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Feel at a loss about 12 yr old daughter

(21 Posts)
soupdragon45 Sun 19-Jun-11 22:52:28

O.k, not sure where to start with all of this.My daughter is my eldest, I also have a son of 9.She is in yr 7 and it hasn't been easy, we have had a lot of school related problems mainly to do with her attitude, which basically sucks, I am really ashamed and embarrased to say.I am a teacher (Primary) and have recently gone back to work part-time.
What I used to see as strengths, she has always been determined, strong willed, known her own mind etc, now these qualities in a Secondary school setting are blowing up in her face big time as they are seen (and I can see how), as back-chatting and rudeness
She is bright, very bright but lazy and I would say that only 2 of the many teachers she has had have 'got' her, I don't get her and I am her mum.Apart from the ongoing attitude she is having to some of her teachers and just school in general, she is having a lot of friendship problems/issues.I can't really keep up with it all but tonight I had a phone call from one of her friends mums telling me that she was being really mean to her daughter on X-Box live.I am really upset by this. She was around her friends house playing as we don't have one and this mum says she(my daughter) started being really rude to this girl about her weight.Now my daughter says she was provoked and even if she was there was no call for her to be so unpleasant.I was so embarrased as this isn't the 1st time this has happened and what is awful is that my daughter has been excluded from friendships in the past and teased and bullied.She says she has peer pressure but I'm not really buying it I just feel she doesn't care. I say to her you always have control over how you respond but she still goes ahead and jumps in being mean and nasty and I am getting tired of her always being the one that is singled out after sleepovers involving more than one child as the one the parents don't want to invite back.It is because she answers back and smirks it really is appalling behaviour (I feel)
Not really sure what I am asking for but feel like I am walking along a knife blade with her as I want to allow her out and let her see her friends and trust her but when she does, something always seems to happen and it is making me so edgey.She is not remorseful , apparently I am out of order and earlier when she said she needed to go online to contact her friend(I have taken away her phone and laptop privelages) she told me to f*ck off! Charming, I know.I have written her a letter explaining how I felt but she has not responded to this.
My problem is, I get angry and tearful because I feel so let down and disappointed by her behaviour I just feel she is mugging both myself and her dad(but mainly me) off over and over again with her actions she just seems to have such little respect.None of my friends children of a similiar age and older are like this, I don't feel like I can talk to anyone but it is starting to impact on my professional life as I work in a local school and I have quite an unusual surname and some of the staff, mainly support staff have children at that school and know of my daughter because of her 'rep'.

Anyone had anything similiar? Anyone have any advice?

Medea Sun 19-Jun-11 23:47:45

Poor you. I have a son, nearly 12, whom I wrote about in this thread. He doesn't express bad behaviour at school ever as far as I know--and for that I'm grateful--but at home he is a bully, shows no remorse, behaves appallingly, and I sometimes feel like his younger sister and I are in actual physical danger. We have been in family counselling for about a year, to no avail. The psychiatrist who examined him declared him NOT afflicted by depression/anxiety/ASD/ but instead 'troubled'. Next step is a behavioural psychologist to help him to control his anger and break these almost compulsive behavioural patterns.

Maybe count yourself lucky that your daughter even has play dates: that suggests that she functions well socially, and that this meanness might just be a phase.

I know our situations are different, but I very much relate to your comment about not 'getting' your own child; and about how her attitude 'sucks.' These are things I never in a million years expected to think or say about my own child--but parenting can be a nightmare sometimes.

soupdragon45 Mon 20-Jun-11 06:16:43

Thanks Medea, yes, I do think she has friends but they seem so changeable and the ones she seems to be with at the moment do not seem to be bringing out the best in my daughter.I know she is trying to find her place in Secondary but I didn't expect her to be so mean in doing it.
I am upset too with the way she thinks she can talk to me, she feels I don't stick up for her and that I should put this mum and any mum who says stuff about her in their place! How can I when not faced with all the facts and there is a part of me which sadly thinks yes, that sounds like something my daughter could/would do.
She was grounded for her attitude following something which happened when she was out with her friends, she went into an area she shouldn't have(among other things) and after that she had her phone removed for almost 2 weeks and wasn't allowed out as we felt we couldn't trust her to answer her phone or come back on time.

