DD has not spoken to us for weeks

(27 Posts)
Toomuchtea Tue 18-Dec-12 18:17:50

A bit of background: we are moving house, where we have been since DD was 3. She is now 17. We have to move somewhere smaller and cheaper. DD will not be moving schools, but will be moving area. When the idea of moving first came up she was furious, but calmed down and appeared to be excited about the idea of moving. She came and looked at one place with me, but couldn't come to the next as she was working; and that appeared to be the trigger for the shut down. She refused to listen to any details of the house, and when I made an appointment for her to look at it with me, rocked up quarter of an hour late (the house is less than 5 minutes from school).

Since then, and that was the beginning of November, she has refused to say anything other than the occasional word. None of it is helped by the fact that we rejected the two houses we saw (both needed expensive work) and there is nothing for sale in the area we want to be in, and precious little to rent either, particularly as we have animals. Our sale is galloping on - there is absolutely no way we are going to pull out - and unless something new appears in the New Year, we are going to have to rent in a different area, but one in which she will still be able to go to the same school.

I have tried and tried to get her to tell me what the problem is, but she flatly refuses. All she will do is say she is "fine" in a tiny, tiny voice. She appears to be (mostly) doing alright at school, though I now find out she hasn't done as well as expected in her biology mock. It appears to be just us she is furious with. If other friends are in the room, she is completely normal with them.

Having tried and failed to get her to open up, I am now trying to treat her normally, and ignore the silence. Help. Am I just getting it horribly wrong? I am absolutely at my wits' end. And sorry for the length of this.

ImperialBlether Sat 29-Dec-12 12:06:47

Can I ask whether your DH is her father?

How old is her brother? Why does she get first say in which bedroom she'll have? Being the younger child can often mean you never get the best bedroom - is this the case for your son?

Where is she in the family? Is she the eldest?

Will she talk normally if one of your friends is there? If so, I'd be tempted to leave her in the room with your friend for a while to see if she can get any sense out of her.

BandersnatchCummerbund Thu 27-Dec-12 00:07:52

Part of the problem may well be that you're moving right at the time that she's about to go to university. Going away to university and leaving everything familiar behind is a huge change - it's the time above all when they want to be able to come home to their own room in their own house with their own parents and their own old friends living on the same street, and everything reassuringly exactly the same. She won't be able to put down roots somewhere new in the same way if she's only there for half the year. I remember the hurt one of my university friends expressed when he went home for Christmas and his old bedroom just didn't exist any more - his parents had turned it into the TV room. Another one was very upset because his parents had just divorced in his sixth form year, his mum had moved, and now he was going home and none of his friends lived nearby any more.

Having said all that, a six week sulk is most definitely not on!

bonhomiee Wed 26-Dec-12 23:12:14

I think its a really hard thing for her as she is powerless without choices atm. Presumably you and her dad have made this decision and she has to accept it.. but she isn't a salary earning adult yet to choose her own home and has to go along with what you say.
I detest moving house when it is not my own choice/ have not come to terms with it and find it very hard to deal with. I missed houses we lived in for several years after moving and still feel the pain of loss of some of the houses we moved from and when my fathers house was sold.
Is there any chance of reconsidering because she is obviously suffering and it could really affect her.

HermioneHatesHoovering Wed 26-Dec-12 20:21:02

Just coming back to this to say when my Dad sold up (the house I'd lived in from 2yrs old to 17 yrs old), I was very upset and put out.

I didn't say anything to him, I was mid twenties, married and living abroad so it would have sounded ridiculous, but I felt it all the same as in "how could he sell my home".

HermioneHatesHoovering Wed 26-Dec-12 19:36:17

I would share with her how you feel about your garden, maybe she will be able to see some parallels with how she is feeling.

Toomuchtea Wed 19-Dec-12 16:43:26

I will give that a go, Kleinzeit, thanks.

Kleinzeit Wed 19-Dec-12 15:43:39

One other thing that might help would be to talk to her honestly about how sad you feel yourself about moving. Don’t try to say “but it will be fine” or “one gets through it” – instead of reassuring her, that may make her feel that that real sadness (hers and yours) is unacceptable or that sad feelings are being trivialised. Just share your own sadness and grief about it. Sometimes people have to fully acknowledge how sad they feel before they can start feeling better about what comes next.

Toomuchtea Wed 19-Dec-12 15:41:52

The person calling her a princess was me.... because when I write down how she's behaving there does seem an element of princess to it. She won't be going to university for another 2 years (is lower rather than upper sixth) so will have a reasonable space of time in the hew house.

My feeling (hope?) is that she'll feel better when everything is finally sorted out. And she does know that we won't go anywhere she hasn't seen first, and she does know that she can express an opinion. I think one of the things that riles her is that, ultimately, it will be me and DH who are making the decision. She has input, but not the final say.

