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Teenaged Daughter Teenaged Daughter

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Unread 11-30-2004, 07:00 PM
Teenaged Daughter

i have two daughters....one is 19 and the other is 13. To make a long story short concerning the 19 year old....at 13 she began cutting herself on her forearms and stomach. we took her to several theapists in a row trying to help her. at 17, she 'emancipated' herself and went to live with my ex because my husband and i were 'too strict.' she dropped out of hs, eloped at age 18 to a boy she met over the internet. now she is going to a tech school and working part-time...on the right path, but has some way to go.

now, my 13 year old has begun cutting herself. this is a straight A student, musically talented, basically good kid. my husband and i really do not push the grades, it is her decision to make all As. i took her to a therapist and my dtr. sounded so healthy, that i felt we were wasting our time. i discovered new cut marks ...i found bloody band-aids in the trash.... do not know what to do.
we talked to her to try to find out the reason for the cutting...stressed, hurt, depressed or angry...maybe she is just trying to get attention.

in the meantime, my father is 'withering away' in a hospital after breaking his hip. he suffered a stroke 18 months ago and wants to 'die.' my brother is stressed out with his health problems and his wife.

me...i had surgery six months ago and feel good.

any ideas on the 'cutting?' any similiar experiences?

i know cutting releases 'endorphins' ... a body's natural antidepressants...so i know the effect of cutting. i just want to know how to stop my dtr from doing it....we have already told her that she is going to lose some of her independence since we are going to have to watch her more closely. for example, i will have to make unannounced visits to her room to check for new cuts, etc. i cannot leave her at home unsupervised, etc.....

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Unread 12-02-2004, 12:22 PM
Re: Teenaged Daughter

Originally posted by JABD
Now I am not your average garden-variety mother. Oh, no. I have been known to do some pretty bizarre things in order to ensure the safety of my children. I also can be counted on to come up with very unique and un-popular "consequences" for my kids misdeeds.

I would LOVE to know your consequences. Everything we do to our 14 yr old boy does not phase him one bit, no big deal, so he continues to do the same things, because he doen't care about the punishment.
We have even taken everything out of his room that makes noise or he could play with or listen too, this includes clock radio, so we got him one of the annoying bell kinds..LOL
I know that our doc for his ADHD never said to send him to his room as punishment, because that is like sending him outside to play because all he needs is his mind (which ADHD kids tend to have a great imagination)

Unread 12-02-2004, 05:40 PM
Teenaged Daughter

Update on my dtr who I discovered is 'cutting.''talked to my other dtr (age 19...soon to be 20) who used to cut and asked her what the attraction was. My oldest cut because she was depressed, felt numb emotionally and wanted to 'feel' something...we got help for her...long road but we are seeing the 'light.' OUr youngest is not depressed, makes excellent grades, has nice friends, is in several extracurriculular activities.

My oldest said that many of the 'teen-age' shows ....DeGrassi, even Seventh Heaven.....uses 'teen-age' themes...one recent was a character who cuts...instead of discouraging the teens, they are attracted too it...I think she is right.

So...I told my dtr that I will be checking her body at least once a week for fresh cuts...some checks will be unannounced. If I see any fresh cuts, her week-end social life will be revoked...no visits with friends, etc.....

I just decided to follow my instincts, right or wrong, and just lay down the law...since I think she is doing it to experiment and/or to get attention...If she continues to cut even with priviledges revoked, I will seek professional help.

I would welcome any ideas, suggestions, shared experiences.

