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NormanM, Author, lecturer and psychotherapist.
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2568
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DHP, ECP, UKCP Registered
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my daughter is 18 and has a history of drugs and making wrong

Customer Question

my daughter is 18 and has a history of drugs and making wrong choices.we live near rochester ny. recently she admitted to her dad she has been using heroin. we r devastated. i am the mom and had surmized this and she has been lieing and stealing money from me. her dad and i refuse to give her anymore money. she graduated high school and during school she worked part time. she wanted to take the summer off and now its time to look for a job and take some college classes but she has no initiative. i called unity to c if we could put her in chemical dependency and also get a mental evaluation but she has to willingly do it iwas informed. if we think shes a threat to herself which we feel she is by using drugs etc. we can have her put under mental arrest. today we as parents are going to sit down with her and give her these options and talk. do we take the car away from her. where do we go from here. when she doesnt get her own way her behavior is eratic . we r lost.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  earthsister replied 5 years ago.


Good morning, I would like to assist you today.

JACUSTOMER-pu22reid- :

you have my question and concerns?


Yes I do, and before I answer, I must ask are your questions more in terms of your daughter's mental health; or what you as parents should do in disciplining her at this time?

JACUSTOMER-pu22reid- :

both. her behavior can be very eratic at times and the mood swings are horrible. cant always have a calm conversation w her. she gets very defensive. she is a very smart girl but is in a downward spiral.


As a parent, I do think that you are doing the right thing in seeking to get professional help (and drug rehab) for your daughter. The difficulty will be getting her to accept this. How old is she, and I assume she is still living with you?

JACUSTOMER-pu22reid- :

she is 18 and does live w me. how do i get professional help. how do we get her to adccept this.legally can we have her put in drug rehab. do we go to hospital and will they admit her with our concerns


Sitting down with her, and giving her the options that she has available is the only obvious choice. You unfortunately can't force her to accept it, but you certainly can approach her in a way that will make her more willing to accept. What I recommend is that the focus of why you are seeking help for her is directed toward her future, and the fact that you love her, and what the best for her. If your daughter does have a doctor, starting with him or her to find recommendations for a good rehab and mental health therapist who can assist your family would be a good start.


and pardon the typo, I meant "want the best for her..."


You definitely should take the car away from her. Driving while under the influence of drugs only puts her in serious danger, and make sure you tell her this. If she wants to get the car back, and any other privileges that you may take away, she has to accept getting help.


I also want to add, that while you may take away the car and other privileges, do provide her some incentive for successfully completing therapy and rehab. Maybe a new computer, or some thing of that nature that she would want, and will encourage her to get help. There is a nice website that may help as well in your search to find help for your daughter:

JACUSTOMER-pu22reid- :

. can we go to emergency and have them admit her for mental health exam if need be. i need steps and details.shes going to freak out when we take car and go into a rage. i need step by step instructions how to handle her.

JACUSTOMER-pu22reid- :

weve tried incentives and doesnt work


To better assist you with your mental health questions, it would be best that I direct your question to a Mental Health Professional; Would you mind a brief wait, while I connect you to one of our Mental Health Experts?

JACUSTOMER-pu22reid- :

i will wait

Expert:  earthsister replied 5 years ago.

Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. I have attempted to route your question to a Mental Health Professional, please be patient, as we find the proper expert to assist you. Thank you!

Expert:  NormanM replied 5 years ago.

The first thing is that you have to do sure that you are clear in your own mind as to what standards of behaviour are acceptable, and which are not. Then she has to learn to meet those standards. Think about things like staying off drugs, controlling her temper, showing respect, and so on.

Make sure that she understands that you are NOT just going to hang in there, that you are not going to tolerate it further.

People like her try to be manipulative, but when they see that their attempts to manipulate by way of withdrawal, guilt, anger or intimidation are not working, they learn to change What your daughter needs are firm boundaries. Being ‘soft’ just makes you easier to manipulate, and anger just teaches her to be angry when she in turn is faced with a difficult situation.

She is quite old enough to know about actions and consequences. We humans only indulge in behaviour that brings reward of some kind. Only when that reward (whatever it might be) disappears, or the consequences of our behaviour promise to be unpleasant do we consider changing what we do. Therefore, you have to give her reason to change – otherwise she will not. Why should she – she has things just as she wants them right now.

Here is the clue to sorting things out. When you are faced with non-co-operation – give her choices, and make sure she understands the consequences of her choice – and always follow through. If you don’t she’ll just get confused.

She needs to be taught if she wishes to have a comfortable life she has to start acting responsibly and reasonably.

Never get angry, stay cool and in control, matter of fact and stick to the facts. Avoid drama.

Never, never be blaming or accusatory. Tell her how you feel about her behaviour, and make sure she understands that while you love her, her bad behaviour is hurtful and will not be accepted.

Make sure though that when she does do something well, that she gets credit for it. Any successes are to be praised!

I think you are doing the right thing sitting down with her, and as for talking the car away, I would keep that in reserve, but make it clear to her that that will be the next step if she does not sort herself out.

The laws of committal vary from State to State, but in general there are broad similarities.

Committal is a legal means of providing individuals with emergency services and temporary detention for mental health evaluation and treatment when required. It can be voluntary or involuntary.

A voluntary committal is when a person 18 years of age or older, or a parent or guardian of a person age 17 or under, applies for admission to a facility for observation, diagnosis or treatment freely and of their own accord

An involuntary committal is when a person is taken to a facility for involuntary examination.

This can only be done when :

There is reason to believe that he or she is mentally ill and because of his or her mental illness

The person has refused voluntary examination and

The person is unable to determine for himself or herself whether examination is necessary and without care or treatment, and the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself and such refusal could pose a threat of harm to his or her well being, and there is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment, the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself, herself or others in the near future as evidenced by recent behavior.

A person may not be detained for more than 72 hours.

A law enforcement officer may take an individual to a facility for evaluation if he has reason to believe that the individual's behavior meets the statutory guidelines for involuntary examination.

If a person is willing to swear in a Petition for Involuntary Examination that he has personally witnessed an individual causing harm to themselves or others, an "ExParte" for an Involuntary Examination can be made.

A person may not be detained for more than 72 hours on primary committal.

These are general guidelines, and you should get legal advice as to what specifically applies in your State.