I tried writing on paper and in diaries but its not working. I play the flute its fun to play with the band. that is kinda an outlet but i can't do that everyday every minute. I feel like breaking something but i wont. its good for the "things" that i might break but its bad for me cuz im holding it all in. I dunno wat to do. I wanna die but i cant kill myself because i would do damage to others and the cycle of craziness would go on to other people if u know wat i mean. I tried punching pillows its not working. I tried stabbing fruit with a knife its not working either. I tried meditaing it just blocks out the emotions but it comes bac later, worse. The only time i am happy is if i am amused by something really really funny not just normal jokes but something that would make a normal person laugh until they fall on the ground and that would probably make me smile  or hehe a little. No offense but ive learned that God is better than any parents in the world. I  know the bible says that already but after what ive been through and seen from others i think that God is the best parent in the world. HE knows how to give his children enough so he doesn't spoil them. THat is why we don't always get what we want in life. We are able to stand a lot more if we've been through a lot. God doesn't give us what we physically need but instead he gives us tests and training for our spiritual self. ya and If he has given a person cancer, i see that as a gift, becasue all of us will die and eventually become spirits and everything physical will be gone and the people who depends on material things will not be as happy or glad to be in heaven as those who have suffered and cried to God, But everyone is loved and even the rich peole God speaks to them in different ways. Thats why rich people aren't happy all the time because God is trying to train their spirits to rely on Him instead of the world. The world will enentually die away. The human spirit can stand a lot more than the body, that is, if you allow your spirit to its full potential. That is whats different with human and animals. Humans have emotions and passions unlike animals. Human can make choices based on right and wrong rather than what feels right(instinct). God trusts us with the world and evil is part of the world because if there's no evil than whats the good? It would be wierd like everyone would be perfect but thats can't be the case becasue only God is perfect right. Sorry if im sounding really religious but its true. O ya, some people dont beleive in God but think about this, how would human hav come to existence if it wasn't for god? well u might say, the monkeys. But how would monykeys hav come to existence?? its the cells and big bang and yadiyayaya. Where did the big bang come from???? How did the engergy get into that big bang particle thingy? I dunno but i think its god becasue u dont hav to prove that he exists by science. HE also exists in us. Like our emotions and our passions and like how people interact with each other and stuff i dunno how to explain it... When we feel good and loved thats when u feel that theres good in the world and thats God saying "your just a beautiful human being and I luv u". You dont hav to give ur kids a lot of material things or sumtimes even odoing everything emotionally to keep them happy. Kids have to learn that things wont go their way. The world is not set out to make you happy. God is set out to make you happy, in the long run tho, that is, he will put hard ways and choices for youand ur life is still up to u. You might not acheive happiness thats because you lost faith and ya u didn't try ur best to lighten up. Even the most crooked lives can become happy if they wanted to. I should start doing yoga or sumthing maybe it'll help or i should save some money to get a punch bag or sumthing.  

If ur teen is suffereing then i think they should read the bible. But like the bible is not for everyone becasue it summarizes stuff that cannot simply be explained it has to be learned in real life experiences, so u might misunderstand it. Some people who are not that mature abuses the bible and convert the right things into bad. Note that the bible is not always about u have to be good and not show any anger toward others but its more than that. The book that can save ur life is sophisticated but u hav to put ur heart and concience to it otherwise it would become a wierd book that has been written by stone ppl. Omg how did i start talking about God and stuff. I think i feel better by talking about god because i know he understands me. You might not beleive that he even exists but hes there. He would do little things that u might not even notice. U might be so used to ur teen yelling at u and stuff, that one day when he or she says "hey " or sumthing u snap right bac at her. God keeps giving us chances. like this website is so great. ITs a chance for u to share ur feelings and stuff. I know its done by Dr. Phil and the staff but hav u ever thought about how Dr. Phil became Dr. Phil and all the people and how all the puzzles fit together? How everything is like somehow destined and you have been through wat you've been through because GOd wanted to train your soul, you learn your lesson, you become weak and humiliated but you raise back up. That is wats so beautiful about the human soul.  

I have to go now byby I have a test tomoro 



November 11, 2005, 9:15 am CST

Does She Justify Her Own Behavior or Give Reasons?

