Mother/Daughter relationships - depressed 16 year old


Currently going thru some heavy stuff with my daughter.  She is 16, extremely intelligent, with a dead beat dad that is full of promises that he never follows through on.  To top it off he has a "new" daughter 2 years old.  My daughter sees him doing all these things with her half-sister, buying her presents, taking her places.. when my daughters 16 birthday passed in August her father gave her NOTHING.

Needless to day, she has become depressed, withdrawn.  It has been so bad I had to take her out of school. She doesnt want to live.  It has been scary.  She has just given up.  She has been seeing a therapist, and we are on her third psychiatrist. 

It is scary, as a single mother, I have NO support.  I feel like I failed her.  Its tough, because I just dont know what to do.  Some days are really good (Far and few) most days, she just shuts me out.

If you havent been in this situation you dont know how to act.. the advice I get from people is driving me crazy.  To hear your daughter say she wants to die has to be the most awful heart wrenching thing ever.   I just want her to be happy again, the sound of her laugh is my reason for being.  Everything I do in my life is for her.  She neither understands this or appreciates this.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience with this.
Nov 07, 2011 @ 04:52 pm

9 Replies


Sending you good luck vibes!

That's some really tough stuff! Congrats on being such a caring and supportive single mother though- that cannot be easy!

You are definitely doing the right thing by being there for her, getting her professional help and letting her know you love her.

You definitely have not failed her! These things can happen and affect anyone- it doesn't matter who they are. Though it is tough, keep trying to get through to her.

Depending on the nature of her illness, there are group therapy sessions and treatment centres that are appropriate.

A friend of mine went into Homewood- a center in Guelph Ontario for an eating disorder, however they do treat other types of mental illnesses.

Try family therapy too- I know that sometimes it can work and be beneficial for you all to be there. You could try and convince her father to come as well, but that might end up hurting her even more in the end.

Good luck and I hope this works out well for you! I can appreciate how difficult this situation is and how it must seem like you're getting advice from a million different sources and none of it seems right. You should take care of yourself too- try a support group for parents of depressed teens.

Nov 07, 2011 @ 05:09 pm

I have been there too

I have been in your daughter's shoes to a small degree. Thankfully I don't think I had to endure quite the pain that she is going through. My parents divorced and both remarried, and my dad's kids are spoiled rotten. Meanwhile, his first family (meaning my siblings and I) don't get the same treatment by far.

I don't need gifts from my dad, but it's embarrassing to see the difference. Stepmom isn't a fan of ours and discourages any contact above an occasional phone call.

So what's the advice to you here? all I can say is that some of what she's going through is normal teenager stuff. Being rebellious, shutting people out, etc is what every teen does, so don't assume it's because of you. Sure it's important for any parent to make sure they are making the best decisions they can under their circumstances.

I'm guessing you have no influence over her dad or you would have forced him to man up already. Is there any way you can talk to his wife/girlfriend, sister, or mom? could they and would they help? Ultimately it comes down to your daughter's health and well being. He's obviously living with his head in a bubble, thinking he doesn't have to do anything. That is so very sad and I really feel
for you!

Just keep doing what you're doing. encourage her, try to convince her to find value from other things like engaging in her favourite hobbies or spending time with family members who support and strengthen her. Keep up with that family counselling and if necessary ask your doc if an anti-depressant is possibly a good choice (though that prob should be a last resort!).

And in the end, she might have to dump dad. that is an incredible thing to ask of her. I was advised to do that with my dad but couldn't (though as I said, my relationship with him wasn't as bad as you're describing). However, the way things are right now, it will only bring her down further if he doesn't man up and start showing her the love and attention she deserves.
Nov 07, 2011 @ 05:15 pm

cyber hugs!

This is so sad, Heather! Sending you and your daughter cyber hugs!! I wish you strength and wisdom through this tough time.

Definitely keep up with the therapy - it can't hurt. See if you can help her build stronger relationships with other family members who can build her up. She needs a father figure - maybe your dad, brother or uncle can step in to a greater degree? We hear so much these days about the need to have both a mom and dad figure in their lives, especially in a single-parent family.
Nov 07, 2011 @ 05:18 pm

I have been throught this

Sounds like my story Heather except I have a son.I was with my ex husband for 10 years I left him in 1996.My son was 10 at the time.My son became withdrawn very quickly,He was so sad that his Dad wouldn't call him or want to see him.My ex was to busy dating and enjoying the single life.When my son was 13 my ex remarried and had another son.My son became even more depressed.the only saving grace was that we were close and I actually had him go to therapy as well for awhile and that helped him alot.At around the age of 16/17 he also said he wanted to die and it is so scary to hear your child say that!I just always was there for him and we talked lots.He had a few good friends that helped as well.My son is 23 years old now and has a somewhat relationship with his Dad, because hes no longer a child but it has reversed his Dad wants to be more buddy buddy with him.My son moved to Calgary for a great job opportunity and rented the basement from his Dad.Well that didn't last long hes looking for a place of his own now.My ex neglected him for so long that's it hard for them to have a close relationship with his Dad and he now knows it was the best thing that I left his Dad and although we had struggles everything turned out for the best.Hang in there it will get better Heather.Its just the neglect that hurts the kids so much all you can do is be there for her and show her your love.She will appreciate it more then you know!
Nov 07, 2011 @ 09:01 pm

Hugs to the both of you!

