Thought I was going to have a heart attack. Can't go on like this(84 Posts)
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Tonight 13 yr old dd got me up against a radiator, swearing and shouting and threatening me because I told her she couldn't go to a friend's house. In front of her friend. Pushed her face in my face saying 'You think you're hard, what are you going to do about this then? What? What?' And instead of getting myself away and shutting myself in the bathroom or something, I pushed her away, slapped at her and shouted 'don't you dare try to intimidate me in my own home'. Shoved her down the hallway towards her bedroom and pulled at her hair to get her to move backwards. She weighs 10 stone and is STRONG, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
I shouldn't have done it.
She then stormed out the house. I now know she went straight round to SIL's. DH has come back from work and is now round there to pick her up. I spent the first hour breathless and sobbing after she'd gone. Phoned parent line in between comforting my other two dc's (7 and 9). (they stuck their heads round the door and fired a nerf gun at me. I looked at the bullet and saw they'd stuck a note to it saying 'We are sorry for you' ).
I can't go on like this. We have tried to put some basic rules in place (hand over phone at 10pm on a school night, do homework, get to school on time) and she just flouts them day in and day out. Tonight's conflict started last night. I went into her room at 9.30 last night to remind her that she needed to be in bed at 10pm, and I would be taking her phone. However, I then got caught up and ended up not going in to take her phone until 10.15. At which point she was sitting fully clothed, straightening her hair. I said she had to go to bed, and to give me her phone, at which point she looked at me and said rudely 'You'll have to wait - I need to message some people' and carried on doing her hair. My response to this was to point out that I'd come in at 9.30 to remind her and that if the phone wasn't in my hand in 1 minute she'd lose it for the next day. I walked off and eventually she came in to the sitting room and threw her phone at me, arguing with me all the time about how unreasonable I was etc. Then she came and took it back off the table and went back up to her room.
DH took the phone when he came back and told her she'd lost it for the day, which resulted in her shouting in the hallway at 7am this morning. Anyway, she came back from school at 4pm and asked for her phone. As she was being polite and had apologised I let her have it. Big mistake. As soon as she had it she asked if she could go over to a friend's this evening, and when I said 'no' the above happened.
I can't take the verbal bullying and aggression and physical intimidation. She WON'T take 'no' for an answer from me. She's defiant with DH but not nearly so much as she is to me, where it's her 'rule' to challenge everything I say, and ignore pretty much all instructions. Tonight I really thought I was going to fall to pieces - I realised I'm frightened of her, and that she knows it and is being deliberately abusive to me.
I wanted to ask if anyone here would recommend family therapy for a situation like this. Really something has gone badly wrong and I'm struggling to parent her. SIL phoned me and said she thought that DD must be being bullied at school or something, for her to be so angry and so confrontational with me. I'm not so sure. I've not seen any evidence of it. I feel that we have a terrible dynamic going on - that dd is having a tough adolescence and its manifesting itself in a total reluctance to grow up. She is constantly pushing the boundaries Can't get her to see that growing up involves more freedom AND taking more responsibility for herself, and she can't have the first if she outright refuses the second. She's so profoundly uncooperative with us - I really do think it goes beyond normal teen laziness and rebelliousness. Things are really unhappy at home, and I'm wondering how long we can go on with this daily conflict - the shouting, refusal to follow even the most simple and basic rules, the attacks on me, the contempt.
You poor thing, I have absolutely no idea what to suggest.
Just bumping this for you and hope others have advice.
Gosh I don't have any advice I'm sorry. It sounds like a really sad situation. It must be so worrying for you. Here's some for now
If my DCs treated me in that manner I would have taken a hammer to her phone. Yet she still has her phone!
When you are 10 stone at 13 you are more likely to be the bully than than the victim. It sounds like she has added you to the list of people who she is going to take lunch money off.
Unless you treat her as you would a bully then it's not going to get any better.
It is you that has the power. You pay her phone bills, give her pocket money, cook for her etc yet it is her that intimidates you???
Take away her phone for week. No 'parole' even if she is nice or apologize. For the next offence make it two weeks.
Hope someone with good advice will be on soon, really feel for you OP, I was a horrible 13 yr old girl lying, sulking but think this is fairly normal and yet still hard to deal with as a parent without the verbal abuse and intimidation that you are experiencing. This phase will pass, you show what a good parent you are by looking at all solutions, keep your chin up.
Been there with my DD too. I'm out the other side now thank God.
No way would she still have that phone if she was in this house. Any back chat and computer would be removed. Another good thing to remove is the hair straighteners - they feel that one!
I've ended up down to mattress on floor and door off too.
Didn't want to read & run...
At least your admitting the problem. I would look into therapy /counselling/ mediation.
She's 13- its a horrendous age & you've got to take some control in this situation. Good that your dh is supportive, your both going to have to have find some way forward.
"When you are 10 stone at 13 you are more likely to be the bully than than the victim."
Sorry no, that's simply not true and it's actually quite offensive.
OP, aside from that, my goodness, it does sound hard.
If your SIL does think there's bullying going on, does she have a good enough relationship with your daughter to chat to her about what's going on.
Oh shag , no advice, only hold the line, keep talking to her.
Really hope things even out for you all soon.
This all sounds like a horrible situation and I feel for you. If the confrontations between you have escalated to a physical level then I really hope there is some help and support out there for you both.
How awful for all of you - I really feel for your younger DCs, but also for you. And I'd imagine your DD cannot be happy with herself/the situation either.
