- Category: Families
It is often very confusing and frightening to parents when their teenager is exhibiting self-destructive behaviors. Parents can become reluctant to set limits because they’re afraid they’ll make things worse. Here is the story of a family I worked with recently who exemplify this dilemma. (Of course I’ve changed their names.)
Emma’s parents got a call from one of Emma’s friends on a Saturday night. Emma, a tall, slight 15-year-old sophomore, had passed out drunk and vomited at a friend’s house —where there was a party that Emma didn’t have permission to attend. Being concerned parents, they’d immediately gone to pick her up, and then stayed up with her all night, to make sure she was safe. They left me a voice mail message the next morning, and I arranged to see all three of them Monday evening.
As we talked together, Emma revealed that she had been smoking marijuana and drinking, although not frequently. She had also been making shallow cuts on her arms. She was quite forthright in telling us that she didn’t see the point to life, and she even said she felt like giving up.