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13 year old dd - chuffing impossible! We are in a muck sweat!

(24 Posts)
Shagmundfreud Thu 08-Nov-12 11:13:44

I just need to off-load really. Gentle back rubbing and sympathetic noises appreciated! grin

Where to start?

She won't get up in the morning. We take it in turns to tell her to get up. First me, then DH, then me, then DH. We start nice: "Time to get up for school!" <bright and breezy>. Gentle request: "Please get up!". Pleading: "please get up - we're all busy this morning and it's hard work for us to keep coming in and asking you." Angry pleading "Come on - you can't be late for school again this week". Total exasperation "Oh ^for goodness sake^- GET UP!". Meanwhile trying to sort our two youngest (including ds with ASD) out, get ready for work, sort lunches/bags out.

Eventually after 20 minutes to half an hour of this (and sometimes [precipitated by the last resort strategy of leaving room holding her duvet) she'll get up, looking like the wild woman of wonga, snarling and furious.

She leaves EVERY DAY without breakfast, and without taking her packed lunch. Every day. She won't take her packed lunch because my food is 'shit' apparently, and because she wants to punish me for not giving her lunch money instead. I have made a decision not to give her money because she has used it to buy energy drinks and sweets with, none of which help with her horrible behaviour.

So she storms off. Usually she leaves something behind (PE kit, house keys, homework) and we end up charging up the road behind her with it. She refuses to pack her bag the night before. We ask her to do this every night and she just won't.

She is totally resistant to doing homework. Rarely write it in her homework diary. If I make her sit down and do some work she makes my life a misery - shouting, moaning 'I can't do it', over and over again (she can). Won't put her phone away while she's working. BBM'ing constantly. We made a rule that she puts all electronic gadgets/facebook/youtube to one side while she does her homework. She screamed, shouted, slammed doors, refused to comply.

We told her she has to give us her phone when she goes to bed, (so she reads in bed instead of BBM'ing). She locked herself in the garden with the phone. Then in the toilet. Then sat screaming at us for an hour while we had our dinner (after we told her that we'd cancel her phone contract if she didn't hand it over within 5 minutes). Then threw the phone at DH and stormed off.

She is horrible to her brothers (tries to get them to give her their birthday money, is bullying, makes comments about my 9 year old being gay, calls her autistic 7 year old brother a freak and deliberately winds him up at bedtime so I have a hard time putting him to bed). She has slapped both boys around the face in the past 2 weeks, is manipulative (tries to make them run errands for her) or aggressive to them.

She does nothing around the house. Nothing. She won't even put her plate in the dishwasher or her clothes in the laundry basket. Storms in while I'm working and harangues me to clear the rubbish off her bed so she can lie on it for hours and hours at the weekend, watching films on her computer.

She swears and casually uses bad language around the house. Tells her brothers to 'piss off' all the time. We pick her up on it every time. Every time. She still does it.

Last night we went to her year 9 options evening. She took no interest in anything. Wouldn't ask any questions. Didn't talk to any of the subject teachers. DH turned around to me and said halfway through the evening 'Her apathy is heartbreaking'.

She's not depressed. She has plenty of friends.

We are doing our best. We have a list of rules that we have printed out and given to her recently so our expectations are clear:

•One hour of homework done every night, at kitchen table. No music, no tv, no internet (except what is strictly necessary for homework).
•Leave the house by 7.40 am on a school day. Have your stuff ready before you go to bed.
•Write your homework in your homework diary.
•All homework handed in on time.
•Pick up rubbish from your floor every day.
•No energy drinks.
•Plates and cups put in dishwasher after use.
* Phone left with us when you go to bed at night.

If she does her homework every night, and gets to school on time she is given money at the weekend and allowed to go out. If she doesn't, she doesn't.

So at the moment she gets no money and isn't allowed out. Because she won't sit down and do her homework. So she's around the house screaming and shouting at us all the time.

