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Twelve going on Sixteen

answered 04:14 PM EST, Sat October 01, 2011
My 12 year old daughter lies constantly, steals from family and from stores, is sexually active and uses drugs and alcohol. I cannot control her and she basically ignores any attempts I make to discipline her. She has had several run-ins with the police and at the rate she is going she is going to be in jail or worse well before her 18th birthday.

I am obviously failing her as a single dad and looking back I can see that I did not spend as much time with her as she was growing up as I should have. I think that she needs more help and discipline than I can give her.

Which is better for a behaviorally troubled teen, some sort of long term wilderness program or a boot camp or military school type of program?

David Johnson Says...

I congratulate you for recognizing the problem for what it is. That is truly courageous, but your challenge is not over.

I don't think any of your proposed solutions will be helpful. As you said, she is making her own way in the world because you haven't been there for her. To send her away will more than likely ensure the outcome will not be good.

Get in counseling yourself and learn how to connect to your daughter. While you probably can't treat her as a 12 year old any more since she's already seen much more freedom than that. You more than likely can have a reasonably healthy relationship with her and at least influence her behavior. She already knows she doesn't need much from you, but it's your job now to get her to want more from you.

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Page last updated Oct 01, 2011

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