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do i cave? she has a point....(42 Posts)
DD is 15, almost 16. she is (mostly) lovely. does well at school. doesnt go out. keeps her room clean and tidy. gets up at 6am for school every morning, works hard while there, has achieved good grades, she is organised, disciplined and methodical. She has a boyfriend of over a year who is nice, she is nice. mature. sensible.
so its come as a bit of a shock lately that she has been a bit "kevin the teenager" with me.
being disrespectful. back chatting. loves her dad. hates me. the usual teen stuff i guess.
She recently decided to alter course on further education and switch from A level to BTEC.
which is truly fine by me - but she opted for a complete surprise of a course - health and social care.
its a good course - can lead to good things. im happy with that - but if i so much as utter one word about it, (such as asking if she has told college that she is switching course...) she goes off on one with me. I wanted to know what had led her to choose that particular course, but she was defensive and horrible when i asked. She seems to think that im judging her - im not - i think she is sensible and i dont really think she would have coped with A levels - she hates exams and gets really stressed....
she had asked if she could have her navel pierced for passing her maths GCSE - she really struggled with maths and her confidence was terrible. We got her a tutor, and she went, willingly, every week. it paid off and she passed.
i said she could have her navel pierced and booked it for her.
Last night she spoke to me like shite...we argued. she snaps my head off for no reason. i said "carry on" and she said in best kevin the tennager stylee "or what? youll ground me?" (she never goes out) so i said "no - i wont take you for this piercing"
"go on then" she replied.
"fine" i said.
so tonight she is being pleasantly human. I told her i was going riding on Friday....she asks about piercing. I say i told you - its not happening.
She then gets upset, and ends up spilling all this teenage angst on me, sobbing, she tells me that she fell out with her group of friends who then egged my house and car, that she has been outcast at school and hates it, that people are shouting things at her in the street, about her looks, her weight, (she is 5ft 7 and weighs 7st 10.....she is very attractive but disarmingly doesnt know it and is quite insecure, i noticed she had lost weight recently....) she is stressed, she is dyslexic and doesnt cope with exams well, hates for her dyslexia to single her out and gets mad that she gets extra time and a seperate room etc - god forbid anything that makes her different....she (rightly) tells me that all her friends are going out everynight drinking, smoking, that she does none of that, that her brother got away with murder and that she feels that even though she is a model child its not good enough if i punish her for something she felt she couldnt help - she says she doesnt know why she snaps at me, she just does. She says she likes to deal with things on her own and doesnt like to talk to me or for me to interfere which is why she doesnt tell me things,
she clung to me and sobbed her little heart out.
and now i feel awful. She went and had a bath and came back down much calmer, normally she doesnt come anywhere near me for hugs etc but she laid down on the couch with me and had a cuddle....she was exhausted. She said she was sorry. I said i have feelings too, and she said she is just feeling very confused, hates school, feels judged, tries her best and could be doing all manner of terrible things but doesnt, always tells me where she is going if she does go out....feels she has no one, etc etc.
so. the dilemma is do i take her for this flaming piercing now or not?
part of me didnt realise how much adolescent angst she was going through - she seems in genuine turmoil. with school. her friends. her self esteem. This is the first time she has let her guard down and opened up to me in a long time.
part of me feels that if i dont stick to what i said ive lost all credibility. but she just isnt likely to play on it - she really isnt usually a pita at all.
do i just tell her we should both start again and wipe the slate clean but that i wont tolerate being spoken to like rubbish and that if she does it again i will dock her pocket money or something? or should i steadfastly stick to what i said?
could do with opinions please.
Vic, has it occurred to you that one of the reasons she may find it hard to talk is that for years your beloved, infuriating and lovely DS has given you challenge after challenge? Stressing you out and making you proud.
She loves you, she couldn't do anything to help you in those situations other than not add to the stress, not demand equal time, not guilt you into feeling that DS was more important?
She's been so good for so long, years, it's not really surprising that she's having her own version of a meltdown. Especially when you see what many 15 year olds are like without any of what she's dealt with in her own way.
You are a fantastic parent, and she knows it. Time for her to know that she's a fabulous daughter too.
What seeker said - you agreed she could have it doene if she passed her exam (well done to her, that must have been a great achievement). I can see why you withdrew it but I would just draw a line under the whole thing and let her have it.
Hopefully the chat has done you both the world of good. When you go for your piercing why don't you go for lunch/coffee or something, and say that as she is old enough now you can both agree to treat each other kindly - say you want to be close and there is no point in daft rows, and that you are always there for her, all of that. And then if she kicks off in future just calmly remind her of this - say you understand that she is stressed and unhappy, but to not take it out on you and just TALK about it.
I have had funny moments with dd where, despite being very close, we just spent days snarling at each other. Sometimes it is good to take a step back and just have a chat about treating each other with kindness. DD has pulled me up on snapping as much as I have pulled her up on it - but we try to nip it in the bud before we start sniping at each other.
