03/17/2008 at 12:40 PM


I have an eighteen-year-old daughter who is really stressing our family. I just joined this forum in hopes of finding answers to our dilemma.

Last evening around 10:00pm my wife and I managed to get our daughter to sit with us to discuss her situation she never talks to us, she tries to avoid us, and she has no friends. She is currently taking two evening classes at a local community college and working for minimum wage as an assistant groomer at a big pet store chain.

Our discussion was focused on how she is doing with her classes. She said that she was not sure but that she did not think she was doing very well and she probably wanted to quit. My wife became very upset with this because she had just taken a leave of absence from the four-year college she had just attended for one semester because she was not doing her work or attending classes. We tried to explain to her that she should take advantage of her opportunity to get a college education while we supported her financially. She told us that she wanted to move out to get away from us but we explained to her that she could not support herself financially… she has no concept of costs of living, insurance, bills…She suddenly started acting hysterical and saying that we wouldn’t really care if she was dead and that that would be a good solution to her troubles. She pulled a knife from the kitchen drawer and carefully rubbed it across her wrist. We did not think that she would really hurt herself but she was getting more excited and she raised the knife and said that she was going to plunge it into her stomach. I did not want her to accidently hurt herself so I grabbed her hand, wrestled her to the floor and removed the knife. She lunged at her mother who is much smaller and weaker than she is so I restrained her to the floor again. I subdued her after a struggle but she went for the knife drawer again once released her so I wrested her again. This exercise continued several times as she continued to try to run out of the house. Her 16-year brother was standing by to help restrain her because he was worried as I was that she would do something harmful.

She next ran to, locked herself in our office, and then managed to remove a screen and escape out of a very small window into the 20 to 30 degree night with shorts, tee shirt and no shoes. My wife and I decided to let her go after collecting all of the car keys. We expected her to eventually go into our separate garage/apartment building for the night but her brother went outside to search for her.

The following morning we received a call from her grandmother that she had arrived at her home around midnight, which is some 2 miles away.

I could go on and on about her but I am very uncomfortable with the way we are dealing with her and I do not know what to do.





Wow Jim!!  That is pretty intense.  I have a troubled teen myself and it gets that dramatic at times.  I don't really have advice on how to deal with her outbursts but I only wanted to comment on the college.


It seems she is not doing well anyway and rather than waste time and build more resentment, why not let her take some time to just grow as a person.  I did not go to college right away either.  I ended up paying for it myself when I was much older, but I'm sure I was not ready for it when I was 18.  The only outcome, if she flunks out, is you have lost money and she has soiled her record.  I am a VP now and I am almost 40.  I just suggest not adding the extra stress of MAKING her go to college.  Let her chose, she is 18.  Maybe she can get a full time job doing something she is interested in for a while?


Good Luck - I certainly feel your pain!!!


I am no expert, however, a clinical psychologist.  Just because someone goes to one doesn't mean they are off the wall crazy, but they just need a little help.  Also call your health care provider.  There is tons of medication to deal with this, but it sounds like possibly both medication and talking to a professional are a good thing.  Psychologists know what to do.  This sounds like a serious situation, but its not a goner.  Look at it this way.  Frankly what she was doing was threatening to harm herself, which she could have whether she meant to slit it herself or into her stomach, however it could have been a permanent solution to a temp problem.  Call a professional. 


It sounds like your daughter has been depressed for a awhile, as you said she has been distant from her family and has no friends. She was defineately wanting you and your wife to see how desperate she was or she would NOT have threatened to harm herself in your presence. If she really wanted to end her life, she would have done it when she was alone and no one could have stopped her. Thats the good part, she wants you to know how seriously she needs your help or the knife thing wouldn't have happened. She could have easily went to her room, waited for you to go to bed and gotten a knife, pills, etc. and done something extreme and yo u would have known about it in the morning. She went to her grandmothers, and she knew that was a safe place to go and that you would be notified of where she was. So hopefully you will feel better knowing that she actually DOES want you to know what is going on, if she didn't think her family could possibly help her, she likely would have just disappeared.

There is obviously something eating away at her, possibly a self worth problem, whether she feels like she doesn't fit in with people at college, at home, etc. or she is disappointed in herself and feels she isn't meeting the expectations you and your wife have for know the past history of your family. I'm telling you its your FAULT in some way, I have 3 teen age daughters and one adult daughter, believe me, you can try to do everything right and focus on them entirely, think you are doing your very best with their best interest at heart, and will unknowingly do something that seems disrespectful, overbearing, too many rules, controlling, not listening etc. to THEM. And it may be nothing that you have done, said or imagined, it may be that she has a chemical imbalance that is very real, is part of her and no environment or situation will change that. I am not a big fan of "medication", but with the RIGHT councelor for her, and a good doctor to prescribe something that will get your daughter over this depressed road block in her life, it may be something she needs right now in order for her to see a glimmer of the bright future that you and your wife seem to want so badly for her.