Parenting a Teen with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Posted by pricet @pricet, Jan 10, 2012

Just wondering if anyone has parented a teen w/fetal alcohol. Our daughter has not been diag., but her birth mother is an alcoholic. We did not give it much thought until now. She is 17 & quite frankly not doing well. I’m sure it could be worse, but would like some input on how to handle.

My husband and I adopted an eight year old boy who has fetal alcohol syndrome among other diagnoses. He is now 15. This is my first time in a discussion group so l’m not exactly sure how it works but I do know quite a bit about FAS and have had many difficulties with my son, but information and therapists have helped us. He is a very sweet boy at heart. I’d be glad to talk with you. If anyone else can offer me further help please also private message me.

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@ljpettit

My husband and I adopted an eight year old boy who has fetal alcohol syndrome among other diagnoses. He is now 15. This is my first time in a discussion group so l’m not exactly sure how it works but I do know quite a bit about FAS and have had many difficulties with my son, but information and therapists have helped us. He is a very sweet boy at heart. I’d be glad to talk with you. If anyone else can offer me further help please also private message me.

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Thank you so much. We started seeing a counselor right before Thanksgiving & it has helped to some degree. My husband & I struggle w/the thought of her being out on her own, because she lives in such a fantasy world. I have read that this can be an issue w/kids that have FAS & FAE. Our other concern is she will be 18 in Oct. & repeatedly tells us she is moving out. Does your son know that he has FAS? We have never told our daughter & sometimes I wonder if it would help for her to know. Thanks for replying & listening. By the way, I have never been a part of a discussion group either.

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@ljpettit

My husband and I adopted an eight year old boy who has fetal alcohol syndrome among other diagnoses. He is now 15. This is my first time in a discussion group so l’m not exactly sure how it works but I do know quite a bit about FAS and have had many difficulties with my son, but information and therapists have helped us. He is a very sweet boy at heart. I’d be glad to talk with you. If anyone else can offer me further help please also private message me.

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pricet,
We have told our son that he has FAS because his birth mother drank alcohol during her pregnancy. We have not told him that he has a low IQ which may or may not be associated with FAS. Each child with FAS has some different characteristics due to genetics, how much alcohol was drunk at what exact stage of development. Our son is very impulsive and has very little understanding of numbers. He has also been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was neglected, physically and sexually abused which complicates things. He will definately need us to be guardians since kids with FAS often have little concept of money. I’m not sure what you mean when you say your daughter lives in a fantasy world.

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Hi there, we have a 15 yr old with fas. we are looking for help and support groups someone to talk to. Thank you

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@woohoo

Hi there, we have a 15 yr old with fas. we are looking for help and support groups someone to talk to. Thank you

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Hi @woohoo, welcome to the About Kids & Teens group. Let's get you connected with others who have experience with children living with fetal alcohol syndrome, like @ljpettit @pricet @naenae01 and @irene5.

While we wait for others to join the conversation, can you tell us a bit more about you and your family. Having a 15 year old is tough period. But I can imagine you're wanting to talk with others about specific challenges related your 15 year old's FAS. What challenge are you dealing with at the moment that you would like to share?

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@woohoo

Hi there, we have a 15 yr old with fas. we are looking for help and support groups someone to talk to. Thank you

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Weve known for 5 years but it was kind of like they all said treat this treat that odd bpd anxiety adhd not sleeping on the austism spectrum high functioning about 25 meds…. the last 5 weeks worst depression ever. We have found a dbt therapist who knows her stuff about fas and we r self educating but j stopped going to therapy 1 month ago and hasnt gone to school for 7 days. We are doing this for our sanity..even if she won't go on board..ive lost my dad to this bc of ignorance. Its accepting alot that we havent known basically told its just the frontal lobe impulse control and bad decision making..had no idea of all the other crap. She was in residential for 3 months one year and 8 months in 2019 hell on earth the last 3 years. 1 Suicide attempt. And we know we can't discipline aka rewards and punishments the same but today went to a whole new level and im just passed wipe..no one i know even knows 1 tenth of what we and her go thru. I recently sent out a letter to friends and family except my dad about our life even sent fasd info and lacking executive skills and cognitive thinking..I am sooo angry at her birth mom for doing this to her and 4 other siblings…thanks for listening im sorry you all have and r going thru this

