14 year old girl(9 Posts)
I posted this in response to another thread in chat. Someone suggested I post here foropinions so I'm basically copy/pasting.
Hmmm teenagers are a mystery to me!
My DS is 4, however my partner has a 14 year old step daughter. She's not at all like the image I have in my head of teenagers
I know every child is different, but I did assume that at some point, they rely less on parents, go off and do their own thing - up doing homework or listening to music etc in their bedrooms, more interested in their friends etc.
However, this child is extremely clingy, she wont leave her mothers side, never goes to her room unless being told to go to bed. She walks up to you with her arms out for a hug literally every 15-30 mins - you can be busy doing things like cooking and she'll still be standing behind you with her arms out. You give her one and she'll go to mom for one too. Mom still has to help shower her.... no idea why. I'm pretty sure she's capable, she just won't do it herself. She won't do homework unless someone is doing it with her. She expects to be entertained constantly, with board games, garden games or whatever and gets in a real strop if nobody will. If she isn't getting attention (the attention she wants), she'll go and sit on the stairs and cry - knowing full well mom will go running to her aid. The one and only time I've seen mom not give in, there was a huge drama and she phoned dad to come and pick her up - so she got her way that way instead. She has a 5 yr old sister and is extremely jealous of her and of course my DS then came along which = more competition for attention in her eyes. Every night she asks when the younger kids are going to bed - if its anything past 8pm, she strops as they're taking up her time to have 2 adults to herself.
It's all such hard work. I'm dreading DS reaching teen years! He'll probably have a whole different way of being which will throw me off guard yet again
Sounds as though everyone is scared of her crying. She needs adults to stand up to her. She is acting like a toddler and most patents wouldn't accept that from a toddler. Like a toddler she should be left to cry/ignored if she behaves like this. She clearly has jealousy issues but she's 14 and she's not the only teenager to have parents who've split up so it's not really an excuse. I presume she doesn't act like this at school. The adults in her life are doing her no favours by allowing her to act like this at home but until they stand up to her she won't change.
Tell your partner that you are concerned about her daughter. In a few short years she might be leaving home to go to university or a job... how is she going to cope then? It is vital that she be encouraged and even to some extent forced to become more independent now. The crying on the stairs is blatant manipulation and should just be ignored.
Sorry not much help I know but this is really odd. How is she coping with school? Does she have friends? Go out socially with friends? Make herself a packed lunch, snack etc? Get herself to and from school on her own?
She sounds very insecure. One thing I know with absolute certainty is that your son will not want or need constant hugs or supervised showers when he is 14!
She is your partner's step daughter?
She isn't really either your or his responsibility then is she?
It sounds as though she has been badly affected by parental separation and new siblings when she has essentially grown up as an only child. Very sad for her she must be very insecure.
Her mum needs to sort this out. I think a gentle talk about treating her as a grown up with more privileges, and in turn she takes responsibility for herself. Tantrums will be treated the same as for a four year old (sobbing on the stairs is a tantrum).
Her parents must be united over this.
Slightly confusing. I assumed OPs partner was the 14 year old's mother, especially as she is referred to throughout. Not sure now having read the above post. Agree with yourlittlesecret that Mum needs to deal with this.
Thank you for your responses. Only just logged in to see them.
I made an error - I was going to say my stepdaughter but since it's not technically correct I was supposed to change it to my partners daughter - but forgot to delete "step" !!
I've no real experience with teenagers so your views are welcomed - thank you.
She is very needy and clingy. Just a simple task like getting changed is greeted with "well can someone come and help me choose what to wear?" She rarely does any household chores because, when asked to do so, she asks for moms help constantly or does such a 'bad' job (ie screwing clothes up and hanging them that way on the washing line) that mom decides it's too much effort. Homework requires moms (or someones!) input. She expects to sit with somebody to do it and on one occasion recently when she had about 4 pieces in one night and mom told her she wasn't sitting with her through all 4, she started with her moods and going about like she's upset. There don't seem to be many personal boundaries.... mom found it odd a couple of months ago that her daughter got into bed and cuddled her with no clothes on - although she did tell her to put something on. I think the same applies with her dad too as I've heard a couple of times that she goes and gets into bed with him in the night.