Quote From: meganawade

I've wanted to write to Dr Phil for a while now for help, but the rest of the family isn't too keen on the decision.  I have a cousin who will soon be 19 years old and has been on a downward spiral for the past year or so.  It started approx. 6 months before graduating high school in June.  It came on suddently - she became defiant and suddenly wanted nothing to do with her mother and step father, who she has been raised by since 7 years of age.  She would go out and not come home and last January she chose not to come home at all and has been living wherever she can find a place - friends homes, boyfriends, people she met off the street and most recently with a boyfriend. 


She makes the poorest of decisions and can't keep down a job.  She had told my sister, who she use to divulge everything to, that she can't get a job because she is unable to produce a clean UA, drinks, and smokes marijuana.  She has become familiar to the law enforcement of her town given her choice in friends, jailbird boyfriend, and most recent criminal activity - just two nights ago she got together with several others and did damage to a persons vehicle for something she never even saw happen. 


Her mom, dad and step dad have tried everything.  They have not helped her with bills in hopes she will mature and see they need paid; they have taken away her car as the agreement was she'd pay insurance (which she doesnt do); etc.  My sister has offered to get her into college classes and we have offered her a free place to live and transportation as long as she's in college.  She refuses.  She tells people one thing and turns around and does the opposite.  This is draining on everyone involved, including the rest of the family watching this happen to someone with great potential! 


Any and all advice would be MUCH appreciated!!! 

 Hello! I saw your post and wondered immediately if  your cousin has suffered some sort of sexual abuse, rape or other traumatic incident that has rendered her  angry or depressed. Often, when a young female experiences some sort of  social or physical trauma they  act out in ways that are completely  not like them.

For example, a former-friend (we have since parted ways due to some choices that she insists on making and I don't want to sit there and watch her down-ward spiral) who was sexually assaulted at a party  that was thrown for her HS. She began engaging in the same type of behaviors and self-destructive mind-set and no one could figure out why.  I finally decided to sit down and have a conversation with her to figure out  what her justification or reasons for doing all of this were.

After some heart-felt talk and expressions of how much I loved her and wanted only the best for her she confided in me (with a lot of fear and sobbing) what had happened to her. She felt like she had no control over that situation and since then she felt her life slipping out of control in other areas. She confided to me that she felt like she was so isolated and alone and that she couldn't tell anyone so she started smoking pot, sleeping around and commiting criminal acts in order to fill a place inside of her that she felt like she had lost. Her behavior was self-medication and she felt like she had control over these aspects and it made her feel secure (this assertion made no sense to me, but I didn't want to say so) to behave this way because it gave her control over her world.

I believe it is much the same with girls who have eating disorders...they see life spinning out of control and the only way that they can gain attention or seek help for their problems that are raging internally is to do things that aren't directly  related to her problems in an effort to alert the people she loves to something else. It is a bit convoluted, yes, but after she explained this situation I felt like she could ask for help from others. I offered to get her help or explain the situation for her to her family  or the cops (she had been arrested for Pot and other things) . She refused, and has since been residing in jail where she is trying to put her life together. She still refuses to talk about any of this, and I feel like if she were to let other people in on her situation that it would shed light and possibly make her life easier. Sadly she doesn't see it that way, and I don't know what she is going to do after she gets out. I told her that she has to make some critical decisions otherwise her life is going to go down the toilet-- not because she has no control and that's just the way it has to be, but because she is letting it happen to herself.

Honestly, while I realize that depression, sexual assault and other problems are not the fault of the they choose to react to the situation is their problem and the responsibilty lies with themselves in order to Identify and make steps toward solving their current problem.

offer your cousin some talk -time. See if she can justify her own behavior and maybe you can get some other things out of her gradually. Often, these girls (or boys) can't figure out why they are doing what they are doing and it takes a caring relative or friend to get them to stop and really look at what they are doing to themselves.

I wish you luck  and  send my prayers that your friend can get back on track or at least make some more healthy decisions for herself. Don't let her use you, but offer someone to talk to and perhaps you can offer some options for her to get some help. Often the best  medicine in the beginning is getting to talk to someone who really cares about you and is willing to put themselves into your shoes and really live your problems with you.

Bonne chance mon amie!
November 11, 2005, 9:43 am CST

Offer Some Control To Your Daughter?

