"I have only very recently become a member of the parent support group and although I am still reading the information provided, I am finding it extremely useful as the sorts of behavioural problems mentioned are spot on for my 16 year old daughter, L___. I wondered, however, if you might be able to give me some advice on how to best handle the situation I find myself in with her at the moment.
Three weeks ago, L___ decided that she did not want to stay at home as she didn’t like the house rules and wanted to stay out later and do her own thing as it was more fun, so she went to stay with a friend even though I said no to this and refused to let her go, she went anyway. This continued day after day - each day saying she would come home (and with me asking the parent concerned not to let her stay) however, this has continued and she shows no signs of wanting to come home, and has now 'moved' into her 18 year olds boyfriend’s house with his parents.
L___ does not want me to contact his parents at all and further more the parents have now started paying her to work in their factory. On top of this, and almost my main concern is, that Lauren is due to take her GCSE final exams in May/June of this year but she is refusing to go to school at all as she finds it boring and prefers to earn money from the boyfriend’s factory work. I am also aware that she is smoking weed on a regular basis and has experimented with other drugs in the past, which I believe is also affecting her behaviour. I am understandably extremely worried, upset and concerned.
I am unsure of the right things to say to her or how to best handle this situation to encourage her to want to come back home and stay and to go to school on a regular basis for the last 2/3 months. Lastly if possible to also show some respect to us, her parents, who obviously love her and want the best for her (we are divorced). I believe from the information I have read so far we have been indulgent parents and L___ is a scapegoat. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated."
I often get these types of emails (i.e., child has moved out …not conducting her life as she should …I’ve lost all control in the situation and am terribly worried about her safety …and so on).
I know this is hard on you. However, as you have probably read in my ebook, self-reliance is key. And it sounds like your daughter is beginning to develop some self-reliance as evidenced by the fact that she has left “the nest” and is actively involved in gainful employment.
I understand that things are far from perfect at this time (e.g., she’s put education on the back-burner and may be abusing illicit drugs). Nonetheless, she’s out there trying to ‘make it’ (albeit with help from b-friend and his parents).
A word of encouragement is needed here: I’ve never (as in 0% of the time) met a teenager yet that didn’t, at some point, realize she needs some form of education. So don’t be discouraged about this. Also, be careful not to create a “Romeo and Juliet” phenomenon here (i.e., the more parents try to keep young lovers separated, the more the lovers gravitate toward one another).
I’m sure your daughter knows where you stand with respect to drug use as well as the importance of an education. To repeat your stance on this will be somewhat redundant at this point. But, your house rules still apply. If she wants to live under your roof, she has to play by your rules.
My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents