My 14-year-old is regressing

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My 14 yr old daughter asked me to bathe her. (I told her no and she was almost 15 and that isn’t appropriate for a parent to do to a child of her age.) She also talks “babyish” and has climbed in my lap and wanted me to hold her (like a baby). Most of the time this occurs in front of other people, never usually when we are alone.

She has previous history when she was 4 (and her dad and I separated/divorced) of her dad “grooming” her by having her wash his butt in the bath. As far as I know that stopped when I took it to the courts and that was all that he did.

She has been acting out this last year (sexually promiscuous – unprotected for STDs, drugs, lying, manipulating, sneaking out of house to spend the night with drug dealer boyfriend) and I’m trying to get to the root of all of this. She is currently on antidepressants and birth control. She sees a counselor, but is very manipulative with people so I’m not seeing any improvement. In fact over this last year everything keeps getting worse.

I feel like I have lost her and I can’t fix her and I want her back. She’s a bright, beautiful girl and I miss her. Can this regressive behavior be a sign of something I need to bring to her counselor’s attention or is this a normal part of her growing up?

A: This is not, not, not a normal part of growing up. Something is seriously wrong and the only way your daughter feels it’s safe to communicate it is through her behavior. Please take your letter to her counselor immediately. My guess is that either something has been triggered from the inappropriate contact when she was 4 or something inappropriate is going on now. You were absolutely right to be concerned and to ask the question. Please follow up on your own good instincts and have a serious talk with her counselor.

I wish you both well.
Dr. Marie

Photo

 

 

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Sep 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). My 14-year-old is regressing. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/09/06/my-14-year-old-is-regressing/