I have no experience or wisdom to pass on, but am aware of parenting classes specifically for parents of teenagers - would it be worthwhile to try something like Positive Parenting??
I am no expert as my DCs were quite easy with hindsight but I have sympathy for what TotallyBS says. Teenagers will always try to push boundaries and you do have to police them hard sometimes. I think I would be stepping up the withdrawal of privileges until I saw better behaviour and, sadly, until you can re-establish control I fear you will not see that.
sorry you are having such a hard time. ... there's lots of good advice on Maryz thread for dealing with hard headed teens.
Oh honey. I don't have any good advice but I'm sure someone will. I do agree with taking her phone, though.
Oh gosh, yes, Maryz has seen it all. Here is her thread.
She's come back from DSIL and has phoned Childline.
She's told DH that I attacked her. I assume she's told Childline this too.
i told my kids if they assaulted me i would phone the police
and i never ever cared about social services involvement.
my dd was about the same age and had a vile spew of shitness shouting at me, i walked past her calmly went to the kitchen, poured a glass of cold water , walked back in to living room and promptly chucked it in her face. then in very low calm tone said " don't ever talk to me like that" she was so shocked - it was priceless - i'll never forget that image of eyeliner running down her face.
they can be vile
call the police if she attacks you - i mean she can do what she wants becuase there are no consequences - well life isn't like that as an adult - so you aren't doing her any favours
oh and remember, she wants your love and attention - i'm afraid mine comes with conditions
i am not a perfect human mummy - if i get treated like shit, i will withdraw my touchy feely, fun, smily side. and be simply functional.
Sorry but be it DH or one of the DCs assaulted me, well anyone at all, I would ring the police.
Everyone needs to understand that their actions have consequences and the consequence for physically attacking someone is a chat with mr plod.
Believe I work in Camhs and this will only escalate. No it in the bud now.
This is horrid, a wise woman once said to me about my dd that she would wake up one day and remember how we brought her up and she did she is 30 now with dh and 2 dcs and I see her or speak to her every day,
Your dd is very unhappy either at home or outside and needs love, love love!! Trouble is now things are like this it is very hard. Do you spend any time on your own with her out of the house where you don't have to tell her off? is there any home time when you are not asking her to do something?Please don't think for one minute that I am underestimating your struggle, We had abortion at 14, runaway at 16 baby at 17 with ours. BUT as the parent it is our job to show love.
The best way forward in my view is talking. Can you text nice msgs(through gritted teeth) eg, what time you home want to do favourite meal/ any chance you could help me choose top in town sat.I also used to buy cards with lovely daughter verse on (she has admitted now that she used to get them out to read)
Also if its too hard then counselling with third party is great, once you find route of anger you can work on sorting it.
Sending you big hugs and a good nights sleep.
Yes go on maryz thread. I had three teenage boys op and wouldn't have my life back to relive it again. You do realise that you cocked up by giving her phone back undermining dh and showing her you are weak.
I'd also get tougher actually and if she assaults you call the police. She needs to get real.
Like custardo I was not having it and when ds 2 15and 6ft clenched his fists at me I bopped him on the nose and sent him to bed.
My eldest was not coming home on time so I locked him out. He slept in the garden (summer) he stole I sold his stuff. At one point I stripped his room back to just a bed and took the PC mouse and the sky card.
Plan your attack with dh and stick together on it no matter what.
just read madams post above and as working in camhs would only see them when they get out of hand. I also have worked and volunteered in this field and if handled properly does no way need to escalate or get worse.
Op I am in social services and we know the difference between tell tales and genuine abuse.
This just happened recently in my family...my little cousin (just turned 13) was screaming, spitting, swearing, and punching her mother. My uncle (her DF) hauled her off and shoved her into her room...she stumbled, smacked her eye on the doorknob and got a horrific bruise.
She told the nurse at school and CPS were called in...my uncle and aunt were honest about everything that happened and it got sorted in the end.
Yes they get worse because they attack their parents and the consequences are not comparable to the offence.
The kids who attack their patents and end up with panic buttons in their houses are the ones that didn't have to police visit them to make them understand the gravity if their actions.
It may surprise you but we actually get quite a lot of background information on these kids and it is that I am basing my opinion on.
Ds only bullies us when he is being bullied or is v unhappy and worried. If she is 10 stone she will be getting a lot of flak. And she may hate herself.
Family counselling sounds a great idea. Go to your Dr and get on the list.
Surround her with love and time, if you can, take her shopping for something small.
follow through the punishments.
Use assertiveness techniques. "I can understand why you feel like that but I am not changing my point of view." Said 20 times, calmly, it becomes difficult to argue with.
And ultimately make it clear you will call the police and ss if necessary because she cannot have the right to turn your family upside down.
Remember, you have responsibilities towards your other dc, DH and yourself, not just her. So she needs to fit in to that world view of yours. You need to take a step back and somehow ensure she is nor centre stage because atm she has all your attention. Give her some, as above, to support her, make it clear you love her and always will, but there are others too.
And discover from the school what is going on there and whether there is any counselling available for her.
Hey Shag, things don't sound as though they are getting better . You do need to have a "no violence from anyone" rule, and call 999 if she is genuinely aggressive. You'll only have to do it once, most likely.
Don't worry about childline.
But make sure you don't let your dh deal with her in any way physically. I used to have to keep dh and ds1 apart, because I was worried a violent episode from ds1 would result in SS making dh leave
MaryMother - the child is big for her age and gender AND she is verbally and physically abusive to her mother.