TheDuckster Mon 20-Jun-11 06:46:30

It could be any number of issues. It might help to eliminate/narrow things down if you could provide more background aside from the behavioural problems. eg:

i) is she 'always' angry/rude - or are there certain times/situations when she seems calmer/better?
ii) how is she with organisation/planning?
iii) does she regularly forget/lose/misplace things?
iv) is she interested in the same things as her peers/age groups - or does she have her own interests?
v) does she try to conform to peer pressure - fashion etc
vi) does she cope with homework okay - not necessarily the ability to do it but the willingness to - is this stressful for her?
vii) does she has a wide circle of friends or just one or two?

exoticfruits Mon 20-Jun-11 07:04:46

Does she do much out of school? Has she got some passionate interest or something that could take a lot of energy?
It sounds as thought it is a vicious circle, she is finding things difficult and reacting in a way that makes it even more difficult and won't/cant understand this.
I just wondered if a real interest in something might bypass it a bit.

soupdragon45 Mon 20-Jun-11 07:06:45

Hi Duckster,in answer to your points

i)she does appear to be angry a lot of the time, she will very often just blow up at me.She was rude to me Friday night when she was getting ready to go to a party(her 1st teenage one) so I said I wasn't going to tolerate that level of language and said I would not give her a lift.She apologised but only because she needed the lift.

ii) she is not organised, never knows where anything is but expects me to know, doesn't get her school bag ready etc.

iii)not really but isn't very good with her phone particularly charging it.

iv)She is into music, films, certain programmes on T.V a lot I would say influenced by her friends but her music tastes can be a little different from theirs.

v) yes, she does but having said this she still knows that what she is doing is wrong/could be wrong.She is obsessed with fashion this is where a lot of our arguments stem from as I can't afford to buy her Ralphies (Ralph Lauren Polo tops) and her friends she says tease her because of this.

vi) no she doesn't cope with homework she never seems to know what she should be doing as she was chatting in class, we can never find her books and I nag her all of the time about doing her homework and how she has done it.I would say it's stressful for her but only because she hasn't put the work in the book during class and isn't sure what she should be doing.

vii) her friends seem to be ever changing, when she went to Secondary there were only a couple from her old Juniors and she is not friends with them anymore.All of these friends are 'new'.She has had one friend consistently from this new group she met in September.


goldtinsel Mon 20-Jun-11 07:14:05

You want to trust her but you know you can't, she has proved that over and over. You have nothing to lose by being tougher with her. At the moment you are getting really upset and she is not listening to that either.

I had a very angry older DS (his anger was partly fuelled by drugs) and he never listened to words, only my actions. Strong responses and consequences did win through in the end but you need to be determined.

Allow her tiny freedoms until she shows she can behave. Set out the rules for how to behave socially with clear consequence for breaking those rules. It will be hell for you. It is worth it.

3littlefrogs Mon 20-Jun-11 07:16:07

Year 7 is a horrible time for lots of kids.

Has she started her periods yet? Can you identify any of this behaviour as cyclical?

Are you and her dad completely on the same page with parenting?

Can you identify a time when things got perceptibly worse - was it just at starting secondary, or was it when you went back to work?

Have you sat down and really talked to her teacher? Maybe you can identify some strategies that you can work on together?

IME things get a lot better in year 8.

Outside activities and hobbies, especially sports, can really help.

Is there another family member - an aunty, for example, that she might talk to?

Just some thoughts.

CybilsLiberty Mon 20-Jun-11 07:32:07

Your post could be describing my neice, also in Yr 7. She is rude, obsessed with her friends, always out, hits and swears at my SIL and is dropping behind at chool , claiming not to care, despite being on the gifted and talented register at her previous school. So you are not alone!

Its hormones, peer pressure, teenagerdom and you are her punch bag. My SIL is getting family therapy for them as he has started harming herself too

Is there a calm time when you could sit with her and talk about how she is and how worried you are about her?

TheDuckster Mon 20-Jun-11 07:34:56

A lot of what you describe matches my own daughter at the same age. very bright but constantly angry/rude etc. School was very difficult for her - we ended up taking her out and home-educating. My daughter was eventually diagnosed with Aspergers.

From your replies the things which don't fit the typical AS profile are:

i) that she is influenced by friends - those with AS are unlikely to be influenced by anyone
ii) that she chats with friends in class
iii) that she is interested in fashion - although this is possible

If I was you I would read about AS - there are plenty of sources online. See if you can see your daughter in those descriptions - when I did that I saw my daughter being described and suddenly everything which had confused me for years fell into place.

Ontheotherhand you may well find that it does not match your daughter. At least that would rule one possible explanation out.

Either way I wish you both well and hope that you are able to resolve this and that things start to improve for you.

