dd 16 - what am I doing wrong?

(19 Posts)
wonderingwoman64 Fri 08-Aug-14 09:43:47

I've posted on here before about my dd and received very good advice.

In a nutshell, she is 16, foully behaved to myself and my husband (her father) most of the time. Yesterday for the THIRD time I found cigarettes, a lighter and some rizla papers in her room. They were not hidden well - just under her bed - I was actually picking up her dirty socks.

For the third time she told me that they were a friend's. She said she had tried smoking both cigarettes and dope but didn't like I said I could no longer trust her, and that with all her other behaviour over the last year, this was the last straw, and I was selling her Reading ticket.

So as not to drip feed - two days ago I came home from work early and she had invited a boy friend round and tried to tell me it was a female friend. The boy was upstairs in her bedroom! It is the lying that I couldn't stand.

I told her yesterday that I know she lies and lies and that she needs to take responsibility for the decisions she makes if she wants to be treated with trust. She then told me she used to make herself sick after meals and cut herself. She showed me pictures. It went on over a period of about 6 months and she sought help from childline and has now stopped.

She also has a boyfriend of about six months, whom she is having sex with (I had guessed similar and she had always denied it, so another lie).

I was / am in shock. My husband - her dad - has just been diagnosed with MS (dd knows he is ill but not this yet). I don't know what to do. I think dd thinks by telling me the truth (she says this is everything) she has wiped the slate clean. I feel a terrible mother - how could these things have gone on under my nose and me not notice? I haven't told my husband yet.

I know I can not go back on saying she can't go to Reading. I think she thinks I will relent. I don't know what else to do. I am lost here. Our relationship is completely stuffed. I don't know her. When she was speaking to me yesterday I felt as though I was looking at a stranger.

Any advice please?

Fairylea Fri 08-Aug-14 09:49:56

Well firstly I'd stop worrying about the sex. She's 16, she's with a boyfriend she's been with 6 months. Just talk to her like a friend about protection and stds. Let her know she can come to you if she needs to. Sex at 16 is legal and normal.

I think the most important part of your post is her trying to open up to you about the self harming (eating issues etc). She is clearly crying out for some support and help. How have you left that? Could you ask her to come to the gp with you so you could both have some counselling and support?

As difficult as it is I think you do need to draw a line under the lying and let her have another chance. Give her the chance to show you that you can trust her.

Small steps.

wonderingwoman64 Fri 08-Aug-14 10:05:13

Thank you, fairylea. I have made it very clear to dd that with regards to sex if she is happy and healthy then that is all I ask for. And I did do this some time ago when I found condoms etc in her room so she had an opportunity then to tell me the truth and failed to.

You are right about the self harming - I really am in shock I think and need this outside perspective.

I will talk to her today about this. Re the trust though - I feel it is a two way thing and that after all the lying (much of it un-necessary) she has to earn my trust again. I am of course willing to let her do this, but I do think the ball is in her court here.

niceguy2 Fri 08-Aug-14 17:16:57

Don't mean to read and run but I have to go in a minute so forgive the short reply.

I think this is a two way street like Wondering said.

If you go in all guns blazing about for example the smoking then she'll just lie, argue back. Whatever she does.

What I would have done is express utter disappointment that she smokes because of the health issue. Explain about cancer but it'll fall on deaf ears. But then you say that she's old enough to decide for herself so it's up to her. The only rule is that she smokes outside the house and not inside. Then leave her to it.

Next apply pressure another way by making sure she's not got so much money she can waste it on fags.

Sex at 16. Nothing you can do. Again just take a deep breath and simply ask if she's being safe? Has she been to the dr's and if not you will drive her there and wait for her.

Forgive my bluntness because I have to run but it sounds like you are treating her still like a child but expecting an adult response.

Pickelback Fri 08-Aug-14 17:36:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fairylea Fri 08-Aug-14 17:42:23

I totally agree with pickle about the condoms and was going to post a similar reply.

I'd try and be as supportive and sympathetic as you can about the self harm as I said and try and find a way back to mutual respect through this way. It sounds like it's gone a bit amiss somewhere.

wonderingwoman64 Tue 12-Aug-14 11:11:01

Hi All. Thank you everyone for your messages.

I am of course glad dd is having safe sex. I was less pleased 6 months ago to be honest as she was under age and had also obviously had unsafe sex as she had to take a pregnancy test (which was thankfully negative). But even then I made it really care that all I wanted was for her to be safe and happy, and that everything else was of secondary importance.

I thought I was treating her as an adult, a young adult admittedly, but an adult all the same. Perhaps I'm not. But I don't know why she has lied to me constantly and consistently so I am obviously doing something wrong.

Last night I went into her handbag to get my credit card out and found yet more cigarettes, and rizla papers and a lighter. Dd swears blind they are not her's. I do not believe her. I think she is treating me as though I am completely stupid - she has now been caught four times with cigarettes. I told her she had to earn my trust back.