Quote From: nfaust5


My 14 year old freshman daughter is the middle of three kids.  I have an older son - a senior in HS, and a younger daughter who is in 7th grade.  My middle daughter has been struggling for the past two years.  At first she began stealing.  I didn't recognize her problem as depression.  It was and is still a reluctance to work and earn rewards.  She explains to her counselors that she just wants to have fun and she hates work.  At the same time, her grades fell dramatically.  She was always an A-B student and now she is a C-D student.  She does most of her assignments well, but fails nearly all her tests.  I took her to Sylvan to check for a learning disability or to help provide assistance, but they said she is very bright and capable and has no disability.  After the stealing stopped, she began cutting and did so for about a year.  She stopped participating in all her extra curricular activities and has no interests or goals.  There is no abuse or dramatic events and we are a pretty average solid family - married and middle class.  We don't have any issues financially, addictive, or emotional.  My husband and I are happy and love our kids and provide all the opportunities we can for them.  If anything, we probably have done too much for them. 


We went to two psychologists during this time.   She was placed on antidepressants and has quit cutting, but not stopped with her depression symptoms.  I fear for her recovery and future.  This appears to be a long journey ahead of us. 


My key issues that I could use advice on are these: 

1) My daughter has admitted to teachers and doctors that she has contemplated suicide and she is glad to receive the help.  But when she goes to the counselors, she will not talk to them and lies to them to "get it over with."  The last doctor told us she didn't see the point in continuing.  But my daugher is on antidepressants and her grades and apathy continue.    It doesn't seem like a reasonable response.  How do you help someone who won't accept or participate in the help?   


2)  My daughter does not act overtly depressed.  Despite her grades, lying, stealing and lack of participation, she is charming, outgoing, witty and attracts people to her to be a friend.  They are interested in the comedy and drama she creates.  She is good at lying and it is hard to determine that she is lying.  An example is that she told me she was on a sports team.  I verified that she was with the coach.  For two weeks, she was skipping meets and practices to be with her friends and do other things... none of which seem to be harmful, but she was deceptive.  I was suspicious and called the coach who told me she had not been coming. 

Is it unusual for a person to be depressed and at the same time outgoing and popular?   

Makes it harder for folks to see what is going on underneath. 


Thanks so much for your advice. 


Bonjour Jana,

I just got done reading your post and hopefully my suggestions can help:

1.) Perhaps the reason she is not talking to therapists is because she feels like they are strangers and can't  possibly understand what she is going through. Maybe she has not admitted to herself that she is depressed and needs help. Also, she doesn't want to be seen as "Crazy Cathy" so she might bottle up in order to resist the reality that she is, in fact, sitting in a shrink's office discussing things that she has kept to herself  for so long. Also, perhaps she can't exactly pin-point the source of her depression-- perhaps it is chemical and she can't ID it herself which is why she feels like the psychologist visits are pointless.

2.) I think a good way to solve the shrink problem is to ask her who she would rather talk with. Let her look over different portfolios and/or profiles of shrinks and go to talk to some on her own to discern which one would be right for her. This allows her to feel like she is taking charge of her own problems rather than being treated like an invalid (not that I am saying you are doing this, but perhaps she sees it this way and that is why she is not cooaperating). She gets to feel more "adult" about solving her own problems and might feel more apt to talk if she picks the shrink.

3.) Once again, she doesn't want to be labeled "Crazy" so she won't show signs of depression outwardly in order to avoid the catagorization from her peers and then by extension the judgement that comes along with it.  In our society we have become gradually more accepting about  mental disorders and depression, but  in HS and Middle School it is often her peer groups who might ostricize her for admitting to the fact that she has a problem. In order to be cool you have to be upbeat, and likeable-- otherwise you won't have any friends. It is a sad fact, but I have seen it happen over my own experiences in Middle and High School-- other students and potential friends don't understand and therefore they are creeped out by the "crazy" girl who is threatening to kill herself.

4.) Analyze her friends! It could be that they are "fad-cutting" or feigning depression etc. to be "cool" .  The kids that aren't accepted by the elite class in their high school or middle school see being "chipper and upbeat" (aka like a cheerleader type classification) as being a sell-out. So they indulge in other behaviors (cutting, drugs, lying ) in order to differentiate themselves from the groups that they few as shallow or that have rejected them in the past. Quite simply put, it could be peer pressure that is pushing her to engage in this mindset as a way to fit in.

