I have a 14-year-old daughter who has suffered from mental health issues since puberty. She has been through 4 middle schools and several residential behavior programs. I got her enrolled in an online school now hoping it would motivate her to want to graduate or at least attend classes. She simply doesn't care. She said she hates school and would rather join the military or be a stripper.

I am at a loss. I am a single parent, we lost her mom when she was 5 to a suicide. I want her to have a happy healthy life but without an education I am afraid she will have a rough time later I life. We have had DCFS in our lives 2 times now for her missing school and suicidal ideation.

If anyone has any advice on what I should do please let me know. We have tried counseling, changing living arrangements, and now home schooling. Nothing I do seems to make her happy or gives her the desire to complete something she starts. I will never give up on my daughter so I'm hoping someone has a idea for me. What are some paths I can take to help motivate my daughter?


2 Answers 2


My suggestion would be to go to counselling yourself, with someone who is expert on childhood mental health issues, but very much with you as the focus. This isn't because you're messed up, or doing something wrong, which you're not, it's because you're facing issues which are way out of the league of any normal "civilian" parent, and you need information, understanding and comprehension on the issue, the consequences, and so on, from someone for whom this isn't completely alien territory. I'm thinking this is separate from focusing on your daughter's problems, but on you.

I say this because it sounds, from your message, that what you lack is help to make decisions, or in how to act, or what to do yourself as a person in a particular role, and support.

I realise, as a single-parent, this isn't easy, and might have to be Skype or email, or something, but there's professional folk who do that.

I hope stuff works out for you, Monty.


I am sorry that you and your family have been through so much. I agree with above poster that you do need to prioritize your own well being first and foremost, for both your sakes. This is speculation in a big way, but I wonder whether having lost her mom at a young age, the fear of loss might be what is driving your daughter to act out..possibly to repeatedly test the support she does have left i.e. you..in which case letting her see that you are 'never giving up on her' would make sense and might be just what she needs. It's a lot for any person to deal with and maybe this is her processing her life experiences. Wish you and her the best..

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