13 yr old daughter refuses all help

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    • #126993

      Hi everyone my 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with ADHD & a strong possibility of ODD 2 years ago. It’s like a jigsaw has fallen into place! I was diagnosed this year I am 53 as I recognised the symptoms after educating myself hence all the years of clashing personalities!! She refuses meds, consultant won’t prescribe because she won’t engage, sat for 1 hour & basically grunted, that was 2 years ago. Refuses counselling, help of any kind. we’ve come forward from 2 years ago as I’ve learned that yelling, etc doesn’t work & I now understand myself more due to diagnosis, hence adopt various positive strategies within our home. I live in Northern Ireland & she got a A in order to secure a place in a top school when she was 11 (prior to diagnosis) kids here transfer at 11/12yrs. Fast forward 2 years, we removed her in May this year from the high achieving school because they were not managing her ADHD(constantly losing behaviour merits, detentions, etc), was being bullied badly, grades were dropping & my husband & I predicted school refusal next ŷear had she remained. Pastoral care was very poor. Bottom line was school more interested in A* & reputation (top school) & she didn’t fit into their mould. She has self harmed, has anxiety, very low self esteem, wants to be in her bedroom online every evening. I remove her phone overnight, that’s not negotiable much to her dismay. Removing her from school was very difficult as she was not on board & ‘protects’ the bullies(negative friendship better than none!). I also ended her friendship with a girl she was friends with for 10 years, the girl was toxic (shoplifting, alcohol, stole things from our home)my daughter still protects her!!!! she has just started back to the new school (she attended for the month of June), I have to drive her, she refuses the bus, is coming home from school, going to bed, won’t eat etc. she is extremely stubborn, strong willed, black & white & I’m afraid that she won’t embrace the new school. Their pastoral care is outstanding & at this point we want her to have better mental health, eventually accept her diagnosis & to try meds. The academia will come later, we hope. Also dealing with a teenager, hormones, moods etc. We think part of the problem is that she has a boyfriend from the previous school, which I initially disagreed with her seeing, but he’s like a best friend & since we basically ‘destroyed her life’ felt that there had to be some flexibility. They are both obsessed with each other & I think she just wants to be with him in the old school. We let her spend a lot of time with him over the summer because she has no friends. She used to be extremely social & we feel she will do anything to fit in & make new friends now. She won’t communicate, hates any discussion about ADHD etc & I’m now hovering in the background, observing, listening as I feel I need to back off a bit. Am so worried as she tends to gravitate towards danger, has asked to drink alcohol!! I explained the risks & as a parent I wouldn’t be doing a good job etc. My husband is somewhat supportive, is old school so that’s been difficult. We have no family support. I go to parent support meetings. Here in the UK ADHD isn’t widely accepted & kids can be labelled as spoilt. Our waiting lists are horrendous. No point in paying privately for counselling etc as she won’t talk, we already tried. I’d like any advice on how to progress so that I can build up her mental health, peak her interest in the new school, keep her safe & ultimately try meds. The new school is complete opposite to her old one (elite, brand new building)& probably has about a third of special needs of varying kinds. Old school is a grammar that requires an A via entrance test & we’ve moved her to non-grammar so I think a bit of stigma attached to that in her eyes. On the plus side she is an excellent athlete & musician outside of school, although very hard on herself & kinda starting to lose interest. Thanks in advance.

    • #127132
      Penny Williams

      Nurture her talents and interests. Give her an abundance of opportunities in those areas. She needs some successes and personal wins to start to build confidence again. She also needs true connection, so helping her find and build true friendships is important (just 1-2 is enough, it’s the quality of connection, not quantity).

      I would approach diagnosis, treatment and school very collaboratively with her. “We see you struggling and we want to help you. We need for you to accept help, but we also want to honor that the assistance must be right for you. Can we make an agreement that you’ll try medication for a month? After a month, if you don’t see a benefit, we will come back together to determine next steps, but honor your input.” Something like that…

      You Can’t Change Your Defiant Teen…

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #127715

      I have an 18 yr old girl with ADHD and ODD. As her councilor describes her ” She’s hardwired “. My talented, beautiful 18 yr old is a hand full, like your daughter. The world to her is black and white. We have tried medications multiple times but without success. She won’t swallow a pill and had a bout with an eating disorder 2 years ago which we caught early. she was in in a hospital for 3 weeks and outpatient counciling for another 6 weeks. We were soooo luckly, but she will most likely deal with her eating disorder all her life. ADHD meds cut appetites.

      We found a councilor 2 years ago she loves, after failing with 5 previous councilors. This councilor connection is key !!! Our girl is gifted with beauty and athletics. She runs and excels as a sprinter, which fits her personality. Hates school because its hard for her to focus/study and finish tasks. Despite her academic challenges she is a great writer and quick verbally. Unfortunately her mouth is mean also. She is drawn to dangerous things- drugs, e-cigarettes and teen sex. We have avoided any major issues so far and she has pulled back on her risky behavior. Kids with ADHD are 3-4 years behind maturing behind their friends. We are trying our best to keep her out of harms way and hope our endless efforts help her grown up later in life than most. We are constantly supporting anything she is interested in and succeeds at. Helping her maintain POSITIVE friendships and activities is endless and exhausting but so worth it !!! Hang in there with her and support her despite that she probably wont thank you at first.

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