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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3191
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Hi i have a 16 year old step daughter who has got lots of issues,

Resolved Question:

Hi i have a 16 year old step daughter who has got lots of issues, She has been under a councillor for the last 2 years with depression and self harming. We are at a loss the family is at breaking point all we seem to do is argue over her. Her father has never had rules or boundaries, hence she has no respect for family members or our property. We have had issues for 2 years on her cleanlinesss/Bedroom. We get no feed back on how her weekly appointment with the councillor is going they say that information is private, at the end of the day she was a minor when she first started with the councillor and i feel her Father should be updated with her progress. Please any positive answers rather than a magic wand would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 3 years ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this very serious, frustrating and sad reality.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What you describe here is very concerning, since we are talking about a minor, who has been suffering from depression, self-harming and also presented unacceptable behavior, once she has no respect for family meember nor for your property, which is truly shocking for a girl this age.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You said she has been receiving counselling for the past two years without any significant improvement, and I do believe there would not be any significant improvement whatsoever as long as you do not get a competent psychotherapist to work mostly with her father, in order for him to make necessary changes and improvements in the quality of parenting, discipline, affection and modeling he provides to her, otherwise I think it would be hopeless.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Children literally depend on the quality of parenting, modeling and direct experiences they share with their families, and if both parents do not provide healthy and assertive support in those areas, there is no way for a child to develop and grow in healthy ways, but her personality, mood and functioning would get distorted, and the dysfunctional behaviors you described would continue to be enabled by her father who does not play a healthy and supportive role in her leife

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

There is no way for a child to rehabilitate from depression, self-harm, anxiety disorder and personality problems if the parent who presents dysfunctional behaviors, playing a negative role in her life does not make significant and necessary improvement in himself, since the child depends on him. Thus it would be unrealistic to expect a counsellor to be effective, since the child still happens to have a poor and dysfunctional parenting from father 24/7. I believe this counsellor could be incompetent and unethical since it is unacceptable to keep a client for this long, without having addressed any core issue in effective ways, and included parents and family, which are crucial for her rehabilitation process. But even if you get a very good psychotherapist, she.he could only be beneficial, if her father does the work and improvements he needs to do to raise, and support his child the way she needs and deserves, and that means teaching and modeling respect, responsibility, assertiveness, sensitivity, humbleness, gratefulness and other core values necessary for a child to develop and grow healthy and happy.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Obviously doing all this job is hard and would create unavoidable conflicts, a real crisis, but they would be necessary and constructive, just like when working on eradicating a tumor and rehabilitating from cancer, it is painful, but necessary and worthy, and it depends on parents not on the children who depend on them. The child does what the parents allows and enables her to do, she does not have that power herself, but is empowered and enabled buy her father's dysfunctional parenting, and ti seems she has already developed personality problems because of the behaviors you have described here.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Again, my suggestion is for you to find a competent, ethical and experienced psychotherapist, like a marriage and family therapist, or with expertise in parenting, families, and child therapy to work mostly with her father, then with her and with the whole family, in that way you would ensure the best possible results. It would become obvious that it is the father who needs intensive therapy, and that from his concrete improvements, the child would be able to rehabilitate. Does it make sense?

Customer:

Yes it does make sense but its as if the father is in denial, She also has issues with me, She does not interact with any of the family. Does not respond to anything we ask her to do. We just did not know were to turn. I think she is doing everything on purpose to try and split me and her father up.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I totally agree with you. If the father does not recognize the core issues here causing and fueling her disorders and dysfunctions, taking full responsibility for his role here, then it would be unrealistic to expect her getting any better, including the way she treats you, since she is enabled by her father. The codependency here is very serious for sure.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

In most scenarios like this, children do try to sabotage parents' marriages, since in this case you, do not enable her but appear as a threat to her power to manipulate, and do as she pleases without consequences.

Customer:

so true, im not here as a threat i treated her like my own, But somewere along the line we have lost that bond, All the respect has gone

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It is very concerning and frustrating for anybody in your shoes, and I continue to believe it is her father who needs intensive psychotherapy to work on himself, personal, parental and marital issues, since he is allowing and enabling her behavior against you, other family members and the property, so it is very concerning.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, it is very concerning.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

He seems to be using this ineffective counselling as a way to justify things, making it appear as if he is doing his best while in fact this poor counselling only perpetuates and enables even more the whole dysfunction and codependency.

Customer:

He and his ex partner did actually go see a councillor which there daughter was under at the hospital, But like i said they got no feed back on her progress so they both said they would not continue the monthly reviews.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

When a child this young has been presenting these behaviors and disorders for this long, it is unrealistic and neglectful to expect that individual counselling alone would be enough, because this is not about an isolated adult, but about a child who fully depends on those adults playing a parental role in her life, so if any of they fail, she would not be able to rehabilitate , develop and grow fine, and any competent and ethical mental health professional know that, and that;s why collateral and family therapy-sessions are essential.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If one parent like you, does her best, XXXXX XXXXX other fails, it would not work, but would fuel further animosity, hostility and abuse against you.

Customer:

I agree with what your saying, But i seem lost in all this not knowing what my role is supposed to be. I have a 15 year old daughter who lives with all this and its not healthy for her, If i didnt love the man i would just walk

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This is how distorted bad parenting could get, and this is why core serious personal issues the father presents should be addressed with responsibility, and he is the only one with the power to do that with necessary professional support, so if he refuses to do so, this sad situation would only get worse.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then you have to reassess your core needs and expectations here, setting the right priorities base don what you can and should control, namely yourself, and your daughter, since your parental role with your stepdaughter totally depends on what her father chooses to do about her, you and the whole situation, but you all will continue to suffer the consequences.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

When love is not healthy, since it exposes you and your loved ones to any form of neglect, abuse, manipulation or dysfunction, then you need to come to terms with reality and carefully evaluate your choices, core responsibilities and what you truly are willing to afford now and for the long run.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If your partner does not even make sure you get necessary respect at home,neglecting you this much and also promoting emotional, mental and verbal abuse, then I do not see how any of those behaviors could benefit you nor your daughter.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

remember that your first need,right and responsibility is to take good care of yourself, since it is from there that you could take good care of those ho depend on you, like in this case happens to be your daughter. Unhappily that is not the case about your stepdaughter since your partner does no allow you to play necessary parental role.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please read about codependency, and consider a local support group that could help you working on it. Obviously "effective" counselling or even better, psychotherapy are the best sources of support, as long as with real competent professionals.

Customer:

Thankyou Rafael for talking to me today, All i can do now is leave it in hands of her father

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions and to follow up, since I am here willing to support you as possible.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You can contact me using this direct link to my profile http://www.justanswer.com/relationship/expert-rafael-morales-toia/ , just make sure you state "For Rafael only" in your request, for other experts to know you want me to reply, and I will respond in less than an hour most of the time.

Customer:

Thankyou

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I support you. Thank you for your trust. Take gentle care and consistent action.

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