We're fecking exhausted.


3nationsfamily Thu 08-Nov-12 11:40:46

I can sympathise- teenagers can be horrible. It sounds like she is attention seeking, maybe jealous of the younger siblings' demands on your time.

Can I make a few suggestions.
Focus on the positive, praise her for what she does, rather than criticise for what she doesn't do (even if it seems inane, like "how nice it is all to sit and have dinner together", or well done for remembering all your books today...)
Don't pick up after her, chase after her, bring her forgotten things. If she knows you will do it for her, she won't take responsibility.
Can you get her involved in cooking dinner or making her own packed lunch so she has a feeling of more control rather than you deciding for her all the time.
If you say there will be consequences (e.g. confiscation of phone) then you need to follow through. IF you don't do it, then she won't believe you, and nothing will change. BBM/ Phones/ Facebook etc are a huge distraction to this agegroup.
Is she getting enough sleep? Is her room a calm place to be? We had to remove the phone and set a time limit on the laptop (easy parent software you can use) so that there was a switch off time for my dD of the same age to wind down and get to sleep.
The money/ independence issue is a big deal at this age. Try setting a £ reward for tasks done and chart it up like a star chart so she is "earning" every day rather than "losing" from a starting point- turning round from a negative to a positive again. She should be helping out around the house at this age, and maybe you could bring in chores for pocket money for all the children (age appropriate) so they are all treated the same way.

I hope you take these suggestions the right way, this is meant to be a positive suggestion based on my experience of DD the same age, rather than a criticism of you in any way.

Shagmundfreud Thu 08-Nov-12 12:16:01

3nations - thanks. We have tried all of these things, but at the moment she is just so AWFUL that it's nearly impossible to find anything to sincerely praise.

She has to take responsibility for making sure her homework is done etc, but at the moment things are tough because she's JUST joined a new school (3 weeks ago) and if she fucks up now she's going to end up in bottom sets for everything and then we'll have a fight on our hands to ensure that she is being properly challenged. I have let her walk out without her PE kit and get a detention for that. Her keys are more of a problem as she will use lack of keys as a rationale for not coming home straight after school and will go and hang out with friends instead.

She has a reward system in place already: she does an hour's homework every night and gets to school on time and she gets money and permission to go out at the weekend. I think that's reasonable and should be very motivating.

I haven't set her any more challenging tasks (like tidying her room or helping with chores) because it would be a huge step up for her just to complete her homework and sit down with her books on a regular basis. I want her to understand that school is THE most important thing at the moment. She has done so little work the past year - we ended up taking her out of her last school because this issue wasn't addressed by the school. I mean really very little. She finished year 8 with empty exercise books - literally with nothing in them and with half their pages ripped out where she had used them for sending notes to friends in class.

We've let her have free rein with her lap-top at weekends, but I think this now needs to stop, as she does nothing productive all weekend. She has no hobbies, does no after school activities and won't join anything. She won't help at home. She won't come out with us as a family unless we insist, and often we don't because we can't cope with her aggression and spitefulness when she's asked to do something she doesn't want to do.

I'm just worn down with asking her to co-operate. I've slightly given up in order to focus on the basics, which in this situation means school work. I can't, can't, can't cope with her aggression - she is incredibly forceful and critical of me, so I'm letting most things go, except the school work, picking on her brothers and the swearing. Everything else needs to go lower down on the list. I haven't got the strength for it.

OneMoreMum Thu 08-Nov-12 13:42:27

I really feel for you, and definitely recognise some of what you say from my 12-year-old DSs behaviour, although it's not as bad yet...

I just had a suggestion for keys, I didn't trust my DSs not to lose theirs so I tied them to a long piece of elastic cord attached to the inside of their school bags, they don't have to unnattach them to lock bikes / unlock the door etc so hey presto they always have them with them the next day.

