Desperately Seeking Help: 16 yr old dghtr gone bad - FamilyEducation
Desperately Seeking Help: 16 yr old dghtr gone bad
01/01/2008 at 12:16 PM

I have been reading the message boards trying to find a resolution or insight into my problem with my 16 yr old daughter, but mine is a lot different than the rest.  Up until 7 months ago, I thought my daughter and I had the perfect relationship.  In May, I caught her on MY SPACE.  I only had 2 rules in my house: no calls past 9:30pm & no MY SPACE.  She was actually breaking both at the same time.  When I punished her for breaking these rulse, she revealed to me that she found out through a family aquaintance that I had an abortion after having her younger brother (age 14).  I NEVER wanted them to find out.  She was hurt that I never shared with her and told me she didnt respect me as a result.  I thought we moved past that issue and continued to think that despite breaking my only 2 (minor) rules that she was the perfect daughter; a home body, helped me around the house/grocery store, loving, well mannered, etc.  UNTIL, September 19!!! I receive a phone call @ 5:19am from her telling me that I was going to be mad--- I thought she was in her bed w/ a friend asleep.  She and the friend snuck out to go to a party, drake alcohol, her boyfriend got soooo drunk that she stole my 2 wk old vehicle to drive him home; she doesnt even have a permit. That weekend & into the rest of the week, I have learned that she had continued the MySpace account, has stolen from the mall, been buying Attarol & pain pills from people at school, and sexually active with the boyfriend for well over 2 months (at that time).  He had been stealing his step sister's car to drive over to MY house after I went to bed!!! I have to say that I have not been dealing well with punishing her and have, at times, gone above the extreme. I yelled at her calling her aweful names, used cussed words (which I never do!!) and threw her across her bed to spank her, drove her to her father's house & yelled even more hateful things to her the whole way there. She didnt stay & he never knew we were there. There is NO excuse for my reaction, but here is the background behind: I had her when I was 16yrs old and to find out that she was heading down the same (regretful) road that I went down-- KILLED me!!!  I have been very open with both of my children (brother is 14) about having them so young & tried to instill in them that to better the future, they had to put school above the opposite sex, no premarital sex, etc.  I sooo much want a better life for both of my children.  Her father (too much credit-- sperm donor) was not in the picture-- only time she saw him was on Christmas Eve every year.  She didnt stay when I drove her out there b/c she told me that she didnt like him & that she didnt even know him.  I remarried 7 yrs ago, but am presently going through a divorce; seperated in March 07.   The kids said that they were ok with it.  I was going to stay with him and even tried to hide our problems from my kids until my daughter asked me what was going on.  I opened up to her and we both cried.  I told her that she seemed so close to him (not my son-- complete opposite relationship) that I didnt want to take him away since she didnt have her own Father.  She told me that it was not fair for me to make that decision w/o asking her & that they were not as close as I thought.  He smothered her and tried to control her. 