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@woohoo

Weve known for 5 years but it was kind of like they all said treat this treat that odd bpd anxiety adhd not sleeping on the austism spectrum high functioning about 25 meds…. the last 5 weeks worst depression ever. We have found a dbt therapist who knows her stuff about fas and we r self educating but j stopped going to therapy 1 month ago and hasnt gone to school for 7 days. We are doing this for our sanity..even if she won't go on board..ive lost my dad to this bc of ignorance. Its accepting alot that we havent known basically told its just the frontal lobe impulse control and bad decision making..had no idea of all the other crap. She was in residential for 3 months one year and 8 months in 2019 hell on earth the last 3 years. 1 Suicide attempt. And we know we can't discipline aka rewards and punishments the same but today went to a whole new level and im just passed wipe..no one i know even knows 1 tenth of what we and her go thru. I recently sent out a letter to friends and family except my dad about our life even sent fasd info and lacking executive skills and cognitive thinking..I am sooo angry at her birth mom for doing this to her and 4 other siblings…thanks for listening im sorry you all have and r going thru this

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Hi @woohoo, you packed a lot into that short paragraph and I realize that you've only shared the tip of the iceberg. I know this is hard, but it sure seems like you're doing a lot of thing right. Give yourself credit for that. For example, you're educating yourself even if J choses to discontinue DBT therapy – at least for the moment. Understanding J's FAS can go a long way to supporting them, like shifting typical discipline approaches. Sending info to educate family and friends is a great idea too. That will help them support you better.

When my daughter was 15 (just a couple of year ago), I would tell her to do something and expect her to do it, right away. That's how we were taught at home. When dad said, we did. It frustrated me when M would say Yeah and then not do it. I'd have to remind her, etc. Then I learned that she needs to plan her day in advance. Expecting her to act right away sent her into anxiety or anger. So I adjusted my behavior. When I wanted her to do something, she added it to a list. It got done…on her timeline, but it did get done. Less stress for both of us.

What have you learned in your self-education about FAS that really helped you? What is one thing in your approach with J that has helped the two of you recently?

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@woohoo

Weve known for 5 years but it was kind of like they all said treat this treat that odd bpd anxiety adhd not sleeping on the austism spectrum high functioning about 25 meds…. the last 5 weeks worst depression ever. We have found a dbt therapist who knows her stuff about fas and we r self educating but j stopped going to therapy 1 month ago and hasnt gone to school for 7 days. We are doing this for our sanity..even if she won't go on board..ive lost my dad to this bc of ignorance. Its accepting alot that we havent known basically told its just the frontal lobe impulse control and bad decision making..had no idea of all the other crap. She was in residential for 3 months one year and 8 months in 2019 hell on earth the last 3 years. 1 Suicide attempt. And we know we can't discipline aka rewards and punishments the same but today went to a whole new level and im just passed wipe..no one i know even knows 1 tenth of what we and her go thru. I recently sent out a letter to friends and family except my dad about our life even sent fasd info and lacking executive skills and cognitive thinking..I am sooo angry at her birth mom for doing this to her and 4 other siblings…thanks for listening im sorry you all have and r going thru this

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@woohoo You are in a tough situation. I've worked with child and families like yours. It is beyond taxing and I'm not going to say I know what you are going through.

I will ask, how are you taking care of yourself? Do you have a spouse? How are they taking care of themselves? How are you taking care of your marriage?

It sounds like you are a wonderful parent and you are seeking the correct help. May I ask if you are you in individual and/or family therapy? I ask because your child does not have to participate in therapy for things to improve. Improvement may be small and slow. It could be you taking better care of yourself, relying more on supports via asking for help, changing how you view the situation, etc.

