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Kali

My niece, 15, is in crisis

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Kali

My niece turned 15 yesterday. I spoke to her on the phone tonight and am sad by what she told me.

First, she is like a mini-me...very creative, sensitive, does not respond well to strict rules or heavy handed discipline.

The past year I know she has experimented with cutting, cigarettes, and percocet. :( :( :(

Tonight she told me she feels worthless, she wants to run away, etc. I did my best to relate to her my own feelings when I was a teenager in our screwed-up family, told her she wasn't alone, to call me if she ever felt like hurting herself, etc.

My sister, her mom, is so overbearing. She mercilessly snoops, listens in on phone conversations, doesn't knock before entering her room, forbids her from seeing certain friends who are "trashy" etc. My niece said to me tonight- doesn't she understand she's just pushing me away?

She feels like she's at the end of her rope, that she can hardly make it through another day. :(

I advised her to write a letter to her mom, even if she doesn't give it to her. And some other ideas to get her feelings out in a safe way.

But I am so worried for this girl. I know my family. They do not get it, never have, never will. I can't control that any more than my niece can.

All I can do is keep talking to my niece and listen and not judge.

Part of me wants to write my sister a letter and urge her very strongly to ease up on something, anything. Like just shutting my niece's bedroom door instead of browbeating her into cleaning her room every day. I can sympathise with my sister. We didn't have good parenting role models and I know she feels lost as to how to deal with an angsty teen.

But would that even help? I've talked to her on the phone about what consequences I see from her strict parenting and urged counseling for my niece...but she makes excuses...I can't make her do anything.

Thoughts or advice from moms out there? This is really serious to me...my niece is very close to being totally lost.

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Lily Bright
My niece turned 15 yesterday. I spoke to her on the phone tonight and am sad by what she told me.

First, she is like a mini-me...very creative, sensitive, does not respond well to strict rules or heavy handed discipline.

The past year I know she has experimented with cutting, cigarettes, and percocet. :( :( :(

Tonight she told me she feels worthless, she wants to run away, etc. I did my best to relate to her my own feelings when I was a teenager in our screwed-up family, told her she wasn't alone, to call me if she ever felt like hurting herself, etc. It may not FEEL like enough, but being that sympathetic witness REALLY makes a difference in her life.

My sister, her mom, is so overbearing. She mercilessly snoops, listens in on phone conversations, doesn't knock before entering her room, forbids her from seeing certain friends who are "trashy" etc. My niece said to me tonight- doesn't she understand she's just pushing me away? Your sister, my ex... birds of a feather. C wouldn't let one girl come over/stay over cause her MOM was gay... like it was "catching" or something.

She feels like she's at the end of her rope, that she can hardly make it through another day. :(Poor baby

I advised her to write a letter to her mom, even if she doesn't give it to her. And some other ideas to get her feelings out in a safe way.

But I am so worried for this girl. I know my family. They do not get it, never have, never will. I can't control that any more than my niece can.

All I can do is keep talking to my niece and listen and not judge. You are a BEAUTIFUL kindred spirit, and she's lucky to have you.

Part of me wants to write my sister a letter and urge her very strongly to ease up on something, anything. Like just shutting my niece's bedroom door instead of browbeating her into cleaning her room every day. I can sympathise with my sister. We didn't have good parenting role models and I know she feels lost as to how to deal with an angsty teen. So she resorts to being hyper-controlling.

But would that even help? I've talked to her on the phone about what consequences I see from her strict parenting and urged counseling for my niece...but she makes excuses...I can't make her do anything. Does her school offer peer counseling? Peer groups? Any counselor other than simply the one that advises on transcripts, grades and college? It might be a good place to start. I know I called Mrs. B when R was in ninth grade to see what my options and R's options were when dealing with HER father.

Thoughts or advice from moms out there? This is really serious to me...my niece is very close to being totally lost. I don't want to sound trite, but keep doing what you're doing! That precious girl loves and needs you.

I'll ask my Wise Old ;) D16 for more input.

Maybe she can be of help.

She truly HAS, "been there, done that".

Lily

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Tallulah

The most important thing, Kali, is that she has a sympathetic witness. You.

I was a cutter when I was 14. Your niece is welcome to contact me any time.

Tal

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estrellas

I agree, keep doing what your doing it does mean a lot. An outlet is an important thing and you are being that for her.

Would your sister let you do something with your niece ? Maybe it would do her good to just get away from her mom and have fun and not worry about things once in awhile ?

I have a 15 year old sister and I know that she gets really uspet with my mom and a "day away" helps her so much.

Just a thought, poor girl :(

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Kali

Thanks Lily...I asked if she had any grownups in her life she could talk to- teachers, school counselors, etc. She said she just talks to her friends. I don't know how her internet privileges are these days, but I'll look for a peer counseling site or a message board online for her. Good idea!

Tal- aw, thanks so much. I only worry about my sister wondering who you are, etc, but I will pass on your email and let her know you are a trusted friend and super cool mom of teens.

Estrellas- She lives 4 hours away, and I hate doing the family game...but I told Megan if our spring breaks match up, she is totally welcome to spend a few days with me at the beach up here. She liked that idea, then started begging me to sign the permission slip to get her bellybutton pierced. :0 Kids, eh? I think I will take a day trip down there soon and just say a quick hi to the family, scoop my niece up and go play put put golf or go to the mall, teacher her to drive a stick shift...something...anything! She also told me she was writing me a letter, so I think that's good.

At least she is talking and being open. I remember feeling so numbed out and hating everything, pushing people away when I was her age. She's def. trying to numb out, but it seems she can still recognise her feelings. She also goes to her dad's every other weekend and she says he isn't all up in her business, so she does get some sort of break, though he isn't exactly the King of Fathers.

It just hurts my soul to hear her in such pain. Not only does it bring up my own memories, but I feel her pain. We've had an amazing connection, even when she was a tiny little thing. If I ever had a daughter, she would be it!

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fate

I know this thread is a couple days old, but I just saw it...and since it wasn't so long ago I was a teenager I thought i'd respond.

First and formost I'd like to say that this thread reminded me that I just recently celebrated a holiday : 2 years no cutting!

I had been cutting on and off since I was 13. I'm 26 next mth.

Sounds like her mom and mine should hang out, i think they'd get along really well.

Being a trusted adult that she can talk to honestly without fearing u tell on her means ALOT. Being a teenager is so hard under the best of circumstances. Maybe you could encourage her to write you weekly letters/emails talking about how she feels ect whats going on, or just shooting the bull about her life. Make a time every week for u guys to talk on the phone about what she writes, could give her a good outlet and something to do besides self destruct.

If she's creative perhaps you could encourage her mom to put her in some type of art or music classes? Would give her some time out of the house, an outlet for her anger and hurt possibly and something to fill her time with.

Perhaps encourage her to start taking oddjobs in the neighborhood, saving up money. remind her that in as few as 3 yrs she can move out and she wants to save money so she can get a dormroom/apartment maybe it will put her energies other places.

fate

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