Mark, Thank you so much for the phone consultation on Memorial Day - it helped a great deal. We had a few relatively calm days (the usual yelling and cursing but no major outbursts), and over the weekend, another storm. I knew that my daughter was planning to go off with a group of the older "friends" that I don't know and she doesn't want me to meet. I had told her that she could only go to a Girl Scout meeting. Well, she tried to go off with the older "friends" - when I wasn't there and she thought that Grandma would let her get away with it. I'd asked my mother to call the troop leader, who happens to be a policewoman, if she tried anything, and she did call her. She was there in minutes and gave daughter a good talking to. I feel better about doing the AP grading now that she's involved. I am worried because my daughter is getting even more out of control. She was physically violent towards me again - said I provoked her. After she went over her two-hour computer time limit, I unplugged it from the phone line (we have dial up) and she actually bit me, like a two year old.
>>>>>>>>>> I routinely recommend that the maximum time limit for computer use is 1 hour. Also, you and I had talked about your daughter not having internet access at all since it is a constant source of parent-child conflict (remember).
She's also been talking about suicide, and I found out (been snooping again) that she's done searches on the internet about methods of suicide. She says she will be buried in her prom dress, and says things like "when you have a dead daughter you will be sorry for the way you treated me". She has also been cutting - I read the section in your ebook on that. She keeps yelling and cursing and the "I hate you's" are constant. Today I responded with "you're acting like a two year old who keeps saying no over and over." Because of her behavior, I took her iPod and she will have no computer time.
>>>>>>>> I think we’ve covered this one in previous emails as well. This is a guilt trip that your daughter is going fishing for – I hope you’re not biting.
I know some of her threats to run away or kill herself are manipulation and just being a teenage drama queen, but worry about the suicide threats because, like I said on the phone, there's a history of bipolar on her father's side and depression on mine. She also talks about wanting to get drunk (there's alcoholism on both sides). When she threatened suicide again today, I came very close to calling crisis intervention but didn't, because I didn't want to give her the intensity she craves.
>>>>>>>> Great move! You’re working the program. Just keep on eye on her when she attempts to push your “suicide buttons.”
I did say "most teenage suicide attempts do not work, can leave permanent disabilities, and if you try that it will go on your record and you will never be able to join the army" (she says that joining the army is her only reason for living – which I think is sick, but that's another topic...) Question - I know you said it's way too premature for boarding school, but when do you think residential placement is justified?
>>>>>>>>>> You may want to consider a brief residential placement for her now -- or maybe a short Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). This will give her a taste of treatment for mental illness (she may decide she doesn’t want to be sick), and it will give you a break from her.
>>>>>>>>>>So I’m saying some people choose to be sick? Not exactly. For example, nobody chooses to be Bipolar, but they often choose to use their illness (a) as an excuse for poor choices and (b) as a crutch to avoid taking personal responsibility.
I'm worried about her safety - she tried to lock the door to her room, and I told her if she chose to do that, she was choosing to have the doorknob removed, and so far that worked, but I can't watch her 24/7. And I have to admit that I'd really like a break from her. I feel like my daughter is gone and I have to cope with this angry, disturbed stranger, her eyes empty and her face distorted with what seems like real hatred for me. It's extremely difficult to get my own work done because I'm constantly exhausted, emotionally and physically, from her.
>>>>>>>>>> You should be concerned for her safety, but don’t let her know it. You may want to simply say, “If you choose to threaten suicide, you will choose being assessed at a mental health facility and risk being placed there for a while.” Then, if she threatens again, you need to take her in for an assessment and possibly have her committed for a brief period of time.
Another question - I tried giving her a chore (just feeding the cat, and she responded with "in a bit") and didn't do it. What to do when she simply refuses to do a chore?
>>>>>>>>>>> Then she loses a privilege (e.g., no use of the phone this evening).
And, you said to give the teenager a hug. At the end of the day, I tell her I love her, but about half the time she refuses to let me hug her. She screams "get away from me" and "if you touch me I will fight you." Occasionally she tolerates a hug from me, but stands stiffly, arms at her side. Should I be doing anything differently?
>>>>>>>>>> As long as you are giving her some form of physical touch, then you’re doing enough. It doesn’t have to be something as bold as a hug. A pat on the back, for example, will suffice.
Thanks so much for all your help! S.
>>>>>>>> You are a great student S.. I am very proud of you. Keep it rollin’.
Mark Hutten, M.A.