I do think also that part of learning to be an adult is learning how to behave in a way that's constructive, and passive aggression isn't it.

TheApprentice, thanks very much for your post, which does give me a bit of hope (not saying that yours didn't Kleinzeit, btw!). She does know that she'll get first dibs of room over her brother. I have to say that she has already tried the screaming, shouting and sneering.

Kleinzeit Wed 19-Dec-12 15:23:39

Sounds as if this house move is being very stressful for all of you, and the stress is affecting her especially. She has lived in the same house all her life, she doesn’t know what a move will be like, she doesn’t know where she will be moving to. The fact that she’s going away to university may make her feel worse, because leaving for uni is quite a scary business and it’s comforting to know that home is still where you left it! She doesn’t have that comfort. And just to add to it, she now has two house moves ahead. I think she’ll feel a whole lot better once you’ve moved to wherever you’re finally going.

Visiting the houses seemed to reassure her. Could you possibly tell her you wont move anywhere she hasn’t seen first? I don’t mean she gets to OK the decision, but knowing she will at least get to see the place and express an opinion before you decide might help her feel better.

Otherwise I think it’s fine to carry on as normal (there’s nothing else to do!) but I am bit surprised that people are calling her sulky, a princess etc. Her response is natural and she’s just withdrawn, she’s not rude or rebellious. She’s genuinely upset and it’s not fair to expect her to act is if everything is fine when it isn’t.

TheApprentice Wed 19-Dec-12 12:22:03

This really reminds me of me a t 14! I was away at boarding school when one day my parents rang up with the earth shattering news that we were moving house. I was so distressed that my friends thought someone had died! For me, it was partly the fact that it had come out of the blue, but also that my home was my refuge from school and I couldnt bear the thought of not having it - this may be true for your daughter too if she is about to go away to university.

Because I was basically a good girl, and didnt know how to rebel, scream and shout etc I did what your daughter is doing and went v quiet and moody. When Mum asked how I felt about it I just said "It doesnt matter how I feel" because I felt so powerless and cross about it all. I'm not proud of my behaviour but it really was the only way I knew to put my feelings across. It took my best friend from school to say "you're determined not to like the new house" to get me to take a hard look at myself!

My Mum was really good though, and made it very hard for me to stay cross, even though I did my best! She was always kind to me when discussing new house, however horrid I was being, let me have first choice of bedroom (I have 3 brothers), put up pictures etc to make me feel like I mattered. I think that really helped.

I know this makes me sound like a spoilt brat, but I really wasnt. My Mum had been v strict with us all as young children and had I been very rude or pushed the boundaries too far she would have come down on me like a ton of bricks. But I never had the typical teenage tantrums, never argued with my parents, rebelled etc. I suppose this was the nearest I got! But I think it really helped that she really tried to see where I was coming from and I did appreciate her thoughtfulness even though I often didnt show it!

Startail Wed 19-Dec-12 12:07:34

As a child home is your refuge from the world your room is your anchor in life's storm.

I'd have been absolutely furious if my parents had moved.

They did toy with the idea when I was ~9, but fortunately the house wouldn't sell.

I don't think you can do anything, she'd probably be just as pissed off coming home from uni to a different house.

What ever you do and wherever you move, it won't feel right.

You can't change that, only time can.

Toomuchtea Wed 19-Dec-12 11:45:15

I veer between thinking FFS, and then feeling sympathetic because it is awful to leave somewhere you've been for years when you don't particularly want to: though I shan't miss the endless financial drain that is the house, I am bereft at the thought of leaving my garden. So I do understand why DD is so miserable: I suppose the difference is that I've been alive long enough to know that generally one gets through these things. Maybe I should say that to her.

Toomuchtea Wed 19-Dec-12 10:22:55

As I was typing my original post, I kept thinking what a PRINCESS she is being, so I am glad that I am not alone in thinking that. She doesn't have any medical (in the sense of mh) issues at all. amillionyears, I think that getting tough after Christmas is an excellent idea. I am tempted to try it before.

Sassysask, I did think about giving her a fund for doing her new room, but it feels a bit too much like a bribe. I have taken her out for meals, coffee etc and it's made no difference. I don't see why I should dance round her and attempt to get her out of her mood, hence the decision to carry on pretty much as normal.

deleted203 Tue 18-Dec-12 22:55:42

x posted with amillionyears but we're of the same basic opinion.

deleted203 Tue 18-Dec-12 22:54:45

I think you have been incredibly patient, personally. I'd have given my DD a huge row by now along the lines of 'grow up and deal with it, none of us particularly wanted to move - life is shit at times and not helped by your childish attitude'. Ask her if it's ever occurred to her that YOU are unhappy/worried about moving as she piles her teenage dramatic sulks onto you, and that when she is working and paying a mortgage or rent of her own she might actually appreciate that we can't all live in our ideal house - sometimes we have to settle for what we can bloody afford and lump it. I would also expect anyone living with me to have the courtesy to speak to me in civil fashion as otherwise there would be consequences, ie priviledges would be removed from them, they would be grounded, etc. She is almost an adult and it is time she behaved as one.

