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Seriously struggling with DD12, I don't know what to do :-((

(14 Posts)
Sickofpeppapig00 Thu 29-Jan-15 18:25:44

I have three DC; twins are 2 and DD is nearly 12. I'm a single parent with very limited support (family/close friends abroad), the girls see their father about 3 days every month so they are with me full time. Life is exhausting, and I rarely get a break other than two hours in the morning when DT go to nursery and DD is at school.

Now, DT are exhausting and a handful but what I'm really struggling with is DD's utterly messiness, untidiness, laziness and selfish behaviour. She does not lift a finger at home despite me asking her to do things like once every couple of months unloading the dishwasher or taking her own dirty clothes to the laundry basket (she just flings stuff and wherever they fall, there they stay for weeks if I don't pick them up). I have to tell her simple things like 'take your plate to the kitchen when you're done eating' about ten times, she just says 'later' and until I haven't screamed at her really loud on that 10th time she does not move a finger. We live in a flat and she makes the whole place really messy by leaving stuff all over the place and not cleaning after herself (ie she does some crafty thing for school in the dining room table and everything will be covered in glue and paper cuttings for days despite me asking her to clear it up). Her room is a pigsty, piles of things/clothes everywhere. She does NOTHING at home despite me having cried to her out of desperation quite a few times asking her to help more around the house, and seeing how stressed and exhausted I am all the time.

I cannot live like this anymore, I'm snapping all the time at the twins and shouting and losing my temper, I'm so, so stressed and don't know what to do anymore sad. I have cancelled any pocket money until she starts helping out, so she hasn't had a penny for months now (her father gives her money of course; not amicable so can't poss ask him not to). I have taken her mobile away, I have stopped her from staying out with friends to go to Starbucks etc. Completely at a loss and so stressed, only typing this and I'm crying, how can she be so selfish ... sad. XH was exactly like this, his rubbish all over the place, used to drive me mad.

Any advice would be so appreciated, thank you so much in advance.

zippyandbungle Thu 29-Jan-15 18:37:40

Sorry sickof I have one just like it but she's my youngest so I haven't the added stress of younger siblings. You must be at the end of your tether.
We have found internet sanctions work, by means of blocking her Internet on our router, you can down load a programme for free if you google. It is only an hour at a time which gives us somewhere to go if she acts up again later.

Also there is a book recommended on here which has made me look at things a bit from her point of view and helped me to not sweat the small stuff. It's called Get out of my life, I think, by Tony Wolf. It's worth a read.
On a plus I have a perfectly delightful 17 year old upstairs who went through similar. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Chippednailvarnish Thu 29-Jan-15 18:41:35

I would take everything and I mean everything away apart from her school clothes and bed. Make her earn her possessions back when she learns to be tidier...

Sickofpeppapig00 Thu 29-Jan-15 18:46:42

Chipped I like that approach...drastic but I do need drastic measures. Thank you

Thank you Zippy for the book recommendation. Re internet access she's not allowed to use the laptop and I have taken away her phone the moment she comes through the door and still nothing .... sad

Chippednailvarnish Thu 29-Jan-15 18:58:22

You might find that a short sharp shock of the taking everything away snaps her out of it really quickly...

Sickofpeppapig00 Thu 29-Jan-15 19:12:44

Will definitely be trying that next week. I'll report back, thank you again

Gunpowder Thu 29-Jan-15 19:21:31

I don't have a preteen but thought I'd post as I was very similar at her age and came out the other side relatively civilised and I have a wonderful relationship with DM. (I'm in my 30s)

I remember being really angry (like severe PMT) and irrational and cutting off my nose to spite my face. Sanctions didn't really work as I was so stubborn and wouldn't admit defeat. I feel awful about it now and sure I will receive my comeuppance when DC are older. I think what would have helped would have been OTT praise for even small things I did right, but appreciate you must be at the end of your tether. flowers

Sickofpeppapig00 Thu 29-Jan-15 21:22:08

Thank you Gunpowder. I have tried the praise route believe me ..... she's a bright girl always getting really good results at school and I do reward her for that. It's just the situation at home that's driving me completely crazy.....

pandora987 Thu 29-Jan-15 21:55:45

It is hard - they are soo messy..... but tbh I find it easier to just clear up after my DD year 7 for most things . She does say thanks and has started to look a bit guilty about mess and to do a bit herself. I tend to say "lets do it together - I'll do the clothes, you do the rest of the stuff on the floor" and things like that. Anything for a quiet life.. She would also walk over mess for ever if I let her. Punishments don't work for us, just leads to stress and agro. I also find that DD will do something if its small and achievable, like "take your plate and glass to kitchen". But if I give her too much at once, like "tidy up all your mess everywhere" she just can't cope and blows a fuse. But I don't have little ones as well, and my DH is the tidiest ever!

