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HELP WITH TEENAGE DAUGHTER

marines911's picture
marines911
Posts: 68
Joined: Aug 2010

My wife has stage 4 TNBC and she has been battling since Oct 2008. She has been through several lines of treatment, bilateral masectomy, and radiation. My oldest daughter is 15 and refuses to speak about what she is feeling with anyone, including any family members. We, the entire family, went to counseling last year and my oldest was very uncooperative and was telling my younger 2 daughters that if they say anything then they will be considered CRAZY and will be taken away. Not only is my teen going through normal teenage rebellion, but her BIO dad is not in the pitcure and I recently adopted all 3 of my girls this past October.

I want to know if I should continue to make my teen go to counseling and see different counselors until she finds one that she likes, because I don't want her to continue to deal with this on her own. She has been depressed, angry and her attitude is hard to distinguish between normal teen behavior or the fear about her mom's passing away.

Any advice or experiences would be greatly appreciated.

Thomas

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1531
Joined: Mar 2010

They have programs geared to teens whose family members have cancer.

Contact the American Cancer Society as well - they may have recommendations. Or ask if her school has recommendations of a counselor who relates well to teens.

I had a different set of issues with my teenaged daughter, and it took trying a number of counselors before finding the right fit (and it was a struggle even then.) She now (7 years later) still has him to rely on, and contacts him independently as needed.

This girl has a lot to lose - she's already lost her bio-dad, tho she obviously has a loving father. With her mother this ill, she's really feeling abandoned.

Good luck. It won't be easy. Normal teen stuff is tough enough!

Alice

marines911's picture
marines911
Posts: 68
Joined: Aug 2010

There is a Gildas Club, but it is about 70 miles. I will however make the counseling appointments and take my teen, even if she does not want to. I know that my wife may not like the fact that I'm going to basically force her to go, but I don't want her to continue to have to face this on her own and if something bad happens to her we would never forgive ourselves.

Thanks for the advice.

Thomas

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1531
Joined: Mar 2010

See if there is a group of teens nearby - contact counseling services and your wife's oncology group. Your daughter would probably do better in a group, where she can see that she's not alone in this world of kids whose mothers have cancer.

Again, her school would know of other kids there who have parents with cancer. Maybe they can put together a group?

marines911's picture
marines911
Posts: 68
Joined: Aug 2010

My daughter is going to be home schooled this year, and that is something that she is really upset about. I will however look into other type of groups, I think I saw something at the onc office about support groups for kids.

Thanks

tommybear
Posts: 112
Joined: Oct 2009

I have had some major issues with my 16 year old and like you have said, I don't know how much is normal teenage stuff versus what all he has been through.

See, in the last six years, my son has lost his real father, a half-brother and an uncle (my brother) due to addiction (drugs and/or alcohol). The man who raised him from the time he was four - my ex-husband- divorced me two years ago and no longer treats him like a son. And then I was diagnosed with the brain tumor last year. So, my son has been through a lot! Too much for one kid.

One day he will be loving and caring, and then the next day he is angry and agressive. He has told me that he won't go to counseling and I have asked myself the same question - Should I force him to go?

I love my boys (I have two - 16 and 7) and only want them to be happy and have peace. I am hoping that the pain that my oldest has been through will make him stronger, but right now he is having difficulty.

Sorry that I have no advice for you, but your post made me think of my son. By the way, my son's name is Thomas and he is hoping to join the Marines next year to start training. He went to a law enforcement academy that was run just like boot camp- last week - and he loved it! I'm hoping that maybe it has given him some direction.

Take care,

Michele S.

marines911's picture
marines911
Posts: 68
Joined: Aug 2010

Tell your son that he has made a good choice, I'm trying to get my oldest son to join as well. My oldest lives with his mother in CO. We are going to take it one step at a time and I know from experience that I will not get it right the first time, or second, but at least we will not give up.

Thanks,

Thomas

Barbara53's picture
Barbara53
Posts: 659
Joined: Aug 2009

Cancer was not even in the picture when my teen ran into trouble, and it took a while to get through it. Those were difficult times, and I did force her to go to counseling. She's finishing college now, and when we talk about the dark days she says counseling was not a mistake or a total waste of money. She was just not ready to engage, not with anyone.

A group of teens run by a qualified professional would be ideal. Peer feedback means much more than insight gained through one on one counseling. The only group I could find was oriented toward drug rehab, buy maybe you'll have better luck. And it doesn't have to be a cancer group. Your daughter might prefer not to define herself by her mother's illness.

You are a blessing to those girls. Hang in there.

marines911's picture
marines911
Posts: 68
Joined: Aug 2010

Today was our son's 6th Bday and on my way home, my teen daughter and mom got into a big argument. I could hear my wife's tears through on my voice mail. I was so angry, but I decided to take a different approach and spoke to my daughter and just listened. My teen told me about the memories of her Bio dad beating her mom and how she could nothing, she was 5 at the time, and how she has a hard time talking about it and has a hard time talking to mom about that among other issues. My daughter is still resistent at see a counselor, but at least she is not showing aggression when I brought it up, only that she is not going to talk when I take her, but that is a HUGE change and I'm going to make an appointment ASAP.

Thank you all for the advice and I will keep all of you in my prayers.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Deuteronomy 31:6

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1531
Joined: Mar 2010

First, she's a helpless witness while her bio-dad beats her mother. Now she's a helpless witness while the wrath of cancer beats her mother. The girl can do nothing to protect the one she loves most in the world. No one could help her before - no wonder she's resistant; she probably feels it's an effort in futility.

Wishing you and your family peace and comfort,
Alice

marines911's picture
marines911
Posts: 68
Joined: Aug 2010

that she has it hard, and my wife and I have apologized to her that she has to experience this and that she will not have a normal childhood and that she has to endure these feelings. I PRAY that she will connect with someone, so that she will no longer have to feel that she is alone and helpless.

Thank you again for your advice, time and prayers.

grandmafay's picture
grandmafay
Posts: 1613
Joined: Aug 2009

I don't have a lot to add, but I think a group would be a good place to start. That might make your daughter more receptive to counseling. Having taught in both middle school and high school as well as having teenaged granddaughters, I know that there is a lot of "normal" drama at this age. Add in cancer and the fear of losing her mother and I am sure that your daughter is both scared and angry. It is wonderful that you are so concerned and willing to try to find her help. Suggestions for possible resources: your local school even if your daughter is not attending, American Cancer Society, your local mental health department, your oncologist, your hospital, family dr. Best of luck, Fay

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 1531
Joined: Mar 2010

Fay's recommendations made me think - ask your daughter's dr (physician) for recommendations or to talk with her. That might be a good resource.

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