I would suppose that is something that all parents dread, teenagers! No matter how we try and bring our children up and all the rights things we teach them as they are growing up, somehow most of them turn into little monsters when they become teenagers. Actually, as soon as they start grade 8.
As a parent, I tried my utmost best to prepare my daughter for High School and explained how different it is compared to Primary School, yet all the wheels fell off as soon as she became Miss Popular in the new school. Her popularity was not because she was a top student, but because she is pretty and all the boys liked her. Obviously we can all agree that becoming popular for those reasons, was actually not the right reason.
When I started noticing this, I sat her down again and we spoke about it. I said: “Girl there is no way that you will get anywhere in life if you depend on boys and the status that you hold in school amongst these boys. There is simply no other option but to focus on the school work and worry about all the other things when she was older.
Regardless of all the talking or lectures as they would refer to it, matter only got worse and eventually spiralled out of control. The little girl that once spoke to her mother about everything and anything was gone and I had to welcome a young lady that had absolutely no respect for her elders and whom would become physically violent when it suited her.
She would raise her voice to us, scream and shout at her younger siblings, do things behind our backs, sneak out of the house in the middle of the night, write text to others flirting and using vulgar language, etc. The list goes on and on. I had been called into the school several times because of her behaviour amongst the other children and because half way through the year, her school books were still empty. She had done absolutely nothing!
According to the H.O.D all the girls in the school were saying that they were going to beat my child up. They absolutely despised her in all aspects and as a result my daughter couldn’t really make any girlfriends at school either. I had constantly been sitting down and talking to her about everything and was at a crossroad not knowing what to do or which way to turn.
It wasn’t long after that, that I noticed the self-mutilation. It was then when I realised that I needed professional help. The bubbly child of mine was gone and now she was pale and expressionless all the time. I had found a female psychologist that was counselling her every week, but it turned into an extremely frustrating situation because the psychologist wasn’t discussing anything with me. I was pretty much still in the dark with what was happening.
In the interim whilst seeing the psychologist, my daughter ran away from home. I went to the psychologist and was told that I should lay a statutory rape case against a 19 year old boy that was very much part of the family at that point. The shock, hurt and anger that was going through me was something that I couldn’t explain. I went to the police station and did what she said, only to have the Captain scream and shout at us. In his opinion my daughter (not known to him) was on drugs and this is the only thing that could explain such behaviour.
Eventually later that day, we found her in the next town. She had been picked up by a 50 year old male and was offered marijuana, poppers and given money. After we had picked her up we went back to the police station, as this was indeed a matter that had to be investigated. She was taken to the local hospital for tests to ensure that she was okay, but had then been admitted as a possible suicidal person.
This wasn’t the first time either, as she had been admitted on an earlier occasion by the psychologist for the same thing. I had then decided to take my daughter out of the school for three months and send her to her grandparents so that they can try and assist her with whatever it is that she was going through.
Whilst she was with them, she seemed to have been doing relatively good. They took her to the doctor, whom diagnosed her as bipolar and she was put onto anti-depressants. When she came back home that December, she was a different person. Full of promises and doing so great. We held each other for so long and we both cried when we saw each other for the first time again. I had finally gotten my daughter back.
It had been hurting me every day seeing the scars on her arms and legs from the self-mutilation. I knew that all those scars held bad memories for her and that this will be an ongoing healing process. She went back to school and everything was going on very well, but not very long into the year, all the wheels started falling off again.
She had befriended a young girl that I didn’t approve of from the word go. It seemed as if this girl had an extremely sly side to her and as if she could possibly be bisexual. The school called me in again and again I was showed books with absolutely nothing in it. In the back of the book, I noticed writings in blood. When I got home, I had asked about this and she said that her and this girlfriend did a sole tie. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s when two people’s blood touches.
I was extremely upset about this and gave my daughter a lecture like you can’t believe. A couple of weeks later the girlfriend was staying over at our house and I had visitors that night. One of the ladies called me one side to inform me that she knows this child and that this girl’s mother had HIV and so does the father. That was my entire evening ruined and I kept on thinking about the sole tie that she had done with my daughter. This was such a selfish act on her part, as my daughter was not aware of anything.
That following week, we took our daughter to be tested and thank the dear Lord above, the result was negative. My daughter did approach her friend about her parent’s health status and the friend confirmed it all, but also stated that she was negative. Somehow this girl’s father had become aware of everything that was going on and instead of addressing the matter properly, he went to school and requested that his daughter and mine be kept apart, as my daughter was satanic.
That same day my daughter had been put in isolation at school, which means that she was confined to an office every single break, yet the other girl was still able to enjoy her breaks in the school garden. I had gone into the school and demanded answers, but was basically brushed off and told that they would get back to me as they were unable to afford me the time now.
At that point I knew that I had to make alternate arrangements and take my child out of the school. We opted for Home School at a tutor centre which is based at a Church with a Pastor. The group was much smaller and at the same time she would receive counselling from them. I thought that I had finally made the right decision and things could only get better from this point onwards. She had a boyfriend at this point, but it was extremely rocky. He was very much set in his ways and she didn’t like that at all, as he would lecture her like a parent lectures his child. So as a result it was a very on again, off again type of relationship.
Meanwhile, madam was sneaking out of the house in the middle of the night, meeting up with friends, riding on bikes and going to the beach. Of course the most dangerous place to go during the night as a teenager. This was brought to my attention and also that she was self-mutilating again. I was absolutely furious and disappointed. Here I thought that I had my daughter back, yet she was doing all of these things on the sly again. Friends and fun was just too important for her. We had then been introduced to another Pastor for assistance. The entire time that we saw him, I had an extremely uneasy feeling. He was portraying something that he is not. Needless to say, my daughter ran away from home again and I needed help regardless of whom was giving it to me.
In my time of need, he was nowhere to be found and didn’t reply to my messages. I found my daughter as she was about to get on a train with one of her friends. It was at that point when I decided we have to involve a social worker and have my daughter put in a place of safety, as her actions were deliberately placing her life in danger.
So here we were, no assistance from the police, no assistance at the hospital, no assistance from the psychologist, friends withdrawing from us and no assistance from the Pastor. Guess Guess…… No assistance from the social worker either. We were basically told that they try and keep the child with the parents for as long as possible and only when the parents no longer have control of the child, can the child be placed.
My road therefore still continues and as a mother, I can’t give up. I can only go on my knees and pray, asking God to help and guide me. As a parent, you often wonder where you went wrong and if there is anything that you could have done differently. The social worker, after counselling with my daughter, looked at me and said that this is not your fault and that you are trying everything in your power to help your daughter.
The question is: “Will she come right and will she make something of her life?” Regrettably I feel that she is still too dependent on a boy and still not focussed on the important things now, such as her school work.
It would be nice to know if there are other parents out there, dealing with difficult teenagers.