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OhNoTheyDidNot Donating Member (412 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-05 01:33 AM
Original message
If a 14 year old kid runs away and stops going to school - are the parents
responsible for the bad attendence? Also, if she does something illegal, are the parents responsible? My sis is going through some serious problems with her 14 year old (who up until 6 months ago was a sweet, sweet kid but something weird has happened). If a kid JUST WON'T GO TO SCHOOL are the parents going to get in trouble?
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haele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-05 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. From what we've been told by the school, the parents can be held liable.
Mainly with fines and visits from CPS. Many communities have truant officers that will haul the parents and the kid up before family court if the kid gets caught too many times. That can impact the parent's job...
And if she does something illegal, the parents certainly are responsible - and financially liable.

First thing to do if there's a question - have your sister talk to the school counselor about her daughter, friends, possible bullies, etc and what the options the parents have are. Some school districts have a walk-in child psychologist/therapist to help the children overcome social, peer, and behavioral issues if the family can't see on on their own. Just be sure the parent talks to that therapist to discuss the problem from their side before the kid goes to see the therapist. (Some kids don't want to go to the family's therapist because of confidentiality issues and the fact that they don't feel that "their side" - especially their self-delusions and self-esteem based lies - aren't being taken seriously - especially when the bill is being paid by mom and dad.)

At fourteen, the girl is most likely looking for something that makes her feel "special" or "cool" to her peers, and has fallen into craving peer attention to make her feel more grown-up and in control. The first thing that girls like that tend to do is figure out how to manipulate their parents, who are still thinking about her as "their little girl".

In the bad old days, parents starting to face this problem would have been expected to marry (i.e. sell) a "spirited" girl with questions of self-worth off by thirteen/fourteen so by the time she got to what would be her adolescent stage, she would have been too busy with a new environment, husband and probably baby to deal with her personal issues and grow to accept "her role in life" without the tantrums.

We're going through this right now with a thirteen year old that has had problems with her natural mother (who has her own reality problems), attention craving, self esteem issues, and anger control as well as a serious case of a genetic bi-polar syndrome currently manifesting itself.

It's a very strange balancing act that's very stressful, time consuming, and potentially expensive depending on how much self-destructing the kid is going through.

The parent's control reins have to be tight, monitoring must be constant, the rules must be fair, and still have to be enforced consistently, everything the child does needs to be questioned - yet the child still needs some "self expression" time and monitored rewards that all parties have agreed to for when she does do good and needs to be let to throw that tantrum or act out when and where she can do no harm to anything - including herself.

(In my experience, a great deal of the problem teenagers have always had is that they have absolutely no sense of proportionate humor and will inevitably make snap judgments on face values instead of taking to time to actually observe. And they seem to be extremely passive nowdays - moreso than when I was a teen. The methods that she and most of her friends use to entertain themselves tend to use very little imagination and appear to be required to be spoon-fed to them.)

Most of all, she has to learn that actions have consequences, and just because now she wants to be able to cut her nose off to spite her face or lie to get out of a situation, it doesn't mean that two months from now she'll be happy with the nose job she gave herself or having to explain why the grandmother she claimed died back then is coming out for a visit.

We've found that showing a somewhat "flexible" memory and a great deal of patient and ironic humor helps, even though we don't trust anything she does and probably won't until we (hopefully) manage to get her halfway through college.

We're somewhat lucky - her dad is disabled, so he's home most of the time and can do the monitoring. Most parents don't seem to have that option anymore.

Something your sister should be aware of, if the girl's got self-esteem and control issues, the she will lie, she will steal, she will cheat, she will do anything to make herself look like the innocent victim - especially if she's cute and has a prior reputation for being a good girl.
Expect that if she's going through her bored, self-destructive stage.

If she hasn't already been "on the street" perhaps it would be a good thing for her and the family to actually sit down with a counselor for street kids and have her learn what her friends and life would be when she gets herself caught up in the street life.

But if she's already caught up in the street pimp/gang/drug abuse where she's had to become cruel and uncaring to be able to "hang" - there's got to be some serious, long term, and possibly futile work on her, and she's probably not going to show any improvement - if she's going to improve at all - for another couple years.

Six months may not have been too long. But if this goes on for much longer without some sort of attention other than "it's just a phase", her attitude will just feed on herself and she will end up destroying any hope of a future for the next decade of her life while she sorts herself out. And she will grow up to hate herself, which has it's own problems for her future life.

As I said before, we're going through this now with our thirteen year old.
She's currently really "bored" getting her homework and chores done before she can get any reward time, and is pissed that some of her newer, popular "friends" - especially the "boyfriends" are dropping her because she can't just hang out at the mall with them or go any place where there is no adult supervision.
And that's the way it is - it's going to either work, or send both her and her dad into inpatient treatment after the next few years.

Good luck to you,your sister, and the family.

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OhNoTheyDidNot Donating Member (412 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-05 11:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. Please read response 3
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Kerrytravelers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-05 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
2. I'm a teacher of special ed kids, 4th - 6th grade. Mine often go AWOL.
If the parents contact the school and ask them for assistance, they will --- should be able--- to avoid many of the legal problmes. Much of this depends on the state and district they are in.

Please PM me with details (if you perfer to keep the details private) and I'll try to be more helpful.

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OhNoTheyDidNot Donating Member (412 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-05 11:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Please read response 3
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OhNoTheyDidNot Donating Member (412 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-05 11:57 PM
Response to Original message
3. Haele and kt. I have read your responses and I thank you so much.....
Edited on Sun Nov-13-05 12:01 AM by OhNoTheyDidNot
We looked for her all day and her dad saw her at the mall this evening and they made eye contact and she bolted. This is not in the realm of normal response from her so I do suspect drugs are involved. Haele, so much of what you said was ON THE MONEY - she is a very pretty girl that about 6 months ago discovered goth. The Romones, the Misfits, etc. Slowly the grades dropped and the caring dropped and now we have almost an empty shell of what once was. She lives about 2 hours from me so her coming here (dropping by if she has no where to go) will not happen. Haele, she's been a runaway for one weekend, so the harsh stuff that you said that could happen has not. BTW, she turned 14 in October so she is practically 13 herself, just like the little girl that you mentioned frequently. I talked to my sis 1/2 hour ago, they called the police and explained the situtation and I sent her your response because it was so insightful. I have no idea how this is going to turn out but can't help but wondering how they have so much disrespect ... I might have had as much at her age but was way to afraid of consequences to act out as she has. KT, please keep they PM option open for me, I need more info from my sis before I even know what is really going on to give you reality. You are both amazing and special for answering me... I owe you one or two
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