Skiffen Tue 18-Dec-12 22:53:57

I adtually think moving away to uni may be part of the problem. As she will never live in the new house for long, it will never become her home - and it's really hard to feel that you don't have a home. My parents have moved over 100 miles from where I grew up, went to school, still have many friends etc. We go and visit it my parents, but it's like we're on holiday - I've never lived in that house and so it just isn't "home" to me in the way the area I grew up in always will be.

I was vile as a 17 year old - truly awful. It must be so hard for you to be shut out like this. I think remaining calm, acknowledging that things are hard for your dd and carrying on as much as you can as normal are the only things you can do. Good luck.

amillionyears Tue 18-Dec-12 22:50:45

Actually, as I am writing this, I am getting frustrated too.
She is 17 years old, not 7.

Unless she has medical issues of some kind, this huge sulk is really not on.
I would try what people have suggested on here.

Failing all that, and I suppose it might have to wait till a few days after xmas,I would start getting tough. Insist she talks about life in general, even if not much about the move. Else start removing teenager privileges, such as lifts, pocket money or whatever.

amillionyears Tue 18-Dec-12 22:47:12

Perhaps you could present her with a checklist of possible reasons why she doesnt want her to go, in a grid. And leave it where she can see it or give it to her over a mealtime.
And ask her to tick the reasons that are appropriate.
That way she can comunicate, but still doesnt have to immediately talk about the move.

SassySask Tue 18-Dec-12 22:45:26

Moving away to university is a huge deal and maybe she feels that too much is changing at the moment or that she is being excluded? Will she have her own room at the new house? So when she comes back from uni she will have her own space.

Perhaps you could include her in shopping for some new things for the new house? Maybe just the two of you sometimes? Give her a small allowance to buy things for her new room? Things to make her feel all the more involved and to get excited about.

Toomuchtea Tue 18-Dec-12 21:35:57

Thanks so much for all your replies. amillion, yes, she is planning to go to university, so won't be in the new house that much. As for the animals, she adores the dog, but is unbothered by the cat (who is, to be fair, a man's cat. She doesn't approve of women). The dog is a non-negotiable for all of us. We have to go somewhere the dog can come too, and DD does know that. We do have pets buried in the garden, but they died when she was very small, and I don't think that's a problem.

Specialsubject, yes, she is aware of the financial realities, and does acknowledge that we don't have a choice. And yes, there is a pretty large part of me that says really it could be a whole lot worse. DH comes from an army family and moved every 2 years.

SecondhandRose, well there's a point. She had birthday money for driving lessons but has spent it all.

Beckandcall, I think that is a pretty accurate assessment of how I think she must be feeling.

Do you think I should go over the economics of it again with her? I wish I could help her in dealing with it, but our approaches are quite different. Mine is to suck it up and get on with it.

Actually, thinking about it, she might well be embarrassed about moving to a smaller house, as one house which is an estate sale and coming onto the market in January she has been very negative about because it is small, though in the right area.

It is so frustrating not being allowed to do or say anything to help.

Does she drive? Perhaps some driving lessons if not to get her back to the old area.

BeckAndCallWithBoughsOfHolly Tue 18-Dec-12 18:51:15

If she's been there for the whole of the life she can remember, she's probably very attached to where you live - for her, it's the place where she feels safe, where she's achieved everything to date and it probably feels like its a part of her and she's a part of it. She could well be terrified of the changes that are taking place for her.

Knowing the reasons for leaving, and accepting them, doesn't mean she won't feel bad about it. She may have been invited to look at where you're going but if she just doesn't want to go in the first place, she'll still be feeling lousy.

I would say explain to her the economics of the situation and she will just have to accept it and she will just need to deal it. Which she will, in due course. But the edgy time between agreeing to sell and actually completing is likely to be difficult for her, and possibly you all, to deal with.

amillionyears Tue 18-Dec-12 18:48:42

Do you have pets buried in the garden?
Does she like a boy in the immediate neighbourhood?
Is she a person who gets very attached to things?

specialsubject Tue 18-Dec-12 18:36:56

she is old enough to understand the reasons - have you explained the financial realities?

A six-week sulk? Blimey. Well done for not going apeshit at her. This is incredible.

basically she sucks it up, and at 17 it is time she learned that. No school change, still able to see her friends - where's the problem?

amillionyears Tue 18-Dec-12 18:31:02

She might be concerned about the animals moving?

Can you remember what sort of things or reasons she gave for not wanting to move, right near the beginning. Even things you may have dismissed, as not being the real reasons?

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