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Hello from a worn out parent of a teenage girl

(8 Posts)
OhSoVintage Sun 14-Oct-12 12:33:27

After having a pretty awful few weeks with my 13 year old daughter I realised that I could do with a forum with other mothers of teenagers to stop me from going completely round the twist!!! And to get me through the next few years with a reasonably amount of sanity let!

So here I am hello smile

I have two children of 6 and 13 both girls and I love them both very dearly.
My 13 year old seems to think everyone is against her at the moment! She's gone from being such a bright energetic child with a passion for drama.
To being secluded, very selfish and thinking the word is against her.

She was bullied at school last term which between the school and myself we have managed to put a stop to. However not before it had destroyed her confidence and she has been diagnosed with anxiety sad

The trouble is its effected her school work as she just doesn't have the motivation she used to have.
Its a vicious circle as I want to get her on track and make her happy. But she keeps letting her teachers down which obviously makes the school cross and myself frustrated. I keep trying to say to her to try harder then we can all get off her back and she will be happier but she keeps making the same mistakes and it leads to further frustrations.

Its mainly plain laziness she either flat out doesn't do her work or will do the bare minimum with mistakes due to rushing.

Ive been trying to get her to tidy her room for two months and I always get a negative reaction when I ask. When she does do it things a shoved under the bed etc but its never done properly.

She just seems to spend a lot of her time taking and not giving anything back. We went to the circus the other evening which is a rare treat as money is tight and she was so excited until during the interval she decide she wanted a programme at £10 after we had already bought her candy floss and we said no.
So with that she refused to enjoy the rest of the evening and sulked.
I just don't understand I try and do nice things for her and she cant just be grateful.

I want to make her happy and feel that if she's happier everything else will fall into place but it seems such an impossible task.
When we take things away like her ipod etc and tell her that she cant have it back on improved behaviour etc. She doesn't seem to care. Its like being lazy is more important to her that anything.
I know a lot of it is anxiety and its effected her well being but Im trying to hard to help her help herself and she cant seem to see it. Its really breaking my heart.

How many years does this last, please tell me she will come out the other side!!

LizzieVereker Sun 14-Oct-12 12:48:04

I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time, you sound very worried. Have you read "Divas and Doorslammers" by Charlie Taylor? It's quite helpful for this sort of behaviour. I find it helpful to remember that teenage brains are undergoing a huge "rewire" at this age, your DDs behaviour is normal for many, and it will end.
The key is to praise 6 x more than you criticise, which can be very hard! You have to find the smallest things to praise - " you were really patient with your little brother/ sister then, well done" or "you've written a really good sentence there" for homework. You will feel a wally for praising things which she should do anyway, but it works.

Could you tidy her room together as a "project", she will like spending the time together deep down, even if she doesn't show it. Let her choose a couple of cheap scented candles or photo frame when it's done?

Witchety Sun 14-Oct-12 12:57:54

Hi! And welcome

There is an end in sight! My dd's are 16 and 18 now.... And both at college. I'm through the worst. My advice is to be consistent and pick your battles. They seem to revert to being toddlers.... So keep up the praise!

Bunbaker Sun 14-Oct-12 12:58:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Nuts12 Sun 14-Oct-12 13:38:29

Yes it will start to get better but it takes time. The worst time for me was when we got a call from a shopping centre to find that our DD had been caught shop-lifting at the age of 14. We were horrified as it is against all the values we'd worked hard on. However, we eventually found out that she did it for a dare with a friend, the third "friend" of course hiding somewhere else. The "friend" got dropped, DD was banned from the shopping centre for a year, and has never ever done anything like it since. Apart from that, yes there are lots of slamming doors, ungrateful behaviour, sulks, being horrible to her younger brother, rude to her father (and see my listing about getting her to contribute to some bills). But, on a good day we go out together, go shopping, go to the cinema every couple of months and tomorrow are going swimming! She's starting to become a grown up who still wants my company, occasionally. What makes me laugh is that she drops me often in favour of her friends, but gets hurt if I say I'm busy ... So, you have to be available for them far more than they want to be available to you. Hang on in there - we've all been through it. And I still think being a mum is the best, and hardest, job in the world.

mathanxiety Sun 14-Oct-12 18:13:08

You need to make her earn the nice things. This may mean you don't get out much yourself, but 13 is an age when a DD should be earning privileges/pocket money/entertainment, etc. Otherwise you will end up dealing with an overgrown, entitled, very articulate toddler who generates far more mess than the average 2-3 year old.

Does she have chores to do around the house that are non-negotiable like making sure the sitting room is clean and tidy every day, including hoovering and polishing?
Is she required to plan, prepare, serve and clean up one full meal per week for the family?
Does she do all her own laundry (including bedding) from putting it in the hamper to washing, putting out to dry (or put in dryer) to folding, any ironing, putting away?

You could let her have her room any way she wants as long as the family areas are kept in an acceptable state and her laundry is taken care of. In fact, I would advise not to fight the state of the bedroom battle. It is one that is not winnable and can drag on for years, poisoning the relationship. You can drop a hint by providing a little basket of polishing cloths, some polish, cleaning solution, etc just for her room, but after that I think leaving that issue for her to sort out as she herself wishes is the way to go. But you have to resist the urge to rescue or lecture when she can't find things that are MIA under the piles -- leave it all up to her.

The other tack is to do a 15 minute blitz with her on a Saturday morning and then leave it at whatever stage you have got to once the 15 mins are up.

There is nothing like chores and self care of that nature to give someone self esteem and help them move away from child who sulks at a circus to responsible family member. Teens become a lot more respectful when they are expected to pull their weight around the house. They have lots more self esteem which comes from knowing they are dependable and competent. You can build up her confidence by making her develop into a necessary and indispensable part of the family who is proud of her contribution. the initial period when the teen is averse to taking direction and seeing how serious you are can be bumpy but it is worth the effort to establish the regime.

You could make her pocket money dependent on her chores being done.

mathanxiety Sun 14-Oct-12 18:17:22

And yes, praising her for solid decisions, making effort in the right direction, will all go a long way. You will teach far more by explicit praise than lecturing for things she has fallen short in. Teens can be very defensive.

OhSoVintage Sun 14-Oct-12 21:11:05

Thank you for the warm welcome, it can feel very isolating. I had dd at 17 so have found it hard to make friends with the other parents over the years they all seem to be the oposite end of a young parent smile I have loads of friends with my youngest so plenty of people to chat to. But where my eldest is concerned it can feel quite isolating so I think this will be of great value to us smile

mathanxiety you make some very good points. She always had plenty of chores growing up but since the bulling and her new school being long hours we have laid off her quite a bit actually maybe a little too much. Maybe at the weekend a few small jobs wouldnt be a bad idea.

She doesnt get in most nights till 6:30ish and boards at school two days a week to ease the pressure on her. This is just because the school is a 40 - hr minute drive away so its easier of her to board and the girls in the boarding house are nice so we thought it would help her bond with some of the nice girls (she got a scolarship which we are very proud of but she doesnt seem to be making the most of it sad Just enjoying all the clubs etc and not the work! grrr)

I think as shes had a hard time maybe Ive been to pampering to her needs as ive felt bad for her blush

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