I don't know what to do with my out of control teenage step daughter. She is 15 years old. She started acting out this summer in about June or July. She lies all the time, stole perscription medicine from me (and took it), is engaging in risky sexual behavior (she has already had 1 STD), now I think she may have gotten a tattoo. (her real mother may have taken her on one of their very rare visits) She has snuck out of the house in the middle of the night, gotten drunk, and cut herself once. We grounded her for 6 months (we are about half way thru it now) and I thought things were getting better. She has been enjoying going to church and going to her youth group. But I come to find out that she hasn't stopped any of the behavior only gotten better about hiding it! I don't know what to do... Do I send her back to live with her mother (who is a horible example and nothing but a white trash alcholic) do we put her in to a treatment program, send her to counseling, or boot camp? I am not sure what more we can do to punish her at home! I have considered taking everything out of her room and leaving her with a bed and some clothes. Basically strip her down to having nothing and let her earn things back over time... I just need some guidence.
You are really having a tuff time with your step daughter im sorry.I have a 13 yr old son who im having troubles with although not to the extent of your step daughter but would probably get to that if nothing done.Anyway,I think stripping her of all her things and leaving a bed is a good idea by law all we are obligated to provide is a roof,clothing,food,running water,and school.I would also probably get her some type of counseling if you have not tried that already.If all fails then I would try to get her into one of those treatment programs like you say or a teen boot camp or wilderness camp.These are all pretty expensive though so check into it.If you threaten to send her off though be ready to actually go through with the sending.I have heard good and bad about these programs so I would read up on some.I have a friend who's cousin was doing pretty much like your step daughter and her parents sent her off to a teen boot camp.The girl was there for 3 months and youd never know she had done the things she had done before the boot camp.If you ask her now about boot camp she says "That place is my worst nightmare."My husband works with a guy who sent his 17 yr old son to a teen boot camp he was there for 2 weeks came back and hasnt given his parents trouble since he is now 23.These places do not work for all kids though.I mentioned counseling earlier and I really think that would be your best bet first because your step daughter could have other issues going on maybe anger and things about something you did mention her mother is a alcoholic.You sound like a good step mom hopefully one day your step daughter will realize how lucky she is to have you.Best wishes to you and your family.
Have you tried positive re enforcement. Taking all of her freedoms away is only going to make her rebel more. Whats going on at home? How long have you and your husband been married. Do you have any other children?
Tnmom: I hear ya on the boot camp thing. They are very expensive and some times kids get hurt or killed at those places. They can work but I just don't think we are at that point yet...
Calamity: We have been married for over 5 years, Yes we do have other children a 4 year old and a 15 month old. As far as what is going on at home nothing new... I really think her issues and rebellion are coming from an inner struggle she has about her mom and unfortunatly she isn't around enough to rebel against so we are getting the bulk of the lash back.
I have found her a support group for girls like her with messed up moms... girls that are also engaging in self destructive behavior... girls that also go to church and are trying to learn how to cope and find the tools to express themselves in more productive ways. She and I will go together... (the moms and step moms have a meeting of their own while the girls meet) I hope this will be a turning point for her.
I feel like she still needs boundries and she still needs to know what is and is not acceptable in our home. So she will remain grounded.
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.... So keep your fingers crossed for us.
Sounds like you are doing a great job so far mom2mom.I do not agree with the other poster on not taking things away im sorry but she has to learn there are consequences for her actions.I am sure when she does do good she is rewarded.I hope the group thing will help sounds good to me.
Hi mom, my first thought also was to approach your step-daughter with love and concern instead of punishment. I wouldn't worry about tattoes, but I would let her know that you are concerned about her and ask her what is wrong and why is she acting this way. You could explain to her why these behaviors are worrisome and why they are not good for her. I think that carrots always work better than sticks, especially with teenagers who have issues. I think that you are doing a great job! The support group is a good idea.
Definitely, without a doubt, this child needs counseling!!! Her behaviors are a serious cry for help. Chances are good that she has been abused in the past and needs help dealing with it.
