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How do you/would you deal with this?

(31 Posts)
nowitsenough Fri 06-Feb-15 23:34:25

I don't know how to parent a teenager, it seems sad

Dd 13 is not very motivated. Her interests are YouTube videos, face timing with her friends, playing SIMS, stuff like that. She isn't interested in doing homework and seems to do the bare minimum at the last moment, just to get it done.

At this age I thought she should be taking responsibility for her work herself, that I shouldn't have to nag and remind her all the time.

She has turned out very spoilt, does no chores unless reminded, and then she glowers and stamps. And that's just when I ask her to take the plates into the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher.

Yesterday we went to parents evening, all her teachers said get work was good, although she seems to daydream and not finish her work, that she needs to be going back over past homework and doing the "EBI" (even better if) and also doing some french practice and reading some challenging books.

She used to read lots, but these days only reads trashy books if at all. Her Kindle is full of all sorts including classics, but she's not interested.

When she gets in from school I'm usually working and is not work that I can do at another time, there is a short turnaround time for all my work. So I can't sit with her to make sure she does enough work. Most days she comes home, I ask if she has homework, she says she doesn't know and that she will check, then she goes to the loo, gets something to eat .. In the meantime I've carried on with my work. Then after dinner I'll ask her if she's done her homework and she still hasn't checked!

She is always miles away, these days usually due to her phone and the texts etc she's receiving, but she has always been a daydreamer.

She has already started her gcses as her school is taking three years for them. She doesn't seem mature enough to take responsibility for the work required.

Any thoughts?

lljkk Fri 06-Feb-15 23:44:01

Is she yr9? Does she have any ambitions?

nowitsenough Fri 06-Feb-15 23:48:41

Yes, she's year 9.

She doesn't know what she wants to do. She's spoken of creating YouTube videos, being an author .. that's it really.

Susiesue61 Fri 06-Feb-15 23:55:13

Sounds like Dd in terms of school work, although she does lots of sport out of school.
I'm waiting for school to pull her up on her lack of effort!

nowitsenough Sat 07-Feb-15 00:06:47

Me too, but no, they think she's great, but are concerned about her emotional state.

I forgot to mention that she is a bit of an emotional wreck at the moment. She has panic attacks and cries easily, she has always cried easily, but then so do I. I think at the moment it's mainly hormones and also her lack of confidence, plus the group of friends she is in are always falling out with each other. I have made school aware and also spoken to my doctor, but dd is reluctant to see a doctor at present.

She has never liked sport. She has in the past taken part in various extra curricular activities, but nothing lasted longer than a year, she had violin lessons, guitar lessons, ballet, tap, table tennis, drama, a reading group .. she didn't enjoy any for long.

BackforGood Sat 07-Feb-15 00:10:18

Doesn't sound anything strange, or unusual for a hormonal 13 yr old, IME.

Mrsteddyruxpin Sat 07-Feb-15 00:12:45

I am not a mother to teens. However I think I would confiscate phones and plug out to etc until work was done.
Have a sandwich sitting out on the table for her. Just put the foot down.

The emotional side of things is more tricky, but that's what I would do regarding doing homework.

nowitsenough Sat 07-Feb-15 00:21:20

Back, how would you deal with it?

I have tried the no phone rule, but there seems to always be a reason why she needs it, e.g to discuss the homework with her friends, or because her "best friend " gets upset and falls out with her if she doesn't reply to get every tweet immediately! It becomes a big deal and I haven't got the time to deal with it because of my work.

BackforGood Sat 07-Feb-15 00:40:41

I'm not 100% clear on what you want to deal with, tbh.
(Yes, I have a 13 yr old dd - she's my 3rd dc, so have been here before, too).

1. Homework - well, she is getting it done. I'd keep having conversations, at times when she is in a better mood, about things she's doing at school, subjects she likes, things she's interested in, how she gets on with this teacher or that, or what she likes most or what she doesn't like (then try to unpick why she doesn't like that subject, or whatever), and try to find ways to help her deal with it.
2.Chores - again, dc generally don't do chores unless nagged reminded. the solution is to remind her, I'd have said. Just calmly and consistently. Even my 18 yr old, who copes fine in his own flat at University, reverts to type once he's here, and needs to be nagged to tidy up after himself. When I spent a few hours in his flat and put a saucepan on the side so I could eat my meal hot, he told me off and said they'd all agreed to do their washing up straight away as it wasn't fair to leave in other people's way shock
3. Challenging books - she might not, but, when my dc stopped reading, I found a list of "100 books everyone should read", borrowed a couple out the library, re-read them myself, left lying around, and asked if they'd read either of them.... said how I found X heavy going, but had forgotten how good Y was... sort of thing - got them reading that one, then asked if they'd read any other by that author, etc. However, you have to accept that teenagers in 2015 have a lot more options open to them than we did - the internet is wonderful, but also a great distraction we never had.
4.If she doesn't do her homework, then let her take the consequences in school
5. Of course she's not mature enough - she's 13! She's just becoming a teenager and all the changes that throws at you. It's AGES until her GCSEs.
6.Cries easily - my dd is going through this stage too..... cried tonight on the way home because I chose to listen to my CD instead of the radio she wanted, for example. As you've said, it's just hormones. I just remind her I'm hardly likely to change the CD (in this case) due to such a silly reaction, then just ignore. I will often say "If you are crying over something as minor as this, it suggests to me you are too tired, so you can get some early nights" which tends to stop the tears.
7. I certainly wouldn't give her her phone back "because her best friend gets upset" hmm You don't need to "deal with it". If you take her phone off her, you don't then negotiate with her - if you have decided the rule is she gets it back after her homework is done, then just say you will give it her back when you've seen the completed homework - end of.
(I too work from home sometimes and will be working when they get in from school).

