Need advice on how teen daughters talk to me at times. - FamilyEducation
Need advice on how teen daughters talk to me at times.
01/24/2010 at 14:20 PM

Hello! I am the mother of two teenage daughters, ages 13 and 15 1/2. They are essentially wonderful and very smart girls. Both are straight-A students, both are in National Honor Society, and both are making good choices so far in most things that they do. Here's my you ever feel as a parent that your teens talk to you like you are a mere annoyance or nuisance to their lives? Do your teens get borderline nasty and ridiculous tones in their voices and use these tones so much that it hurts your feelings as a parent? This is how I feel a lot of the time. I go out of my way for my kids and I'm always here for them. Why they like to be mean and nasty with things they say or the way they say them is beyond me. I feel like nothing I choose to do, even things for myself, are ever "accepted" by my daughters. For instance, I added photos of one of our dogs onto my Facebook account today and my older daughter informed me that doing this is "so lame and stupid." She then said "that's craziness, mom, like just weird and dumb." Why is that weird and dumb? I mean...really?

Then not but 2 minutes later, my 13 year old and a friend are looking to do a Scavenger Hunt and want our 15 year old to create a list so they can do the hunt outside. My 15 year-old spells "Scavenger Hunt" completely wrong so I looked at the paper and gently brought it to her attention and told her what she mis-spelled. Her response was..."Geeez Mom, like so what. Nobody cares how I spell and nobody will. I don't care so just move on." I turned around and said that a straight-A student should care about spelling things correctly and certainly when she's older, people will assume she's inept if she can't spell things the right way. She rolled her eyes, refused to change it, and then left the room. I wanted to put a size 7 shoe right up her rear at that moment! This same daughter also took a very beautiful picture of myself off the wall in our den and started criticizing it to death just before her boyfriend was coming over to our house to watch a movie with her. This really got under my skin because the picture is 100% gorgeous and it almost came across to me as her being jealous of it. I know that seems weird but if you were here, you would have picked up on that feeling too. Needless to say, I ignored her rant and put the picture right back on the wall where it has always been. Sorry....but I'm not getting voted off the wall for a 15 year old meltdown that I thought was nasty and very random!

Am I being too sensitive to what my kids say and do? How do you all handle this from your own teens or am I all alone in this wonderful and frustrating position? What should I do when these girls act nasty, ridiculous, and downright mean at times? How do I respond to nastiness when it revolves around something that I chose to do and that I don't feel is anywhere near weird or stupid? I certainly don't deserve to be spoken to this way....or I don't think I do. Any ideas how to cut them off from thinking that they can say stuff like this and have the lesson be tactful and productive? HELP!!!!

I feel your pain!! I was just thinking why are my feelings hurt... I should know better. But the truth is, it does hurt, especially when you would walk on hot coals for your kids and they don't seem to appreciate it. I have to really tell myself,"they aren't done yet... they are works in progress and this too shall pass" I allow them to express themselves but I always encourage them to use more positive language. My oldest loves to say, "I hate this... or I hate that..." I always say, "What do you like about it?" I don't, however, allow them to be mean spirited... ugliness is uncalled for and will not be tolerated. Everyone has an opinion but learning how to express that opinion is key. If a comment is out of hand or especially hurtful, I will usually say, "go to your room, or give me your phone, or no computer time tonight." Whatever they really enjoy gets taken away. After about 15 or 20 minutes, I will go to her and ask her why she thinks she is on punishment. If she is still not willing to talk about it, I will leave her again for about an hour. I do not give back what I have taken away until whatever time I have established, even if she willing to talk about it. And when we are on good terms, which is more often... I always let her know that I enjoy being around her. Sometimes them being harsh really has to do with something they are going through. I have to remember it's not easy being a teen... sorting through new feelings, trying to fit in, trying to establish themselves. I try to tolerate room and time for her to sort through stuff, but ugly, mean-sprited stuff is not allowed. I hope that helped and I thank you for letting me know I am not alone.

