or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › I need a good story about overcoming trouble.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

I need a good story about overcoming trouble.

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Maybe it was you, or maybe it was your kid, but tell me if you know about a teen that climbed out of self-destructive mode. Please?

I want to believe that everything will work out, but some days are just so scary and tough.
post #2 of 15
to you Momma. Don't have the end of the story but things are looking better for my DS now than they did earlier in the fall before we got him the help he needs. He has things he is looking forward to now which I have always believed is why people make better choices - because they don't want to lose the time or focus on what is important to them.
post #3 of 15
There was a time when the people around me didn't expect me to live to see adulthood. When I turned 18 my father's co-workers threw him a party because noone thought I would make it that long.

The light came slowly but it came. I'm 36 now and no longer self destructive, happily married and a good mom.

It's important to be surrounded by people who love you, even when you're completely out of your mind and acting totally crazy.

Knowing you are loved is the most important thing, even if it doesn't look like it's getting through.
post #4 of 15
Well, when I was 15, I was smoking, drinking and smoking pot (showed up at school drunk at least twice in 11th grade...and stoned more times than I can count. I blew off school, for a variety of reasons, but one of the major ones was because I didn't expect - or want - to live much past graduation, anyway, so what difference did it make? I got in fights. I got into a steady relationship before I turned 17, but I was definitely heading in a self-destructive direction, sexually, before that (very...indiscriminating and didn't use protection - this was right around the time AIDS was first hitting the mainstream radar). I avoid a few of the "standard" dangerous behaviours of my time, most notably cocaine, but I was definitely in rough shape.

There was no dramatic end to it. Over the years after graduation, I got a job, got married, had a baby, and got my act together. DS1 was probably the single biggest part of it, but I was definitely much more together at 21 than at 16, in any case. Once I was out of school, and the hormonal upheaval of puberty had settled down, I started to get my life on track.
post #5 of 15
I was quite the party girl in my time but as I managed to grow into adulthood alright and I'm now a happy mother of 3. Remember that some of the things we think of as self destructive they think of as self discovery.
post #6 of 15
My son's sophomore year was pretty fraught. We got all the help we could and it was tough but he got better.

Looking back on it, what surprises me is the intensity of parenting my kid through it. It was like he was a toddler again in terms of our time and attention but also in terms of forgiveness and focusing on what was a true priority.

For me, the biggest lesson was facing the fact that he is nearly an adult. There was just no time for controlling behavior anymore. I had to give it up and just be completely on his side. There are still boundaries and such but our relationship shifted.

My parents had clung too hard to the control aspect and it took me a long time to recover from that.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you vereyone for you kind and thoughtful replies. I really appreciate it, and welcome more to come.

Originally Posted by PoppyMama View Post
Remember that some of the things we think of as self destructive they think of as self discovery.
I'm pretty sure that skipping meals is self destractive from any angle you look at it.

Originally Posted by Thisbirdwillfly View Post
Looking back on it, what surprises me is the intensity of parenting my kid through it. It was like he was a toddler again in terms of our time and attention but also in terms of forgiveness and focusing on what was a true priority.
I wasn't in the picture for when DSD was a toddler, I met her for the first time when she was 7 y.o. I see exactly what you are trying to say, though. The intensity is overwhelming. This balancing act of parenting a young adult is hard.

Originally Posted by Princess ConsuelaB View Post
The light came slowly but it came. I'm 36 now and no longer self destructive, happily married and a good mom.

It's important to be surrounded by people who love you, even when you're completely out of your mind and acting totally crazy.

Knowing you are loved is the most important thing, even if it doesn't look like it's getting through.
I try to remind myself that you can do only this much, and as long as love shows, it will all turn out okay. Thanks for reminding.
post #8 of 15
My step brother, at 7, was the sweetest, kindest, the most empathetic kid, When he was 17, he flunked out of school, was suspended for fighting, he drank, and smoked a lot of pot. He moved through life in a fog. My dad and step mom were unable to reach him. They tried therapy, church, medication, anything they could. He remained his sweet self, but just hell bent on self destruction.

What changed for him? He's now married, has a kid and another on the way. He owns his home and business, is an active member of the community and his church. He says what changed was finding something that mattered to him (skiing). He couldn't ski if he was drunk or stoned, so he got clean. He had to pay for it, so he he got a job. He wanted more money to ski, so he went to college. It just (pun intended) snowballed from there.

While not nearly as dramatic, I flunked out of college, drifted for a few years, indulged in some self destructive behavior. I know my family despaired of me ever doing anything with my life. Eventually, I got a dog (had have a job and apartment to take care of the dog), went to a therapist to figure out why I was wasting my life and time.