In the meantime, she needs consequences for bad behaviors. But, grounding her for 6 months will make things worse, not better. If she's grounded for that long, she has no chance to earn her way out of "prison".
Ground her for a week. If she's good during that week, she's free at the end. If she does something else that needs a counsequence during that period, don't ground her for longer. Instead, take away something else important to her - phone priviledges, computer time, whatever is important to her. Need another punishment, take away something else but only for a limited time.
If you take things away for too long, there is no reason for her to be good. She's in trouble anyway.
And, make that appointment for counseling right away, okay?
I'm sorry you are having so much trouble with your step daughter.
I know a lot of people have replied to your post but I feel compelled to give you helpful words.
I was one of those teenagers!! I ran away from home (I would dissapear for days at a time), faught with my parents, did drugs, got tattoos and piercings, unsafe sexual activaty (std), NEVER went to school.
My parents were very caring people. They raised me good. I went to church, played sports, had good friends. When I was about 13 I found some new friends and it just went down from there. I didn't care what my parents said I was going to do what I wanted. My parents tried everything. I did counseling for a couple years. It never helped, I wasn't going to tell some stranger what was really going on in my life. They would ground me, take my stuff away, try to talk to me. They even got to the point that they were going to have me live in a foster home because they couldn't handle me. Social workers were even involved. Finelly their last resort was to send me to treatment. It was the best thing my parents could have ever done for me. I faught it at first. I wasn't willing to even try it. but after a couple weeks of being there I finally caved and gave in and it worked. After treatment for 60 days I stayed in a halfway house for 90 days, another good thing. I fixed what was going on with me (in my head) , I got away from my old friends and I made new ones. About 1 year later I started a sober school (Sobriety High) a well known school in this area and that is where I graduated from. I tried to go to a regular school but it just didn't work.
I am now 27 years old I have two wonderful kids and have been married for 7 years. Looking at me now you would never guess that I went through that. Only a few tattoos on my hand are reminders.
Whenever I hear a story that reminds me of me, my first thought is the kid needs treatment. It takes them out of their life style and shows them how to have a better life.
Sorry to ramble on about my life but I thought you might want to hear from someone that was like your daughter. If she's anything like me, nothing will work. She's probably to diffiant.
Hi I'm 39 and I was one of those kids also. But Unlike Peanut my Mom sent me away for treatment through the family courts for a year than I decided to stay another 2 yrs to finish high school. She's really super ****** about her Mom so do yourself a favor and don't talk about her Mother as white trash alcoholic if you ever want to have a relationship with this girl it's not your place to. She needs major therapy to work out her anger and abandonment issues. Sometimes removing the child from the situation is best they get the time they need to step back and look at themselves and everything else in their lives. I thank god my Mom sent me away half the people I use to hang around with are either dead or still using drugs. Good luck this is a really tough one it's seems like no matter what you do you can't do anything right but you know what you have to do.
Re: trouble with out of control teen: HELP! UPDATE
Well she did get a tattoo... "Because her Mom wanted her to" (even though she knew it was forbidden) and she hid and lied about a failing progress report. She went to her first support group meeting but I couldn't go. Her Dad had to take her. I had a very sick toddler at home and he didn't want to be left with her. So he took the teen. I guess it was productive. We found out that she is still cutting. (or so she says) I hope it is a start for her. We may still end up in therapy and she may still end up in a long term treatment program. Her issue isn't her friends it is her feelings about her mom... her diseased step-dad and her real dad... She doesn't have much to say about me other than that she loves me and that sometimes I am too strict and I yell too much. (Well at least someone in her life has taken an interest in seeing that she amounts to something)
I too was a "bad kid" I was having sex, drinking and doing drugs at the age of 13. By 14-15 my parents grounded me for 6 months and I straightened up. I turned in to an A-B honor roll student, almost always told the truth and learned to respect my folks instead of fearing them. I am a well adjusted 30 something, raising 3 kids and working, using my college degree. I never went to treatment, I never got counseling... I just got grounded and I got it together.
I appreciate everyones input... My step daughter isn't me... and she is facing a set of personal demons that I never faced...