Christmas wishlist and bad manners(11 Posts)
DH and I are in despair and wondering where did we go so wrong. DD aged 14 is such a conundrum and we are struggling to cope with her appalling manners and lack of any social awareness. She still has tantrums although she is left to just have her meltdown and then we usually get a written note of apology. She does know how to behave appropriately because she does it at school where she is a model student and gets good grades although she is not involved in any extracurricular activities at school (she does outside school). Yesterday we visited family and she was sprawling over their sofa, didn't really speak to anyone unless it was to pass a negative comment about something someone had just said and wanted to come home three minutes after we got there. She was rude to me, her Dad, our hosts and the worst of it, I don't think she even realised it. We have looked at ourselves and are quite sure we don't set a bad example. She has a Christmas wishlist, she has wanted an iphone for absolutely ages/years, and to be fair to her, she really looks after her things and is completely responsible and I would consider getting her a secondhand one. She has offered to pay for one with birthday and christmas money saved up but the tariffs are so expensive for something that is a 'want' rather than a 'need' and I have been totally against it. After yesterday, I just can't justify getting anything for her and that makes me feel awful too. I guess I want some practical advice on how to get the toddler out of our teenager.
It will pass. It's an introspective phase and, as you say she is a model of good behaviour away from you, her family is where she is feeling safe to be herself. At the moment herself isn't very nice to live with.
You can't punish her for being a teenager: just keep pointing out where she oversteps the line and your lovely girl will be back.
My 14 year old is one day fantastic, the next day a sluggish grouch, who is awful to her younger sister and really doesn't realise it. We filmed how she speaks to YD and she was actually shocked how her tone was perceived by us. I truly believe that it will pass.
Oh momb, I did the same thing yesterday, I filmed her - she didn't like watching/hearing it.
I know alot of her behaviour is down to raging hormones but good manners never go amiss and I am fed up of having to remind her to change her tone and be polite.
This is hard one because if you take way all promise/possibility of a longed for Christmas 'goody' away, you risk her thinking 'well %uck it, I've got nothing to loose now, so I'll behave badly as revenge'.
We are finding that temporary 'taking away' of 'best' mobile / ipod / whatever is a very effective response for really big tantrums or blatant bad behaviour or deliberate open defiance. Immediate impact and she has to explain absence of phone/ipod etc to her mates - hugely embarrassing.
You have to keep somewhere in your head that this IS temporary behaviour and a very quick 'where it hurts' response is better rather than a longer term punishment like not getting a Christmas present.
I agree with MrsBright that any punishment needs to be immediate and short term. Then pull her up sharply and immediately when she is rude. The trick is to get her to stop any unpleasant behaviour without getting into the habit of thinking of herself as an unpleasant person^. Manners, to a teenager, is like tight-rope walking: they really need to be able to believe they can do it or they will fall off.
The problem with Christmas is it's the only Christmas you get for a whole year. That is a long time to reflect on yourself as an unpleasant person. Not to mention that the Christmases of your childhood is something you remember all your life.
I would just keep Christmas out of it altogether: give her whatever you intended to give and do it warmly. And make the discipline a separate issue altogether.
Has she always been like this, or is it a change that hit when she became a teenager? I just notice you say she "still" has tantrums, so I wonder if she ever stopped?
I also think you should keep Christmas out of it.
My DD is 14 and is impeccably well-behaved outside the house, but can be vile to us - tone of voice, unreasonable, flying off the handle, overreacting, being self-centred, moody, etc. It is very tricky. We try to avoid confrontations but tell her when she has over-stepped the mark and use time-out where necessary.
I guess your DD is started on GCSEs? There is a lot of work and DD is really feeling the pressure. Plus she is tired - long term and busy social schedule, so it does seem worse at the moment - same for you?
Someone here (and I'm afraid I forget who) told us that when her teen is rude, she says "Gosh, did you mean to be so rude?!" with as much shock and indignation as she can muster! I liked the sound of this, so I tried it, and I must say it works a treat with my teens!
Often I think they don't mean to be rude, and a reminder like this works because you're challenging them but not getting angry - and teens react badly to anger, I find. You're also giving the message that you're shocked, which implies that they're not usually so rude, and gives them a way of stopping - and maybe even apologizing - without losing too much face.
Just a thought - does she have to visit family with you? As has been said upthread, 14 year olds are feeling a lot of GCSE pressure and don't get the down time we had as teenagers. I stopped making my 14 year old come on family/ friends visits a long time ago, and as a result if she does choose to come she is usually at least something beyond monosyllabic!
It also means I can say, come and be polite, or stay at home.
I wouldn't punish her by not getting the iphone. That sounds massively unfair given that she works well at school etc. Teens do tend to a certain amount of stroppiness they struggle to help. Think overgrown toddler and you wont go far wrong - their brains are changing just as fast.
Another one who thinks that you should keep Christmas completely out of this. Her behaviour sounds normal for a teenager. Yes you should pull her up on her rudeness but also praise her when she is polite. DD2 used to be rude to us but was always polite to other people. She is now 24 and has grown up to be a lovely young women who likes spending time with us. She lives away from home but is coming home for Christmas as she wants to be with us.
mumeee, that is heartening - fingers crossed the same will happen with us!
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