And you find it offensive to suggest that being bullied at school isn't a plausible explanation for her behaviour???
I agree with the comment about taking a hammer to the phone. she certainly shouldn't have any privileges whilst she is treating you like this.
you were wrong to give her the phone back. but you know that now. So when she gets in, take control. I'd take away pretty much everything exept her school uniform.
and as for the idea of texting nice messages- do me a favour! she already sees yu as the weak link.
i'd seriously give some thought to reporting her assault to the police.
madam . Not questioning you judgement, just passing on my 30 odd years of experience that it does not always have to get worse if they can get the right support, Am sure you base your judgements on facts but wanted to try to reassure OP that it is not always the slippery slope.It is possible to have wonderful relationship quite quickly. Saw thread on here earlier about how many people had wonderful 17 year olds even though they were horrid 13 yr olds. While the violence is not acceptable it doesn't mean that dd will go on to attack family in their beds. Was answering a woman who is at the end of her tether and wanting support not stories of how much worse her situation could get. She wanted ideas to help. I have been pushed and smacked by my dd when she was a teenager, dealt with it in house no police no ss and never had panic buttons. She is married marketing manager with 2 dds of her own now.This is a sad and angry 13 year old she can be helped and supported through this not just punished, she could be at the end of her tether too with no one to turn to. DS-inL said she was being bullied so to bully her with police etc will be no help at all.
abbierhodes If you could take it as a favour it would be great.!!! trying to extend the line of who is bossiest and who won't back down isn't working. YES I am not saying she should be allowed to get away with this treatment but as I just said 30 years of experience has shown me all people need to know they are loved,especially sad confused teenagers who may feel no one loves them and they don't love themselves. when things are this bad face to face always has anger and texting diffuses it, allows both sides to take stock and IT REALLY DOES WORK!!!!!
cjel, I don't agree that the firm approach isn't working, I believe it simply isn't being seen through properly.
I've plenty of experience with teenagers myself and they need firm clear boundaries.
Yes, lots of positive communication in genersl is good. But grovelling to them during a major incident such as this will do far more harm than good, believe me.
I don't know what to believe you about!!! I never said it should be about this situation, I always said she should not be allowed to get away with that behaviour, and rules are a vital structure of any family that all members have to abide by but to move away from the cycle of fear intimidation and hate something else has to come in and telling them how much you love them when they can take it in and hear it really does boost them. It is a really good way of breaking through and doesn't in any way change the rest of the rules or punishment being enforced.
Oh shag I'm sorry it's been so bad today. Come over here where you'll find lots of support and practical advice, and no judgement.
Family therapy sounds like it's worth a try.
I definitely agree with Maryz on the 'no violence' rule. You really do need to draw the line. If she threatens you like that again, please do call 999.
Don't worry about Childline or her calling the police. My DS called 999 in a similar situation when he was the same age (he'd been screaming in my face, then he called me a c*nt and I lost my temper and slapped him). They attended promptly, asked me what had happened, I told them, they said "That's fine" and went away again.
I would suggest removing a major source of the conflict by controlling her phone use 'remotely' rather than physically trying to take it away from her. If she is on a contract, you can phone the provider and ask them to put a 'temporary block' on her number. You can then phone again in the morning to reinstate it. You can do this as often as you like (at least you can with Voda)...If she's not on a contract, I suggest you get her one (your own phone company should do 'add on contracts for about a tenner a month) so you have this facility!
You can tell her this will be happening every evening, and you don't need to go through the same conflict each bedtime. No doubt she'll rant and rave, but it will be done. And because phone company customer services depts tend to close at 10pm, there is no way of undoing it until the morning, so sooner or later she'll stop ranting!
Other straightforward, no-nonsense practical 'tricks' like this work well with teens too:
DC steals --> Fit a lock on your bedroom and keep your money/valuables there
DC eats all the nicest snacks and treat foods --> keep treats in your locked bedroom
DC uses the house phone to call friends when you're out --> Take the handset with you... Etc.
When you're trying to set limits and boundaries, teens are very good at spotting any tiny chink in your resolve and aiming straight for it - taking the p*ss, basically! So these techniques work because they're simple and clear-cut, and there's no room for argument.
And have we told you recently to look after yourself? Sounds to me like you need a treat or some time out... Hope you can get it!
I am wondering whether some of it is her trying to keep face in front of her peers. It is half term soon; is there any chance at all you can go away somewhere (taking her with you), stay with relatives if necessary, just to separate her from her peers for a few days and break the cycle.
The other suggestion I have (although I'm not going to me a mum of a teen until two weeks' time) is to choose your moments wisely when discussing her behaviour. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I have the best communication with DS1 if we talk about expectations and behaviour when he is calm and in a good mood, rather than in the middle of a conflict / disagreement.
Seriously you think calling the police on someone who is physically attacking you is bullying?
Have you spoken to school about her behaviour there? Is it just at home? CAHMS might help, or family support depending on your area.
I would be removing phone, laptop, everything. Even her bloody shoes.
Poor you sounds awful, I am not a mum of a teenager yet but I have worked with difficult teens for years. At a calm moment call a family meeting and put out the problems to the family. The ask DD what she thinks is a reasonable recompense for behaving that way, ask her what she thinks are reasonable terms, put then pen in her hand and get her to write it down,
"DD you know it's wrong for us to shout and fight with each other and you understand it's only done with anger. You are 13, I am your parent and I love you and I want you to be safe and happy, therefore and there are things to follow while you live in this house you you don't seem to think they are fair can you suggest what is fair, lets work together to come up with a plan?"
have your set things that you are not willing to negotiate on, ie phone off in bed by 10pm etc, no friends houses on school nights etc and negotiate the rest with her, is she allowed out later on saturdays etc? if she is good in the week can she get some extra credit on her phone or something. The ask her what should happen if she breaks these rules, what is a reasonable punishment. she needs to feel like she is taking some responsibility.
