DEAR COACH RICHIE: My Daughter keeps sneaking out of the house.For the most part her grades are great and she is a good kid. She is like your average teen likes to hide in her room. She has another home with my ex.
She has a friend that was born to a mother with mental disabilities. Her and her siblings were all adopted into one home many years ago! All the kids have some kind behavioral issues.
My daughter stayed the night at her house a couple weekends ago. They snuck out and went to be with another female friend, whose parents were drunk. The following weekend my daughter goes to her dads house on Saturday.
My spouse and I went out to a Halloween party on Friday. While we were gone at the party, her friend somehow gets a ride to our house. Her friends mom contacts me on Saturday and asks if my daughter has seen or talked to her daughter, she snuck out again and hasn’t come home. I ask my daughter and she says no. My daughter goes to her dads as normal. Her friends mom contacts me again and let me know their daughter has been found and they took her to the ER to be sent to treatment again.
They were going through their daughters phone and tells me their daughter was at my house Saturday. So I slept on this for a while. I really shouldn’t have. I spoke to my daughter, while she’s at her dads.
Her friend stayed the night at our house, the night we went to the Halloween party. I’m shocked! I have no idea how to really move forward with consequences.
COACH RICHIE: Your daughters world sounds very challenging. When you say my daughter keeps sneaking out of the house. Is she doing it chronically? She has two homes which comes with it’s own sets of challenges. Before going down the consequences route. Have you taken some time to understand your daughters world? When parents get divorced children now matter how many times we tell them it is not about them they feel as though it is them. All they want is their family to be together and now they are not and It sounds like you are remarried.
Which creates more turmoil for a teenager. She may feel like she really doesn’t belong anywhere. Do you and your ex have different sets of rules and consequences for your daughter? This is another challenge for divorced parents as they try to make up for the fact that the family is not together any longer so they over compensate by bending and breaking the rules thinking that will give their child a break. When children disconnect from their parents they find solace, support and guidance from their teen tribe. When this happens this is when bad behavior starts and is usually just the beginning.
They disconnect for many reasons, divorce and family split up is one of them because they feel as though they don’t really belong anywhere or maybe because parents are so busy getting their new lives going they forget about the children. When children become teenagers we believe they are self sufficient and they can care for themselves and that is untrue. They need us more than ever to be their compass point in life. The teen tribe cannot give our children what they need the most. A chance to discover their own identity and to find themselves. Teen tribes only mission is to have everyone be like them. Bad in school, smoking, doing drugs, sneaking out and typically hating their parents. I have seen times when children of divorced parents attempt suicide, get arrested, etc. why?
Because in their minds they think that if they get all the attention on themselves the parents may find a way to reconcile for the trouble child’s sake. Or if they are still together stop fighting with each other to focus on the trouble their child is getting into. So what do you think your daughter needs right in this moment from all her parents? When you want to break through their masks the best way to do that is to flip the tables and tell them you have been a terrible parent and apologize for not being their for them.
Because 9 out of 10 times that is what they are thinking and they act out because they are not mature enough with their emotions to express themselves. So instead of them sharing we get a troubled teen. When you do speak with her, just listen because sometimes that is all they need.
A parent that listens and is not going to fix, judge, advise, lecture or try and rescue them. Acknowledge her feelings and ask her what you all can do to be better parents and be there for her. Sorry for the long response. Hopefully you can find something here. You got this all day long. We can love them or control them but we can’t do both
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