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@colleenyoung

Hi @woohoo, you packed a lot into that short paragraph and I realize that you've only shared the tip of the iceberg. I know this is hard, but it sure seems like you're doing a lot of thing right. Give yourself credit for that. For example, you're educating yourself even if J choses to discontinue DBT therapy – at least for the moment. Understanding J's FAS can go a long way to supporting them, like shifting typical discipline approaches. Sending info to educate family and friends is a great idea too. That will help them support you better.

When my daughter was 15 (just a couple of year ago), I would tell her to do something and expect her to do it, right away. That's how we were taught at home. When dad said, we did. It frustrated me when M would say Yeah and then not do it. I'd have to remind her, etc. Then I learned that she needs to plan her day in advance. Expecting her to act right away sent her into anxiety or anger. So I adjusted my behavior. When I wanted her to do something, she added it to a list. It got done…on her timeline, but it did get done. Less stress for both of us.

What have you learned in your self-education about FAS that really helped you? What is one thing in your approach with J that has helped the two of you recently?

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Yes that is her! Alot we have learned all the things we thought her just being defiant all the time not understanding or obeying, even in this short time i am looking and handling her different for the positive.Right now she is very depressed and angry and just started public school so were kind of in a holding pattern. I just keep praying she goes back to therapy. and we can only say alittle bit about anything at one time.We are just so sad.And her depression just blows up the fas. Ive been online trying to find zoom support groups.

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@erikas

@woohoo You are in a tough situation. I've worked with child and families like yours. It is beyond taxing and I'm not going to say I know what you are going through.

I will ask, how are you taking care of yourself? Do you have a spouse? How are they taking care of themselves? How are you taking care of your marriage?

It sounds like you are a wonderful parent and you are seeking the correct help. May I ask if you are you in individual and/or family therapy? I ask because your child does not have to participate in therapy for things to improve. Improvement may be small and slow. It could be you taking better care of yourself, relying more on supports via asking for help, changing how you view the situation, etc.

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Yes im married me and my husband are united always have been. Were just so sad, im not doing the best i myself suffer from depression but in therapy.just realllly mad at her adoptive mom for this and her 4 siblings. im sad we didnt know figure this out till now. but we do know we have and are doing all we can. shes gotta want it and do it.we had family therapy now i or my husband and i go 1x week to help us help her.Someone told me today that shes probably so sad herself that shes angry which is easier to lash out and do.

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@woohoo

Yes that is her! Alot we have learned all the things we thought her just being defiant all the time not understanding or obeying, even in this short time i am looking and handling her different for the positive.Right now she is very depressed and angry and just started public school so were kind of in a holding pattern. I just keep praying she goes back to therapy. and we can only say alittle bit about anything at one time.We are just so sad.And her depression just blows up the fas. Ive been online trying to find zoom support groups.

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@woohoo I do not have any familiarity with fas, nor have I been around people who suffer with this. But I am familiar with depression. Fifteen is an awkward age without any issues, add in these factors, and it becomes a challenge for everyone. If this is her first year at a new high school, students can be such bullies. Perhaps there was an incident that has turned her away from that location? The person who told you about her anger and sadness being connected may really be on to something. Expressing love and support from you and your husband, letting her know she has a safe place with you, and you will do anything to help, will go a long way, I believe.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@woohoo I do not have any familiarity with fas, nor have I been around people who suffer with this. But I am familiar with depression. Fifteen is an awkward age without any issues, add in these factors, and it becomes a challenge for everyone. If this is her first year at a new high school, students can be such bullies. Perhaps there was an incident that has turned her away from that location? The person who told you about her anger and sadness being connected may really be on to something. Expressing love and support from you and your husband, letting her know she has a safe place with you, and you will do anything to help, will go a long way, I believe.
Ginger

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Thank you

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