We haven't spoken any more about the self harm, I am lost here with what to say and what to do.

LeftHandedMouse Tue 12-Aug-14 12:30:10

Did the b/f arriving and the self harming and induced vomiting end around the same time?

I don't know much about self harming other than it is said it's a way of transferring uncontrollable emotions and angst into a controlled physical pain.

But I'm wondering if this is a reflection of low self esteem issue, and the 'approval' of having a boyfriend, and of pleasing him by agreeing to have sex is a reflection of a low self image?

Then again if they have built a genuine relationship and taken this further step together with mutual respect then that's all beelocks!

Counter intuitive it may seem but a lack of boundaries can be the cause of this, your daughter may not feel able to gain your respect by showing the responsibilty of keeping within a set of rules so instead is stretching the boundaries herself.

She may not be smoking, she might just be leaving the stuff in a place she knows you'll find it to get a reaction. Easy test is to say you don't mind her friend smoking, only her, and if the friend comes round for them you'll happily hand them back.

At this age her brain is all over the place and she will not be putting actions and consequences together. The only way you can expect her to understand that there are consequences is if you spell them out beforehand. Not necessarily specifics, just that there will be some.

You can give her the Reading ticket back, if you are able to have a conversation that resets boundaries and expectations so that she understands she's crossed the line and what will happen in future. So you can say 'no more xyz until you've proved I can trust you' and make that rebuilding trust exercise a fair swap for the Reading ticket. Nothing wrong with admitting you've thought about a decision and on reflection may have acted in haste. It shows you're treating her fairly.

Btw - sounds like you've had a lot going on recently. Is there any chance your feelings of powerlessness are coming more from the trauma of your life events rather than her behaviour directly?

balia Tue 12-Aug-14 13:55:42

You do sound overwhelmed and in need of support. Do you have any family/friends that know about your DH's diagnosis that you can talk to? Is it possible that you are focussing on your DD as a way of avoiding thinking about the diagnosis?

Because it isn't that bad. Teenagers do lie and experiment. She has been responsible WRT the safe sex. And for her to trust you enough to tell you about the self-harm, well that's a big thing for a teen to do. There's obviously a great, loving relationship there somewhere.

Maybe it needs some readjustment, though? A discussion that recognises that she is older and acknowledges that she has the right to make her own decisions and has done so (in some areas) sensibly. That she has managed difficulties and sought help for herself.

I would say it doesn't sound like she has a lot of privacy - you go in her room, under her bed, in her bag. She's not allowed friends in her room if they are boys, is that right? What message are you sending her?

wonderingwoman64 Wed 13-Aug-14 12:39:11

Yes - lefthandedmoose, the bf arrived and the self harming stopped.

My dd does have privacy - she can take any friend to her bedroom, regardless of whether they are male or female, this has never been an issue. The issue last week was that she lied to me about who was in our house and that is unacceptable. The last two times I have found cigarettes - once they were on her bedroom floor and the second time they were in her bag which I was getting my card out of. But before that, yes, I have searched her room. Which when I read that back sounds bad, I know.

I am hoping to have lunch out with dd later this week and will talk to her then. I am completely overwhelmed with my partner's diagnosis. I haven't told anyone in real life because I am not ready to talk about it at all. I am finding this thread useful, thank you.

weatherall Wed 13-Aug-14 12:51:48

Honestly I think you are so stressed about your DPs diagnosis you are deflecting your attention into your dd as a way of avoiding the issue of his illness/disability.

It's not long since the smoking age increased from 16 to 18. In the grand scheme of things it's not important. She'll learn that smoking is a foul habit herself, not because you disapprove of it.

Let her have her reading ticket. Her dad is sick. She may have a very hard time ahead. She deserves some enjoyment.

Lying about a boyfriend in the house is again bit a huge misdemeanour. Say you would like her to be honest. Ban any guests for a few days and leave it at that.

Teenagers are supposed to push boundaries. It's part of her learning to be an adult. She will have to learn from her own mistakes. You need to give her some space to do this, but with you still there for support when things go wrong.

Did she seek any treatment for the self harm? It is something which can recurr so just because she isn't doing it now doesn't mean she won't again. I'd recommend she go to the gp and ask for a referral. The impending deterioration of her dad's condition could trigger further mental health problems for her so best to seek preventative help now.

HumblePieMonster Wed 13-Aug-14 13:09:21

She does sound a handful, but I'm heartened by the fact that she has shared her problems with you. Perhaps this is the start of your relationship with your 'adult' daughter.
Yes, she's having sex. One might have preferred her to wait but as pps have said, she's of age and has a steady partner for now.
Tell her about the negative effects of tobacco and cannabis, and how they smell awful on people's clothes and hair, and taste nasty when they kiss.
Give her hugs because you love her as she is.
Thank her for her honesty and ask her to always tell you the truth so that you know what's going on - you'll always love her.
Tell her about her dad when you can. She might show you she's surprisingly grown up.