Hi Mom2Teens~ I was researching for some insight and or advice about the circumstance I am in with my 10-yr-old daughter when I ran across this site. My daughter is also an honor roll student, advanced studies and academically disciplined...on the most part. This new school year has been the new chapter of challenge as of yet....learning experience for Myself, Husband and Daughter. We do have to push her more on the homework, etc.... My daughter has been speaking in a disrespectful tone for several months now. She argues every single thing I say. She reasons with everything I say NO to...i.e., friends house after school (when we have told her for 5 months now, NO going anywhere Mon-Thurs it is a distraction to your homework, etc) Still she gives it a shot at least once per week or so. No matter what she is told, she will argue as to why she should be able to do this or that. When she realizes we will not cave in...she becomes hateful, mean and miserable....and makes it a point to take it out on our son Luke...because she knows this will keep the flame going. She is nearly 6 years older than he is and still she demands every instance...She of course does so many things with family and friends without her brother Luke....but still she will debate how unfair everything is.... She does not do chores unless told 25 times OR if she knows she will be going somewhere or having someone which case, she becomes a kind, funny and motivated "helper"...otherwise I have given up asking or telling her to do her small chore list. I have disconnected(not healthy I know) but I have tried everything and I am exhausted. She can control the entire household with her hateful demeanor. It is truly a never ending nightmare. She informed me tonight for the first time...that she hates me and always has. I was careful not to respond as she was hoping....(granted, I was consumed with sadness to hear this for the first time and from my only daughter...) She gave me a few reasons why she hated me...the main one being the Mon-Thursday rule...I informed her this would never change and moreover asked why she would hate me for this when the decision was made by both Myself and my husband....She said she did not know why but she only hates me, not her dad. She asked to live with her grandma(husband's mother) for the second time. She asked a few weeks back as well. Of course we tell her no, but I am certain she will continue working on attaining her mission.... You are certainly not too sensitive...if you grew up the way most of my generation did(I am 34) then you are likely experiencing something inconceivable and mostly at a loss of words. I cry often....out of frustration mostly, but it hurts at the same time. My husband and I have lived our lives around our kids and invested in their interests, sports, activities, etc.... Although I have no advice because like you...I am trying to find those who share common ground and hopefully give one another insight.... My main concern as of last night is...for someone to help me understand why she does this and what to do when all else has failed.... Best Wishes Angie~~

Hi Mya~ Thank you for your insight....what I don't understand and was just discussing last night with my husband is how do parents;i.e., You..enforce the ugliness and hateful words as being not tolerated? I have taken things she uses, stood her faced to the wall for 10 minutes(her age) told her not tome out of her room for the rest of evening, etc.....Still, it does not change....

~The thing that impresses me most about America is the way parents obey their children~Edward, Duke of Windsor

I wanted to bring this discussion full circle and let everyone know how thankful I was for the support and to hear that I'm not the only one going through this with my teenager. I finally hit a massive wall with my daughter and something had to give. Since I am always the "giver", I decided it was high time to call her bluff and lay down some law as to how I will be spoken to from here on out. I am human, not a robot, not a servant, and certainly not some emotionless zombie. I am a mother. When my daughter started up with the usual tirade, I quickly came after her, grabbed her arm, whirled her around and put her right into a chair at the kitchen table and told her to "park it". I then asked her when it was okay to talk to me in a disrespectful and ridiculous tone. Before she could answer that, my reply to her was...."how about NEVER!" I then proceeded to tell her that if she wants to tango with me on attitude, nasty mouth, and an exasperated tone, she will get the same in return from me! I told her that a mature and well put together teenager doesn't need to rival the likes of a three year old toddler and that if she was going to have teenage tantrums, drama, and speak to me out of character....she was in for the ride of her life because I will punish her for every infraction I see or hear that reeks of disrespect to me or anyone else. I will also make her correct the tone, aplogize for it, and she will lose privileges for whatever time I see fit until her maturity level increases and the toddler outburst syndrome is gone. I then unplugged this kid for 5 days. Yup...took the cell phone, the house phone, the computer, the TV, the flat-iron, and anything else that went beep, zing, or zap! Five long days in the pokey with nothing and no one! It was so rough that on one of the last days of the "unplugged" grounding, I found her playing Magnetix with her little sister because that's about all she could access! OMG!!! It was a God-send! The house was quiet, peaceful, everything got done, and nasty mouth, huffing and puffing, or back-talk! When punishment was nearing an end, my husband and I called her into a family summit meeting and told her that the minute she reverts back to any "old ways" or nasty habits with the mouth, five days of her life will get "unplugged" once again. Slip up during the grounding and we will add another day to the misery as well. I then left her with the reminder that if that mouth ever opens and challenges me in a condescending or disrespectful way again, I will purposely find a good time to exhibit bad behavior of my own when all of her friends are front and center. She knows by now that I am an outgoing and well-liked parent by all of her friends and that if I want to stir up the pot, I will bring it to a roaring boil! You get what you give...and that's that! The look on her face was priceless because for once in her teenage life she figured out that messing with the Mom might not turn out as she had planned. She understood us 100%. Here's the good news......I just regained the power of being a parent and I stole it from a 16 year old GIRL! Why? Because I am her mother and I love her. Love sometimes does not come gift wrapped with chocolates and a balloon. Love can be tough. Take back the control, ladies. Sticks and stones may be thrown at our bones but teenage mouths can never hurt us! Dig deep, sit that kid down and command a presence. Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire!

Now that's what I'm talking about!!!!!! Did the same with my daughter when she was 15, we've been friends since.

Thank you for the accolades 2XStepMom! Ain't it beautiful? I scared the poop out of this kid and things have been fine ever since. I think she lacked the "fear". And I mean that in a good fearing that if I acted like her infront of her friends, it could be a social suicide for life! Thanks for the encouragement. I'm laughing my Evil Mom laugh right now! BBBWWWWWAAAAAAHHHAAAHAHA!