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At my wits end with DD

(22 Posts)
NewPatchesForOld Mon 24-Sep-12 12:23:11

Hi everyone, I was going to post this in the lone parents section, but it's more of a teenage problem than a LP one, so here goes.

Very short history, I'm a single mum of 3, my oldest DD is 18 in a few weeks time, DS is 15 and DD2 is 8. We had a torrid time with my ex (not the father of my oldest 2) and left...this was 6 years ago. I have dated since, but made a conscious decision not to date for the past 2 years so I could be absolutely sure that I had exorcised all the demons etc and therefore be able to date without 'ishoooos'. I have met a wonderful man now, however, and all 3 kids seem to really like him.

The problem is with DD1. She is becoming more vile and difficult to live with by the day. If she doesn't get her own way she throws a temper tantrum like a child. Every time we go out she spoils it...we went to check out a pub/restaurant she wants to go to for her 18th meal...while there my bf discreetly asked me if we should get her a bespoke birthday cake rather than a shop bought one and she went mental, threw herself down in her chair and demanded to go home because we were 'whispering'! We went to the coast for the day, and she admired a pair of Vans shoes...bf asked her if she'd like them for her birthday and she said yes...he paid £50 for them, and then she stropped and stamped her feet because we went up on the Brighton Eye and she didn't want to go on it but wouldn't stay on the ground alone. Saturday night she stayed at a friend's house, and on Sunday morning we all decided to go out for breakfast...she was still at her friend's house. She called me to pick her up (she uses me as a taxi service) and when she found out we had been out for breakfast she threw another hissy fit - we had no right going out without her even though she was at her friend's house. I picked her up on the way home and she got in, folded her arms and shouted 'I didn't realise it was a family outing'...we were on our way home so were all in the car but she thought I should have driven them all home and then doubled back on myself to pick her up alone because she doesn't see why she has to be squashed up in the back.

2 weeks ago she spent the day with her dad and came home and goaded me for a fight. I ignored it until she threw something at me in the kitchen which caused me to scald my hand..then she grabbed me round the wrist. And I have found out that she is slagging me off all over Twitter.

What the hell do I do? She is almost 18 and yet behaves worse than my 8 year old. I'm now holed up in my bedroom as I don't want to see her. Last week I sat in my car for an hour before I plucked up the courage to go in the house knowing she was there.

ANd now she is expecting me to hand over £44 for her driving lesson today (I am a single mum with no income coming in and really struggling to even pay the rent at the moment) after the way he is behaving towards me. I feel utterly ground down and like the abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex is starting all over again with her.

SaraSidle Mon 24-Sep-12 12:29:48

How is she financing herself? Is she at college?

FelicitywasSarca Mon 24-Sep-12 12:35:09

Ok step 1 is take a deep breath and don't panic.

Sounds to me like she loves you very much (teens don't have tantrums like that with people they don't love and feel safe with). But she's insecure- insecure about her place in your family (new Bf coming in- in fact him being lovely is probably worse right now as she sees him as more of a threat to her position). Also is she due to move out soon? This can cause a bit of regression as she tries to get her head around approaching independence.

Being breathtakingly selfish and just not understanding other people's point of view, or indeed that life goes on when they are not there is also a common teenage obsession.

So to deal with it- work out the things that really matter to you (to me, it would be absolutely no violence, and no verbal rudeness -then to a lesser extent good communication is a must-)

Forget the rest, ignore the rest and then negotiate and discuss the things that matter. Explain when she is calm what you expect and why. And the consequences of her not complying- no money for driving lessons, no new clothes no treats/no being included in family events.

I would also give these boundaries to your younger children so it appears fair and less targeted to her.

AppleCrumbleAndFish Mon 24-Sep-12 12:39:16

I think you have to be quite hard on her. Her behaviour is unreasonable. She is being very selfish both with her behaviour and financial expectations. Have a very honest discussion with her regarding your income. If you're struggling to pay for one lesson at £44 how will you finance the rest. Is she at college? Does she have a job - even if it's part time.
Is living with her father an option? Would she want to live with him if she could.

chocoluvva Mon 24-Sep-12 12:55:54

I'm with Felicity OP. It sounds like she's feeling insecure and maybe unsettled.
I had a useless DF and I'm sure it delayed my emotional development and made things more intense with my DM (who I loved very much).
My DD has been known to "goad me for a fight" too.
I wonder if you feel guilty - even though you have no reason to - about not giving her the sort of family life you'd have hoped for and subconsciously overcompensate by giving her more than you can afford materially or by being too lenient with bad behaviour. I hope you aren't offended by this suggestion - I know I might not be right.
She will need you to be patient and calm, but also to show you're not afraid to stand up to her bad behaviour and that you won't be bullied.
Easier said than done, but if you try to take Felicity's advice I'm sure you'll soon see a happier DD. smile

chocoluvva Mon 24-Sep-12 12:59:04

I think that came over as patronising. Sorry if it did.
Your post struck a chord with me - I think I was really horrible to my mum too (didn't scream and throw things, but I said awful things and was completely selfish and insensitive).

