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Feel like I can't go on with tensions in my house

(30 Posts)
Fedupwithteens Tue 19-Mar-13 21:08:18

Having been fairly happy with my parenting skills for the last 16 years, I'm now feeling that I am losing my grip on my dds and really feel down about how things are here. I just don't know how to change things though.

Dd1 (16). High achiever, about to sit GCSE's hasn't really pushed the boundaries in terms of drinking, boyfriends, general teenage behaviour etc. however, she has a terrible temper on her, particularly when she's stressed. She has been like this since she was a toddler, and it's basically about control. It's a lot easier now as she can have control over most things in her life, but her flash points tend to be if you ask her to do something she is "just about to do". She basically says "well I was going to do it but now you've asked me, I won't do it". If you overstep her boundaries (move her things, go in her room) she can spin into a total rage. Just shouting & door slamming mainly & then perhaps some sulking, but very wearing. However, she does like spending time with dh & I and willingly does so often.

Dd2 (13), was such a happy, cheeky and loving toddler and child. In the past year she has started to massively withdrawn from us, spending time in different rooms from all of us, often eating in there & mainly on her computer. She doesn't want to spend any time with us, and has made it very clear that she would always choose to be with her friends whenever possible. She does do quite a lot of extra curricular activity - she is in a choir, a small singing group and a weekend drama school which do take up a lot of her time, so her spare time isn't all spent lying around on the PC. She is not doing brilliantly at school, mainly due to the fact she prefers messing around with friends to working. This has really escalated this year (year 9). I also have an inkling she may have been self harming, I don't think it's happened a lot, but I'm pretty sure she's done it more than once.

Dh thinks they are both lazy and messy and spends his time getting annoyed if they've left things lying around, which they do a lot. His way of dealing with it (after I asked him not to shout at them so much, as I felt it was counterproductive) is to sulk. So he just talks to us all in an "off" manner, no matter who he is annoyed with. He (and I) do a lot of running around for both of them, and they are well provided for with activities, holidays etc. he finds it infuriating that they are seemingly so ungrateful for everything we do for them.

I used to be a shouty mum when they were younger, but have trained myself out of that as I found that shouting back at someone only escalates a situation, so remain calm at all times (well, I do shout occasionally!) I absolutely hate conflict and ill-feeling but that's all we seem to have here at the moment.

I've just had a conversation with dd2 and actually asked her why she doesn't want to spend any time with us. She said "because I don't like any of you". I asked her if she knew how hurtful we all find this, because we all love her. She shrugged her shoulders. We talked for a bit longer (well I talked, she endured) & I left the room on the edge of tears.

The problem we have, I think, is that I hate conflict so go for the line of least resistance to avoid dd1's temper or dd2's eye-rolling at "nagging". Dh gets so frustrated at their attitude and wants to take them up on it, but isn't always reasonable & then "punishes" us all by sulking if things don't go as he wants. In the back of my mind, as well, is the fact that if we "get at" dd2 too much she will start self-harming again & I don't want to be the one who causes that, or to alienate her even more than she is.

If you've got this far, well done & thanks. I would just like some pointers on how I start to make things better. I want to be firmer with them, but can never work out in my mind when insisting they do do something I've asked them to do turns into when it's a battle that's not worth having (eg "please move your coat dd" - if she doesn't do I insist, punish if she doesn't or just leave it?)

Help! I am feeling so depressed and like my family is falling apart.

bigTillyMint Sun 24-Mar-13 13:00:29

I would go and see the GP on my own first and get some advice - see what they think is best to do.

Not that I have any direct experience! Please try posting on MaryZ's thread - I'm sure there are loads of mums with much better advice than mesmile

Floralnomad Sun 24-Mar-13 13:02:18

When I read your original post TBH your daughters sounded perfectly normal teens to me but from reading on it does sound like your younger daughter needs help . However the only reason we know this is because you have been reading her texts / Facebook . I would assume that your daughter wants you to read this stuff otherwise she would be a lot more careful about logging off and having everything password protected. This makes me think that she either wants help or that she has not self harmed / threatened suicide/ given blow jobs etc and is just feeding you a line IYSWIM . Either way you and your husband need to have a long conversation with her and find out which it is ,now. I have a 13 yr old and a 20 yr old and mine are both very open and my son (20) often tells me too much but I wouldn't know where to start about accessing his Facebook / phone which is why I find your situation a bit strange .

bigTillyMint Sun 24-Mar-13 13:06:42

Yes, I agree Flora - I have no way of accessing DD's FB (but she is a friend so I see posts)

However, there has recently been a situation at DD's school that is not dissimilar to what has happened with your DD, only a bit further down the line. I think it is better to do something now, if you can, before it escalates.

Fedupwithteens Sun 24-Mar-13 13:31:36

I had access to her Facebook earlier in the year as she'd borrowed a phone of mine and hadn't logged off. Normally she's very careful about logging out on any "shared" device.

Her phone I got yesterday because I wanted to talk to the mother of the girl she slept over with yesterday, and she handed me her phone to call the woman on and went to have a shower. She obviously didn't think about the fact I would then have access to her texts.

Or maybe she just thinks I wouldn't think to look...or indeed, wants me to look. Can't decide. I think the getting drunk and getting upset thing is true - she was "ill" the next day, and has been very withdrawn this week. Also, I saw pictures of other girls at the party with beer bottles in their hands.

I know other friends of hers have self-harmed, and I am again, torn between it being a real issue, and it being a trend (albeit a disturbing one).

I can't work out the line between "normal" teen behaviour (finding family annoying, lack of communication, going over the top) and "heading down a wrong path". I did drink far too young, and did more with boys than was sensible, and I don't think I was particularly much older than her. I've turned out alright though (well I think so). My parents knew nothing about it all (as far as I'm aware, certainly they didn't curtail my socialising).

Floralnomad Sun 24-Mar-13 14:18:33

I think you should tell her all you know ,you obviously have quite a good relationship with her as lots of teens I know wouldn't just hand their phone over for their parent to call someone ,they'd just tell you the number . At least when you tell her you'll all know where you stand and then you can bring up the subject of going to the dr if that's what you think you should do . I'd be very concerned about a 13 yr old drinking and being sexually active ( particularly if its not in the context of a relationship) and I'd be telling her that .

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