I am so sorry to read this Shag. Ds1(9) , SN has done similar, only not quite so violent or extreme, so I am reading with interest , because I fear I could be in your situation before long, if I'm not careful.
You have had some great advice already.
How are you today?
my worry about calling the police is that 13 really is still quite a young child. Childrens anger is usually because they are frightened and don't know another way of expressing themselves. We don't know what is causing her reaction as it is not what an adult would think of as normal and my concern is that if she is finding hard to communicate her feelings threatening her with the might of law is extreme. At no time have I said its to be ignored but I do feel from what OP said that it will solve nothing. IME calm understanding always has better results. Listening is great and I love the idea of going away, even the Saturday shopping just the two of them would help maybe with the sister in law?. If she is this angry it may not be easy to get her to open up and family support would be great but yes I do think police is a waste of time at the moment. I also think that whole family could be included, perhaps 13 yr old feels left out and would secretly love to be included with younger ones but feels peer pressure to grow up quicker than she wants. Until someone can get to a position where they will hear her it wont be resolve. I also think its really positive that dd went to family member and not local drinking den or park to see mates. Sounds like frightened child to me not lost cause.In which case causing her more fear with police is bullying
cjel, I agree with a lot of what you are saying. But the 'bit of the jigsaw' you are missing - as anyone who has not actually seen an angry teen lose control would miss - is that they are frightening and can be actually dangerous. This stage is difficult (and confusing) because smaller children are no physical threat even if they are angry, but they reach a point around this age where they become a physical threat if they lose control. Imagine being attacked by an angry adult who has few inhibitions. That is in fact what a parent is facing - not emotionally but physically - if their teen attacks them. Can you see how dangerous that could be?
So a parent in this situation calls the police because that is the best way to keep everyone safe - including the teenager who has lost control. No-one should call the police as a threat or punishment or to frighten their teen... But if you need to do it because a situation is out of control, you should not hesitate.
The people here who are advising the OP calling the police - well, many of them, including me - are doing so because they have been in this situation. It took me over a year of being threatened and frightened before I called the police, because I believed, just like you, that it would not help. But it did.
As I explained to my own DS afterwards (when he was saying things like "I can't believe you called the police on your own son): "I can't control you any more - you are too big and strong. You need to control yourself. And if you don't, then I have to call for re-enforcements. Because this family is a place where everyone needs to be and feel safe".
13 is actually quite a good age to call the police, cjel (though I agree with a lot of the rest you are saying).
The police won't arrest or prosecute a 13 year old. And calling them might just give them enough of a fright that they can stop themselves next time (because there will be a next time they are so angry they don't know what to do with themselves, all teenagers get really angry at times).
The no-violence has to be for everyone though, including adults. So a parent can't put their hands on a teenager and force them into their room, for example, if you are trying to insist they don't push and shove their parents and siblings.
The no-violence rule is to protect them from themselves as well as to protect others from them.
Or what Flow said
If ds1 had really hurt one of us in one of his rages, we might have forgiven him, but he would never have forgiven himself, and he dislikes himself enough without having the added burden of having done something really awful, if that makes sense?
Oh dear OP, that sounds awful.
I don't have teenagers yet, but I WAS your daughter not that long ago (it feels!).
She is seething with hormones, and all the righteous anger a 13 year old can muster.
My DM sat me down for an "adult" conversation once we were calm. Can you arrange a time when the house is quiet, sit down at the kitchen table with her with a coffee and a piece of cake and talk as adults?
I know she's 13, but you might get through to her if you actually listen to each other and speak to each other like adults. Tell her what it is you are trying to achieve by these rules, tell her but don't lecture her. Ask her why she reacted in the way that she did. Ask her what she whats and try to come to a compromise. Tell her how she makes you feel, the crying etc - daft but she might not actually realise she hurts you, its too easy to stop seeing your parents as actual human beings at that age.
Come at it as if you need some new rules which suit you both and you both will stick to. Ask her what she wants YOU to do, and do it (within reason obvs). If she is invested in what happens in the household and between the two of you, maybe she will start acting with some more maturity.
Keep your temper, and listen.
Easy to say, I know, but my DM and I fought like mad at this age and that's the only thing I can remember DM doing that worked.
If it's any consolation, we're close as anything now...
Flow and Maryz. I have been in situation with DS and DD so do understand how scary and how it seems like the end of the world at the time, but I was trying to reassure OP that there are ways of helping,her DD isn't abnormal in the scheme of things, and that the thing OP was asking for was ideas. A lot of people were coming on and saying call the police, she must be punished, be strong and keep trying to 'win' this battle. I wanted to convey that fighting and battles and punishment is not the ONLY way forward. Of course police are available but sometimes it can make things worse.As weis just said talking and more importantly listening is the only way forward. It may be in a coffee shop in a counselling room or police station but really is the only way.
Yes, I agree with that, talking and listening is important.
But it is also important for everyone to be safe in their own home. The first time I almost called the police (I had the phone in my hand) was when ds attacked ds2; he had him up against the wall with a hurl . The second time he got hold of kitchen knives and I did call them. The alternative might well have been one of us getting badly hurt or killed.