I hope she is OK - she sounds terribly unhappy. Perhaps the college thing with BTEC will be a new start, new friends who are more mature. It must be stressful for you as well to witness, make sure you both take some time out, she is stressed at school and you have a very stressful job. Understandably when things are really hard you end up snapping at the people who you love the most - perhaps that is why she has been behaving like she has.
Take her. She has explained why she had the outburst and if you refuse to take her now she wont want to talk to you in the future. She sounds like a good girl, be proud of her.
i know some think that a piercing at that age isnt appropriate but for me a navel bar isnt a biggie.
more important to me is our relationship. I will take her and take her for a cuppa or something afterwards - we always used to go into town on a saturday for milkshakes - we havent done anything together for ages.
she had started riding with me, and has the opportunity to go on a saturday to the stables and help out, a few other girls of around the same age, but she doesnt want to go. I might just suggest it again. She was much nicer this morning. i left her alone mostly (she isnt great on a morning) but she was pleasant. I think she gets a bit of pmt too....
She has more exams coming up so i will cut her some slack, but also just remind her that she can talk to me.
last night did us both some good, i saw things from her pov, having had no idea that she was so stressed. She understood what i was saying too.
I'm with the clean slate as well. I think sometimes it doesn't hurt to admit to the DC that we know we don't always get it right but we do always try our best.
Ask her if she feels better having opened up and confided in you, I'm sure she will say yes and then tell her you feel better now that you know (partly) why she has been so angry. I think she needs to know though how much her behaviour hurts you, it's not emotional blackmail to point that out to her.
we have been good tonight.
tomorrow she asked if we could go out for lunch, just the two of us.
she seems much happier. We havent done anything together in ages and ages so im looking forward to that. Feel like we have reconnected.
I might have even talked her into coming to the stables with me on Sunday....she doesnt really like getting her hands dirty though so will see if she enjoys it....she felt too shy to go saturday with the other girls as she knows no one.
she may change her mind about sunday....she may decide to stay in bed eating chocolate eggs....im fine either way. Just going to enjoy her company tomorrow and see what goes. She got her predicted GCSE grades today - in every single subject she gets a level 1 for effort without exception.
her GCSE targets are C across the board - though she is actually predicted 3 Bs and rest C's - none of this comes easily to her and she works so hard for it. (ds coasted and despite his disabilities he got As and Bs....but never put in the sort of effort DD does)
i feel i have made the right call. She is getting her piercing and then we are going for lunch. she actually seems to want to spend some time with me. she gave me a hug tonight. We havent had that sort of closeness for a while.
Vicar, that sounds good. You've made the right choice. Parents cling onto this idea that they must 'never back down'; but that's a tactic for earlier childhood, and really isn't helpful in the teenage years. We want and need our teenagers themselves to learn to 'back down', and it's really important for us to 'model' that for them sometimes or they never get to see how it's done. Now, next time she's inclined to dig her heels in about something, she'll remember it's possible to admit you're human and change your mind if you decide you've been unfair.
Fwiw I think you've made the right choice. It's so frustrating, my 13 yo has started telling me I don't understand but often shuts down when I offer to listen to her.
I totally agree on the "not backing down" crap flow4, very wise words.
Vicar that sounds good I'm glad you have sorted it out and that she asked you if you could have lunch together, just the two of you... hugs as well... make the most of it
I'm so glad. Have a lovely day- she's got a super mum!
I'm in the "clean slate" camp too. Even though I don't like piercings, a navel bar is the easiest one to keep hidden if she doesn't like it in the future.
You went back on your promise for a well-earned reward in the heat of an argument. She will benefit from seeing you apologise for YOUR Kevin behaviour and you can build your bridges. Have a lovely lunch
Can you factor in the piercing for the same outing and consolidate on the good vibes?
thank you everyone - i feel less guilty now for "backing down" - she got the piercing and we had a lovely lunch out together.
she even came into town shopping with me and then with me to visit a friend in their new house.
she is going out to her friends this evening. She is already fussing over the piercing and keeping it scrupulously disinfected.
feels like i have my dd back again.
I think you've done the right thing. Sounds like she had been holding a lot in. She must feel really relieved to have finally let it all out.
Teens are very difficult to manage. Sometimes it's ok to negotiate. I think this was one of those times.
I think you have done the right thing. She opened up to you and managed to articulate why she was feeling so on edge. This was brave and mature of her and you have reinforced that so it will be more likely to happen again.
I think you did the right thing too and I'm glad you had a good day
If it helps my dd is a school year ahead of yours and I remember this time last year as so stressful. She was so short tempered and snappy and that was without the extra stress of friendship issues. She too left school to go to college and is loving it. She has made New friends with similar interests so hopefully you can reasure your dd she has better times to look forward too
I, too, think you have done the right thing. And I agree with the idea that "never backing down" is wrong. A relationship isn't a battle of wills! It should be all about compromise, sharing and give and take.
She's had a hard time, and has taken it out on you. And that's obviously not okay. So perhaps you can discuss strategies with her about coping with stress in the future. Who she can talk to, (if not you) or if doing strenuous exercise or something like meditation would help her.
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