My punishment for her actions have been in sequences:  First, I got an alarm system for my house, moved her from upstairs to a down stairs bedroom, & she was grounded until Jan 08: took away cell phone, IPod, digital camera, and turned off internet in my house.  She was to eat dinner with my son & I as a family and only do things with family.  NO outside communication with friends & not to see/be with that boy anymore.  She and her brother obviously had too much free time, so they were required to get a job-- since I could not trust her, she had to come work with me at my job.  My son, also, came to work with me.  3-4 days p/week.  *** One day while we were all at work, I walked behind her to go to the bathroom and saw that she had been back on MY SPACE on the computer she was suppose to be working on.  After checking the history, she had been doing it since day one.  She made a comment to a friend that "if I continue to act like the perfect daughter, maybe my grounding wont last as long".  I blocked MY SPACE from the computer at my work and her grounding was extended until the end of the school year.  In the mean time, trying to talk to her about any of this is impossible.  She has an eat crap and die look on her face and does not/will not talk about anything.  The silence is what escalates my temper and causes me to yell.  I somehow think that if I can yell loud enough, she will finally yell back-- which at this point would be better than silence.  I thought we were moving along until, the night of her actual 16th bday.  I tried to make it as special as I could for a kid in as much trouble as she was in: decorated our kitchen, got her a crown and a sash for "Sweet 16", even though it wasnt "sweet", decorated her desk at my work & had every body bring in toy Hummers as a joke, took her to dinner at her favorite restaurant & got her a cookie cake.  That night I decided to do a backpack/purse check and found a huge stack of love letters from that boy!!  Some of the letters indicated that they had messed around at school.  I was so overcome with dispair that I did not know what I was going to do--- not to mention it was Thanksgiving weekend!!!  I kept silent until that Saturday and by then, she knew I had the letters but did nothing and acted as if everything was ok!?!!? I told her that the only thing left to take away from her was TV.  She was grounded to 4 walls that only had a mattress/box springs. I, also,  decided over the weekend that the only way to keep her from getting pregnant/STD was to get her away from the boy.  I took her that Monday to enroll in another public school.  I knew it was to be expected but her attitude was horrible, still no talking, & even worse eat crap & die looks.  I told her one am before school that if she didnt want to live/play by my rules that she needed to go to her Dad's b/c we needed to find a way to move forward and she had only been dragging us backwards.  Of course, NO COMMENT-- nothing!!!!!   She has never shown remorse, regret or anything for her actions/ behavior.  Her silent treatment (wall as I call it) and the fact that she told a family member that I had "changed" b/c I didnt do anything with her resulted in me reminding her that if I've changed it's b/c she has made me loose trust & respect in her & that she continually disrespects me by her attitude and behaviors.  She finally muttered in a cold way that she didnt respect me.  When I asked why, she told me that she just didnt and that she would've moved to her Dad's 2 months ago, if it was not for her brother.  I told her that she didnt have to worry about that anymore, turned around to go back home, & called her Dad to come get her.  I stayed in my room the whole time crying my eyes out asking God, "why", while she packed ALL of ther belongings to go live with him.  She has been there since 12/17/07 and it is killing me!! I've spent every day for 16 yrs loving her and living for her and he is barely a sperm donor.  I have not talked to her but I send the same text message telling her that I love and miss her very much and I hope to see & talk to her soon.  I've told her Dad that she must come home to be able to go back to school, but he says that she doesnt want to & he has a negative outlook as to the fact that she & I are irrepairable.  I DO NOT know what to do!!!  She has made one bad decision after another so I know I shouldnt let her make this one to stay with him a a po-dunk town in AR. He is not holding her accountable for any of her actions-- she has a free life with him.  I'm bewildered as to how I have gotten to this spot with my daughter.  Besides the fact that she is 16, if I take into consideration my history, lack of biological Father relationship, and my seperation, I know those situations have to a part of the reason, but she wont give me any clue or insight, so I do not know how to fix this!!  Should I make her come home?  If I do, what do I do about  punishment?  I have apologized for the things I've said & my rage tantrums, but how can we move past it?  What do I do about school: continue with old or switch back to new?  Birth control or no birth control?  I am at my whitsend.  I have no support from family b/c they all say that she is human, she made mistakes and that I am being too hard on her!!!  I DO NOT know what to do.....please help!!!!  ((Sorry so long))        

I just read your comment and I wantd to say my heart goes out to you and your daughter.  Simply because it sounds exactly like my teen years with my mother,  I am a little older now and have grown to truly understand my mothers actions now but that takes time. 

GET her on birth control, it souds like she has made the choice and we all know that there is  no stopping them  (unless you can be with your daughter 24/7)  All you can do is educate her- I too also had the lack of bio dad in the picture but boy was he there when I needed someone to party with so I would say that you need to evaluate that relationship and decide if her being there is healthy for her ( does he help her make positive decisions) and also I was wondering and praying that your daughter is not in to drugs or alcohol- that could  contribute to your sudden relationship change with her.


The only drugs and alcohol that I'm aware of are the Attarol (ADD rx)/pain pills and the 2 beers from the party when she stole my truck.  Apparently kids that actually are prescribed the Attarol are selling them to other kids so they can get a "high" and the pain pills are stolen from other parents. I dont drink so there is rarely alcohol in the house.   Her Dad isn't a "partier" but he does not regret his past enough to not want her to not make the same mistakes.  He's content with being a LOSER, so I am worried about what kind of influence he is having on her there.  He's always been nonconfrontational so I'm sure none of her behaviors/actions have even been discussed!!! Thanks for your input.