I hope things get better for you and your family soon.
post #9 of 15
My dh was convinced he would be dead by 25 and was bent on helping the process along. You name it, he tried it as far as drugs, failed out of a free college education, moved into a really bad neighborhood, etc. At 21 he decided he had to get out of that life and moved 2000 , knowing only 1 prson. We met 6 months later, got married a year later and life has moved on. He is the only one of the grandkids who has graduated from college, held the same job without being fired, and been married for 19 years in 6 months....
post #10 of 15
Dh started smoking at about 12 and quickly moved onto pot, shrooms, drinking, a brief stint with cocaine - but mostly pot.

He flunked the last year of school (he did go back and graduate, however)

I am not sure what got him out it...really I think it was getting away from negative influences in school (he really went to a very tough, horrid school). They also moved around the same time he graduated so he really did not assciate with the same people anymore.

I think he bummed around for about 6 -9 months after graduating. He kept weird hours and played lots of Nintendo. While others would disagree, I think he needed some of this time to heal and realise that doing nothing was not very fufilling. He eventually enrolled in a short term electronics course. Things snowballed from there and it is all good now and has been for years.
post #11 of 15
As a child, I was a straight A perfect girl. At about age 11, I went the exact opposite way. I was on the self-destruct path. My actual logic was that I was going to die by the age of 20 so why not... Life was very, very hard for many years. I went through serious drug addiction, dropping out of school in 8th grade, mental institutions, drug rehabs, juvenile detention, eating disorders, teenage pregnancy, pretty much anything you could think of being in a troubled teen story, I experienced. Finally, at around age 19, I started getting some self-worth and decided that I was going to live for my son. I got clean, got a great job, and life has only gotten better. I'm now a married, stay at home mother of three children who lives a very "respectable" life. What matters is that I am happy now. Life is good. No one who knows me now would know what I experienced unless I tell them.

There is light on the other side. However, the teen has to get it their own way. Nothing anyone did could convince me that life was worth living. I had to get there on my own. However, the people who helped were those who made sure I understood that they loved me no matter what. Not enablers but those who always had love in their heart for me.

I do have to say that none of my friends made it out. They either died, went to prison for very long periods of time, or are still stuck in that vicious cycle. It is a scary road to have a child go down and I hope, hope, hope that none of mine choose to go that way. My heart goes out to you.
post #12 of 15
It really helped me throughout those years to hear my parents tell me THEIR stories. And they didn't make it a point to tell their history during "teachable moments" - they told stories of their teenage hardships during dinner or on a car ride, etc. Daily we would hear about their life and it really helped us to get past some of the times we felt alone in the world.
Can you start offering some of your history to your teen? It may help them realize that this snapshot of their life is going to pass by in a blink of an eye.
post #13 of 15
I know you did not ask for tips, but it is hard to see a mama and teen hurting, so here goes:

Could you sneak some book or music therapy into her life?

For books I am thinking bibliotherapy - fiction. I am sorry I do not have any titles on hand, but a google search or post might help.

For music there are a bunch of songs I can think of:

If I could write a letter to me - Brad Paisley
There is one by Rascal Flats that touches on suicide that I cannot think of at the moment...
Razors Edge (Rush)


post #14 of 15
I started self-harming at about 12, skipping school at 14... by 16 I had had sex, often unprotected, with multiple partners, some a lot older than me. I was binge drinking on a regular basis. Never dropped out of school because I didn't have anything better to do and I was one of those kids who could get good grades with little effort... when I was actually there.

By late teens I was working as a waitress, living hand to mouth, spending my wages on clothes and alcohol and having an intense, unhealthy relationship with a married man in his forties. That ended when his wife threatened to leave and take the kids; I had some one night stands one of which left me pregnant with DD1. I stopped drinking altogether and met now-DH when I was about 12 weeks pg. We married three months after DD1 was born.

I really do think my pregnancy saved my life. I've only had a few drinks since then. I went to counselling at DH's request and figured some stuff out. My girls have a stable, loving, involved mother.

I have no easy answers for how to get through it, or how to get out of it. Obviously getting pregnant isn't a good answer.

