Dangerous Fads: Hannah

Deadly Teen Trend
"I never thought Hannah would do drugs, especially huffing," says Karyn, about her 15-year-old daughter.
 
"She is very smart, very intelligent, she was a great friend to her friends," adds Hannah's father, Randall.
 
Karyn says her daughter's behavior changed in the sixth grade when she began hanging with a new group of friends.
 
"Hannah tried to get out of the house as much as she could. We just attributed it to normal teenage behavior," Randall says. "Hannah's grades remained where they were, and she was still active socially, so I saw no warning signs."
 
"We found out that she was smoking and drinking," Karyn says.
 
[AD]"I basically decided that it's my life, and I'm the one who should be controlling it, not my parents," says Hannah, who says she was using inhalants every other day. She demonstrates how she huffs, by covering her nose and mouth with the hood of her jacket and inhaling.
 
"We were going to ground her, but then we discovered a bombshell: Hannah was going to run away," Randall says. "When I found out that Hannah was planning to run away and was huffing, I was devastated. This is one of a father's biggest nightmares."
 
"I had heard a number of reports of people dying the first time they tried it. She was doing that in our home, and I could have walked in at any moment to find her dead," Karyn says.
Randall and Karyn staged an intervention when they discovered their teen was planning to run away. Hannah has been in rehab for 49 days. 
 
"She is not willing to give up any of the substance abuse," Karyn reports on videotape.
 
"Hannah feels that huffing is OK," Randall says. His voice breaking, he continues, "I feel like I'm the worst father in the world, because a father is supposed to protect his children, and I failed."
 
"I'd really like my parents to understand that I'm 15, and I can make my own life decisions," Hannah says. "I'm the one who has to die when it's my time to die, so let me live my life the way I want to."
 
When the videotape ends, Dr. Phil turns to Randall, who is wiping his eyes. "What is most disturbing to you about what she says?" he asks.
 
"She doesn't understand how dangerous this is. She doesn't think there's anything wrong with it, that her life may end very soon, and it doesn't bother her," Randall replies, his voice strained. [AD]
 
"Did you see this coming at all before you discovered it?" Dr. Phil inquires.
 
Karyn shakes her head. "There was nothing. She is a bright girl."
 
"This is what I want parents to know: You didn't see any behaviors. You didn't see any drop in her academics. You didn't see any change in her patterns," Dr. Phil points out. "At this point, 49 days into the mission of getting her to change her point of view, to recognize the danger of this, she's still telling you that she doesn't want to give up what she's doing, and doesn't want to give up the friends who are involved."

"Why did she want to run away?" Dr. Phil asks.

 

"Because we had been told by one of her friends that she had been smoking and drinking," Karyn replies. "We knew the crowd she had been hanging around with, so we grounded her from being with them, and she got very angry."

"When we found that note that she was willing to run away, we felt that, at that point, we were at our wits' end," Randall explains. [AD]

"What I am so proud of with you two is that when you saw the first signs of this, you acted right then," Dr. Phil praises the couple. "She says you overreacted, I say that you acted, because this just gets harder when they get older."

 

 

Read Dr. Phil's blog about shaping your kids, and leave a comment!