DS2 was really bad in the first week or 2 of term this year, was driving me insane when I realised he was worst just before leaving for school, turned out there were some bullying issues and once school stamped on that things have improved. Might be worth considering if there's anything specific behind the behaviour, not saying it would be responsible for everything but may be pushing her over the edge.

Finally make sure you find some 'me-time' away from all this stress, even if it's only a 10-minute walk around the block in the evening to give yourself a bit of space and perspective.

Good luck

Shagmundfreud Thu 08-Nov-12 14:49:53

Will totally steal your keys on elastic tip OneMoreMum. smile

I'm pretty certain she's not getting bullied. Yet. Or bullying anyone. Yet.

Luckily I am a SAHM (work part-time doing something I like a lot), so I get time in the day to switch off mumsnet.

chocolatespiders Thu 08-Nov-12 14:58:33

I have nothing to add except your post made me cry...I have a 15 year old and know how difficult and frustrating and draining etc teens can be.

Has you DD started her periods?

Have you spoken to her teachers to see what she is like at school and with her friends.

I also bought his book from Amazon which was full of good advice

MadameCastafiore Thu 08-Nov-12 15:04:58

I'd take her phone away from her and her laptop until she learns some manners - I don't care if she is only 13 you are letting her get away with all this without consequence and I'd also let her fuck up and then be there to help her out - let her forget things and get detention - go in once in the morning and tell her to get up but then don;t go back in and if she is late for school then it's her problem not yours - you have to gether to take some responsibility for her actions.

And yes school is the important thing but an underlying sense of respect is missing and I think you need to concentrate on that as well as making sure she does her school work.

Shagmundfreud Thu 08-Nov-12 16:55:39

"I don't care if she is only 13 you are letting her get away with all this without consequence"

What do you suggest other than grounding and stopping her pocket money, which we're currently doing? Send her to bed early? We do that. We've had her lap top off her for months at a time as a punishment. It's made fuck all difference.

I'm not willing to send her to school without a phone. She has an hour's commute in inner London.

Not willing to let her be late either. She's been at the school for 3 weeks - we had a hell of a job finding anywhere who was willing to take her.

TBH it's a bit galling being told that we're letting her get away with being disrespectful. I don't know anyone who has a miracle cure or punishment for children who lack respect, other than being consistent, setting and seeing through sanctions, staying in control of your own emotions. If you know anything that works with all children maybe you can share it? hmm

Olympicrock Thu 08-Nov-12 17:08:21

Totally emphasise, as a teacher of teenagers you aren't the only ones going through this and it reads that you are doing all the right things.

HullyChristmasgully Thu 08-Nov-12 17:13:46

Oh poor poor you.

I don't know the answer.

The obvious one is that you need to find out what the fuck her problem is...gawd knows how you do that.

chocolatespiders Thu 08-Nov-12 18:42:16

What were the circumstances around the school change. Was it not something she wanted and is rebelling against?

please don't be hard on yourself.

MaryZezItsOnlyJustNovember Thu 08-Nov-12 19:27:52

I sympathise - but I think you have too many rules all of a sudden that you cannot enforce. So you are going to lose (and she will feel even more justified in behaving badly).

If you get to the stage that your child is permanently on a punishment, you have to think outside the box. If she is grounded, has no phone, no computer, no whatever, what is her incentive to behave, if she has too many things to "fix"?

So I would (if I were you), negotiate. Forget for the moment her room and her helping around the house - those can become rewardable if she does them, rather than punishable if she doesn't, if you see what I mean. I would also leave the school to sort out her school work for the moment while you sort out her home behaviour. You can make her study later, for the present there are more important things to deal with.

