Q: She is 14 years old. Recently she was removed from her home with her father and two other siblings. The older sister is in college and lives with roommates. The younger sister was sent to live in Seattle with an aunt. There have been a lot of changes in her life in a very short period of time. Now she is very angry with everyone and hates us all. She says she just doesn’t want to be here in “this life.” When I asked her what she meant by this life, she replied “here on Earth.” I am very concerned. I feel she would benefit from talking to someone outside of the family but she says she won’t go. I know her life has not been easy and I have not been the greatest parent. I am wanting to make a sincere effort to change her life (and mine) for the better. Where can I start to really make her see things are going to change for the better?
A; You are right to be concerned. When anyone talks like that, it should always be taken very, very seriously. The first thing you need to do is make sure that whoever is taking care of your daughter is alerted to the way she is thinking. She needs to see a counselor for an evaluation and probably some treatment. She is one angry and depressed kid!
You didn’t say what your role in her life is right now. My guess is that from her point of view, talk is cheap. The grown ups haven’t done a very good job making a safe and secure life for her. She isn’t apt to believe any reassurances you make unless you put some solid action behind your words. If you want to change your lives for the better, start doing it. Let her know you love her – regularly. And keep her up to date on progress. If she sees you taking strong positive steps to change things, she may start to believe that you can be trusted and that life can be better. Meanwhile, I hope she is with someone you both can count on to keep her safe.
I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Dec 2008
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). My 14 year old is so unhappy. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/12/22/my-14-year-old-is-so-unhappy/