We're friends with a divorced couple who have a teenage daughter - their only child. We have not seen this girl in many, many years but from our last memory, she was a good kid. We hear about her through mutual friends. Frank and I have often marveled because this girl was born the same day as Nick and our friends were very successful in their careers and had everything to offer their child where as we were always financially challenged.
Since the time of their divorce (perhaps earlier) this girl has been through rehab for heroin addiction, got pregnant from a guy she met on MySpace, had an abortion, has gotten many piercings, tattooed her inner lip, is dating a twenty-something man, and seems to have some sort of eating disorder because she is freakishly thin. This child - and yes, at 16 she is still a child - has done every textbook scenario to get her parents attention. The latest in a long line of stunts to get their attention is to become a hypochondriac.
While out with some mutual friends for dinner this girl proceeded to tell her father all of the reasons that she needed to go to the doctor because she can't/didn't want to participate in gym class. The father had made several appointments for her to which she never went. When he reminded her of that fact, she became silent. Then she told him of the asthma attack's she's suffered lately. She smokes - another fact that she was reminded of. Stop smoking and your asthma should calm down. Again, silence. Then she showed him a PAPER CUT she had! This is not a small child, but a 16 year old. When the paper cut got no response from anyone at the table, she squirted lemon juice in her own eye (details are sketchy on whether this was on purpose or not - I'm thinking it was) and then screamed the house down! Am I the only one thinking at this point that this girl needs serious psychiatric help! When her screaming stopped, she pointed out that her spine is crooked and bent over to show everyone at the table. She weighs next to nothing - it was suggested that she try eating something.
Now I realize that I am getting all of this info second hand and all, but you don't have to be a psyche major to see that this kid is a mental case with red flags going up all around her! Adults get so wrapped up in their own lives - particularly when there is divorce involved and never take the time to see what in the world is going on around them! What more does this kid have to do before someone gets the hint. Is she a hypochondriac? ABSOLUTELY! Is her behavior inappropriate for someone her age? YES! Are most of her symptoms in her head? UH-HUH! Parents, get a clue! Stop taking her to medical doctors for imaginary illnesses and get this poor girl some mental help! Now!
Nature vs. nurture. Here was a child who wanted for nothing - materially - but was not really loved/nurtured by her parents. We had a child who had all of our love and attention but not many of the material items that he probably craved. At the end of the day, I'll take my child with all of the things that he does that makes me crazy because really, he's a good kid! He can be sweet and thoughtful, loving and he's a damn riot. For all of the "stuff" this girl was given, she is none of those things and that is just sad. I can only pray that these parents get a clue. Frank and I tried talking to the dad about this at one point but our advice was not welcomed. It's hard to sit back and watch (or listen to) these cries for help.
I thank God for the low level of craziness my boy brings to my life because after hearing all of the above, it could surely be a LOT worse.
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