All houses with teenagers should have a "no violence under any circumstances" rule.
Just as all houses with adults should have a "no violence under any circumstances" rule - if we all did, the incidence of domestic violence would be reduced.
I'm not saying police are the answer in this case, btw; it doesn't sound as though Shag was actually afraid, more upset and angry. But if it gets to the stage that a parent is afraid a teenager will hurt someone (indeed if person is afraid another adult will hurt them), then 999 is the only step to take.
Just re read OP and realised that DD wasn't physically violent . Although OP now feels crap for what she did, it was her who was agressive and violent to DD!!
Not being critical in any way, as I said I've been there and got the t shirt but all the harshness directed to DD ? There are a lot of 'she wont stick to rules' etc and after school, bedtime, and early morning is hell so I stand by what I say that txt msgs from mum telling dd she is loved and asking to spend time together is a great way of breaking this pattern of horror between them. Got to e worth a try OP says nothing else is working!!!
Wishing you all the best it is a horrid horrid time, You will work through it you sound a great mum to be considering options but don't discount what SIL says because you haven't seen evidence, it may be why she is so cross.xxx
Yes, I've just reread the op as well .
No violence on either side is the answer in this case!
That's why I mentioned above about not physically trying to force teenagers into their room, for example. As our children get older it's important to realise they will do as we do, not as we say.
Sorry to hear you're going through this Shag.
I have seen a fair bit of violence from younger children- dd and db- but thankfully both of them stopped when they got to the age where they realised the strongest adult in the house would not longer be able to control them and that they could seriously hurt someone (round about age 10 for both of them).
But I have always made it quite clear to dc (in calm general discussions) that if they ever did use violence once past that stage, then I would have no option but to call the police, for their protection as much as my own.
12yo ds and I had a conversation along these lines (triggered by something in the papers) recently and he was quite shocked at first, but he got what I meant when I said:
"You are now so big and strong that you could seriously hurt me; if things went wrong you might even kill me; that would ruin your whole life; as the adult it would be my responsibility to make sure that didn't happen. I would call the police because I love you and want to keep you safe from something that could wreck your life."
Sorry, forgot the and the . Hope things look up for both of you. Family therapy might not be a bad thing.
If she smacked a woman who wasn't her mother, the police quite rightly, would be notified.
Tell her what the consequences will be if there's a repeat performance and FOLLOW THROUGH with the threat.
Parenting teens can be hard but YOU gave to be in charge, NOT her.
As you know I'm right there with you, so at this moment in time have no advice but feel your pain and worry, your DD is so much like mine it's spooky .
I'm pinning all my hopes on my DD's CAHMS referral but have a sinking feeling this storm is going to take some riding out. But it's a start. DD is as my sister's tonight as we've all had enough and need the break.
Hope you're as OK as you possibly can be x
Have re-read the OP and whilst the DD didn't hit her mother, she used threatening behaviour which is NOT acceptable under any circs.
I wouldn't tolerate it.
Also cjel if her behaviour isn't checked how long until she DOES hit her mother (or anyone elses for that matter)?
Small bullies grow into large bullies if allowed.
cjel, I don't know why you've fixed on the word 'hit'. It is very clear from Shag's OP that her DD was physically violent and threatening:
"dd got me up against a radiator, swearing and shouting and threatening me" and
"Pushed her face in my face saying 'You think you're hard, what are you going to do about this then? What? What?'" and
"I can't take the verbal bullying and aggression and physical intimidation. " and
"I realised I'm frightened of her, and that she knows it and is being deliberately abusive to me".
Shag is also clear that she slapped her DD, pushed her and pulled her hair, and that this was "not OK".
Whichever way you look at it, this situation was out of control, horrible and dangerous. No-one (least of all Shag) has any doubt about that. It is also clear from her post that her daughter has been behaving like this for some time. It sounds like this is the first time Shag has lost it and hit back, and that's why she's come on here for help.
I absolutely agree with you that talking and listening are good, and I also agree that 'punishment' is probably useless. But the fact is, Shag can't do either of these if she's physically intimidated and afraid of her DD. The first step is to draw a line and establish a 'no violence' rule - including calling the police to help enforce this if necessary, and including no slapping by Shag herself. There has to be no violence before talking and listening can take place - or anything else at all - there simply has to be.
Shag, you haven't been back since last night. I hope you are OK...
Im really sorry that OP is in this position, it must be awful to feel intimidated, and it would be one of my worst nightmares about bringing up a child. Feel free to brush aside my comments as I havent been in this situation and Im not an expert.
Im glad some people have picked up that it was the OP who was violent and not the DD. While the DD was behaving like a monster I dont think there is ever justification in lashing out to anyone, especially an adult to a child. The DD must feel humilated, esp as it happened in front of a friend, and I dont blame her for phoning childline. It sounds like she was upset. I also feel sorry for the OP and her DH and other siblings who have to live with this tense atmosphere.
I guess the first thing I would do is apologise to DD for the violence.
It feels like there is a big backstory, but Im confised why you are so restrictive over the mobile phone/seeing her friend etc? She's growing up, and at 13 she probably wants to be more independant. There must be rules of course but it might be wiser to pick your battles. For me, I would drop the mobile phone ban after 10pm, and make a rule such as you can go and see friends as long as homework is done/room is tidied, and be back back 9pm, something like that.
