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David Akiva
David Akiva, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 167
Experience:  Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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My 15 year old daughter is drowning in an unhealthy relationship

Resolved Question:

My 15 year old daughter is drowning in an unhealthy relationship with a 16 year old boy that is morally, responsible and all around corrupt. He failed several years in school, was kicked out of one school for threatening to bring a gun to school and finally dropped out of his most recent school at 16 years old in the 8th grade. He is on probation for stealing. His home life is non existent and he has been living in the same town as my daughter with different family and friends but has been kicked out of 5 homes in less than a year. They have been secretly seeing each other for a year. I have repeatedly tried to stop this involvement but my daughter has turned into a first class liar. It had become easier for her to lie than tell the truth. As of recently she has started running away from home. She has been a great kid with good grades and involoved with sports and other activities until now. She does work two part time jobs. My question is do I give in and let her date him and get it out of her system, do I continue to fight this relationship and turn her away from? I need help.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  David Akiva replied 5 years ago.

Duddy :

Welcome, I am a professional counselor, behavioral-consultant and relationship expert.

Duddy :

Do you mind if I ask a few questions to better understand the situation and problem?

Customer:

Ask away. Anything I can do to help I will do.

Duddy :

How is your daughter doing academically right now? How long has she been dating this fellow? Are you sure you have reliable information about his background and his situation?

Customer:

Her grades through the school year were adequate. She made honor roll mention. They have been involved for a year. We live in a small, rural community and everyone knows what is going on. There are 1200 people in our town.

Duddy :

Are you still there?

Customer:

I am slow at typing

Duddy :

Ok that's all right. I noticed that you display here as coming in and out the chat repeatedly, just wanted to make sure there wasn't a problem.

Duddy :

Did you say in your presenting question that this boy was 16 in grade 8?

Duddy :

Also, what sort of stealing is he on probation for?

Customer:

I am here and not going anywhere. Yes 16 and in grade 8 until he dropped out of school this spring/

Customer:

He stole from the local grocery store, petty theft.

Duddy :

How do you feel about the boy as a person? Have you met him and interacted with him personally? If so, what was your impression?

Duddy :

What kind of group does he hang out with?

Customer:

The local cops know him well by reputation. I spoke with them yesterday. I know him and my gut instinct does not like him. I asked him to stay away from my daughter as she was too young to date. He has a temper. Once he got in my face and yelled the f word at me at a school function because I did not let him talk to my daughter or me. I feel he has an anger problem and he does not respect any authority figures. He has few friends because most people think he is weird. He does hang out with other loner type guys.

Duddy :

Well, based on what you've said it sound's like the boy has some problems, the criminal behavior, the lieing, the aggression. Just so you know I am conservative in my values. I don't think your daughter should be with this boy outside of adult supervision, let alone dating. A boy of the description you've mentioned needs treatment himself. The question is how can you get her to stop seeing him without puting her at risk of running away etc?

Duddy :

I'm just brain storming here. I can only supply suggestions to better help you make your decision on this. Could you make seeing him contingent upon his getting the appropriate treatment and only under conditions of adult supervision (with far less frequency) i.e. in your presence?

Customer:

That is my question exactly. I might add that my older daughter has him as a friend on facebook and he is totally obsessed with my daughter and I feel that if she does try to end this relationship, he won't let her. I feel he may stalk her and even harm her. I did ask for a restraining order for this boy. But my daughter says she hates the whole family and will keep running away or even "take care of herself". I thought about making a compromise with her about her relationship based on possible seeing a Christian counslor in exchange for seeing him and praying that she will learn it is an unhealthy relationship. I just think she is so reblious right now that she won't work with me.

Duddy :

She sounds like a very bright girl your daughter, perhaps if she better understood the potential risks associated with this kind of relationship, with a boy who desperately needs treatment. The research is pretty clear that unsupervised community time with an anti-social peer group can have devastating effect on a girl like your daughter. At the very least adult supervision can really, really help to reduce risk. I'm going to read your last response and then reply.

Customer:

My guess is he won't get appropriate treatment because his family does not think there is anything wrong with him. His mother passed away and his father lets him run wild and just pawns him off on differently families. His father thinks that he does no wrong. I have spoken with his father and know this. Without his support this kid will get no help.

Duddy :

It's a difficult age we live in with such a negative popular culture and values targeting children and adolescents. I think working with the right spiritually oriented counselor is a wonderful idea. Many pastoral counselors also have specialized clinical training as well. I would advise finding a counselor you feel comfortable with and develop a safety plan and an intervention, to minimize risk. It may be a step by step process whereby you plan and test action steps, re-evaluate based on what happens and revise or improve your plan as you go....

Customer:

But for now until I can get that going....I might mention that she does not want councelling, do I continue to try and keep her away from him? Or do I try supervised visits?

Duddy :

It may be helpful to see if you can help the boy get the treatment he needs. For example, access to an evidence-based treatment program like Multi-Systemic-Therapy or MTFC foster care. Again, I don't know his "diagnosis", for example, is he learning disabled or is he emotionally/behaviorally disordered leading to academic underperformance? That would be just one of several questions a properly trained mental health professional would ask in working with him and the situation. I can only look at this situation theoretically because I’m unable to see the facts.

Duddy :

I'm suprised that he would be held back in grade 8 so many times. In most cases school boards will transfer such a child to a specialized classroom or advance him with modifications. If the father disagrees that could be quite difficult. Again, I think getting to a well trained counselor that you feel comfortable with is the best thing to do at this time. A situation like the one you're describing can be so dynamic over time.

Duddy :

For example, if the father, in such a situation, were to hear that the courts love evidence-based treatment programs, that they get lasting postive results in so many cases, at home, school and the community, he may agree to particpate in one.

Customer:

He was held back in younger grades through out his school career untill he fell like three grades behind and was than kicked out of one school and than started coming to our school. I will see what I can do to get her the help she needs with our local professionals. We are limited because of our rural status and I will see if the principal at the school can help guideme as to where to go. I will leave things as they are and now allow her to see him to the best of my ability for now and continue to talk to her and tell her how much I love her and it is for her best interest

Duddy :

Again, it may be a step by step process that requires safety first, strategic planning, - contingency planning. For example, how will each person respond in each situation and what are the next best steps according to the situation. Let me get you some resources regarding treatment for the boy. You may be surprised, because these evidence based programs are spreading all across rural settings based on their results.

Duddy :

At the very least, I would try to insure adult supervision of some sort while they see each other.

Duddy :

I'll be back in a few moments...

Duddy :

http://mstservices.com/ this is the free MST program I mentioned.

Duddy :

Here is another good evidence-based program with rural affilations. It's called functional family therapy: http://www.fftinc.com/

Customer:

thank you for this information

Duddy :

Your're welcome. I only wish I could have been more helpful for all involved. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX and your family the best in all this.

Customer:

Thank you for your time and information. Goodbye

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