Ok where should I start, my daughter is recently 17 years old, and she is out of control.We live in New York City with her little brother and sister. My husband of 19 years is a very busy CEO who is only home about once every 2 weeks or so since he travels for business.I am a physician who recently switched to private pratice to have more time with my children. Recently my daughter has been acting crazy, she doesn’t listen to me anymore, she dresses like a rock and roll slut, and leaves home for sometimes days, and everytime I ask her a question she curses at me in front of the other kids.

One day I decided to take action since grounding her doesn’t work, I listened to a friend and decided to hit her, and she hit me back and bruised my face. She attends a private school and I hear her talking on the phone with her friends saying that she dreams about becoming a stripper (WHY!!??). I have threatened to throw her out and she seems happy, personally I rather not cause only god knows in whose house she would be staying in.

I listened to my friend and decided that maybe it’s just a phase and it would pass. It only has made it worse, I found out from the doorman that she has been going into my office and I was mortified to find that some prescriptions that I keep in my office for patients (Some patients can’t afford healthcare and me being a physican I know how hard it can be with this healthcare system, my patients come first before any type of payment, well she has been pilfering them, I searched her room and found marijuana and condoms, when confronted she laughed.

Her father only tells me that he’s too busy and to wait for his vacation. His solution is to give her money and she would be happy with me. Lastly I hired a private investiagator to follow my daughter, and he sent me pictures of her going to a horrible neighborhood in New York City where I would’nt dream about stepping foot in. My little baby was with some guy that looked like he came out of jail. we have tried to go to a therapist, but she just says no.

To my suprise I ran to her school, and found that her grades were exceptional and she even received a scholarship and has been accpeted to a number of universities.

Is my husband right, should I just give her money so she can be my friend like she used to0 be. We used to go shopping all the time, now she hates me and my second daughter is slowly becoming like her pretending to smoke cigarettes and color her hair. Also my son is being called gay by the both of them, and he is only 9, I heard that he might turn gay if they keep calling him gay.

Is she lost for good I don’t understand the good grades and the irrational behavior. I dont want to give her up to foster care even though she’s 17 and I cannot move my husband won’t allow it.
What should I do.

A: The first thing you should do is stop listening to your friends and your husband. None of them are giving you good advice. There are many highly qualified family therapists in your city. Find one who specializes in families with adolescents and go – by yourself at first. You need the support and guidance of someone who has the training and experience to give you good help. Don’t try to get your daughter to go with you. It will only mean another fight. You and the therapist can strategize together how to engage her later on.

It seems to me that your daughter is pushing the limits and pushing them hard to see what will get her parents to work together to help her. She’s a bright, accomplished young woman who is playing a dangerous game to get your attention. Your husband may be a successful businessman but he isn’t a smart father. Children and teens don’t wait for it to be convenient for us to be their parents. Throwing money at the situation will only confirm for her that she’s not important enough to him to deal with personally.

As for you: Your relationship with your daughter needs healing, not hitting. Playing detective and making threats won’t bring you closer. Neither will shopping. She needs your time, attention, and sincere interest in her life. She needs you to love her, love her, love her – and to show her that you will continue to love her no matter what. The same goes for your younger daughter.

People don’t become gay because someone calls them names. People discover their sexuality; they don’t choose it. They especially don’t choose it as a reaction to someone else’s bad behavior. At 9 years old, your son is probably hurt more by his sisters ganging up on him than by what specifically they call him. That has to stop. Your therapist may be able to give you some ideas for that problem as well.

You made an important first step by writing to us here at Psych Central. Please take the next one. Find a family therapist and put in the time and the effort to save your family.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Sep 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). My daughter is crazy and dragging her siblings with her. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/09/13/my-daughter-is-crazy-and-dragging-her-siblings-with-her/

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