Like I say, Im not an expert and Im sorry if I come across harsh, especially as you are already going through a tough time. I think though there are two victims here and it might be an idea to investigate why your DD is so angry. Good luck.
I focused on the physical as a lot of posters seemed to think that as dd had been violent she needs punishment, I am under no illusion as to the difficulties in trying to change things in this family and wanted to say that I don't think that the slap may be the worst thing, This is a mum and daughter at the end of their tether and that, in my experience someone has to step out and make the first move. As the parent it is our job to do that as a 13year old in this situation doesn't have skills yet to do that or she would be showing her feelings in another way. OP wanted advice and mine is to break the cycle of anger by reaching out with love. I found in my experience that loving texts and written things worked great. It had been suggested that dd is being bullied she is clearly unhappy and to add to it seemed a shame Thats all!!!!
Cjel has some great advice about trying to counteract the hate with love. I think it will need a complete sea change in how you behave, esp if you are not used to it, but I think it will be useful in the long run. Cjels idea of texts are excellent. Also what about little loving letters, like the one you got from your other children in your OP. You might also need to thaw out on the strictness front. Some mother-daughter time may also be good. You dont need to do much, cinema just the two of you once a week? Or you could treat her to new clothes, so shopping just the two of yous.
In my experience you don't exactly feel loving to a child who is treating you like this and this kind of extreme behaviour doesn't come totally out of the blue so it must have been building up to this for some time.
Any child who acts like this needs to have ALL their privileges taken away- phone, internet,money, everything except food, water and clothes.
It doesn't mean their behaviour will automatically improve but you have to do it and continue to do it, sometimes they can be like this for years.
I had all this with my son who is now nearly 18. The important thing for us was that he never "won". Children cannot succeed in intimidating you in your own house otherwise they have won and established "control" over you which is not a good thing.
I know that feeling of not feeling loving !! I could have cheerfully strangled mine sometimes. that is why distance stuff like txts and cards are brilliant. The Ops dd as described is clearly struggling with life and unhappy. I don't think that thinking of it as a battle is helpful,dd is not a wild animal that needs breaking, she is a struggling child that needs understanding, just because her behaviour is appalling doesn't mean adults around her should behave the same. Any child who acts like this needs to be able to find another way of expressing herself which may include a third party, not more grief in her life. OP needs love and support as well and being advised to mistreat her child won't help. Mine did have rules and punishment but not when they were feeling this bad.
It is extremely difficult when you have been attacked. What if teenagers won't come out and say what the problem is and discuss their feelings? Lots of teenagers are "closed books" and you never get to the bottom of their behaviour and the reasonsfor it.
No way underestimating how hard it is and there are no perfect ways to parent thats why we struggle!! I would look at it more of a family fight rather than one attacked and one attacking, what I'm saying is that most teenagers will open up to someone . this dd went to sister in laws so she may feel happy talking there. Parents may be last people they will talk to but would welcome a chance if offered to unload to someone.
I recognise alot of my own teenage behaviour in your post, not something I am proud of now.
For me, it all came from a place of not feeling good enough, some low level bullying, a feeling that my sister was the favourite, struggling at school and a really strong belief that I was not loved or loveable. Bad stuff had happened to me that I didnt want my parents to know about All in all a pretty toxic cocktail when mixed with a healthy dose of hormones. My mother was herself unhappy, and responded to my anger and aggression with more anger and aggression and it become this battle that lasted until I left home really.
Other than hitting (I hit her back) They tried taking things away like TV, or memorably my bed was taken for a year. My take home message was, "dont care about stuff, it gets taken" not "I should behave better". They also had nice food and drink locked in their bedroom because I would take it, my sister had a lock on her bedroom so I couldnt take her clothes. I didnt have a lock. It made me feel so worthless and also whenever a room was left unlocked I would go and take - I became everything they said I was.
What I would say is if possible start afresh. A chat with no agendas, no mention of past wrongs. Let her know you have made mistakes too and you want to start again. Agree ground rules, flex exisiting rules if you need to. Tell her you love her until she really believes you. Tell her, that if there is something she needs to tell you that you will listen and not get angry. It may not be easy and therapy im sure would be a great platform for this.
You sound like a loving Mum, and for what its worth I have the most fantastic relationship with my parents now - something no one would have believed possible 18 years ago!
Gosh - thanks everyone for your comments. I was working yesterday and slept all evening on and off. So exhausted. More on that later. Today I was busy with family stuff so no chance to respond properly.
Didn't talk to dd much yesterday - was up and out early for work. Later in the day she shoved past me in the kitchen hissing 'child abuser', then went into my bedroom and emptied a box from my bookshelf onto my bed, raking through it looking for something. I asked her what she was looking for and she ignored me. I said politely that she needed to leave my stuff alone and she carried on raking through it, so I went to take it back. At which point she shoved me again with her body said 'stop talking' and marched out. I was in tears by that point and said to DH he had to talk to her, that I couldn't cope with this level of obstructiveness and hostility. He told her that if she carries on like this she's going to have to temporarily move in with his mum or mine (both are willing to have her), as her behavior is damaging everyone in the family. She ignored him and hunkered down in her bedroom for most of the evening.
This morning she came into the kitchen looking very sunny and said 'I've done something and you're going to kill me. Turns out she'd pierced her ears herself last night. She'd been raking through my stuff looking for cotton wool. I suppressed the urge to go 'Oh no! Why did you have to do THAT?' and told her she'd made a good job of it. (The reason we hadn't agreed to her having them pierced prior to this is because she gets keloid scarring and we were worried she'd end up with a problem similar to DH, who's had infected keloid scarring of the ear lobes for the last 25 years!)