This type of thing happened to my twin brother during HS. He was upbeat, and optimistic all throughout HS until our Junior year when he started hanging out  with the "Donny Darko" crowd. These kids (who don't always come from broken homes or other misfortunes) wallow in the darker sides of life for pleasure and pride themselves on being "different" than the mainstream kids they deem as "sell outs".  Once my brother graduated and stopped hanging out with these kids he returned to the more optimistic view on life that he had previously enjoyed instead of wallowing in the more depressing things of life.

5.) She may be lying to you in order to gain attention  and praise from her friends that are influencing her. She may want to maintain a certain image with you (the sports team), but by lying to you about it she is getting her cake and eating it too. She gets to look cool to her friends for lying to you and ditching something "sell-out" -ish like team sports.

Honestly, I have to tell you that life in the teen years is frought with peer pressure to do things that you normally wouldn't do. It is considered "cool" now to be depressed etc. and cutting is a fad that is supposed to differeniate you from other kids and create comraderie amoungst other kids who don't "fit the mold" of the all-american-teenager.

I am not saying that every cutter that does it is doing it because it is seen as a "deep" and more "poetic" way of expressing your pain (pain that is often conjured up and in any other circumstances would fail to exist without  the other kids who are supposedly experiencing "artistic" pain themselves) but  it is becoming more common amoungst "gothic" teenagers. They see it as rebellion and often what starts out as something to do with your friends (screwed up as it sounds) becomes something more profound and voila, this type of situation abounds.

I can tell you this from my own experience in Middle school (I had family problems, custody battles, and such) I rebelled. I started fights, did drugs and other such things in order to vent my frustrations at the world-- however, no one else seemed to get it, and after a time I realized that the people I was hanging out with were not interested in my pain or suffering, and the rest of the world just saw me as "the weird goth girl". It came to me that what I was doing was nothing but self-indulgence and immaturity  that if I wanted things to change I had to do it myself. Basically, I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. (if that makes sense).

I decided to cut off my friends and seek out more positive people who could make me feel like the world held some joy and that the things that I was rebelling against were not all bad and infact allowed me freedoms that I didn't think could exist.  I have since discovered the profound impact that the people you run with often determine the filter that you use to interpret the world.

Your daughter could use a different "filter" of friends if this is her case. You might want to talk to the kids parents and see if they are suffering from similar problems. A group of parents can work to maintain distance between unhealthy groupings of friends or perhaps steer them towards some more healthy outlets for their manufactured pain (like art or music) as opposed to hurting themselves.

Please let me know what you think of my suggestions. I could be way off the mark, but I can tell you from my own experience, the experience of my twin brother and numerous other friends who have gone through similar situations that a change in friends, environment, mind-set or all three can have a profound change on your outlook and by extension your behavior.

let me know if you have any other questions. I am more than happy to help.

November 11, 2005, 5:46 pm CST

Troubled Teens

Alright dr Phil. I'm 16. and i was diagnosed with depression and other things. My grades have fallen , i dont care about anything and all i want to do is die. I cut.  i did recently. nothing deep because i dont feel like gettin caught and going to an institution. I think they are pointless and wwould make me do it worse. I'm neverous because my report card will be coming soon. and I'm pretty sure i failed math. i am extremely hard on myself about grades...and so i s my mom. I know that when i see a C+ *if i'm lucky* or below i'll go insane and destroy my arms and anywhere else i can reach. I dont even have to see the paper. All i have to see is the dissapointment in my moms face and i'll want to do it. I dont know what to do to prevent cutting for that. I know if i do i'll probably end up in the hospital. I want to stop cutting in general. But at the same time theres a bigger part of me that doesnt care if my friends and family get hurt by it, that i might die. Nothing like that matters anymroe I just want to do  it. and gettin that math grade will make it . worse. how can  ihelp myself?. and no..anti depresants havent worked. then again i havent taken it in llike 2.5 months. and my mom thinks i've been taking them
November 11, 2005, 7:01 pm CST

Troubled Teens

Dr Phil,








I'm in need of some advice, and I really don't know what to do, and feel as if I'm in way over my head.  This email will be more like a novel then a short story, as I want to ensure that all the facts are present for you to read.








Two years ago I married my wife, and with the marriage came an 11-year-old pre-teen little girl.  My stepdaughter had been up until a few months ago been a wonderful young lady, but that has changed over the past couple of months, and even more so over the past 8 weeks.  But before we start down that path, let me present you with a little history. 