NewPatchesForOld Mon 24-Sep-12 13:39:02

Thanks for the replies everyone, and I'm not in the least offended. She is at college, and won't get herself a part time job...they are all beneath her it seems. Her bf works in McD's part time while at college, her best friend works 2 part time jobs and is at college, but she moans that they have money and she doesn't.
I have been paying for her driving lessons whilst sacrificing things for myself...it's just something I wanted to do for her but not when she's treating me like s**t. Her father refuses to help out with them at all.
She can't live with him as he lives 40 miles away, and anyway he has rented out the kids' room to a lodger so there would be nowhere for her to stay. Also he has a highly dysfunctional relationship with his gf so it would be a miserable place for her to be. I make sure she feels special to me...Monday is her day off from college and I promised her we would make that our day...into town, have a coffee etc and she's even made that impossible today. I've gone out of my way to make sure she doesn't feel that her place has been compromised but I can only keep pandering to her for so long...it's exhausting.

NewPatchesForOld Mon 24-Sep-12 13:43:11

And I have been far too lenient with her behaviour...I know that. Everyone in the family has been walking on eggshells for years around her because it's easier than dealing with her moods. For instance, I was very very ill last year - I had cervical cancer and also fibromyalgia and was virtually immobile with the pain, and yet I had to squeeze on the 2 seater settee with the younger 2 (and DS is 6foot so not small) while she spread out on the other settee alone! She gets joint pain, but I mean I was crippled with it, I had to walk with a stick and was given a disabled bus pass and I'm only 43. She is so very selfish.

FelicitywasSarca Mon 24-Sep-12 15:17:00

shock at your last post. That put things in a bit of a different light.

Toughen up and start saying no. No more money unless she has a job, no more driving lessons if she isn't polite ( and if that means she gets irregular and her instructor drops her, let that be her problem).

Refuse to pander to this.

Guiltypleasures001 Mon 24-Sep-12 15:27:41

if she wants a lift and gets in and moans ..she gets out straight away.

tell her you love her but she hurts you again or causes a row, she loses all priveledges, take her phone, dont give her money, cancel driving lesons and the internet till she tows the line.

This cant go on, and you lot squishing up on the sofa while she lollies around on the one to herself, blood hell she should be out doing the shopping and getting you tea lovey.

She needs boundaries and fast, you cant be her friend, cant make up for her fathers failings and nor should you, tell her the new rules and the pusnishments that go with them, she has to learn that there are consequences for her deeds, otherwise you are not doing her any favours. if she doesnt like it tell her the telephone number for the housing people is by the phone.

all the best

chocoluvva Mon 24-Sep-12 20:36:59

I think you might be surprised by how quickly her behaviour improves if you threaten bad behaviour with sanctions and carry them out. She will respect you more.
It must be more difficult to do that when there's only you, but it'll be worth the short-term pain. Deep down she will probably welcome it - it will give her a greater feeling of security - after all the difficult times she's gone through.
She's been through a lot so emotionally speaking she is probably young for her age.
Let us know how you get on smile

I can't believe you have taken so much crap from her, you poor thingsad
I'm sorry but no matter HOW insecure she feels (and fair enough, new partner, you being very ill etc is bound to affect her) she is COMPLETELY out of order, way out of line, and she needs the boundaries redrawing and fast...and I say this as the mum of 4 teens, one of whom has been spectacularly awful!

You can't afford the driving lessons.. she needs to pay for them herself! Cancel the rest..she has had a taster lesson and now if she wants them she gets a job and pays herself. Yes some kids are lucky and their parents can pay for them all but most don't. My nephews and nieces had their lessons paid and brand new cars bought for them. My kids..only one has passed because he could save for his own lessons by working (the others are students so no chance) and he is now saving for an old banger...that's life, and it's not unfair, it's just how it is.

She wants.. she needs to go out and earn.. most 18 yr olds manage p/t jobs while studying (mine is currently doing 2 p/t jobs). Please put your foot down...ditto with the lifts! She is 18..she can catch a bloody bus or walk!

I'm sure she will rant and rave and be vile.. but if you stand firm..what's the alternative? She doesn't have one! Her choice..to either get on with life and enable herself or to do without.

Please do this for yourself. I was terrified of standing up to my DS1 but when I finally did..and did it consistently.. it improved both of our lives no end!

chocoluvva Mon 24-Sep-12 23:36:54

Oh yes, you mustn't beat yourself up about the history with your ex or with letting things get to the stage they've got to.
I had treatment for cancer last year too and looking back I did let some things slide with the DCs and I was very angry with them for not doing more around the house too, but that was last year. As far as the DC's are concerned it's history now so need not affect how you do things now.

gemblags1980 Tue 25-Sep-12 22:39:06

Hi I agree with everything that has been said on here, there is something I do with some of the families that i work with, particularly when someone new is involved is:
A) give each member of the family a piece of paper and ask them to identify three things that they respect/ like about the other member of the family.
B) draw up a family contract where you define what is acceptable within the household and the consequences or sanctions if this is broken.

