Dear Ms. HeartBeat:
My daughter is 14 and has been smoking pot (in my house – like I can’t smell it hours later), letting her grades fall, and just being a typical teenager (or so I thought).
I come in today and she is cleaning up the house because it looks like a bomb went off in it. Now mind you – one of my rules is nobody in the house when I am not home. My new dining room table (I have only eaten at it about 5 times) has scratches in it, feet prints on the top of the table and nicks all along the edge of the table (kind of looks like the chairs were being hit or rubbed against the edge).
I go to get a drink, all gone, ate all the snacks I bought yesterday too. I open the freezer to see if all the frozen stuff I buy for after school snacks are gone as well and OMG!!!!!!! They drank my $60 bottle of tequila!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am livid at this point and screaming like an idiot! So, I tell her to go to her room and hand over the phone. I go to my room and find all these pictures of her and her “friends” in my house smoking pot and basically partying it up! Not to mention several VERY revealing pictures of herself. Then I go through her text messages and find that she is basically the neighborhood whore.
I can not believe this!!!! I could understand it if I were having a different man all the time or even a bunch of dates, but no. I had been with the same man for 13 years until we separated last December.
Her father passed away and I don’t have people to help me with her. It is just me, well, I have a 21 yr old son who lives with his girlfriend in Alabama, but… I tried to find anyone who will “babysit” her. She is too old and I have to work to pay the bills, I would gladly pay anyone responsible to watch her until I get home in the evenings. Please help me, and give me some REAL advice.
I live in the Nashville, TN area if that helps. I am at the verge of finding somewhere to lock her up and I don’t want to do that.
Fed Up to Here
Dear Fed Up:
First thing you need to do is think about when this all started. Really think hard and try to remember what happened in your life and/or hers that could be the source of this problem. Then talk to the school and find out if anything went on or is going on there. If this behavior has a sudden onset, there is most likely a trigger event that took place… you need to figure out what it is and who was involved.
Secondly, take her immediately to see a therapist. She needs someone to confide in that can help her deal with whatever is bothering her. The drugging, the drinking and partying are her juvenile attempts to deal with some severe emotional pain and confusion. When coupled with the sexualized behavior you describe, the clear indicators to ME are that your daughter has been molested and/or raped. Young girls that age are very vulnerable to older teen boys and adult men, especially if they are latchkey children left alone a lot, and especially if people in your neighborhood see her coming and going by herself all the time.
Another possibility is that the source of the trauma is your ex. Just because you were with him for 13 years doesn’t mean he is not the culprit in your daughter’s molestation. As girls grow and mature, their bodies change and dog a$$ men refuse to accept that this is a child. The mommas boyfriend is the #1 perpetrator of molestation when children (both boys and girls), are raised in single parent homes. So that is one possibility you need to seriously consider. The other is that it could be someone else, like a neighbor or a boy at school that attacked her as well.
Bottom line, your baby is exhibiting some disturbing signs of self-hate and rage. You don’t have the tools to handle this particular thing on your own. She is crying out for help and acting out like kids do to get your attention. You need to sit her in your lap and stroke her hair like you did when she was a baby. Cry with her. Do all you can to rebuild the bonds of your relationship. You’re her mother, and its your job to take care of her until she is old enough to take care of herself. Everything she is doing communicates that she is angry at you, because she feels like you didn’t protect her.
She may be too old for a babysitter, but a college student companion for after school activities, help with her homework, and someone to talk to is exactly what you need. Contact a local campus and see if some of the students would be interested in that job for the summer and next year after school.
I don’t live in your area or even in your state, so I can’t help you there. But I’m sure her school counselor or your primary care physician will have some information and referrals for you.