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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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my out of control 16 year old daughter keeps moving out and

Customer Question

my out of control 16 year old daughter keeps moving out and in with various unsavoury family's, who then pursue me for money, I have told social services that I want her to come home and they say they can’t force her now she is 16 but I am also tell me that I am financially responsible for her even though she chooses to leave and live with families who don't work and live off government benefits until she is 18.
The main problem is that she is not going to school, and has her exams coming up, she has her boyfriend sleeping there whenever they choose (the boyfriend is the reason she won’t come home, he was found guilty recently for assaulting me, criminal damage and being in possession of cannabis) my daughter was thrown out of her boyfriend’s house when he was found guilty. my daughter came home for 4 days when she was first made to leave her boyfriends, however was controlling an violent towards her brother and myself the whole time, when she is at home she makes everyone's life a living nightmare and I just don't know what to do for the best.
I love her so much, I’m terrified that she is ruining her life, by not being at school and the chance of pregnancy being a real one, everyone she associates with are extremely antisocial and have a horrible life.
My daughter has been drawn to these kind of people since she was around 12 however has always been a very difficult angry and controlling child. in her younger years she was always having problems at school, as she got older she would refuse to go and assault me and run away sometimes overnight, when she was 14 she met her current boyfriend and she began to get worse, violent and downright horrible to be around and would run away for days, often hidden in her boyfriend’s house with the help of his mother!!.
I have been a single mum since my daughter was a baby and my son was 4 and I have always worked, have a career, I own my own home, car and my Son is studying at University and doing very well, my whole parental live has revolved around making sure I can provide for my children and be the best parent I can. Yet I feel desperate, I can’t sleep at night, I worry about her constantly, yet when I see her she tells me she hates me and to leave her alone. She tells her confidants that she has been abused her whole life when this is not true and this is devastating for me. I have even been arrested and kept in a cell for 11 hours as she accused me of assaulting her when I hadn’t seen her more than 3 weeks, I was later released with no charge and my daughter was warned that she could be in trouble for lying and wasting police time... she gave no explanation but just said a simple sorry shrugging her shoulders.
When I see her she tells me she will come home, however under the condition that she can do what she wants when she wants, that, she is 16 and I have no right to tell her what she can and can’t do and if she wants to see her boyfriend she will and she even says he only assaulted me because i looked at him in a way that he doesn’t like and so it was my own fault!
What can I do, I want her home, I want her to be happy have a good and positive life, finish school and have fun with nice friends.
What my daughter wants is, no rules or boundaries to come and go as she pleases, she lives in this delusional world, her whole life seems to be about anger, hate, arguments and living from moment to moment, I listen to her conversations sometimes with her boyfriend and all they talk about is who they hate, who he is going to “bang out” his ailments, her boyfriend talks about suicide, if my daughter wants to do something without him, or even that she just needs to go in at night. (my daughter thinks this proves how much he loves her) he talks about his doctor thinking he may have bipolar and schizophrenia and my daughter just seems to want to be with him more, she is completely obsessed by him and from what I can see he is obsessed with her too. They seem to always have loads of things.... Junk, jewellery cigarettes etc but they have no jobs, or money, but of course money goes missing from my house. There life and relationship is completely destructive and totally consumes there every being.
What can I do
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Heidi LPC replied 4 years ago.

Heidi LPC :

Good Morning! This sounds like an extremely complicated situation with quite a history attached, and I can imagine how painful it is for you to manage. The basic message I get from reading is that your daughter is rebelling in a powerful way, and is very fearful of being controlled (however, inside, I am guessing that she is hoping for someone to be strong enough to be able to contain her ever-growing rebellion) . She has somehow learned that there are no boundaries for her behavior and although she acts as if she is hardened and cold, she is self-protecting and covering up a multitude of personal vulnerabilities. My favorite stand-by phrase is that 'we teach people how to treat us"... and if you have tolerated her behavior in an effort to keep her in your life, as if she sets the terms on how you will relate to one another, this must now stop.

Heidi LPC :

Tough love isn't easy to do; yet, to simply tell her that you have reached your limit and that once she is ready to have a mature conversation about what she wishes to be different, and what she is looking for help with, you will then... and only then, be able to help her. Otherwise, you can no longer tolerate the abuse. It will feel like you are abandoning the relationship for a bit, but this isn't permanent. It is called putting down a boundary and following through on holding it firmly.

Heidi LPC :

She needs firm leadership with an understanding and caring, yet firm approach, with a focus on setting goals for what she wants her future to look like.

Heidi LPC :

Yet, sadly, the most important answer here is that as much as you want her to change and have continued trying to help her, the truth is as you stated; you can really only control yourself. All you can do now is to keep the hope alive that there will be someone who can reach her soon, or a circumstance that will occur to teach her the next lesson. For now, keep supporting the school's efforts to reach her, and don't give up on her, but set some boundaries for how she will treat you, personally. It will take time and strength, but all things change with time. If she can consistently see you as a source of love and support, yet knows she cannot abuse the relationship, this may be one of the things that begins to change and repair her relationship with you.... as well as with herself. My very best wishes to you on your continued hard work ahead!