Then I said sorry to her for pushing her on Friday, and for pulling her hair. Didn't qualify what I'd said or add to it in any way. We had a hug and that was that. No significant conflict for the rest of the day - maybe because her mood was so good. She's DELIGHTED with her pierced ears. She even came over to my mum's with us, which she hasn't done for ages.
DH has blocked fb and taken her phone for a week. For those of you asking why we have 'draconian' rules - well we don't. Her phone is out of her room at 10 pm on school nights because before we started doing this she was pinging people and being pinged ALL NIGHT and was horrifically sleep deprived. She really needs a break from her gadgets for the sake of her physical and mental health, and she has zilch self control when it comes to these things. As far as going to her friends' houses - well no, not while she's refusing to do ANY homework at all. Which she is, has been for months. It's the root of a lot of the stress - that she refuses to do the work she's set as school. Won't write homework down. Doesn't study AT ALL for tests. Her teachers are at their wits end with her - as are we. Room tidying - we have given up on this. And asking her to do chores. She is so astonishingly non-compliant in such a rich and diverse way, that we're in a state of utter exhaustion with her.
I want her to do the school work she's been set and not be rude to her teachers. I want her to tell us where she is, and not go off with friends after school without telling us where she's going or who she's with. I'd like her to comply withe the very tiny number of rules we have (like hand over your phone at 10pm, do your homework with the tv off and without accessing facebook literally every 25 seconds) without constantly challenging us, shouting, stonewalling. Every. single. time.
I agree with everyone who is talking about the importance of showing unconditional love, giving her more of my time, making sure she feels loved and accepted.
Except I'm struggling to do it, because I am FECKING EXHAUSTED with being shouted at, shoved, insulted, challenged. Day in, day out.
What makes things really hard is that I'm not 100% well at the moment, and haven't been for some time. I don't know what's wrong. Blood tests coming back abnormal. Tired, tired, tired. To the point that some days I'm dragging myself around from the minute I get up to when I go to bed. And having to deal with an autistic child too.
I know adolescence is shit and a big part of what's going on is that DD doesn't want to grow up. In the sense that she can't take responsibility for anything. And yet she is clearly powerfully drawn to other aspects of growing up - namely having freedom to do what she wants. Freedom I can't give her while she's still insisting on behaving like a toddler.
DD is clever, robust, attractive, has friends, a great sense of humour, is liked by all the adults at her school (even if they are exasperated with her), has cousins and close family near by who care for her deeply. I know she's struggling with her identity and with growing up, but I don't think she's really depressed or especially anxious. She is very angry, and I do wonder how much of this is about her not getting the attention she always enjoyed as a little girl - she was an only grandchild for 4 years on my side and was fussed over by my family to within an inch of her life. She is certainly getting a lot of attention now, and not all of it negative. DH is fantastic with her, really great. Takes her out on her own shopping and for meals. I want to do more with her, but while she's being so selfish and uncooperative I'm loathe to.
I've got an appointment with her tutor at school on Tuesday, and will ask for her to be put back on report, so it becomes the school's responsibility rather than ours to monitor her homework diary on a daily basis. I think we're also going to tell her she can't have her BB back until she completes a week's homework. Arsebook I personally want blocked forever.
I'm going to try reducing the number of things I ask her to do by 75% (yes - not even 'can you pick your school bag up off the middle of the hall floor so people don't fall over it as they come through the front door?' or 'can you flush the toilet after you've used it?', or 'can you not eat all the cereal bars I bought for the packed lunches please?') so there is less opportunity for her to be confrontational and defiant. Then I might be able to squeeze out a bit more spontaneous affection - if I'm not in a state of constant aggravation and resentment with her complete refusal to comply with anything I ask her to do.
And I will get back to CAMHS next week re: counselling. We really do need help as two or three more years of this level of conflict will destroy my marriage, my mental and physical health, and the happiness and well being of my other two children.
Glad you've had a better day today, Shag. I'm too tired now to say anything sensible, but I'll come back tomorrow
Shag you already sound so much more on top of it than in your first post
You've had a chance to regroup and think about how to approach this, your DH sounds like he's onside too as well as extended family, which is a massive help.
You'll get through this, it'll be a long haul but you WILL get there.
I was a pretty horrible teen, hated authority etc but eventually turned out ok. Once people stood up to me (was over. indulged pfb) I realised my behaviour couldn't continue.
Mind you, for someone pretty intelligent it took me a long time to work it out!!
Great too hear from you.Amazing you managed to apologise and hug. well done. Don't know what else to add except your health and her anger (whatever the cause) are an explosive mix. Brilliant if you could try and not notice bag in hall stuff. Almost impossible I know but they do say 'don't sweat the small stuff'!!
Hope you feel better soon good to hear you stepping out got good result. Also wanted to say amazing response to ear piercing - another shock!! Good idea to get school to deal with some of that stuff. Sounds as though you are going the right way . Wishing you all the best strength and patience and love!!
Just wanted to say congratualtions for being the bigger person and the good outcome. Im sorry to hear about your health problems and I guess your rules are not that bad - all sensible - I did sense there was a backstory!
You come across as very honest in your assessment of the situation and it is clear you love your daughter very much. I wonder how she would react if you were to show her this thread?
shag just to say I've been feeling like you. Tired and fed up. It turned out I have a parathyroid tumour (benign) and am seeing consultant tomorrow.
