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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I have a 15 year old daughter ( + 11 and 7 year old sons).

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I have a 15 year old daughter ( + 11 and 7 year old sons). I am married and work part-time as a GP. My daughter has changed significantly over the past year. She has started smoking tobacco,cannabis and has taken some form of class A drug ( I suspect mephedrone or ecstacy). However, we don't allow her to sleepover away from home so we can limit any drug taking. Also given my familiarity with drug effects I can see she is smoking cannabis a few times a week but the class A use has only been apparent on 2 occassions and while she does drink beer sometimes I've never seen her drunk.She has gradually moved into a peer group of older teenagers at school and latterly into a group of many 17 year old boys who are at a local college/unemployed. She lies to us and has stolen money, initially we suspected an occassional £5-10 but recently she took £200. She won't tell us what it's for despite our asssurance that whatever her problem we really want to help. She was on report at school for coming in late repeatedly and her tutor is very worried about her. She managed to roughly maintain her grades although could do better. She has always seemed lacking in confidence (unlike her siblings). We have set clear ground rules with sanctions and she ploughs through them resulting in temporary removal of things like her phone/Facebook access/pocket money. She is extremely strong-willed(always has been) and having grounded her her for 1 week for missing school, she accepted this discipline until the last day when she walked out of the house. We have since been reluctant to use this because we're sure she will defy the request and this will undermine our authority. We have sat down with her several times to discuss our fears and concerns and wish for her to have a bright future without effect. I'm considering residential courses- there's teenbratcampuk and places in USA/Canada. Any ideas as to how we should proceed would be really appreciated.
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Dear friend,

You do indeed need some kind of professional intervention. Your daughter is caught up in a very negative peer-group culture. Alas, the problem is quite serious and widespread in the UK, and so much of it is cultural.

You have been tough but fair with her. I know that you fear she will run away because she walked out. She made her move on the last day, and she turned the tables on you and in a sense became the one in charge.

You do need to have consequences for her and enforce the family rules. Never let your consequences become emotionally negative. She needs your correction and discipline, but you must contiue to show her unconditional love. She must know that her discipline is necessary and comes out of a sense of good parenting and not let her think that you don't like or love her. It is only her behaviour that you don't like.

I have looked over the entire website of Teenbratcampuk (http://www.teenbratcampuk.co.uk/whatistttp.htm ) and it is a reasonable alternative. Although the program is only 7 days long, it might be enough to break her behaviour pattern. They also are starting a weekend program for parents (beginning in October) to help with parenting skills for those with difficult teenagers.

Before you go further afield (Canada or USA and Canada is a more wholesome country), I urge you to give it a try.

Frame it not as a punishment or last resort, but as a method of getting some professional help that she will enjoy and learn from. In the end, she will grow out of this, but you are so right to protect and guide her in the meanwhile, before she gets into serious trouble or gets addicted to some hard drugs.

At least she has enough wherewithal to keep her grades up (somewhat) and that shows that she is not really lost, just under the influence of very negative and PERVASIVE cultural influences.

I wish you the very best success.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC
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