I really do understand how stressful/difficult this can be.

soupdragon45 Mon 20-Jun-11 07:42:48

Thank you cybilsLiberty, I do want to talk to her, I know I need to talk to her, I miss talking to her. . . I miss her, this is all just such a shock to me.She could be on the G&T but won't put the work in as it's not 'cool'.A lot of her friends are not in the top classes that she is in.She has just started swearing at me which I find awful, last night she called me a "dickhead".She hasn't been violent towards me yet but last night as I walked past her, she was blocking my way out of my bedroom I thought she might shove me.She is ALWAYS a lot worse after she has been with her friends, she used to listen to me, she used to ask me for advice, now we just argue.

CybilsLiberty Mon 20-Jun-11 07:44:25

Have you spoken to her teachers

soupdragon45 Mon 20-Jun-11 07:46:30

Thank you Duckster, I will look into it, I will look into anything, things cannot go on like this it feels like she has waaaayyyy too much control and I don't understand where all this you owe me attitude comes from.Nothing is good enough, everyone has way more, she has nothing, you know the kind of thing, lots to make her angry and resentful.

soupdragon45 Mon 20-Jun-11 07:53:32

Hi 3frogs, no she hasn't started her periods yet.

I think she is worse when she is tired/hungry but she seems to be that all of the time .

Me and her dad argue about her constantly, she is the only thing we argue about.He wants to be tougher/more forceful with her , he feels she walks all over me.I am firm I feel but when her friends parents don't seem to give a monkeys it's hard.

He is totally supportive of me but he really dislikes her behaviour at the moment and I can see how as she really isn't nice to be around.

It has gotten worse since I went back to work but she says she wants me to work as she wants more money that she thinks I will be spending on her!

soupdragon45 Mon 20-Jun-11 07:55:28

No CybilsLiberty but I can see it coming, I will post a bit more about school stuff later.

3littlefrogs Mon 20-Jun-11 08:04:53

TBH I think he is right about being tougher. She is only 12, so not old enough to have too much control.

Do not believe her when she says her friends' parents are softer. They all say this, and the idea is to pull the wool over the parents' eyes. Anyway, what other parents do is irrelevant - your child has her own needs and you and dh need to agree on parenting and NEVER argue. Believe me, argueing about parenting is the absolute worst thing you can do.

Sit down together and thrash out the rules, agree on a code word that you can use when necessary, so that you do not disagree in front of her.

Agree on the rules, agree on rewards and sanctions, and STICK to it.

My ds1 was very difficult. He is in his twenties now, and lovely, and he frequently tells me how glad he is that we were strict with him.

I wrote a contract of agreed behaviour and got him to sign it. He had a copy, I had a copy. It was referred to when necessary, and agreed sanctions were applied, and agreed rewards were given.


TheDuckster Mon 20-Jun-11 08:14:23

One thing which helped me (after the diagnosis) was realising that the anger/nastiness were in fact just mainfestations of stress/anxiety. Those with AS find almost everything stressful (things you and I wouldn't give a second thought to). Anger is their escape valve.

I sincerely hope things improve for you.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

exoticfruits Mon 20-Jun-11 08:17:00

3littlefrogs has excellent advice.

She seems to want to have the 'wrong' sort of friends, where she isn't using her abilities, and is trying to fit in. A good reason to look for outside interests.

soupdragon45 Mon 20-Jun-11 08:24:12

Hi 3 littlefrogs, I agree with you our family feels so out of sync it really does feel as if we are not functioning how we should.
I know what you are saying about the not believing the other parents don't give sanctions but it really does seem as if they don't or maybe it's just that my daughter is the patsy, the one they push forward, the mouthy one that does these things to look good in front of her friends and I am the one that hears about it after.
We shouldn't argue, I agree we shouldn't it's too stressful for all concerned.

soupdragon45 Mon 20-Jun-11 09:28:54

Hi Goldtinsel, yes you are right, that is what I have been doing.I do set out my expectations for how I feel she should behave but when she is with her friends it seems to go out the window.

goldtinsel Mon 20-Jun-11 15:51:50

She has to go to school (well, actually she doesn't does she? she has to have an education, that's not necessarily the same thing) so she will see her friends there. And you can let school manage any bad behaviour there.

But you can control how much she sees her friends outside school and what the consequences are for bad behaviour with them. She will take a mile if you give her an inch! So do not be afraid to be tough and do not be guilt-tripped into changing your mind by crocodile tears. It is not fun to be the bad cop but she needs to know you care enough to act.

One ridiculous thing we did that helped was to get a dog. Angry DS would cuddle that dog a LOT! And would sometimes walk with me and talk a tiny bit, especially if we stopped for coffee on the way home. Is there something new you could try with your DD that would give her some attention and talking time?

Hugs also. It's tough.

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