Of your rules, I would do:

•One hour of homework done every night, at kitchen table. No music, no tv, no internet (except what is strictly necessary for homework). - change to "write down and do your homework" - with no minimum time, but with home-school communication to ensure homework is done.
•Leave the house by 7.40 am on a school day. Have your stuff ready before you go to bed - change to pack bags in the evenings (maybe no computer until bag is packed). In the morning you will get one warning, then your duvet will be taken. That's it. If she is late, let the school punish.
•Write your homework in your homework diary - see above
•All homework handed in on time - see above (keep all school related rules together)
•Pick up rubbish from your floor every day - ignore for the moment
•No energy drinks - you can't enforce this, sorry
•Plates and cups put in dishwasher after use - ignore for the moment
* Phone left with us when you go to bed at night - Fine.

But my rules (and consequences) would be simpler:

No violence and no touching, teasing, hurting siblings. Consequence is instant banishment to room. No extra punishment, btw, so if she has her laptop/phone don't take them as well.
Phone handed over at homework time, not given back until bags packed for tomorrow. Writing down and doing of homework to be sorted by school with home/school communication.
Phone handed over at bedtime - if not, grotty PAYG phone given for school use only next day.
Tidy room and clearing up plates to be rewarded by pocket money.

It needs to be very simple.

Badvoc Thu 08-Nov-12 19:36:07

No phone
No pc access unless its for homework.
No money.
Make it clear she will get no respect from you until she shows respect for you.
No physical or verbal abuse of her siblings.
I would not berate her. I would also let her be late. I wouldnt run after her with homework, pe Kit whatever, let her get detention.
Seriously, let the Ewo come out and scare the crap out of her.

fishandlilacs Thu 08-Nov-12 19:39:51

Have you tried reading

You could try empowering her a bit-sit down together with both parents and ask her what she thinks she should and shouldn't have. Ask her how she should be punished if she breaks unreasonable demands.

When I was 13 I was a cow to my mum for months in a similar way. Sneaking out, stealing money etc (no phones and computers back then) after months of this you know what my mum did? She took me to London on the train for the weekend and spoilt me rotten, clothes from Miss selfridge, trip to hamleys, harrods etc. We had a marvellous time and we reconnected. We talked and talked and somehow all the problems got better. They didn't go away but they did get better and I knew that my mum loved me and cared about what i thought.

Corygal Thu 08-Nov-12 19:43:01

Awful for you, just awful and grinding. Why was the last school such a failure?

NamingOfParts Fri 09-Nov-12 13:10:24

Your description of her behaviour makes her sound so stressed. She sounds so angry. Is there anyone she can talk to to try to explain how she is feeling? She sounds as though she is being overwhelmed by feelings.

Do you remember the toddler tantrums? When a child is so angry or upset but lacks the language to explain it. That is how your daughter comes across to me.

I agree with MaryZ, keep it simple. I have teenagers and know that when everything gets complicated it all just turns into white noise for them.

You say she hasnt hobbies.

Have you tried bribing her to give a few clubs a go? What I am thinking is offering her a direct incentive (cash) to try out some new things.


- Army/Air Cadets - big in my area (and they get to fire real guns!)
- Local drama group
- Music
- local volunteer groups

Good luck and keep posting.

dabdab Fri 09-Nov-12 13:22:51

MaryZ, can I just say, brilliant post - clearly written by someone with experience! Lurking on here for tips re: my slightly similar 11 yr old.

dabdab Fri 09-Nov-12 13:24:06

OP, sorry, haven't got good advice (other than what you are already doing), but sympathies.

ChristineDaae Fri 09-Nov-12 13:37:52

Could you maybe keep her phone with her keys/books/ whatever else she forgets overnight. You can guarantee she won't go without her phone, so that takes out the problem of her forgetting everything. If she carries on the way she is I would seriously cancel the phone contract. Give her a payg with limited credit each week. Will encourage her to stick to her targets. Pocket money = phone credit.

Saying all that my DD is only 2 but I'm sure credit was the main thing I spent my money on at 13

chocolatespiders Fri 09-Nov-12 13:45:23

Christine you must be young envy

When my teenage dd was born I didn't even have a mobile. Not sure they were even out (she is 15) Actually I think my mum had one a massive one!!!