You have been remarkably courageous and honest as you enumerated the choices (both good and bad) you have made throughout your life.  I wish you lived near here, and that I knew you.  I want to walk into your room, give you a huge hug, and tell you that it will take time, but you and your daughter can get through this. 

Some thoughts I had, as I read your post.  These are just thoughts, I don't think I KNOW anything.

I'm going to talk about your abortion, and if you just DON'T want to HEAR about it, skip all of number 1

1.  I wonder about revisiting the thing that you said brought on the problems.  I had to deal with the fact that sexual self-control was not one of my dad's strong points.  My parents would have been hypocritical to preach celibacy before marriage, so they didn't preach that.  I do know that abortion was abhorrent to both of my parents.  Children (including teenagers) have a pretty simplified view of life and death issues.   I've been talking to my own teenagers about your situation.  Their response (girl 19, boy 16) is that they would see me (if it were our family) suddenly as a person who could kill, not nurture.  That would be like being dropped on an alien planet. 

I wonder if you have regrets about the abortion, even apart from this terrible rift with your daughter.  I wonder if you could adress this with a spiritual advisor, and come to terms with it, then from that new place, come to terms with your daughter.


2. I wonder if you need to give your daughter a break from thinking about all this stuff.  Like, maybe, you could send her a quadruple media message--snail mail, e-mail, phone, and tell her father to tell her, that you are going to let her be for a few weeks.  Then, don't contact her at all, but keep a daily journal of your thoughts, feelings, love for her.  Keep the journal authentically, if you skip a day, don't make it up later.  She's a big girl, and  the honest musings of your mother's heart may help make a chink in her wall.

I know this would be a gamble, because all kinds of crap can happen in a short time.  It's just that, crap was happening already. 

And, if she's not continually "fighting you off" she won't be so good at it. 

After a few weeks (Like maybe 6 I don't know) send her another all media message.  Ask if she is willing to hear from you again.  Respect her reply.  If she's not, continue your journal.  After a few weeks (Like 5 maybe?) ask again.  This time, if she says no, tell her you will try again in 4(maybe) weeks.  Keep up your journal.  When it gets down to every week, ask her if it bugs her that you keep trying every week.  If she says yes, then instead of letting her know, try on a variable schedule, shake a die or something to choose the number of weeks.    

I know that this looks like it might take years.  It might.  I think the relationship you had with your daughter really was a terrific relationship, and when it broke, it hurt her as badly or maybe even worse than it is hurting you.  That kind of hurt takes a long time to heal.  For both of you. 

I think it is a remarkable thing that you did make a strong foundation for your kids, after having such a shaky start.  You are a wonderful woman.  I will pray that you will be able to build a new relationship with your little (16 year-old) girl. 


Every year of my teenage years was a regret-- with the exception of having my daughter.  I made horrible mistakes and I'm haunted with regret, especially in the abortion.  I don't/didnt want her to ever have to have those feelings. When I found out she was sexually active, I tried to explain to her why WE (not just me) made the decision to have the abortion and how hard it is, even to this day, on me living with that decision.    What you said your kids said about the abortion makes a lot of sense.  I will try to touch on that with her.

I've allowed her to stay with her Dad this long to give her the space.  When I gave her the option to go there, I NEVER thought she really would.  My thought was that she loved me enough to want to stay and work on us, but it didn't turn out that way.  I wish I had started a journal like you mentioned when this all started.  I have my own issues with my own mother and the main one is communicating.  I can write/type much better and easier than talk.  I've sent my daughter text messages daily, mailed her a card, and a long letter w/ a cd that contains songs that remind me of her/us; "Unanswered Prayers", "My Brown-Eyed Girl", "Stand", "My Wish", and "Jesus take the wheel".  School starts back Monday and I'm torn on whether or not to allow her to stay with him or bring her back home.  Again, her future is at stake.  I don't want to play with it any more than she/we already have.


I'm so sorry! I wouldn't never know what to do in this problem. U could maybe try to take her to the doctors.consuling to try to get her help. I would put her a birth control because theres always a chance.