Raising a teen-ager is the toughest thing I have ever done!
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Unread 12-02-2004, 06:10 PM
Teenaged Daughter

SCSusan, not long ago Dr. Phil had a program on teenagers cutting themselves. Not that I always agree or even like Dr. Phil, the show was informative. He stated that many times the teenager resorts to this behavior as a release from tension,
frustration, a feeling of powerlessness, and anxiety. He stated
that they may not know how to verbally express their feelings
or show anger.
You can read more on this show at the link below, and
then click on Dr. Phil's advice. There are also resources
for this issue.
Good luck!!
Unread 12-03-2004, 09:14 AM
Teenaged Daughter

I have cut before. I did it as a way to numb out, not to feel. It was a way to externalize internal, emotional pain. I was the perfect kid also, except for my little secrets. I would definitely think she needs counseling perhaps. My parents never had the faintest idea that something was wrong in my life. I played like everything was fine. Just in the last year have they found out how bad off I really was. I have been hospitalized 5 times in the last year for depression, suicidal thoughts, and self harm.
My advice would be to see about placing her in a psychiatric hospital, saying to her that you want her to be safe and right now you can't trust her not to hurt herself. If it is attention seeking, she will figure out real quick that this isn't the way to get attention. But she is also in a place where they can figure out what is going on. She could have a psychiatric illness, such as Borderline Personality Disorder. It could be some things have happened to her that she doesn't feel like she can tell you. Me personally, I went through a lot of sexual abuse, which seemed to be the catalyst that turned my life into a mess. Just my Deb in KS
Unread 12-04-2004, 07:39 PM
Teenaged Daughter

Thank you for the responses. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. The Dr. Phil web site was especially helpful.

My older dtr is dignosed with borderline personality disorder and we are very familiar with this disorder. Fortunately, her case is not as extreme as others with this disorder, but we do see many signs of this disorder.

Our younger does not exhibit the same personality traits as my older dtr. I may add that they are half-sisters...

This week has been good so far. I have checked her periodically this week for new cuts and have not seen any. She will be on restriction if we see new cuts..She has been very loving and less moody since we have been more firm...funny, isn't it. When we 'draw the line' they seem happier after their initial negative reaction.

We did take her to a therapist a few months ago and she had nine sessions...frankly, i felt she was wasting her time, she had no major issues (unlike my oldest(

At this point, we are at a 'wait and see' stage. We found out with our older dtr. to put her in a facility actually made the problem worse. She got to know other teen-agers with worse problems and actually enjoyed the 'drama.' Another symptom of borderline.....you have to be so careful when you are dealing with someone with borderline personality disorder. There are not many therapists who are competent with treating personality disorders.

My youngest has been reading an adolescent novel on a girl who cuts and has been watching several shows featuring teen-age characters who cut. Instead of making this bizarre behavior unattractive as I am sure this book and shows intended, I think it has my dtr. more curious about cutting.

No offence to anyone, but I have met some wonderful counselors, but then I have met others who 'sided' with the teen-agers and 'coddled' them. I am sure their intent was to form a relationship with their teen-age client, but instead it backfired and parents were viewed as the 'bad' guys and the counselor believed everything their troubled teen-aged client told them. Instead of helping, they became a buddy. I had this experience at a pyschiatric hospital as did several of my friends with their dtrs....so be careful. Fortunately for me, i went to therapy at the same time we had a crisis situation with our oldest so that I did not have a nervous breakdown during that time and could voice my concerns to a neutral party to help me stay the parent and not back down.

Unread 12-04-2004, 08:06 PM
Teenaged Daughter

I have my masters in counseling and used to work with adolescents. Funny, I had all of the answers until I had adolescents of my own.
I have a 16 y.o. DS and 13 y.o. DD. We have had some minor problems with DS and curfew. He got stopped by a police officer at 2:30 in the morning with a girl who had sneaked out of her house. She had called him to come pick her up. He was supposed to be spending the night at a friend's house. When we got the call at 2:30 AM, we went to pick him up. Because of where he was stopped, it was about an hour before we got to him, so he spent the hour in the back of the police cruiser with the officer lecturing him. The officer told him that the girl he was with had been in trouble before, and it was in his best interest to drop her. We had problems with this girl calling him at 2 and 3 in the morning and had taken away his phone. We told him that if he got picked up again, he would go to juvenile detention, which was backed up by the officer. He still tried to push the limits for about 5 weeks after that experience, asking to be allowed to stay out after curfew. We couldn't believe he would even dare ask! We stayed firm with him and now he gets in about 20 or 30 minutes before curfew.
All that to say this, yes, I think that they push the limits to see how far they will go. Yes, I do check my son's e-mail and weblog and cell phone records. Yes, it is invading his privacy, but I feel that while he still lives under my roof, privacy is not an option. It is so hard to keep kids safe nowdays.
You're right, cutting is an emotional release, and there aren't too many people who know how to deal with borderline personality disorder. In my experience, most cutters and borderline personality disorders have had some sort of abuse in their history - usually sexual. Firm limits are the very best way to deal with such individuals, but be aware they can be very manipulative and dramatic, as I am sure you well know. If you don't like the therapists you are finding, keep looking. Also, ask if they have or have had teens of their own. I cringe to think of advice I used to give before I had teens of my own.
Best wishes to you.
Unread 12-06-2004, 07:46 PM
Teenaged Daughter

