At a loss with teenage daughter - FamilyEducation
At a loss with teenage daughter
07/09/2007 at 09:18 AM

Hi there, I have been reading your posts and having felt such support I had to post.  I have a 16 year old daughter and recently divorced her father who was an incredibly controlling individual.  The divorce was nasty and he spent a lot of time pouring poison into her ear to the extent that we both tried to avoid him for the duration of the process.  We used to be very close and, to give her her due, she does still talk to me about things in her life; recently (the last 7 months) since we moved out, she has become lazy, argumentative and deliberately awkward.  She refuses to help around the house no matter whether I ask nicely, threaten or lose my temper.  I am about to introduce the actions/consequences rule again (tonight in fact) and will confiscate the house phone and refuse to do her laundry until it arrives in the correct place.  She is rude to me at times and has self harmed in the past.  My boufriend is far more patient with her than I am although I try my utmost not to get drawn into an argument, simply state the facts and leave it at that.  She also slams doors and complains about my cooking.  I am at a complete loss as to how to handle her now as I'm convinced that she is trying to get a rise out of me.  Any advice would be great ..

 At 16 your daughter is old enough to be washing her own clothes. I  made my kids wash their own clothes from the time they were 12. they were responsible for cleaning their own room and they took turns cleaning their bathroom. And we all took turns washing dishes. When it came to general cleaning sweeping, dusting we all pitched in and got it done. If they didn't have there room cleaned or clothes washed they were not allowed to go anywhere until it was finished. I tried my best not to speak in a rude or disrespectful manner to them so if they got sassy I would simply remind them that I don't speak to them in that manner and I don't want them speaking to me like that. And most of the time that took care of the problem because it was the truth. With my daughter if you ask her to do something she felt as if she had a choice and would choose not to do things most of the time. So if it was something I wanted her to do I would have to tell her to do it.


They get over it eventually.  Just remid her of your rules and stick to them.  Try to remember what you were like as a teenager and sometimes it makes it easier.

My daughter thought I was the worst ever.  Now she's almost 18, has graduated HS on her way to college and is fretting about having to leave me for college!  I just try not to judge them no matter what and let them know they can talk to me about anything.  I have earned their trust and there were days I didn't even want to know things they tell me.  But keep the lines of communication open, yet still be the parent.  It's a hard balance, but if you can strike it, you'll both be better off in the long run.


Recently divorced..and already have a boyfriend?  Maybe that has something to do with her behavior.  You divorced her father.  She does not see him in the same light as you do.  That is her dad.  I suggest counseling for you both, immediately.


I tend to agree with the blunt, yet accurate, assessment of “justanotherviewpoint’s” comment. You are not looking at this through her eyes. Not sure if you can. Couple of points:


Nasty divorces are not normally one-sided. No matter how thin you slice it, there are always two sides; kids have a knack for seeing that too. She is double or triple slammed in this situation.


1) Dad is gone.

2) You replaced him.

3) She is 16.

4) You are not helping.

5) You should have never stopped the action/consequence rule.

6) She is in charge.


Ok, six slams….


1) Even if she did not get along with him, dad is dad. Don’t bad mouth Dad! Stop it!!!!! It is wrong!!!!!!!!! You will lose.


2) Boyfriend may be wonderful, but he is not in authority and should tread lightly.


3) She is not an adult and at 16 has emotions that are running amuck. She needs your support and understanding.


4) You should keep in mind you primary duty as a mother is to raise your child, not be her friend, not be a policeman, not be a preacher… your job is to parent her. That means you set rules, set examples, set punishments, and follow through every time.


5) Here is a hint: don’t punish a kid out of anger or disappointment, do so as a means to focus and allow them to learn about those dreaded consequences (which should be related to the crime). 


6) Don’t play her game. It is not a matter of patience; it is one of control. If you let her push your buttons, and you react, rather than respond (look up the difference), you both lose.


Your entire family should get some guidance. She will probably resist. If you are not able to get her to participate, you and your ‘boyfriend’ should go anyway. It will help you help her (and all of you) learn to cope.


DaMoKi Bob