These activities will work better if all the family agree to take part and discuss contracts and possible consequences together. There should if you can be a contract and consequences for you if you can, that way no one is been favoured just because they are an adult and ownership of the process, which seams to be very important to your daughter as it appers that some of her behaviour could be caused by the change in the dynamic, even though you appear to have gone out of your way to erasure her.

Whilst doing this take the opportunity to discuss boundaries and acceptable behaviour, because allthough I am trying to understand nd offer solutions I do not condone you daughters behaviour it is not acceptable.
Good luck, inbox be if you need any clarity on my suggestions
Gemma

SecondhandRose Tue 25-Sep-12 22:51:48

This isnt going to be awfully helpful but she behaves like she does because you allow her to. You can start by stopping paying for the driving lessons and then follow that one up with her phone and her special toiletries that no doubt you have to buy for her plus anything else.

Tell her you love her but at the moment you dont like her behaviour and that you ("I feel very hurt/upset/unhappy)"). You mustnt accuse her of anything.

At the moment I am just writing some house rules, you might want to have some too. Maybe even ask her what she thinks they should be.

hazeldog Tue 25-Sep-12 22:51:52

She's an adult at 18. I would ask her to move out and find shared accommodation with other students. Your current dynamic isn't working for either of you. I bet any money she would be utterly ashamed to behave like that if she was living with other young adults. Inform her of the existence of buses. You are not giving her the tools she needs to get along with other people by allowing this needy and entitled behaviour to fly in your home. Do her a favour and put your foot down.

NewPatchesForOld Wed 26-Sep-12 08:23:47

I've managed to pay for her driving lessons up until now, and her test is booked for November - I've threatened non payment before but always caved and so every time we had a row she would say 'oh what, so you're going to stop paying for my lessons now?' knowing that I always give in. So this time was a real shock to her.
I can't do anything about her phone because her Dad pays for that, and I can't cut internet access as she needs that for college.
Hazeldog...I have told her to get the bus a million times and then...you've guessed it...'well I have no money so you'll have to pay'. Take today for instance, she finishes college at 3, and asked me what time I would be picking her up. I said I wouldn't as I would be busy and she said 'well you have to be around at 3.30 to pick DD2 up so you can't be that busy'. Now, I am in the process of starting up my own business again, and spend most days with my head buried in the laptop writing website content etc and trying to do the whole thing on no money (I came off benefits to become self employed so am receiving nothing really at the moment). But picking her up would eat up an hour of precious working time.
Also, she does display this behaviour in front of other people. She has a lovely boyfriend but he was treated to a display of her temper the other day when he dared to disagree with her about what they were watching on tv...when he said she can't have her own way all the time she threw the remote across the room and declared that she HAS to have her own way.
I know full well that a lot of this is my fault for allowing it to go on so long - her father was never there to back me up, even when we were together...I would be furious at something she had done and tell her 'wait til Dad gets home and I tell him' and he would come in and say 'that's my girl' and laugh. He has a vile temper and expects the world to give him everything, and unfortunately she takes after him in almost every way.

NewPatchesForOld Wed 26-Sep-12 08:25:36

Gemblags...I have tried that approach too. I have sat the kids down at the table and said 'ok, let's have a family meeting and everyone can have their say and get anything off their chests' and she will refuse to join in, fold her arms and mutter, won't take anything on board and just sits firing accusations at everyone.

FelicitywasSarca Wed 26-Sep-12 09:09:39

I can't cut internet access as she needs that for college.

So change the password. Change it back for 2 hours each evening - telling her that is homework time. Do not let her dictate when that will be and after the time is up change the password back regardless of whether she has finished or not. If she complains hand her a flyer for the library or tell her when she pays her half/third of the Internet bill she can have it unlimited.

well you have to be around at 3.30 to pick DD2 up so you can't be that busy'

Reply, busyness is not the issue. I will not be picking up rude 18 year olds who should know better.

End of conversation. Do not pick her up. Let her shout scream and rage - she will at first. Stop justifying your actions to her. You have a perfect right to make decisions and stick to them.

Never be drawn into discussion and stay strong.

NewPatchesForOld Wed 26-Sep-12 09:52:32

She has her own laptop so how would I go about doing that? I can't take it off her as her father bought it for her.

FelicitywasSarca Wed 26-Sep-12 15:04:31

You need to change the wireless password of your router- presumably that's yours and you pay for the wifi for the house?

SecondhandRose Wed 26-Sep-12 18:11:32

Whilst she says jump and you say how high then things will never change. You must decide in your head what has to change for you to lead a happier life. Start with the biggest one which sounds like her temper and rudeness.

I presume that was your remote control she threw across the room. She needs to have consequences to her actions. Decide what they are and stick to them. Pick her up at a time convenient to you and NOT her.

I too am suffering from similar to you but not as bad. I was mentally abused by a bf 25 yrs ago and sometimes I feel like I am back there. You are not the only one going through this believe me.

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