Teens accusations tear a family apart
04/15/2011 at 07:56 AM

My family has been going through pain and turmoil over the past few years and it has recently escalated. I'll begin with as quick of a summary as I can.

I have had custody of my two oldest daughters since they were 1 and 2 years old. My current wife came into our lives when my daughters were 2 and 3. We’ll have been married for 13 years this year and have 3 children of our own.

For the longest time, things were going great, but the real struggle began when my oldest daughter was 14. Her attitude and behavior abruptly changed and we began taking her to counseling. She was quickly diagnosed with bi-polar disease and put on medication. She was always fine if she regularly took her meds, but refused to take them after a short period of time.

There have been times of lashing out like the time she attempted to push her younger sister in front of a moving vehicle while standing at the bus stop, but it has primarily been screaming, cursing and arguing.

She is now a few months shy of her 18th birthday and has visited 4 therapists in all over the past few years. Each has diagnosed her with bi-polar disease and recommended medications (which she refused to take). As time went on, it was apparent that she had a real problem with her step-mom and continuously picked fights and got in arguments with her on a daily basis. My wife has a great relationship with my other daughter and it would be hard to tell that this is not her real, biological daughter. My two daughters are like day and night.

Over the past year, my daughter has made it well known that when she turns 18 she is moving out and living with her biological mother (another story in itself). The arguments between my wife and daughter continued more and more each day, always ending with the same outcome, my daughter screaming that “she hates it here and wants to leave.”

A few months ago, on my way home from work, I received a phone call from my wife that went to my voice mail. After listening to the voice mail I could hear my daughter in a fit of rage, screaming and cursing. When I got home, my daughter remained in her room all evening, never coming out. My wife and I discussed our options and were going to look into granting my daughter her wish, allow her to leave the house.

The very next day, things took a huge turn for the worse. I received a phone call at work from the local child youth services stating that my oldest daughter has claimed my father-in-law inappropriately touched her between the ages of 10 and 14. Not to mention, she stated that my wife knew about this and did nothing. My daughter immediately went to stay at my mom and step-father’s house. After a month long investigation by both the police and youth services, it was determined that my daughter was lying and was using this as a way to get out of the house and get revenge with her step-mom. The police attempted to bring charges against my daughter, but the local district attorney would not entertain this for reasons not explained to us.

Since these findings, many rumors and accusations have spread in our small town. The main problems I have with this issue is that my mom and step-father have not explained exactly what the investigation concluded and my daughter is continuing to tell people that she was molested. It has become impossible to talk to my mom because she has her mind made up and continuously defends my daughter and buys her anything and everything she wants. My daughter has been heard saying that she is now the “only child that she always should have been.” I have ceased talking to my mom and had a restraining order issued against my step-father for threatening (over the phone) to confront me with a shotgun.

During the last phone call I had with my mom, she thought she hung up the phone, but must have hit the wrong button and I could hear the conversation that ensued between her and my step-father. My step-father went as far as to instruct my mom that she should “fake a heart attack and they could say, look at what her son did to her, he caused his mom to have a heart attack.”

I just don’t know what to do anymore, I can’t talk to them after hearing their conversation, and they deny and spin everything. I’m tired of getting phone calls saying they said this and they said that. Other family members are hearing rumors and confronting my mom, step-father and daughter only to have them lie and spin things to their favor. I just don’t know what to do anymore. Anybody have some advice or insight?

You said he was at school, so I presume he is in daycare? Are there problems with his behaviour there too? Have you had any discussions in regards to strategies for coping with this behaviour? Has he always been like this or is this behaviour new recently? His diet may be an important factor, but you have to look beyond that to other circumstances which may have affected him. Have there been any major changes to his lifestyle recently?

cid
26851

Hard to tell at his age as they don't call it the 'terrible twos' for nothing. He's just at the age of trying out things and children of this age can get very frustrated if they can't manage all they want to do. Their brain is going faster than their physical development can sometimes cope with and they don't have the concept of danger. Thus, they may often feel thwarted and frustrated when stopped from doing an activity.
My two youngest sons, especially the younger one were like this. I couldn't leave my youngest son in a room alone unless he was strapped into his pushchair. I had to take him to the bathroom with me when I wanted to use the toilet. Eventually, both sons had a diagnosis of ADHD, the younger one with additional Asperger's Syndrome. I am certainly not suggesting that your child has either of these conditions, merely empathising because I know how difficult it can be.

cid
26854

Try to keep your son busy with activities which you know he likes, trying out new activities regularly.
Give him lots of praise when appropriate and try to play down the bad behaviours. He may be exhibiting these negative behaviours to get attention, so playing negative down and positive up may help. Get him outside to run off steam as often as you can.

cid
26855

Does the daycare facility you use have any specialists there who may be able to offer advice?
Try out some of the bathcare products which aid sleep. There are some which have essential oils such as camomile and lavender to aid sleep. Let him have a long bath/playtime then some warm milk and a nice cuddle up story time. Be firm about him staying in bed. Difficult I know, been there and wear the t-shirt on this one. If he gets up, avoid eye contact and talking to him and just put him back into bed every time he gets up. If he is not getting the attention he wants he may give up, but it could be a long haul so you will have to be very patient.
As for you, do you have a reliable babysitter so that you can have some 'me' time occasionally? It is also important that you look after yourself. If you get the chance to recharge your batteries you will be able to cope better with your son.
Good luck.

cid
26856

Wanted to add too that you could perhaps play some soothing music in his bedroom as he goes to sleep. Try some sedate classical music or soothing World music. You could also use soothing essential oils in his room.

cid
26857