Thank you, Ronda for sharing your experiences...it helps to know that as a mother, I am not alone raising teen-agers.

Cutting is more common among teen-age girls that many people are aware.

Strangely enough, our oldest who was diagnosed as borderline was not sexually abused. It is true that most borderlines are sexually abused. Interestingly, my father who is 77 has been diagnosed as having histrionic/narcisstic personality disorder. My ex, my oldest father, has a history of mental instabiity....I have an aunt on my father's side who commited suicide. More and more of this came to 'surface' during the past three years. I do see similiarities in my dtr's 'thinking' and her father's. They seem to go from crisis to crisis even though they are able to function within society...but on the 'borderline.'

We are keeping a close watch on our youngest. At 13 she gets moody, but we also have some really close days, thank goodness!

It is more difficult to 'counsel' your own children being so emotionally involved. It is easier to see things clearer when it does not involve your own child. Emotions do cloud our intellect.

My husband has a master's in social work and public health and is an independent counselor. Still, as you say, it is so much more difficult to deal with your own children.

Thank you again for sharing. SCSusan
Unread 12-06-2004, 08:58 PM
Teenaged Daughter

Sounds like you have a good handle on everything, Susan. I wish you the very best! I know it is far harder than I ever imagined raising teens. This is the time when I miss my parents' wisdom the most. They were foster and adoptive parents to many children. I was the only biological. They saw the whole gamut of behaviors. That's probably what led me into the counseling field. My mom passed away while the kids were still little. My dad passed away last year. Before he died, I would call him with "You will never believe what YOUR GRANDCHILD just did!" Before I was finished, though, he would have me laughing and so much more calmer about the whole situation. When we were driving to pick up my son from where he was stopped by the police officer, I kept imagining how my Dad would have handled the situation. It helped.
Once again, the very best to you and your family!
Unread 12-07-2004, 06:49 PM
Teenaged Daughter


It sounds as if you had a very special set of parents. My mother passed away 20 years ago and she has been my major role model. My father remarried 18 years ago to a wonderful lady who is a wonderful step-mother. I seek her advice often since she has raised four children. She became a widow at age 41 with the oldest beginning medical school and the youngest was 14. One of her sons is bipolar and was on drugs during his teen years...he is doing rather well now.

My husband has a 'past' too and has been sober and clean for 25 years and is a wonderful husband and father. So, I know our children will eventually turn out okay.

So far, my 13 year old is fine. we had dinner together tonight after her cello lesson. I try to reserve Tuesday nights as our night out. I have learned that I have the best discussions in the car when we go out together so I treasure those times.

Hang in there....no one knows what it is like unless they are wearing our shoes even well-meaning counselors, family and friends....

My step-mother told me last week that she felt my instincts were correct and to follow them. My youngest dtr. will lose week-end social priviledges if she 'cuts'. And now she is now allowed to be left alone in the house for a while...She has to accompany us to the YMCA, the grocery store, etc. Strangely, enough she has not protested too much and I secretly think she likes to go with one of us or both of us.

I do believe our children (no matter if they are a 'tot' or 'teen') feel more secure with boundries. If I reflect upon that, I realize that I work better with boundries, too.

Good luck to you and your family. Thanks again for sharing.


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