She has the whole family, family friends and school running around, keeping 'secrets' for her. These secrets are petty... she'll come home from staying with her dad for the night and go on about how dads said this, that and the other and told her off for something but always finishes it with "but don't tell him I told you". Mum then gets angry and frustrated with dad but of course won't say anything. She goes to dads complaining about what mom does or says and of course he keeps that to himself at her request. There are a few close family friends with whom she does the same thing - except they're a bit more open and it comes back to mom - even to the extent she's lying about things to gain sympathy. She then goes to school complaining about all sorts - friends, home etc and teachers have been known to phone mom as her daughter asks them to. She's been to camhs (sp) who discharged her as she had no 'real' issues other than normal teenage problems which all teens have. Mom has since set up counselling through the school - this lasted for a few months until they decided there was nothing major to be dealing with and now counselling outside of school is being set up at her daughters request. She's tried it on a couple of times with me too - "moms not in a good mood today but don't tell her I told you". It makes me very uncomfortable and I have said I won't be keeping any secrets from her mom. I don't think I was liked much for a short time after that! It doesn't, however, prevent her from asking for hugs constantly.
I don't know if anyone else has experience of teens with this sort of behaviour - how best to deal with it?
She seems to get on well at school - teachers don't report any problems. She does struggle with friends in that she gets one and clings to them drastically, so when that friendship deteriorates or something goes wrong, she's left badly affected by it. She still talks a lot about a friendship that broke down 2/3 years ago. She did, at the time, get an enormous amount of attention from mom though and they talked about it for a couple of hours every single night! It was made into a huge thing and I think mom might have been just as affected. So, now I personally think she brings this girl up again when there's nothing else she can say to get moms sympathy, if that makes sense?
FernieB you hit the nail on the head. Everyone is scared of upsetting her. It's very frustrating for me as I encourage independence as far as is possible with my child and I see him doing, at 4, what she can't (or wont) do at 14 and it feels like something is drastically wrong. I see her younger sibling going down the same path too as she's prevented from 'growing up' - helicopter parenting, everything done for her, choices taken away from her, not being allowed to make mistakes. As a result, she can't make decisions for herself such as which toy to play with. She can't self soothe. She's 6 in a few days but is still very much a toddler in ways. School have raised concerns over her inability to dress herself when it comes to PE - it results in tantrums and there are concerns over her overall level of development including speech.
We don't all live together but we spend considerable amounts of time together and have been together for a couple of yrs almost. The teen in question is the biggest influence in that decision. Might be a bit too much info - but when we first got together, for about 6 months we couldn't sleep together (as in same bed) even though she knew we were together as mom was scared of upsetting her and so when I stayed over, she slept with mom and I had to sleep in her bed. Even now - sex depends upon whether or not she is home and so is rare. I'd love to know how parents of teens manage to have a sex life!! Do you?
Anyway, I think I've rambled enough. I just wanted to answer some questions and I don't think I provided a clear enough picture in the initial post. As I said before, I've little experience with teens and so some of what I consider 'odd' might actually be very normal behaviour. I know that. I'm hoping those with more experience will enlighten me!
Thank you again for your replies
Oh boy, what a situation. I'm all for nurturing/loving the kids, but they need responsiblity and routine also. And (in our house) we all do things for one another. Team work is so important to me and I've found it fosters good sibling relationships. That seems a bit lacking in this situation and personal boundaries seem, well, not ideal for her age. It's going to be a work in progress, but start with some little things and don't give up because she does something badly or gets frustrated. Showering at that age is a lone mission btw.
My advice is about the sex/bed thing. That's easy. Simply, you are a couple, so you sleep together, same bed, same bedroom. Kids sleep in their rooms. Get a lock for your bedroom door and use it. Further make a rule for everyone in the house that closed bedroom doors are knocked on before entering. Simples.
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