Isitjustme1 Thu 04-Sep-14 23:33:21

My DD turned 14 in June. I am finding these teenage years beyond challenging and tonight I feel so desperately sad and concerned as to what she is up to and how she is going to turn out. We live in a good area with an outstanding school, she's a very bright girl with projected A* in several subjects.
She seems obsessed with boys at present, which is one thing, but not only that she seems obsessed with sex.
I know this because I occasionally will randomly check her messages on her phone etc. She is also extremely dishonest.
She was on her own for a couple of hours this evening, I have just checked her phone and discovered a conversation between her and an older boy. The conversation was extremely sexual and they talk about him "fingering" her. I'm so upset by this, she goes on to tell home she would be happy for him to "fuck" her next time. She sounds like a common little tart, not my beautiful smart funny daughter. I noticed some grass on the back of her top, which she dismissed by saying she'd fallen over when walking the dog- which is what made me check her msgs.
I just don't know what to do????!!!!

Heyho111 Fri 05-Sep-14 05:34:07

Get a book called. Get out my life but first take me and Alex into town. It explains teens development, why they act the way they do , how they feel and how to deal with them. You will read it and you will suddenly understand your daughter. She is being very normal. Please buy it it will help so much.

claraschu Fri 05-Sep-14 05:53:30

I am so sorry you are going through this right now.

I just wanted to add that I think it is worth continuing to talk to kids and give them loads of evidence about how harmful smoking is. My (15 year old) son was smoking and lying about it, and I kept making a tremendous unseemly fuss, sending him information, begging and pleading, throwing out tobacco, changing my screensaver to funny anti-smoking posters, etc. I think it helped for him to see how very seriously I took this issue, and he has now quit (knock on wood). I am mentioning this because people so often say the opposite and are fairly permissive when it comes to teens smoking.

I realise that this is not the main issue here, but just wanted to give my two cents worth.

Icumum77 Fri 05-Sep-14 13:31:21

My 14 yr old self harmed and i just hit it head on and knocked on her bedroom doir sat on her bed and told her i had seen the cuts. We had a good talk . She didnt want to go to see any one but i asked her to write all her feeling in a letter put it in an envelope and then together be burnt it. Shes not selfharmed for 9 months.
The smoking is not a major issue she will soon realise how expense habit it is and quit.
Was it the boyfriend in the bedroom or the fact she lied about it that reiled you more?
You are also dealing with your husbands illness.
Let your daughter go to reading and when she gets home tell her about her dad.
You said she selfharmed but got in touch with childline herself and sought help. That shows maturity .
The rest to me is teenage boundrey pushing. They are at a crossroads of being a child but as they have left school think themselves as adults.
It will ease its self into place with time just fasen your seatbelt for the time being xx

GnomeDePlume Sat 06-Sep-14 17:55:40

You have been into her handbag and also searched her room. I wonder if some of the lying is about maintaining privacy. I know that I lied to my parents as a way of saying 'eff off and mind your own business'.

Your DD is 16. IMO you need to take a step back from her and give her more privacy. I have three teens and almost never go into their rooms or bags.

liveoutloud Fri 26-Sep-14 18:26:33

I would strongly recommend to all of you parents of teens, no matter how bad or good behaved your kids are to read some stuff from Dr. Michael J. Bradley. He has published quite a few books on teens and I just finished reading my second one. I have to tell you that it made things much more clear to me, made me understand my kids better and communicate with them in a better way.

wonderingwoman64 Mon 06-Oct-14 15:45:59

hello all, returning to this after a long time, apologies.

I did read everyone's messages, and I thought about them all. I realized (and I know that this sounds obvious) that my dd is a young adult and has a right to certain things, one of them being having a sex life. So - I took a step back from it all, told dd this, and spoke about responsibilities coming with rights etc. I said I didn't want to be lied to anymore and that in return I would trust and treat dd as a young woman. We spoke briefly about self harming and I said how impressed I was that she had dealt with this, but that she didn't have to do this on her own if she didn't want.

At around the same time she got her GCSE results. They were excellent. Dp and I have let her know how proud we are of her. She went to Reading! She has started a new sixth form (it is mixed, her previous school was girls only) and is really enjoying it. She has had her new friends over (with permission from us!) and seems far happier and less stressed.

I don't know if she is smoking. But I do know I can't police her behaviour the way I wanted to, and that I have to allow her to make her own mistakes and to know that I will be there for her. She knows how I feel about smoking (dp smoked until last year, never in the house and never in front of us but it wasn't a secret and she saw him become very ill as a result).

DP and I saw his MS nurse for the first time today. We haven't told dd yet but we will.

Things really do seem better at the moment. This thread has really helped. Thankyou.

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