If u want her home and u have cousidenty(i think thats how u spell it.) then u can take her back rather she like it or not. and if they refuse then go to court or just try to sit down with her and have i talk. Most teenagers around these age's are doing this just to get attention or to try to fit in with te group. I'm so sorry what ur going through I will keep u in my prayers. (i'm not trying to pull a spam or anything I'm a christain and would love the best for u and ur daughter.)


With much love,sunshine3793


Hey Krein,


I am so sorry to hear you are going through all this with your daughter.  I have a 15-year-old daughter and I can't imagine if I had to go through all that with her--I know that both of you must be in a lot pain right now.


I am not sure that I would allow her to stay with her father, especially if he is not going to try to help her get on the right path.  I would be worried about her having that sort of freedom when she has shown that she is not making good decisions.


I would also see about taking her to counseling and also about getting some family counseling for the two of you.  It seems to me that you both need some help in communicating and understanding each other.


Please keep us posted on how things go.




How about respectfully seeking her input on that school decision. Have a dialogue (where you listen while she has her turn to talk) about your concerns and about HER concerns. I know that you are afraid that leaving her basically without any adult input will contribute to her spiralling into more self-destructive behavior. The thing is, I think she is having a hard time trusting your judgment right now. You still do have the legal authority to demand that she return home, I just don't know that the dynamic between you two will be any better. I also made the mistake once of telling my daughter that if she couldn't live with our rules, she would have to find another place to live. She didn't leave, but it took us years and years to put our relationship back together. We did finally get some effective therapy (after about 6 mo of ineffective therapy). Since you do have regrets about the abortion, I think it would be useful to your daughter if you told her that you made a bad decision, even though it seemed like the right thing at the time. To acknowledge that that decision was a bad one might help her to begin to have confidence in your current ability to make good decisions for the future.

I just received an email from the man I have to call her dad:  "One last plea to let her stay up here. She does not want to come back there and is extremely upset that the time is nearing for her to come back. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I am not holding her accountable for her actions. She is not having any "fun" up here whatsoever. She has rules, she has chores, etc.... I do not see the reasoning in making her come back there if she does not choose to. She is old enough to decide where she wants to live and she wants to live here. School starts tomorrow here, if you can disenroll her there, I will get her enrolled here. She may eventually come around and get over some things that have happened/been said and want to come back. I can tell you she will be totally miserable if she is forced to come back. Like you are going to have to physically carry her from my vehicle to yours. I do not feel that putting her through that is going to help or change fact it will make everything worse."  This *#$#$#$% owes me over $75K in child support!!!!!!!  I am so mad right now that I can NOT see straight.


I am sorry that you are angry.  I wish that the financial situation did not complicate your ability to respond to the other things in her father's e-mail. 


I did respond by telling him that I was getting her this weekend.  The reason I am/was so mad is because I can NOT stand the fact that I am not suppose to talk bad or refer to him in any negative way, shape, form or fashion to the kids about the lack of child support or the fact that he has not been in there lives over the last 12 years, but I know he is making the situation worse with her there.  He owes me/them a heck of a lot of money but I'm the one that has to lay down and die to let him walk all over me & blame me while he wins "Dad of the Year" award and does not take any responsibility/accountability.   


Remember who you are!   You are the woman who had made a great relationship with her daughter, despite a very difficult beginning.  You are the woman who has for years (I hope) forgone the satisfaction of telling it like it is, because kids do need to believe the best about their parents.  Yes, you have sacrificed a great deal.  Don't make that sacrifice be wasted.  Cry, and calm down.  Think again.  I know you are hurt and angry.  Protect your future relationship with your daughter.  Your current relationship is already trashed.



    I'm so sorry what you are going through. Myabe you can work things out with you all Myabe you can become a family. Just try to have a nice talk with him and if he doesn't want to then u should take him down for child support because you wasn't the only person who made the children so he can man up and take his part just like you are taking yours.


