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Worried about my teens

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Tripletrouble posted 10/21/2013 21:13 PM

I have two teens and I'm afraid for their well being. The custody arrangement begins late November. They are both saying very little, but my 14yo oozes animosity. We have encouraged them to try therapy but both do not want to go. I am reluctant to force them at this point, but I will if it seems necessary. Any suggestions? They are at such a tender age to go off the rails. Tonight as I sobbed alone in my bathroom at what this has done to them I was seething in anger all over again at what WH's stupid, selfish choices did to all of us.

PurpleRose posted 10/21/2013 21:35 PM

I'm sorry. I know your pain well. My daughter is 13 and is so angry at her father for his lies, his cheating, his destruction of our family. I really don't know if their relationship (which is non-existent at this point) will ever recover. I have suggested she try to talk to him or spend time with him but she refuses right now.

:( wish I had something helpful to say. I just make sure she knows I love her, none of this is her fault, and her fathers shitty choices are his to own- she can be angry and has every right to call him out on his behavior (even though he doesn't want to hear it and won't take responsibility for all the pain he and his whore caused so many others).

Gemini71 posted 10/21/2013 22:21 PM

What does the law in your state and your parenting agreement say about kids who don't want to visit?

STBXH and I have it written into our agreement that after age 14, the kids get a say in whether or not they want visitation. We did it mainly because of hectic High School schedules, but it could also apply to antagonistic teens.

Pass posted 10/21/2013 22:23 PM

Hey Triple, I don't know if this will be helpful advice or not, but thought I'd offer my take on it.

Nobody wants therapy, but that doesn't make them need it any less.

When I was in the ER after my suicide attempt, they sent in a psychiatrist to talk to me. She asked what I was thinking about, and I said, "The client meeting I have scheduled for 9:45 tomorrow morning."

To me, that seemed like a perfectly sane answer. To her, it seemed like I wasn't ready to confront my demons yet. She committed me to the psych ward for a week.

That is approaching two years ago, and I still see a shrink every two weeks. It's the best thing I've ever done. We are slowly working through my issues (it ain't fast!), and I'm feeling stronger than I ever have in my life.

About 6 weeks ago, I stopped taking the antidepressants, and am feeling pretty good. I didn't think I needed therapy, but it was life-changing.

And thank fucking christ I was in it when I discovered the Princess is a whore. It gave me the strength I needed. If I hadn't been in therapy, that probably would have pushed me to another suicide attempt.

So I guess that's a long way of saying, you may want to consider forcing them to do therapy.

dmari posted 10/22/2013 02:31 AM

I also have two teen and know how it feels to be concerned about their well-being. If they absolutely will not go to therapy, I would suggest that you work with a therapist to help you help them. Does that make sense?

Also, my teens were allowed to chose to participate in visitations. Is that something your teens could do? They currently don't have any contact with stbx. They both see a therapist and psychiatrist.

Teen years are such a fragile and vulnerable age. Hugs to them and a big hug to you!

notmychoice posted 10/23/2013 07:17 AM

I could have written this post. My two teens have no relationship with their dad at this time. When/if he breaks up with the OW the kids may change their mind. I'm at the point now I don't even want to share the kids with him! He made the choice to have the OW over his kids. He had his fun and wants his kids back after months of not seeing them. Sorry, I don't mean to take over your post, but just hearing that you are going thru the same thing with your teens made me want to share with you and purplerose.

Merlin posted 10/23/2013 08:26 AM

Can group counseling work to start?

Perhaps you and your kids go together for a few sessions and then see what happens.

nowiknow23 posted 10/23/2013 08:39 AM

Peer groups may be an option if your teens refuse to talk to a counselor one-on-one. Might be worth talking to your school's counselor or your own IC to see if there are resources in your area?

Tripletrouble posted 10/23/2013 17:45 PM

Thanks for all the input. I discussed this with my IC last night and she had an interesting point. She said the kids right now have almost no control over anything in their lives. They have to go to school, follow rules, and have limited spending opportunities, and now their parents are divorcing. Although my state would allow them to choose custody at their age, all involved agreed that we would decide for them due to the already fragile emotional health of one of them. We didn't want to make them choose or put any pressure on them. So they didn't even control that. My IC said that allowing them to talk or not talk about it gives them back one thing they CAN control. She discouraged forcing counseling. I do like the idea of a teen support group though, and I'm going to look into finding one.

Phoenix1 posted 10/23/2013 18:31 PM

My DD17 wants nothing to do with her father and harbors great anger and resentment. She and I talk a lot, but I also offered counseling. She was adamant in her refusal to talk to a counselor and insisted it wasn't necessary. I did not push the issue and let her make the choice, but told her the offer was on the table should she change her mind at any time.

I agree with your counselor. We have to let them feel like they are in control of "something" in their lives right now given that it has been completely destroyed by the cheating parent.

rainagain posted 10/23/2013 21:26 PM

I have been through this too. Dmari's suggestion of getting support for you - you have an IC that may work or also go to a family counselor even if it's just you they see. But definitely make an appt. with their school guidance counselors. I did that and they suggested different approaches at different times for my kids. One had to see the social worker - he didn't want to but the school was able to force this when I couldn't get him to therapy. Another child the guidance counselor would find "other" reasons to check in with her. The third went to a group with a bunch of students and I don't think figured out why he was even there. They all benefited tremendously. I kept in touch with the counselor regarding major issues but she did a great job respecting their privacy as well. Don't under estimate this resource for you all.

It was a very hard journey and one of my kids was seriously at risk during this time. But we have all survived and are the stronger and healthier for it now. Just keep on top of where they are and who they are with and what they are doing and just be present at home to listen when they are ready to talk.

[This message edited by rainagain at 9:28 PM, October 23rd (Wednesday)]

EvenKeel posted 10/24/2013 07:19 AM

I felt my oldest needed counseling during the D but he refused. He said you can make me go; but you can't make me talk AND I won't!

I believe him because I tried counseling for him when he was little and the counselor literally through up her hands after a couple months and said there is no sense in coming until he is ready.

So I made sure DS knew it was an option when he was ready.

I also talked to the school and they had a program called Banana Splits. They pair children with children who have BTDT. Surprisingly, the counselor reported back that DS was able to open up that route.

Both of my children started out going to visitation but after a pretty short period of time one decided she doesn't want to go and the other does go. We agreed not to force it on the one that does not want to go. It has stayed like this for almost 4 years now.

You are very early into it so give it time, stay observant and do not be afraid to revisit the arrangement if it does not seem to be working for your kiddos.

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