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Daughter refusing help

Hi All, I’m brand new to this forum and hoping to have some help with an 18 year old daughter who is really struggling and refusing to get any help. We live at home with my husband and 3 girls. It’s the middle one who has become aggressive, controlling and manipulative, more so over the last few months. She also blames everyone else for anything that happens, even when it’s very obviously her aggression that has triggered an incident. She refuses to admit that there is a problem and seek any form of help. We’ve even offered to go to a counsellor or mediator to work together better as a family.
We have anxiety, depression, bipolar and borderline personality disorder in our extended family, so recognise many of the behaviours that she is displaying. I’m sure she needs help but not sure that I do anything if she’s refusing to get help. Any advice would be most welcomed.

Re: Daughter refusing help

Hi @ToriAlice

Welcome to the forums! Its great that you decided to reach out for support as this situation sounds quite difficult and doing it all alone would be very taxing. Do you have other people supporting you?

It sounds like you may be dealing with a lot at the moment and it can be very stressful. My heart goes out to you and your family. I only know what you have written but i think you have her best interests at heart and it can be so difficult when she is unaccepting of help. Given her age its also hard to convince her to get support at over the age of 18 years she is considered an adult.

One option maybe to ask her to just online and have a chat with a counsellor and see if that works rather than seeing one face to face. Otherwise she is welcome to join the forum and see if she finds some answers.

Some of the other contributors that may have valuable opinions regarding this case are;


Community Guide

Re: Daughter refusing help

Hi @ToriAlice and welcome to the forum. It is really great to see you here. It seems like you're doing heaps to support your daughter and I can imagine it would be really hard to have that not seem to be getting through or working well.

I don't have much experience with older kids. Mine are still at the age when they can be a little more easily encouraged in ways. My guess is that I will face some extra/different challenges with a very head strong middle one also though.
@Faith-and-Hope has adult kids and I find @frog's wisdom and experience helpful to read also, so I will tag them here too in case they are around to come by at some stage. @Appleblossom is another member who I believe spends a little more time on the carers side and may have some experience to share too.
If I think what it was like to be 18 and what would have helped me, as @candycane mentioned, knowing there was online support might have really been of benefit. Providing your daughter with some online resources like SANE, ReachOut, Beyond Blue, and even Kids Helpline (who provide support to young adults up to 25) for her to contact on her own if she'd like, may be enough to remind her that there's understanding support out there. Headspace have info for parents also, which you can find here.
Hope you find the forum supportive and helpful for you and that you're able to look after you too while this is happening in your family. Wishing you the best. 
Community Elder

Re: Daughter refusing help

Sometimes the middle child can find it difficult to feel unique in a positive way. As oldest and youngest have more clear "roles". Maybe something special for her but firmer boundaries around aggression. Mind you I have had a terrible time getting mine to accept help.  The best I have managed is to model "help-seeking" and other constructive behaviours. 

Not easy parenting teens.


Senior Contributor

Re: Daughter refusing help

Hi @ToriAlice It sounds like it's really tough for your family right now. Trying to help someone who doesn't want help is so frustrating. I have teenage kids and it's not easy. The only thing I can think of is to focus on her happiness. It could be really threatening and painful for her if she feels like she's being cast as the problem. I doubt that's what you are doing, but in her mind she might perceive it that way. If there's a way to reframe it as looking out for her happiness she may be more receptive. Hang in there.

New Contributor

Re: Daughter refusing help

Thank you for your support. Yes my husband and I have some very supportive friends and I have also seen a counsellor to give me strategies for coping with not only daughter 2 but the physical and mental health issues of daughter 1, whom I’m a carer for.
I’m not sure that daughter 2 would even chat online at the moment as that would be admitting that something is wrong. We will keep on trying though and I do like the “focus on her happiness” way of talking with her, so will definitely try that approach. Thank you.