Recently my daughter, who has been diagnosed with ADHD and takes medication, decided to “run away” after an argument with me. We had recently taken her cellphone away for disrespect towards us, her parents, and she had come in to talk to us about the situation. She heavily apologized for what she had said to us and insisted that her main purpose of talking to us wasn’t to get her phone back. At one point she broke down crying and was begging me to act like a mother to her and show compassion. She stated that she was asking for help..I wasn’t sure what type of help she was desiring but I chose not to inquire because I believed her innate motives were to get her phone back. She was extremely upset and kept repeating that if I continued to ignore her she would make a mistake that she knew she would regret. I continued to ignore her and she proceeded to leave the room. She got her car keys and promptly left the house. She took her ipad with her since we had her phone. She left at 9pm and my husband and I instantly called the police upon her departure. We also went through all of her phone messages and called the parents of the people she had recently been communicating with to see if she was at their home. Two police officers went off looking for her. My husband and I chose to call the police before letting her know via the ipad that we were sending police looking for her if she did not return. After 15 minutes she came home after learning from her friends, whose parents we had notified that we were calling the police, told her the police were looking for her. She told us her reasoning for leaving was because she needed time to herself to think and figure things out. She expressed her remorse and said she admitted it was an impulsive immature decision. We decided her punishment was to be complete grounding from all privileges including her car, cellphone, social activities, ipad, and sports. She is allowed to leave the house for school but must return promptly at the end of the school day and is not permitted to attend her tennis practices. We have decided to implement this punishment for 2 weeks to a month. Lastly I must mention that my daughter is a straight-A student with a 4.0 GPA. She is not involved with drugs or alcohol and has never “ran away” or made any kind of decision in this nature. She is usually a pretty good kid with a good sense of judgement. After telling her what her punishment would be she expressed extreme discontent. She claims that we have just made the situation worse by taking away everything that makes her happy. She has lost motivation for school and seems to have fallen into a depression. My question is was this a reasonable consequence for her actions? Was this just a stupid mistake that teens frequently make? Does her ADHD have a role in our punishment techniques? Thanks so much!
Many things may play into what she is struggling with. Just being a teen is difficult in itself. Step back for a moment and look at ALL the things she has. Car, ipad, TV, cell phone etc…I would suggest she is a bit spoiled and the crying fit you experienced was a tantrum of a teenage princess who is spoiled. Simply putting her on lockdown 2 weeks a month doesn’t make sense in my book. I think that you need to start putting boundaries up in general around all these things that on the surface appear to satisfy, but at the end of the day don’t amount to any satisfaction. IF it is true that all these THINGS make he happy she is in a bad place. THINGS shouldn’t make one happy and it shows the shallowness of your daughter. Relationships, accomplishments, service, those are some of the things that should make one happy not things. I would suggest you seek out a competent family therapist who could give some direction on boundaries and how to influence your teen in a more positive way. Simply denying her THINGS will cause a reaction that you don’t want. Boundaries around THINGS will teach life lessons she can take out of the home.