Anyway that's beside the point, OP i hope you are okay..

You could try spending some time with her alone (I am not saying that you don't) I have teenager then a younger child and they just don't want to do the same things as each other. Occasionally can get them to see the same film at the cinema.

Does she see friends at the weekend?

myfavoritedayismonday Mon 12-Nov-12 08:56:05

I really sympathise wth you, my 12 year old can be difficult too. She has had this tendency since she was two. It's so hard to know what helps and what doesn't, we often confiscate her stuff and ban TV and computer, she reacts badly to that (may be to try and stop us doing it). I started a board games night with her once a week, think that was helpful, it graduated to us playing back gammon nearly every night for a year. I also had a weekend away with her - only to the seaside, cheap b and b, walking along the Pier, chips on the beach etc, she was a lot better for a couple of months after that. I also try and do a bed time chat every day, she likes this, but it is hard as I am often tired by then, looking forward to a sit down, she likes to hear about my childhood.

myfavoritedayismonday Mon 12-Nov-12 08:57:53

Just thought I'd add -this weekend I counted how many years until she will probably leave home. I feel so awful or feeling like that.

flow4 Mon 12-Nov-12 13:53:54

Oh Shagmund, I feel for you. It is so wearing, isn't it? sad

I agree with Maryz (I almost always do!) that you have too many rules. You will be run ragged trying to enforce them, and she will feel oppressed and outraged hmm

Normally, I would also suggest leaving her to be late/get into trouble/get detentions etc. at school, but I hear what you are saying about it being a new school and the fighting you have had/would have to do. So...

- No violence or aggression allowed. Banishment as Maryz says. (If she ever gets to the point where she refuses to go to her room, there are other tactics, but we you can cross that bridge if/when we come to it!).

- Verbal rudeness and other nonsense. Challenge it always, calmly: "Please don't talk to me like that", "It is not acceptable to speak to your sister like that" - but no sanctions.

- Homework. This is a real priority for you at the mo, so I'd suggest a significant reward for a certain standard of work. (Exactly how/what depends on the school mark system: cash for each piece submitted on time, or for achieving a certain grade, perhaps?) She will have to sort out all the other related stuff - i.e. getting up on time, handing in on time, sitting down for long enough, distractions, etc. - if she wants to get the reward! Make sure that rewards can be gained at least weekly (teens aren't good at long-term/deferred gratification!) and that it's something she actually wants!

- Other school issues. Our high sch has a 'mark' system so they lose points for being late, forgetting equipment, not handing homework in, disruption, etc. I tied this to financial reward for a while, so DS got £1 for every day he had 'clear'. But eventually I decided that the school's own systems dealt adequately with most of that, and it was better for me to stay out of it!

- Mess. Ignore it all for now (and I'd ignore mess in her room for ever - that really is her problem, and she'll sort it as soon as she wants friends round smile )

- Removing phone as sanction. This became the focus of a lot of conflict (and even aggression) with DS, who also refused to hand his over when told. I discovered I could get an 'add on' contract (another SIM card added to my own mobile phone contract; £10/mth unlimited texts and 500 mins) which gave me control, and allowed me to block and unblock outgoing calls/texts, almost at will. So instead of wrestling with DS, I simply phoned Voda (so long as it was before 10pm) and said "Please put a temporary ban on outgoing calls and texts", so he couldn't use it. No arguments. smile I had this 'rule' in place for use at night and for failing to answer my calls...

- Internet - Ditto. It took me years to realise that I can limit his internet access through his PS3 and other devices, by setting timers on my online internet/broadband account.

And last but not least - do nice things for you! You need to look after yourself to be able to deal with teenage stress day in, day out! grin

moogalicious Mon 12-Nov-12 14:01:49

Listen to maryz - she had some great advice for me and my dd which we are working through.

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