Strained Relations

Strained Relations: Help for Struggling Parents of Troubled Teens

Posts Tagged ‘anguish’

Loss, Regrets and Living an Honest Life

Posted by Marcia on December 3, 2011

This has been a year of loss for me including several friends and now family members. Sometimes, just when you need something to remind you of important lessons, a friend sends you an article. I was sent “Top Five Regrets of The Dying” and recommend this page.

For those of us coping with difficult family relationships and troubled people, it’s easy to focus on the pain and not view the other wonderful parts of our lives and the positive things we can do.

Are you honest about your hopes and dreams and who you really are? Do you express your feelings? Have you established and kept friends, and are you honest with those friends?

Once I was honest with others about my relationship with my son, I found support, understanding, and a whole lot of other people with their own family pain. It was so reassuring to know I was not alone, and it gave me additional courage to write the book, this blog, and reach out to others.

I know that what I read in that article was very true, and I hope it helps you or gives you something to think about.

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Posted in adopted kids, changing parent behavior, changing parent's behavior, cope at the holidays, estranged, estranged from dad, estranged from father, estranged from parents, family difficulties, forgiveness, help at the holidays, holiday season sadness, listen to family problems, missing our son, out of control teens, parent coping with disappointment in kids, parenting adult children, Parents and teens, repaired relationship, sadness at the holidays, Troubled teens, worried parents | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Information About the Involuntary Psychiatric Hold

Posted by Marcia on March 14, 2011

I have blogs and websites with tools to analyze traffic, see what terms people are using that lead them to my sites and my book. I use analytics to learn more about what information you’re seeking, and I occasionally use that along with discussions, emails and calls to determine topics to present.

Due to the ongoing discussions about Charlie Sheen and similar or more extreme experiences of others, this article is devoted to a difficult subject: the involuntary psychiatric hold or commitment. Involuntary commitment is when a person is placed in a psychiatric hospital or ward against his or her will. This must be in compliance with the mental health laws, is usually limited in duration and requires regular reevaluation.

I will direct you to some informational websites to help you or your friends as I am not in a profession that deals with these matters: I simply know how to research.

A Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Involuntary_commitment#Alternatives has a good overview of the history of involuntary commitment and some information about the process in different countries.

In California, Section 5150 allows a qualified officer or clinician to evaluate a person and have that person involuntarily confined. There are specifics as to who is qualified to evaluate a person and what circumstances would lead to this decision. Generally speaking, the person must be a danger to self and/or others and/or be gravely disabled. There is a Wikipedia entry regarding Section 5150 at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5150_(Involuntary_psychiatric_hold).

There is a brochure describing the California involuntary 72-hour and 14-day hold that explains the process and a person’s rights under the law. This informational piece was created by the California Network of Mental Health Clients in Sacramento. The brochure is at http://www.disabilityrightsca.org/pubs/502401.pdf and their number is 916-443-3232. They have provided additional resources if you need them.

The last topic I will mention is “conservatorship” or “guardianship.” You can read an explanation at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservatorship. In order to be another person’s conservator, you must have clear and convincing evidence that it is necessary to provide for the other person’s “physical health, food, clothing, and shelter” or that the person cannot “substantially manage his…own financial resources or…resist fraud or undue influence.”

I started this article by mentioning Charlie Sheen. It’s terrible to watch and I can’t imagine what this is like for the family and friends who love him. What would I do if I were in their shoes? I don’t know, and it’s hard for any of us to know from a distance exactly what’s going on and why. I can say this on the basis of my research – you don’t have to stand by and watch, and you don’t have to walk away because you don’t want to be enabling the behavior. A good psychiatrist and/or an attorney can help you sort through the options.

For those of you living in these extreme situations, I hope this has given you some information to consider and the courage to act. You will absolutely need courage and resolve.

Posted in behavior of someone using drugs, conservatorship, danger to self, enabler, enabling, estranged, family difficulties, family violence, Involuntary commitment, Involuntary Psychiatric Hold, mental illness, mentally ill teen, meth addict, out of control teens, parenting adult children, Parents and teens, restraining orders, Section 5150, teen and addiction, teen intervention, Troubled teens, violence in mentally ill people, what drugs cost, worried parents | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

How to Listen to Disclosure of Family Estrangement or Difficulties

Posted by Marcia on March 2, 2011

In my last post I wrote about the process of deciding to share difficult information about one’s family. This post is devoted to receiving this information.

Some of the richest and most heartfelt conversations I have had have been when someone decides to confide in me or when another person listens to my story.

When your family member or friend is having family problems and decides to share these issues with you, it takes a lot of courage, hope and trust that you will not judge, will listen carefully, offer help if asked, will not gossip. This is a confidential and difficult conversation.

Truly listening means that you turn off distractions: this is not a time for watching TV, texting and taking calls. Turn off your phone and give that person your attention. Listen with your head and your heart. Don’t ask a lot of questions, just a few to clarify the situation if needed.

Don’t change the topic unless you’re very uncomfortable hearing this news, and if you are, it’s better to just say you’re uncomfortable.