When I was sixteen my mom and dad split up too. I never was very close
with my dad to begin with, but after they split he would get drunk and
then get mad at me for not wanting to spend time with him. When I did
finally give in and started to spend time with him, he found his new
wife and her kids became his life. My three brother's and I were all
pushed aside and made to feel like we didn't matter to him any more and
we weren't going to be apart of his new family. It was like her kids
took our place's and we were forgotten about. Like I said I wasn't very
close with my father before the split, but after I did start spending
time with him I thought things would finally going to be different and
they were wonderful until he remarried. It was very hurtful and has
taken me years to get over. My youngest son doesn't even know my father
and wouldn't know him if he were to pass him in the streets, but that
was his doing not mine. He even moved hundreds of miles away from us and
never said a word about it. We found out he was gone when we tried to
call one day and found out his phone had bin disconnected. I see it as
his loss not mine now, but it took me years to get to the point that I'm
at now.

The more help you can give your daughter to get through this the better,
but like someone else has already said you have to also remember she's
also just going through normal teenage things on top of this. Its hard
enough to be a teenager with out having to deal every thing she is on
top of it. Try and remember how you felt during your teens when she
shuts you out. Take a step back and just think for a minute, is this
just a normal teenage situation, or is it something more. If you feel
its more at the time, try talking with her as an equal, not a little
kid. Explain to her that you love her more then anything in this world
and that you just want her to be happy, that your not trying to drive
her crazy by asking a bunch of questions. Definitely keep up with the
threapy and if one place isn't working try another. There are also many
books on the market now a days that can help you deal with her teenage
years and her hurt feelings. They can be very helpful for the day to day
things teens go through. This may be something you don't want to do,
but you just might want to give some thought to. A lot of teens that are
feeling as bad as she is turn to drugs, so when she's at school you
just might want to give her room a good look through. They like to hid
things where they think we'll never look. Like taped under a desk draw,
or dresser-draw, under the windowsill, in side of a lamp shade, places
like that. Now don't get me wrong I'm not saying your daughter's doing
drugs, I'm just saying it wouldn't hurt to take a look. Our kids are
pressured to try drugs on an everyday bases and when they're feeling bad
and someone says here try this you won't feel a thing, you'd be
surprised at how many do try it and the one's that do are getting
younger and younger. This could also be a little part of whats causing
her moods to go from being happy, then so, so sad. Your doing a great
job, so don't think your not! With everything you've done so far and
knowing enough to get the help when you should is great. Just keep
trying even when you feel like nothing your doing is right, we've all
felt like that at times, after all when our kids were born they didn't
come with a handbook. Keep us update, good luck and big hugs to ya.
Nov 08, 2011 @ 09:55 am


Wow guys, thanks a lot. Its comforting to know that this situation has happened and all turns out well.

Its so hard, because I basically let her walk all over me right now. I cant say "no" to her, or ground her because I feel like I would be contributing to her sadness. She doesnt take TOO much advantage over this situation, but a little .. I just wish she would talk to me about everything. I cant help but me a mother and get judgemental about somethings - just proves that I care for her, she just cant see that right now. Getting her back in school is high on my list.
I try and overcompensate for her father being such a loser, maybe I try too hard.

Really guys, thanks so much for all the kind words :)
Nov 08, 2011 @ 03:51 pm

Hang in there

Just keep letting her know your always there if she needs a shoulder...She needs to vent because its better then keeping in anything that bothers her.One day she will surprise you and just start opening up. I'm positive things will get better for you Heather.Keep us posted and you yourself need to vent.You writing here was a big step so keep on writing or keep a private diary. I've always kept a diary since I was a child.It helps to get your thoughts written out and also amazing to look back at those periods of your life.You could suggest that for your daughter as well.Go to a dollar store they have pretty empty books get a few and tell her when shes sad or angry to write it out and let her know its her own private words.If shes artistic art therapy is wonderful!When my son went for therapy they did lots of art therapy and that seemed to help him to draw and paint as well as talking.
Nov 09, 2011 @ 01:24 am

Been there

Let me start with a disclaimer that I now have an excellent relationship with my father and he is a daily part of my life.

BUT... when I was 15 my Dad left and started a new family so I know exactly how your daughter feels. I was in a dark place at the time too. Myself and my siblings also saw my Dad's new family living a better lifestyle, getting boatloads of toys for Christmas while we each got a sweater from Winners. I actively pursued a relationship with my Dad because he was an amazing father before all of this happened and I loved him dearly. His wife was not supportive of us spending time with him, which was really difficult. I too entertained thoughts of just ending it all and I scared the crap out of my family when I almost carried through with it.

The difference for me was I had amazing grandparents and extended family who jumped in and spent a lot of time with us. They were a huge support. I was also very lucky to have an amazing boyfriend and friends who let me vent for hours at a time. Family and friend support is key here. People who can be a positive influence and show her unconditional love.

Fastforward to present day. I am successful in my career, in a way I don't think I would have been had I not had major hurdles to overcome. I have a great relationship with my Dad now as well as his 'new' family. I have an even stronger bond with my original siblings and my mother.

I think you should let her read this thread. Let her know that as horrible as things are right now, her life can be so great once she gets past all of this. The bad things that happen to her can give her an incredible motivation and strength to overcome it all. I decided when all of this happened to me that I was going to use all of the negativity to make something of myself. I refused to let the actions of others dictate the success of my life and my personal happiness. I hate to mope and feel sorry for myself. I also used my faith in God to get me through it, and that was a life changer.

Give your daughter a huge hug and tell her it is her life and she can make something incredible out of it IN SPITE of everything that has happened to her. Some extremely successful people have stories like these that made them who they are and she can be one of them. All the best to you both!

Nov 09, 2011 @ 02:55 pm


Sounds too sad. Saying she wants to die is only a serious situation. Try therapy. A therapist will help her work through her feelings about her father and also help for her depression.
Nov 09, 2011 @ 09:35 pm

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