Shauna is half black and half white young lady whose father has absolutely nothing to do with her, and as of just recently just started paying child support.  Her mothers parents are very very prejudice people.  Prior to Shauna being born they wrote some very nasty things about the birth of this child, and since her birth, have had little (and I mean little) to do with her.  Which is exactly what they said they would do.  Anjie, (my wife, and Shauna's Mother) has struggled her entire life with her mother, even as a teenager they never got along, and that continues to this day.  Anjie met and married a man that Shauna truly considered her real father, but that marriage didn't last due to infidelity, and shortly there after, her previous stepfather stopped contacting her. 








Now to heart of my problems.  Shauna is a very good student, who maintains a B average in the 8th grade.  She scored a 5 rating out of 6 on the FCAT scores in the state of Florida last year.  But that I fear isn't going to be so this year.  Shauna is not a leader, but a follower, and is very introverted.  About 8 weeks ago Shauna started hanging out with another girl her age that is a less then desirable influence on her.  Her friend introduced Shauna to a young boy who lived in another town.  Now Anjie and I didn't find out about this boy until several weeks later, when I was out on a business trip.  Anjie wasn't feeling well, and had asked Shauna to help with her 17-month-old stepbrother.  Shauna stated that she to wasn't feeling well, and wanted to go to bed.  About 30 mins later, Anjie went upstairs to put our son to bed, when she heard giggling coming from Shauna's room.  Come to find out Shauna was on her cell phone talking to her girl friend at 10:30 at night, according to Shauna, which is a direct violation of the rules of no phone calls after 10 pm.  So when Anjie took the phone from her, she noticed that the caller ID stated, "My Babies cell phone"  When questioned about this, the truth emerged about the boy, and needless to say my wife hit the roof.  I of course got a phone call while I was in Hawaii (yes on business).  Shauna was then grounded from any phone for 2 weeks.  When I got home I sat down with Shauna and told her that she wasn't mature enough to have "Boyfriend” and that she was more then welcome to talk to him as a friend, but that they would never go out on a "date" until she was at least 16 years old.  Problem solved right?  Wrong!  About a week ago I got the cell phone bill.  Shauna had used 1320 minutes of airtime.... thank goodness for role-over minutes.  It also turned out that most of those minutes where used to talk to this boy, and many of those calls 51 to be exact where after 10 pm.  So Anjie and I discussed this at length, and then brought Shauna down to discuss this.  We told her that not only did she loose her all her phone privileges, but she lost her video games, computer, and TV.  This punishment was for 6 weeks.  The next day Shauna was caught sneaking Anjie's hair iron from our bathroom.  So we told her that she could not use that for 6 weeks as well, and that this kind of behavior was only leading her down a path with which she truly didn't want to travel. 








So now it really gets bad.  Shauna tells her friend of devious character about her dilemma, and her friend says that what she needs to do is go to the school councilor and tell them that we are abusing her.  So Shauna marches in there with her friend and begins to tell them that we abuse her, and use drugs, and that she no longer wants to live with us, as she is scared, and that she wants to live with Anjie's parents.  (Yes Dr Phil the prejudice ones).  So the councilor calls DCF, who comes and takes the report.  Now Shauna has no desire to go home to fulfill her punishment.  So she refuses to get on the bus.  So the DCF lady sees this as much more serious then initially believed, and drove Shauna home.  So I'm on my way out the door to go look for Shauna, since she is 15 mins late from her normal return from school, and as I round the corner of the sidewalk to my house, her she come with DCF lady.  I could have died right there on the spot. 








Well being that the situation has now gone from bad to worse I invite the DCF lady into my home, where she explains to my wife and I the allegations that Shauna made against us.  So we explained to her the situation, and presented her with the phone bill, and Shauna's phone, now the tables have turned.  The DCF lady then asks for a tour of the house, and is amazed at how well it is kept, and that there is lot's of food, and so on and so forth.  So she explains to my wife and I that we will have to take urinalysis tests.  This sends my wife through the roof again.  I am already in orbit around mars.  You see I hold a very high security clearance with the Gov't and they don't take kindly to these kinds of accusations.  So needless to say my career dissipation light is in full overdrive now. 