Have they checked for that?
I feel shit and I'm "resting between teenagers" ha ha
love the idea of resting between teenagers. I am just having a rest between grandchildren tonight!!!
Not for long tho. Eleven and two. Ill be an OAP before I get any peace. I e suffered three teen boys but think the girls are worse
Well done and lots of support .
I know from my Ds that someone can appear charming and successful on the surface and have no inner confidence. So camhs. Sounds right.
Shag, you sound much more positive and in control.
It's an especially good idea to leave all the school/studying stuff to the school to enforce. As (I think) Maryz once wisely said, our relationship with our child continues far longer than our relationship with their school, and if 'backing up the school' causes so much stress that it starts to damage our relationship with our child, then it's time to back off and leave it to them.
The only thing in your post I'd perhaps pick up on is your reluctance to take your DD out and do more with her because she's behaving badly. I know that's the received wisdom, and it might well be what I decided to do too... Buuuuut... When kids are attention-seeking, it's worth thinking about whether they're doing it because they haven't learned that other people have needs too, and theirs don't always come first; or because they really aren't getting their share of the attention. If it's the latter, then maybe give her the attention she's demanding, and see if her behaviour improves. I reckon it's probably worth a try.
BTW, I've been feeling shit too... Over the past few years, I've been tested for diabetes (negative), heart problems (negative), sleep apnoea (negative), brain abnormalities (negative), liver problems (negative), breast abnormalities (all clear, just fibrous), blood/immune system problems (normal), various allergies (only rabbits and meetkats, or something equally obscure ), chronic sinusitis (yes), arthritis (yes), thyroid conditions (borderline), menopause (not yet), anaemia (yup) and vitamin deficiencies (D is low)...
Ironically, I started feeling even worse when my DS1 settled down and stopped behaving like a total dick! That made no sense to me - surely I should be feeling better because I was less stressed? - until a friend pointed out that busy, stressed people often get ill as soon as they stop for a holiday...
I have come to the conclusion that having teenagers is very bad for your health and it would save the NHS a fortune if someone sorted out some parenting support, health-promoting massage and respite care for the parents of teenagers!
Hear hear flow !! Couldn't agree more re. teens bad for our health
Shag hope small improvements are being made that will progress to BIG improvements
where can I sign up for health promoting massage and respite care for parents?
"I have come to the conclusion that having teenagers is very bad for your health"
Honestly - we're always told that we should never tell our children that they're at fault if we get divorced or become very ill. But dd isn't stupid. If my marriage/health falls apart in the next couple of years she's bound to think 'I wonder if it's my fault', and she might not be far off the mark.....
That's why family counselling may be important. She needs to understand the consequences of her actions.
And because she has grown up in a loving family and she is intelligent, she may be able to articulate her concerns in a more socially acceptable way and negotiate through.
Really feeling for you - she's trying her best to push the boundaries and your buttons. I think at 13 it's perfectly reasonable to take a phone particularly if she's used it late No negociation. Try to do something nice for yourself. FFA advice because it's impossible I know.
DD is sitting GCSEs this year. Non-communicative at best of times, but discovered via GP who'd seen her because of daily headaches, total lethargy and sleepless nights, that she was behind with coursework and had been since Xmas. Her reports had been good so we hadn't a clue. Blood and other tests reveal she is perfectly ok physically. She expressly doesn't want us to contact school, and her form tutor has been absent for several weeks. She worked out a catch-up plan with said teachers and our help, but can't seem to cope with even bite-sized chunks without slipping into an almost catatonic trance - scary to see, eyes closing, head lolling back into a sleep. Appetite remains good though. She's been sent home by school nurse after lunch most days in past week and this morning, for the first time, refused to get up for school although she did eventually. We don't know how to cope with this..
Sorry, meant to start a new thread with the above. Will read the instructions and try again!
Had a read and really sorry to near this. Maybe a bit of respite at either grandparents for a couple of weeks might be a good idea. Perhaps you could give it a positive edge by suggesting you could paint her room while she is away? And will give you a chance to clear it out and clean it (something I do on a regular basis for my own sanity).
We have wired and wireless internet. The wired turns off at 10.30. Our 17yr old son uses that (he lives in our garage). The wireless laptop (and her phone) gets handed in by DD (14) at 9.30 on a school night at 10.30 every other night. We turned off the internet access she was getting on her phone.
Kids need rules and boundaries but dont sweat the small stuff or you will send yourself crazy.
Take a step back and decide what is most important to tackle and go for it. Yes you lost control but I think I would have done the same in your situation so dont beat yourself up over it.
Is DD worse at certain times of the month? Could you ask school for some advice? Our school has an advisor and a counsellor who I am sure would be keen to help you. Is there a friend who could mentor her?
Hope this is helpful, keep posting.
Sounds like you are doing all the right things - the camhs service is great once you get into the system and good to check in with school and not get hung up on small stuff. We had similar problems at this age and it did get better, but took quite a long time and a lot of patience and consistency on our parts. She's 18 now and we're very close. She appreciates how awful she was. She says it was mainly about "not feeling good enough" and "not liking herself".
Just a word on your own health, as it sounded familiar too - get checked for underactive thyroid, as can be hard to detect - sometimes even if blood tests come back negative, it's worth treating with thyroxine. This has made a massive difference to me, but it took me years to get to the bottom of it.
Best of luck - you sound like you're a great Mum, so I'm sure you'll all come through this difficult patch.
Has she always been challenging, or is it a fairly recent thing?