I have 3 children 26,22,and 18. Their dad died when they were 12,7, and 3. I made the decision to make the kids my world, and continue life as normally as possibly with 4 instead of 5. I made sure they wanted for nothing, but also demanded respect and appreciation just as my husband and I together would have done. The 2 older kids managed very well! The youngest has been hurtful, disrespectful, and simply an unruly child. She has runaway, gotten into drugs (heavily), alcohol, and quit school. I try to remain “there” for her, but she has mentally and emotionally destroyed me. I cry all the time and feel as if I am a failure. What do I do–we have done all types of counseling :(

A: It sounds as if you have put your heart and soul into your children. The fact that your youngest daughter is struggling with her identity and behavior may not have anything to do at all with your love and care for her. While that may be hard to imagine, it also may be the way through this. It sounds like her being so involved with drugs is the first issue. It may be time for a rehab or residential treatment program if she hasn’t been able to manage the drugs issue herself.

I recommend talking to mental health professionals in your area who deals specifically with drug abuse. Most counties in the U.S. have a drug awareness program that you can access. I would begin here rather than try to deal with this on your own. Your daughter will still need your love and support, but she may need to feel that love and support while she is out of the house.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral