Daughter with risky behavior
I loved the book. It probably saved my sanity for the last six months.
I have a 15 yo daughter that is engaging in risky behaviors. Up until seventh grade, she was a perfect child. She was in the gifted program at school, polite, and always teacher's pet. She started getting an attitude in seventh grade, which everyone told us was normal. About six months ago, her father and I caught her looking at adult websites and arranging a meeting with a 19 yo man she met on the internet. The police actually caught her in the park after dark with him. Fortunately, things hadn't gotten too far when they were caught.
We started monitoring her internet usage (she knows this) and watching her very closely. Things seemed to have improved, but in the last week she has tried to meet three other people from the internet. She tried to have one pick her up from school, tried to convince us to drive her to the mall where she was supposed to meet another, and was planning on sneaking out in the middle of the night to meet the third. I'm not sure why she didn't meet up with the one after school. I think they might have just missed each other. We refused to take her to the mall. And she didn't meet the third because her dad had to stay up late working at home so she couldn't sneak out. I think the one that was supposed to meet her at the mall is her age, but I believe the other two are much older.
She has lost contact with all but one of her local friends and talks only to people on the internet. Many of these people call her at all hours of the night. She has figured out how to answer the phone before it rings. She talks very suggestively with these men. We had to hide the digital camera because of the pictures she was sending. Many of these people are older, and have a history of drug abuse and cutting themselves.
She is getting passing grades in hard classes, despite doing very little work. She could easily be a top student, but doesn't even try. She is in no school clubs or sports. Her room should be declared a toxic waste site. I don't know if she smokes, drinks, does pot or anything else. She claims to her internet friends that she does, but a lot of what she claims are lies. She is supposedly in love with a 19 yo college dropout from another state and talks about moving out there with him.
I just don't know what to do at this point. I'm afraid she will really get hurt or take off with someone. I want to take the internet away, and yet I'm afraid to because it is the only way I can know what she is up to and I don't want to make things worse with her. I should mention there is a family history of ADHD, OCD, and GAD, so I wouldn't be surprised if she has something like this.
Do you have any suggestions?
Please get to an adolescent therapist yesterday (ASAP). Your daughter's behaviors are not in the usual pattern of teen acting act. She could be suffering from any of the disorders you mention in addition to possibly being bi-polar. Present this to her as "the family" going to get help, but be sure to tell the therapist all that you know. In the interim, I'd continue with very close monitoring since her risk-taking is extreme and continuous.
Please keep us posted.
Dr. Mike Bradley
Thank you, Dr. Bradley. I have called to make an appointment with the psychologist that treated her younger brother for ADHD. We have to wait about a month to see him, but I know he is good and he already knows the family history.