DCF lady asks if she could speak to Shauna in private, and upon doing so, explains to Shauna that it doesn't appear that her story has much validity, and that she won't be going to her Grandmothers house.  Well that plan backfired for her, and she is really steamed about that.  The DCF lady then returned to speak with us some more, and told us that all of our actions up to this point are spot on.  Great, what do we do now?  DCF suggests that we seek counseling and quickly.  She recommends Cross Winds Children’s Center, where if accepted Shauna would stay for 3-5 days, and begin counseling for some issues that run deeper then what we might be aware of.  So my wife and I speak to our pastor, and he says that what might help out is if we remove Shauna from the house, and have her stay with his family of 7.  Now pastors don't make a whole lot, so they don't live in a nice big home like Shauna does, and the kids don't have their own rooms, TV’s, play stations, XBoxes, GameCubes, and computers, and don't have a closest full of expensive clothes.  So we agreed to this, and then sat Shauna down and told her that she would be going to the pastors home for a couple of days, and upon her return here she would have only a mattress, pillow, and blankets in her room, and that all the other cool things would no longer be available to her.  Well that added to Shauna's anger.  She then told my wife that we are out to destroy her life, and that she no longer wants to live with us.  Gee I wonder why. 








So the next day I went to the school and had a meeting with the principal, councilor, and the school police officer.  I explained to them the situation, as well as thanked them for doing their job, and that I was not the least bit upset with them.  After a two-hour meeting, we looked at Shauna’s grades for the reporting cycle that was just released the day prior.  Shauna had all A's and B's, in all of her classes which are advanced, as a matter of fact her math class is 10th grade Algebra.  The only bad mark was Language Arts, which is the same class that she has with her friend of bad character.  The principal informed me that come Monday morning that would not be the case, and that she would advise the staff that Shauna and this other girl where to no longer have contact, per the parents request.  So another step in the right direction to help Shauna get on the right path again.... or so I thought.  I also explained to the principal that we would be taking Shauna to Cross Winds, and she agreed that this was a good idea, and a step in the right direction to help find out what the real problem might be. 








That evening I called Cross Wind, and they agreed that Shauna should come down, and be admitted for 3-5 days. 








So it's Friday, 11 Nov 05, and we go to the pastors home to pick up our daughter and take her to Cross Wind.  When she get's into the car, it got so cold you could make an Emperor Penguin shiver.  My wife and I decided that a quick stop at McDonalds would be a good idea, and when my wife looked back at Shauna to ask her if she wanted anything, she noticed that Shauna had hair products in her hair...another violation.  So Anjie told her that when we get to McDonalds that the two of them would go into the rest room, where she would wet down her hair.  Well that didn't go over all that well.  When they got into McDonalds Shauna got her hair wet, by splashing water on it, and when she flicked her hair back it was dripping wet, so my wife told her to dry it off.  Shauna looked at her like a pissed off 13 yr old teen does, and told her NO!  Now my wife is really hot, and told her that she wasn't leaving the restroom until she did, and then she stood in front of the exit.  Shauna is a very strong 13 years old, and she grabbed my wife and shoved her out of the way, and into the wall.  So out of McDonalds they come, and I look at the two of them, and I just knew it wasn't good, and my wife told me what happened.  I handed her the cell phone and told her to call 911.  The police arrive, and now Shauna sits in Juvenile Jail, and she will see the judge tomorrow morning at 9 am, which is when he will set a court date for her, and then she will be returned to jail.








Dr Phil, in the top of this section you have an emotions section.  I picked one, but there are many emotions that I have right now, and I don't know what to do, and I don't know if what I did is right.  I have been a leader since I was 21 years old in the military, and have had to make some very very tough decisions, and have never second guessed my calls, but I find myself wondering if I have done the right things with my 13 year old step daughter.  I do love her as if she where my own.  My wife is feeling the same way, and is so stressed out, actually took a xanex to try and calm her nerves.  I just don't know what to do, and I'm looking to you for some advice.  I don't want to see my daughter travel down the wrong path.  She is a very intelligent young lady, with a great future ahead of her, how do I get through to her, and get her back on track.  When we called the jail to check on her, she didn't want to talk to my wife, and that only added to her stress.








Thank you for your time, and your advice.








Mike Berger




Palm Bay, FL




November 11, 2005, 7:39 pm CST

Please HELP me

Hello Dr. Phil, 


I have a 17 year old daughter who has many mental health diagnosis which started being diagnosed when she was five, but the truth is she had serious issues way before then.  I was an unwed teenage mother but I have done everything for my daughters.  They truly are the reason for my own existence.   


After 15 years of therapy, intensive services and other HUGE family issues I finally through her out in September and relinquished custody to the state as I could no longer trust her in the house with my 12 year old daughter or unsupervised.   


