14 year old daughter asking for therapy

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Registered: 12-31-1969
14 year old daughter asking for therapy
19
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 9:23pm

Hello all. I am new to this board. I have 2 daughters, one who will be 13 tomorrow and my oldest is 14. My girls are both very good, respectful, sweet teenagers who do very well in school. (Do I sound naive, or what? HA!) A little background: Their father and I have been divorced for over 10 years and we share custody of them. We live only 4 miles apart so it's very easy to go back and forth. We also are very cordial to eachother for the most part. He is remarried to a woman that my children call "evil". From what I gather from them, she is, in a word, disrespectful, though, not necessarly "evil". I am not remarried but have been in 2 serious relationships since my divorce... one is still my current boyfriend.  

Ok.... So my 14 year old dd has asked me on multiple occasions if she can seek therapy. I have asked her if something is bothering her or if she is ok, and she always says, yes, she is fine, just wants someone she can tell everything to and know that no one will ever know. My girls and I have a very open, trusting relationship and I guess I thought I would always be that person for her. She is at her dad's tonight and she just texted me again, asking for therapy.  I know that some of her friends see a counselor and I'm wondering if it's just one of those things she wants to do because her friends do it, or if I should take her request seriously and look into a therapist for her.  

Guess I'm just wondering what you all would do if it were your teen daughter. 

Thanks!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 10:42pm

Guess I'm just wondering what you all would do if it were your teen daughter.

Honestly, I would have been on the phone after the first time! If she told you she felt ill multiple times, would you refuse to call a doctor? Think about it that way!!  She is 14 and no matter HOW much you and she have a great relationship, you absolutely shouldn't be "that" person for her. There is no way in heck that a 14-year old girl is going to feel completely open with her mom, and probably even more so because you have a good relationship - she doesn't want to hurt you, or disappoint you, or upset you. I have two daughters as well - 21 and 19. The 21-year old has been in therapy many years and I've encouraged the 19-year old to go, though she hasn't (lest you think I'm therapy happy, the girls have had a father and brother die unexpectedly, as well as dealing with recurrent skull tumors for me and some other trauma, so I do have reason to think that therapy might be needed). Anyway, though, I am also many years divorced (ex died after the divorce) and I know that when things are not great with the ex (or his wife, or whatever) it's probably not that easy to talk to you about it, no matter how well you handle it. Or maybe they worry about whether your boyfriend will get worse after you're married... or maybe a friend from school is pregnant and they've promised not to tell you... or maybe they're considering asking for a custody change, or a tattoo, or to move in with dad, or school is too pressure filled, or they have depression or anxiety and don't realize it. CALL A THERAPIST!  If your dd has asked multiple times, she certainly feels she needs it. Why in the world would you hesitate? It won't hurt her and it has the potential to help her. At the very least, she will know that you listen and take her seriously. Don't let your pride or ego (I should be able to handle it all myself, I'm her mom) stand in the way of helping her.

Theresa

 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 08-13-2012 - 11:35pm

I'm also going to say TAKE HER NOW!  Having 2 dds who were in counseling, I can say without hesitation, that kids DO NOT want therapy "because their friends do it."  My concern here, is that something has happened that she feels she CAN'T tell you.  Perhaps she is ashamed.  Perhaps she thinks you won't believe her -- you have not believed her cries for help, altho for the life of me, I can't see why.  Frankly, as I think about the reasons why she may want therapy, I am terrified for her.  Stop boohooing because she doesn't want to share with you, and get this kid some help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 12:12am

Our two daughters are a year apart also.  We never saw a need for therapy or had one asking for it.  So I have limited understanding. 

By the age of thirteen, both of our DDs were on the pill for period problems and the pediatrician suggested that they be seen by an OBgyn.  I think if we had seen a need or a daughter was asking for therapy, I would have started off by asking our OBgyn to have a discussion with the daughter and then to give me a recommendation for where to go. 

However, not all OBgyn’s are as golden as ours is.  She had the trust of both daughters from the start and they would have felt comfortable with discussing it with her and she would NOT have violated the patient confidentiality in explaining in a general way that the daughter needed therapy and I could trust her judgment on a recommendation. 

I know there are cases and situations out there that do require therapy and I wish you and your daughter the very best.

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 9:04am
Ask your pediatrician or your own GP for a recommendation, if you like them - ?
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 11:58am

Look at it this way--if there's really nothing wrong, maybe she'll have a couple of visits & the therapist will tell her everything's fine, she's normal and maybe she wont' go back.  Maybe she just needs reassurance that things that she is feeling are normal for her age.  But then if there is a problem, then you will know. 

I remember when I got divorced from my ex--my DD was 7 so she must have been pretty young.  She said "well a lot of my friends whose parents are divorced go to counseling."  I asked her if she felt she wanted to go & she said no, so I agree that kids won't usually ask for it just because someone else is going.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Tue, 08-14-2012 - 10:28pm

 I'm not concerned about paying for one, nor am I concerned with my pride! If my daughter needs help, I certainly want her to have it.

I was the poster who suggested that pride might have something to do with it, and I'm glad to hear I was wrong. Obviously, one can't get the whole story from a post.

As far as looking for a therapist, it might take some time, so don't be surprised if she doesn't click with the first one. We went through about 4 (one moved away) before we found a perfect fit for my dd. She then stayed with her therapist for five years, until she felt ready to move on, on her own (she saw this therapist with varying degrees of regularity).

We looked at:

* patient recommendations/reviews, for practice in general if not for the specific practitioner (none of her doctors had a particular recommendation, believe it or not)

* hours and location (she didn't want to miss school or travel too far, or she'd be less likely to go). Gender also - dd always felt more comfortable with a woman

* spiritual/religious affiliation and beliefs - for example, dd is fairly liberal in her beliefs, so she would look for clues like a counselor listing "work with GLBT youth" as a sign that they weren't part of a very right-wing church (the counselor she ended up seeing for so many years was affiliated with a church but worked with everyone). I have more conservative friends who look for the opposite, and feel more comfortable with a therapist who incorporates prayer.

* local hospital recommendations - there is a mental health hospital in our town with many teen/outpatient programs and they knew many of the local psychiatrists and counselors really well.

*http://www.psychologytoday.com/ has a lot of linked pages to therapists and they can give you some insight.

Good luck-

Theresa

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
Thu, 08-16-2012 - 11:07pm

One thing to remember is that the first therapist your DD sees may not be "the one."  A therapist can seem just fine, but not be the right match.  My oldest's first therapist was suggested by his guidance counselor at our big public high school, and they never clicked.  On the other hand, after transferring to a small Catholic school, the counselor there gave him a recommendation for a counselor with whom he had a very good fit. 

Similarly, DH's first therapist was an awful fit, but a second therapist worked out much better.  You have to be open minded about it and believe that the right person is there.

 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Thu, 08-16-2012 - 11:31pm

<<<One thing to remember is that the first therapist your DD sees may not be "the one." >>>  Or the second, or the 3rd...  I used to tell the girls, "It's a lot like dating.  You gotta kiss a lot of toads before one turns into a prince (or princess)!"