JontyDoggle37 Thu 29-Jan-15 22:02:34

Don't wash her clothes. If she leaves them on the floor, step over them. When she runs out of clean clothes (and probably pitches a fit) calmly point out that only things that are in the wash basket get washed. Likewise, don't wash up plates etc she uses. Wash up a couple that you use, for your use - then when she wants something to eat say 'well, there aren't any plates because you haven't washed any up'. Make it not an argument, just a calm statement of fact. Followed by 'if you can wash up your plates now, I'll make you some food/if you can put your washing in the basket now, I'll runa. Load tonight, so you'll have clean things by tomorrow night again'. It will drive you mad for a few days, but at the moment she is getting no direct consequence for her actions, apart from the satisfaction of winding her mother up. Hang on in there and be the last to blink!

jaykay34 Sun 01-Feb-15 12:10:11

My 12 year old daughter is the same. My son - her twin brother - is very tidy and if I ask him to do something he will do it.
My daughter, on the other hand, has a room that's an absolute tip. If I ask her to tidy it, she goes mad and says I am being horrible to her and that she was meaning to tidy it but won't do it now because I have gone on about it. Sometimes I will help her tidy it, and then by the evening it's a tip again.
Sometimes you can't see her floor, or her bed or her furniture because they are covered in so much crap. I have walked in her room and wanted to cry before - it's like she has no respect for anything.
I have started to use tidying as a bargaining tool and it kind of works. She likes to meet friends ie shopping centre/cinema trips and I won't let her go unless her room is tidy. I actually followed his threat through and would not let her go to the cinema one day and she had a major tantrum but I still didn't let her out and since then she has started to take me more seriously.

LastingLight Sun 01-Feb-15 18:56:07

Don't wash her clothes. If she leaves them on the floor, step over them. When she runs out of clean clothes (and probably pitches a fit) calmly point out that only things that are in the wash basket get washed.

Oh if only that would work. My 12 year old will however happily wear dirty clothes, in fact won't even notice that it's dirty and certainly not if it needs ironing. She could care less.

I have recently threatened DD that if I've asked her to do something and she didn't do it I will wait until she is asleep and then wake her up to do it. I've gotten her out of bed before but not after she was asleep but I'm willing to follow through on this if it teaches her to act when I ask the first time. She recently borrowed and item of clothing from me and then chucked it over the back of her chair. I asked her three times to put it away in her cupboard as she wanted to wear it again. After the third try I took it away and told her she had lost the privilege of wearing my clothes as she cannot look after them.

But OP, we must also accept that at 12 lazy, messy and selfish pretty much comes with the territory and it will probably get worse before it gets better. That doesn't mean we should just accept the behaviour, but for our own sanity and the sake of our future relationship with our DDs we must pick our battles carefully.

littlegreenfrog Tue 03-Feb-15 21:59:31

Hello smile
I also have a 12 year old daughter who has me at the end of my tether for this and other reasons - the reason I am looking at this thread in the first place. One thing that I found that worked with the tidying the room problem was to create a list of the exact tasks that are involved in tidying a room eg: 1. make bed 2. put dirty clothes in wash 2. pick up rubbish from floor 4. empty bin etc. and turn it into a checklist which she can tick off. I realised that she felt overwhelmed by the job itself and didn't know where to start. She couldn't sort it out in her mind and this made her angry resulting in a tantrum every time she was asked to tidy her room. She actually felt much more control by having the checklist and was pleased to know when the task was completed. Obviously she then got lots of praise from me which was also very motivating. I have tried this with other jobs too. Didn't work as well. I do think its all about perseverance and I have to admit that with two other children, husband and job to distract me Im not so good at that bit. PS the bedroom has gone back to being a tip but it did work for quite a while. Good luck!

shadypines Sun 08-Feb-15 20:41:07

hello sickof I am sorry to hear of your struggle. I know what it's like to have a DD like this, I have a 12 yr old too who sounds pretty much exactly like yours. I (and you by the sound of it) get to the point where I want to throw something/or someone through the window or leave the house and not come back when you feel at your lowest. I really feel for you with your struggle as a single mum and with younger children though. I hope you find some help on here, tbh I hope I can get some of it too!

At least we know we are not on our own. I have tried everything, the asking nicely, the getting cross, the making of simple task lists etc etc etc and I do give her lots of positive comments and thankyous for the things she does for me or around the house or homework etc. Just this evening she has gone into a mega strop over something trivial which spoilt the half hour of a comedy DVD we had just watched together. It seems that she is subconsciously trying to spoil everything nice at times.

It's good to hear people saying there's light at the end of the tunnel but it feels like an awfully long tunnel at times. Thinking of you OP , here's some flowers

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