It has been hell ever since.  I cry everynight and whenever we have finished one service due to her lack of participation I would look for something else.  The biggest obstacle has been her articulate nature.  Her high intelligence and her "normal" physical appearance.  She is a master manipulator. 


For the past 6 weeks, when I have not been on the phone with DCF, police (who I send out to look for her) or public defenders because I cannot afford a lawyer I have contemplated killing myself.  I know that makes me a coward and selfish but I have a very real vision of identifying her at a morgue.  I just cannot fathom the idea that I may outlive either of  my girls. 


I work hard, I give everything I've got to my girls.  My 12 year old is an overachiever.  She works so hard and nothing comes to her easily, but she never gives up.  My 17 year has always felt I have favored my younger daughter but that is not the case.  My younger daughter has always has managable behavior.  She has taken a back seat to her sisters bad behaviors and mean spiritedness. 


I have the support of my therapist and she tries to empower me with the decisions I have made but my daughter is not a throw a way child.  She has a lot to offer, she is smart , funny and beautiful.  When she sings I feel things in my heart I have never felt before. 


Tonight I found out where she was and I arranged to have her arrested as a runaway.  She see's anything I do as being controlling or a reason to punish her.  I hysterically tried explaining that this is because I loved her so much.  I know she cannot hear that but I can only hope that someday she see's I truly am motivated by my deep love for her and the insatiable desire to keep her safe.   


She was thrown out of a teen homeless shelter after only a week due to her disrespect for staff and rules which are way too lax for my sanity.  I have thought about going to the local news station to expose how DCF disregards these children instead of providing the services which are needed. 


We have gone through a horrific trauma and live in a house where a friend was murdered.  This issue always takes presidence when starting a new program but the problem is, as I said, her issues were present long before this. 


I work two jobs and at one point was working three.  It was my hope to get her put into residential schooling/ treatment when I put her in DCF custody, but things have not turned out that way.  I have professionals from other agencies telling me to get a lawyer but I have $1,000 saved for emergencies, unfortunately this does not even cover a retainer for a lawyer.  I have so much support saying what DCF has done is negligent. 


I will never give up on my daughter but as I said, if I were to die she would have access to my life insurance which may provide the services she needs.  Terrible trade off but not a lot of other options at this point. 


I know my death would traumatize both of my girls and hurt them for the rest of their lives but I keep looking for reasons to stay and the benefits of continuing to struggle or just ending this whole mess and getting her the money she needs for help. 


My younger daughter has had the burden of reassuring me that I am a good mom.  I always ask her how I can be a better mother to her and her sister but she reminds me it is not me.  All I see is that my older daughter has been failed, by me, by the system, by the "Village" 


What can I do?  Help me find my way through or out, PLEASE 

November 13, 2005, 12:30 pm CST

Dont give up!!

Quote From: jenn89

Alright dr Phil. I'm 16. and i was diagnosed with depression and other things. My grades have fallen , i dont care about anything and all i want to do is die. I cut.  i did recently. nothing deep because i dont feel like gettin caught and going to an institution. I think they are pointless and wwould make me do it worse. I'm neverous because my report card will be coming soon. and I'm pretty sure i failed math. i am extremely hard on myself about grades...and so i s my mom. I know that when i see a C+ *if i'm lucky* or below i'll go insane and destroy my arms and anywhere else i can reach. I dont even have to see the paper. All i have to see is the dissapointment in my moms face and i'll want to do it. I dont know what to do to prevent cutting for that. I know if i do i'll probably end up in the hospital. I want to stop cutting in general. But at the same time theres a bigger part of me that doesnt care if my friends and family get hurt by it, that i might die. Nothing like that matters anymroe I just want to do  it. and gettin that math grade will make it . worse. how can  ihelp myself?. and no..anti depresants havent worked. then again i havent taken it in llike 2.5 months. and my mom thinks i've been taking them

hey I'm in the same boat as you, well almost the same boat, and my advice to you is to use other methods for release. Like some people use rubber bands.They put it on there wrist and snap it lightly.Or at least there supposed to do it lightly. But for me i sit there and find a scrap piece of paper and just start ripping it up, over and over until i cant rip it any more b/c its to small! And by the time I'm done ripping the paper I'm USUALLY calmed down! And if that doesn't work i i just try to leave the situation and forget about it for a while!!!  


Good Luck to You, 


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