This conversation is about the other person, not you and your family, unless you’ve experienced a similar situation. Then it’s appropriate to share but limit your input: this person has a lot to say.

Be private and confidential. If the person wanted all of the family and friends to know, there are many ways to alert everyone. It can hurt the person’s feelings if you talk about this to others and damage your own credibility as a confidante.

Don’t judge the people involved. You’re hearing a part of the story and you’re hearing it for the first time. It may be shocking news, but all of it is in the realm of the human condition: the things that happen to people and the decisions we make.

Ask if there is anything you can do to help and provide resources if you have them. One woman called me regarding her son and after listening to her story, I asked if she wanted resources or how I could best help her. She was looking for resources and I gave her a few places to start, indicating there were additional resources in my book and on the blog if she needed them. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you’re already dealing with a stressful situation. I also keep in touch, ask how things are going, and remember her on Mother’s Day and Christmas, two really hard holidays for her.

When you see or talk with the person in the future, ask about his or her child. I know from personal experience that the concern people show is helpful. It helps me to know that they haven’t forgotten I am a parent, and birthdays and some holidays in particular are really difficult.

Keep in touch and show concern and compassion. That’s the best way you can help anyone.

Posted in adopted kids, apology, behavior of someone using drugs, changing parent's behavior, cope at the holidays, defiant adopted kids, enabler, enabling, estranged, estranged from dad, estranged from father, estranged from parents, family difficulties, FASD, feelings about Father's Day, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, file restraining order against son, forgiveness, juvenile hall, kid on meth, listen to family problems, mental illness, mentally ill son, mentally ill teen, meth addict, missing our son, Mother's Day avoid, Mother's Day dread, Mother's Day sadness, orders of protection, orders of protection against son, out of control teens, Parents and teens, repaired relationship, restraining orders, return adopted child, rewarding good behavior, sadness at the holidays, signs of drug use, step-parent, teen and addiction, teen intervention, teens and consequences, Troubled teens, truancy, truancy and penalties, violence in mentally ill people, worried parents | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Lori Chose to be Estranged From Her Dad

Posted by Marcia on July 6, 2010

Today’s blog post is from a woman who read my blog and is interested in the topic from the point of view of a child who chose to stay away from her father. Living with an unstable father, suffering from his bad choices and chaos that ensued, she made a difficult decision to protect herself and her family. As she wrote to me, “I’m always hoping my dad will wake up, but just when I think he might, he gets right back to his old antics.” Here’s Lori’s story:

People often mention troubled children, yet, there also quite sadly exist troubled parents. I myself have had to deal with an unstable father throughout my childhood and made the tough decision in my 20s to no longer have him in my life. The factors that influenced this go far beyond my parents’ divorce, my father’s infidelities, and alcoholism. Those were merely symptoms of the broken man I could no longer deal with. After years of therapy and determination, I can now say I harbor no anger or hate for him; only pity and forgiveness.

I’d like to point out that my belief in forgiveness means that I bear him no ill will and wish him no harm. It does not mean that I find his behaviors to be right or okay, and it does not mean that I wish to let him back around me to commit the same offenses. Forgiveness in my mind is releasing that person from destructive thoughts while still keeping yourself protected through setting boundaries. I do not hate him; I do not trust him, either.

Until the age of 18 I was a victim. From that point on, I knew I finally had the control and freedom to distance myself from my father’s toxicity and manipulation. It was difficult and scary, but worth it. The specifics of my struggle are not essential to my message; someone always has it worse than someone else, yet what we all have in common is the power to move on.

I know people mean well when they say they hope we can work things out and that maybe one day I’ll want him back in my life. What they don’t understand is that this person is ill, broken, and keeps repeating their same destructive patterns.

Sometimes in speaking with certain people I get the sense that I’m being judged for my decision. It’s been implied that I don’t really understand the impact of my decision and I’ll regret it. What they don’t realize is to come to this decision I’ve already had to accept the situation and mourn the loss of a caring, safe parent that I never had and never will be able to have.

Posted in alcoholic father, enabler, enabling, estranged, estranged from dad, estranged from father, estranged from parents, family difficulties, Troubled teens | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Barry Bonds’ son: what would you do?

Posted by Marcia on June 18, 2010

I previously wrote about Barry Bonds’ son, Nikolai. Today’s news reports noted that this 20-year-old pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of vandalism and battery stemming from an altercation with his mother.

December 5, his mother, Sun Bonds, asked him about jewelry that was missing from their home. Nikolai then followed her into a bedroom, threw furniture around, allegedly threw a doorknob at her, and prevented her from leaving the house. He also spit in her face, and this is battery.

Sun Bonds refused to cooperate in the case against her son, and this contributed to the decision to reach a plea deal.

Nikolai Bonds will get credit for several days spent in county jail and will serve no additional time, and he must pay a $2,130 fine and undergo 32 hours of anger management training.

In exchange for Bonds’ plea deal, prosecutors dismissed misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment, threatening a police officer and obstructing a police officer.

It’s one of many different incidents in the lives of these family members. If you were in Sun Bonds’ position, would you have filed charges or would you have refused to cooperate as she did? Why?