The thought of one of my girls going down that road terrifies me. My heart goes out to you and your family.
post #15 of 15
Hi, I read here often but have never posted anything, I've been shy. I felt compelled to answer your post though.
I have a son who is almost 19. He was always a difficult child, when he was 13 I lost my husband, my love. It was just me with my 13 year old and 2 younger children. That was when mayhem came to my house. My 13 year old went completely out of control. Between 13-15 he was in all sorts of trouble, school trouble, legal trouble. He finished middle school in an alternative school after he got kicked out, he almost got kicked out of high school, he went through juvenile diversions, probation, kept breaking all the rules. He was smoking pot, drinking, doing anything he wanted, didn't care, I had no relationship with my child. At 15 he ended up in Juvenile Detention, just for a few months, but I felt he was about to go sliding downhill in a huge way. By this point I was ready to have a break-down, I couldn't do it anymore. While he was in there I had a big talk with my parents and my brother, who came quite a distance to see me. I told my brother I can't do this. When my son was released my brother was there and he took my son (my son and brother have always had a lot of contact, so not a stranger!), took him well, about 2000 miles away. That was hard, I felt terrible sending him away like that, I felt like I'd failed him, but I knew that I'd tried everything, I didn't know what else to do with him.

My son started over again there with my brother, and his teenage son, and two younger boys who were 50/50's (so sometimes my brother had 4 boys, I felt like I was a burden to him, he just said 'don't'). My son did get into legal trouble a couple of times (he was placed on a probation there - which he actually complied with for a change and was released early from), he did change schools once (the one he's ended up in is very good for him), he did give my brother trouble. My brother gave him a lot of time in response, spent a lot of time working with him and his behavior. My son was kept accountable for his behavior, his uncle kept his expectations high. He went through some (more) counseling out there. He and his cousin, who's close in age, have become the best of friends, well, brothers, over the years, I was worried he'd resent my son's arrival.

Now I'm not suggesting that everyone send their kids away! And it was not an easy decision to make in any sense. It was the toughest choice I have ever made in my life. I felt like I was giving up on him, and I felt like he would think that too. This is merely what worked for our family, and my son was willing to go, and he went knowing that his uncle's attitude was that he wasn't a visitor in his house, he was a child living under his roof. I think that my son needed a strong male father figure to pull him through, and my brother didn't put up with nonsense. I have absolutely no regrets (now) at getting him out of this neighborhood, away from the kids he was getting in trouble with, and the ones he was fighting with. I do not think that I could have pulled him through this by myself, it took help from my family, and I am eternally grateful to my brother for helping me with one of the 3 most precious people in my life. I truly think he would have ended up in prison (which was also the opinion of the last judge he saw here). I think that one of the most important things for seeing change in my son was getting him involved in activities - and having him stay involved! My brother insisted that he involve himself in things, and my son saw his cousin involved in school activities/sports and things went from there.

My brother made sure he kept in contact with me, he made my son call everytime there was news to share. I always made sure he knew I loved him, because to send a child away like that, it's a terrible fear. This Christmas my son came home for the holidays, it was the first time he's come by himself, instead of with his uncle and cousin. He was home with us for his whole school break, he's still in high school, his last semester until he graduates. He asked me to go out for his graduation, which I'll be doing. My son has grown so much, I feel sadness for not being there to see him on a daily basis, but I am so grateful that I'm not seeing him grow up in prison. He is such a different kid, he's very sweet, very well mannered. (and wow, helpful even!) My son and I are still working on our relationship (and his relationship with his brother and sister, which is a little awkward and distant, they were young when he left), this visit went a long way towards rebuilding our relationships. We really enjoyed spending all this time together, we talked a lot, about everything, fun things and painful things. We hurt each other over the years, but we will get there. And my son is going to make it, I'm sure of that.

Again I know that this isn't a choice for everyone, it's not something I advocate, or even something that many people would want to do. But him going to his uncle saved his life. He had to have support that I couldn't offer to get himself out of the self destruction he was in the middle of. The support was 2000 miles away but it was the support that my son needed. Things had gone beyond what I could do for him, which took me a long time to accept, a long time to grasp the 'takes a village' theory.

Like I said, sending a kid away is extreme (my younger two aren't going anywhere!!) and to start with I couldn't really believe he was gone, that that had been a decision I'd agreed with. But other things that worked with my son are relevant, getting involved in activities, having firm boundaries, knowing we do things because we love them. Maybe even pet therapy! - he'd always talk about the dogs my brother has, I think he learnt about responsibility from them too (my nephew told me one time that he was real glad someone else was picking up their **** ). But the main point is that kids can come out the other side just fine. Some do take more time, and more extreme responses than others.

I'm sorry that this became so long! (maybe I should introduce myself somewhere!) Christmas was great and affirmed for me that kid's can make it, just a few years ago I really couldn't see how things could ever be fine with my son.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Preteens and Teens
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › I need a good story about overcoming trouble.