12 Year Old Daughter Cuts, Tells Mom She Wants to Die. Abuse?

Dr.Laura
I'm praying that you can help me, to help my daughter, before its to late for her!

Recently, I came across a "Internet chat conversation" of my 12 yr old daughter; she spoke about how her father was sick, and how he abused her or touched her!

I approached her on this, she said that she felt uncomfortable when he rubbed her tummy...seems harmless to me. Then she tried saying that it wasn't about her father, it was about an incident with her and myself, when I smacked her. Her dad and I are divorced. She and her step-dad do not get along.

I recently did something, that maybe i shouldn't have, but I'm not sorry ...I went through her diary, i found out that she had planned on having sex, but it didn't happen. Also she and her best friend had a sleep over with another friend, during the sleep over, they got into some alcohol and got drunk. Then I also read how she and her 2 friends have recently tried "strawberry meth"....She also wrote on how she tried killing herself, by putting a rope around her neck, and she wanted to die....these are all the things I've read in her diary.

I don't know how to deal with all this. Sure, I can get her help, but what kind of story will she tell, will it be lies to make herself look like the victim ? I know she is screaming out for help, and I really thought that we were on the right road to that, we talked more, and I told her how proud I am of her, and that I see shes trying really hard at making things good.

But now, I discover all these things have been happening. I can't talk to her dad about this, because he wont talk to me. I can't talk to my husband because he just thinks she's a brat, and that I don't know how to parent. I'm questioning myself on if I am a good parent or not.

She lies to me all the time. She will do things that she knows I do not approve of. Last year she tried cutting her wrist by making marks all over them. It just seems that when we take one step forward, the next day we end up taking two steps back. I'm so scared that she will try and seriously do permanent harm to herself.

I'm worried that she will try to commit suicide if we get into a big argument or if a boy she likes is not liking her back. Help me to find the right words to say to her. She has written many times on how if she wasn't here, that Mommy's life would be better..that is so far from the truth, If anything happened to my daughter, I would just die myself.
-- Scared Mom

Dear Mom,
I'm so glad that you wrote. You are right to be scared. Yes, your daughter is crying out for help. She has already started to cut her wrists to the point of leaving marks all over them. She writes about wanting to die and has actually tried putting a rope around her neck to experiment with the idea of killing herself. We don't know what is upsetting her or whether she was in fact sexually abused, but we know with certainty that something is hurting her deeply, and she is very fragile.

This is not something you can handle yourself. Naturally you are in a panic. Talking with her about how much you love her and how proud you are of her is great, but it is not enough right now. She needs professional help, and so do you, so that you can be the parent you want to be to her right now and through her teen years. This is particularly true given that you do not have support from her father or stepfather, but any mom in your situation would need help.

Please don't wait. Find a counselor who is experienced in working with kids and teens that the two of you can see together, right now. This counselor will also want to see your daughter alone some of the time, but be sure that you get some counseling time together to repair your communication with your daughter, and some by yourself, to help you with your own panic.

The silver lining here is that you have an opportunity to intervene while your daughter is still young enough to be open to your influence. I wish you, and her, every blessing.

Dr. Laura

Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids

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