I really think you need to look at the reasons why your daughter has behaived like this.  You have written it all down there.  She is a perfectly normal 16 year old and is following her natural urges.  Its normal for a 16 year old to sneak out and go to parties, its normal for her to be curious about sex.  You have pushed her away by telling her she is "bad" and "naughty" and you have punished her for what is a normal thing (sex).  You had to expect that she would be curious about sex young because her mother was the same, she is her mothers daughter.  I think you need to ask her to come home and sit down with her as two adults to talk.  She is of legal age to consent to sex, and now that she has started, she won't stop just because you tell her too.  You need to be supportive, put her on the pill, and discuss safe sex with her.  If you put any kind of negativity on sex or punishment for sex, this can have negative effects later on in her adult life as she will associate sex with negativity.  As long as she is safe and willing to be open and honest with you, you need not worry.  But first you need to be more open with her and tell her it is ok, as long as she is safe and responsible.

You will find that if you are a little more lenient with her, she will calm down and be more open with you.  If you are constantly angry, mad and punishing her, she is natuarally going to rebel - and she will continue to do so as long as you are being so strict.


Allow her to grow into a healthy adult and don't supress her natural instincts and urges.  Be there for her, be open and be trusting and she will in turn, do the same for you.


This is coming from teen and i have been in trouble with the law and i want to say that my father put strict rules on me and i felt very frusterated i started running away cause i had too many rules and i was not allowed to date these rules made me mad n i wanted to do wat i wanted to do i think if u loosen up and give some trust everthing will be okay


Maunie, be sure to read this before you decide to tell your daughter about your abortion. Some things are private. Bad decisions that we made as we were growing up can poison current relationships if we dig them up and put them on display. Be a model of mature behavior for your daughter, she can figure out how to be adolescent all by herself.

So you had her at a young age by a sperm donor? Makes sense. Love makes you do crazy shit, and there is nothing wrong with myspace. Every child deserves freedom, you should have allowed her to have an open relationship with you and her boyfriend, meet him give him a chance, and maybe they wouldn't try to hide things from you. Taking her license, and telling her not to use myspace is not going to stop her, at all. In fact, shes just going to get more mad at you and do it anyway. And want to RUN from you Thats why she is silent, and does not respect you. You dont try to understand why she is doing what she is doing. She can have a healthy relationship with you and still have fun. The drinking, teens do that, try talking to his parents about it being out of control. Drinking does hinder judgment Do not use negative reinforcement. Its not going to change what your child really wants to do, The name calling, Parents who use put-downs, teasing, ridicule, and criticism do enormous damage to a child's self-esteem.

Hey hun im so sorry for what you have to go through with your teenage daughter but as a teen my self you might feel as you dont have to listen to my opinion at all but who's better to help you with a teen than a teen and just to let you in on a little something the more you push her the more you push her the more you going to drive her away from you and your family as a young adult you have to let your daughter make her own mistakes in life and also give her a little privacy even though you might know what she is doing trust and believe everything that you her mother have told her will come back to her in life as she growing up but as a teen it seems like she just going on on and I wish she'll shut up and leave me alone but have a little faith in jesus. Baby take her to church and pray to the lord to bless you and your household and dont let your xchild run the household she feels as she dont get enough attention from you at home so she goes else where with her attention. Also to let you know the more you try to enforce your rules on her baby the more she just gonna look at you like you is stupid. Yes you can move only if you is willing to forgive forget and move on and stop dwelling in the past and move on with your life the more you are going to be creating hatred in your household so take myy advice and take it into consideration and just to say you is being to hard on her and oyur family ir right the girl is only human and just like my father told me if everyone in the world was perfect then the world would be over populated..... Valente

my response was too long to post here.. i would very much like to send it to you.. i know it has been some years since u originally posted this and i hope that u and ur daughter have found a way through this terrible situation.. i also believe that i have stumbled across this post for a reason and may have some honest words that could help both u and ur daughter heal from the past and start a new relationship, one that far exceeds ur wildest expectations.. please comment if u would like to read my response, i can email it to u.. blessings :) bec xx

my heart goes out to you , i am at my wits end too, same scenario 15yr old daughter from hell , i am trying to make rules but she simply makes up her own , i have a twenty yr old son too and his behaviour was similar at that age , he is much better now so i am riding the waves , praying for her to learn from her own mistakes , but also trying to guide her , email is a good way to communicate and then she cant shout at you. hang in there .

sunshine3793 good posts