Posted in enabler, enabling, entitled, estranged, family difficulties, out of control teens, Parents and teens, Troubled teens, worried parents | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Was on Dr. Joel Wade’s Radio Show, KSCO AM 1080

Posted by Marcia on December 17, 2009

Last night I was a guest on Dr. Joel Wade’s radio show. He has experience as a Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Los Gatos and uses those skills as a Life Coach and author.

I called in early to be sure my sound was okay, and I had a chance to talk with Joel about his work and his radio show. He was very nice and it was easy to see how well he listened and how carefully he chose his questions. He had already read most of the book, so his questions during the show were completely on target and he cited specific examples from the book. We had a general discussion about parenting skills and teens, and it was interesting to learn from his style of interviewing. It was a pleasure speaking with him.

Joel’s website is www.drjoelwade.com, and at some time in the future, he hopes to have downloads of his shows. I hope he gets that running soon! Meanwhile, check out his book, etraining, ezine and other products on his website.

After the show, I wrote and thanked Joel for being such a gracious host. He wrote, “It was a lot of fun, and a very interesting conversation. You were a fantastic guest, and I think people listening got a lot out of what you had to say. I hope that a lot of listeners visit your site and read your book – it really is an excellent book, and a great resource for parents dealing with tough kids.”

This was a wonderful experience, and if you know of someplace I can speak in person, over the radio or on TV, please contact me.

Posted in changing parent's behavior, compliment your child, confidence, entitled, estranged, family difficulties, nagging the kids, out of control teens, Parents and teens, rewarding good behavior, self esteem, Troubled teens, worried parents | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Parents and Common Frustrations

Posted by Marcia on December 1, 2009

It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? We are decent human beings, we have children because we want them, we do the best that we can do for them, and some of them, well…

People are born with personalities and inclinations. When a person is inclined to misbehave, sometimes get into very serious trouble, they’ll have to fight a lot of internal demons to stop themselves. Some can do it, some can’t. Some mature and grow out of it, some don’t.

Criminals had parents, too. Sometimes the parents were terrible and sometimes they were parents who did their best. It’s a boat we’re in as parents: you teach them good values and morals, you talk about society and the law, you coach them and try to get it through their heads they are harming themselves and sometimes others. And then it’s their decision to do whatever it is they’re doing.

I saw a news story about a woman whose kids had harmed another, and she was crying and apologizing.  She was devastated to know that her kids were capable of seriously hurting another person.  Her own family was torn apart in a public manner. I wonder if there were some troubles at home, too.  Displays of anger, drug use, whatever it was.  Or were the kids very good at hiding what they were really like?  Were the parents in denial?  Did they feel they had no control over the situation?  Were they seeking help, reading whatever they could, asking friends, family, counselors?

It makes me crazy when a teen or young adult does something inappropriate or illegal and some people ask, “Where are the parents?” The truth is that by the time they reach these ages, you have to hope that they do know better as they’re out of your sight/control for most of their waking hours.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in changing parent's behavior, estranged, family difficulties, nagging the kids, out of control teens, Parents and teens, Troubled teens, worried parents | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Mara: I felt like a failure.

Posted by Marcia on September 27, 2009

As a result of writing a book about parenting troubled teens, sometimes I find myself following developments in other’s lives. I’m hearing or reading real pain, anguish, and sometimes fear.

“Mara”, wrote that she felt like a failure. Her 17 year old daughter, “Jane” is depressed, skipping school, has abandoned favorite activities, and sleeps as much as possible. They’re working with a physician to get her up and moving around, experimenting with different anti-depressants, but there are other dynamics at work.

Mara’s husband is controlling and demanding, and when he can’t control Jane, he demands Mara do so. Of course, Mara can’t control Jane, and then she is berated and treated terribly by her husband.
Every day there’s another fight, and Mara never knows who’ll start the next argument, she only knows there will be one. She watches what she says and how she acts, but walking on eggshells for years at a time is not a reasonable way to live.

Over the years, Mara withdrew from family and friends, mortified that they might discover her horrible family life and judge her. She has defined herself as a wife and a mother, and because neither relationship is working, she felt she was a failure.

She remembers a time when she was delighted to be a wife and mom, thrilled with her child, and had dreams and hopes for a wonderful, close family.

The realities of her life and the crushed dreams of a good marriage and good relationship with her child had become too much for her. Mara writes that if she could have glimpsed her future, she would never have had a child.

She read my book at a time when she needed to know that nice people, good people, sometimes find their lives spinning out of control, and there are ways to gather oneself together and find solutions to problems. She reached out for additional help and has shared the truth of her family life with her parents and siblings. Instead of judging Mara, they are helping her.

Mara is in counseling and my prediction is that she will divorce her husband, wait until Jane has completed school, and then will tell her to leave the house. As she has been examining what went wrong, what she did right, what she would have done differently, she is also learning that she did not stand up for herself against her husband or her daughter. She is developing that ability to assert herself, and that’ll help her change her life.

Posted in out of control teens, Parents and teens, Troubled teens, worried parents | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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