Don't know if any of that helps, but, as I said at first, I don't think there's anything to be really worried about from what you've posted.

nowitsenough Sat 07-Feb-15 00:57:43

Thanks Back, that is really helpful.

She isn't always getting the homework done, it seems, but I do want that to be her responsibility. Maybe if she gets a detention, she will start taking more care ..

She also doesn't pack her school bag, been doing that for her every morning while she eats her breakfast. She's always running late and if she misses the bus I have to give her a lift to school, which I want to be doing every morning.

It's not that I want to change anything per se, just wondering if this is normal. Several teachers told me yesterday they were worried about how emotional she is. I feel I'm being judged and they think we're not looking after her properly, not encouraging her enough, not getting the help she maybe needs ..? I don't know.

AvaCrowder Sat 07-Feb-15 01:25:15

My dd is very emotional, she cried last week beause she ended up in the middle of the back seat of a car. And then had the hump with me. I honestly don't know what to do with her.

On the one hand she's lovely, but then watch out! And it's always me.

She is 15.

TywysogesGymraeg Sat 07-Feb-15 01:28:49

Souns s like an average teenager to me!

IKnewYou Sat 07-Feb-15 01:41:59

I'd sort the phone/Facebook situation out now as the longer you leave it the harder it will be to impliment. I'd, let her have access to her phone and the Internet for a set time each day. Maybe she could suggest when. One or two hours depending what you think. Then stick to it all the time. Don't let it creep back.
If she uses the home wifi then you should be able to set it up to block your DDs access to the Internet whenever you want.

nooka Sat 07-Feb-15 02:51:54

I have a 15 year old ds and a 14 year old dd and your teenager sounds pretty normal to me! My ds is currently very motivated having started to think about his future, and my dd is getting less motivated having been a perfectionist for years. I'm not too worried about either of them.

Chores wise we've found the best thing is to use a whiteboard, write the chores on it in the morning and expect them to be done by the time we get home from work. With a bit of warning they are fine about it, if we ask on the other hand ds gets very stroppy about the lack of notice.

They both used to be big readers but ds has moved almost entirely to fan fiction. Which makes me sad! I hope he will return to 'real' books at some point.

Both are generally fairly good about homework, but dd has developed a recent tendency to suddenly announce she has a test or catch up work late in the evening along with great boo-hooing about how she can't do it and is going to fail. We then have to calm her down and attempt to work through her block before bedtime and it can be a bit wearing.

Can you perhaps agree with your dd a time when homework gets done, perhaps when you are working too before dinner and agree that she will hand over the phone for that time period? Is there anything you can give her as a reward (a privilege, or an agreement not to nag or something else that appeals to her?)

TheWordFactory Sat 07-Feb-15 08:52:44

I have two 15 year olds.

Yes, there are times when they're emotional, particularly DD.

I usually let it go if not too bad. Or use diversion tactics. If completely overwrought she is sent to bed like a toddler.

My view is that time will cure this.

School work is different. Though time will probably cure this too, there is t time.

They need to knuckle down in year 9 or the final stages of GCSE will be just too stressful for all concerned.

You need to get your DD to make the connection between what's happening now and what she wants to do in the bear future. Or at least what she does not want to do!

Keep discussing this so she has to give it some thought. Rinse and repeat.

TheWordFactory Sat 07-Feb-15 08:58:14

As for books; how about going audio?

Do you spend much time in the car together? We do and always have an audio book on the go ( also avoids the temptation for teen moans to kick in).

Ledkr Sat 07-Feb-15 09:36:25

My 13 yr old is exactly as you described.
She does dance 3x weekly tho which she loves, this provides many things such as an alternative friendship group to school, excercise, discipline and focus.
I a very much like bsck in my response, particularly to the crying "oh dear, you do seem tired, better get a good sleep tonight"
I an also happy to end Internet use if I feel she's not doing stuff such as homework or light chores (very bloody light, pick up her coat fir example)
I am learning to leave her room as it's a pointless battle, it's her who has to wear a dirty shirt if she hasn't put it in the wash, she will hopefully learn.
Go to the book giveaways section they are giving away a copy of "the teenage brain" I use it for my work but it's been invaluable for helping me understand my teens.
Good luck and try to keep some fun and love in the mix.

SecretSquirrels Sat 07-Feb-15 11:03:39

Agree with everything backforgood says.
Quite normal for year 9.
I wouldn't worry about the reading. Either she will end up reading for pleasure when she is older or she won't. It's very low on the list of priorities when parenting a teen. DC who were the greatest readers at primary school tend to give up for a while at this age. My two both did. DS1 now reads heavy duty non-fiction and DS2 reads the same trashy fiction as I do.

I would only remove phone as a specific punishment after a warning, but there is a thing on MN about switching off the wi fi that I have never encountered in RL.

nowitsenough Sat 07-Feb-15 15:27:31

Thanks for the replies smile Sadly we don't drive around much, so don't listen to audio books in the car, although dd likes listening to audio books at bedtime, but again probably would turn her nose up at something classical or just not trashy (teen chick lit). Also audio books are quite expensive sad (Don't get me wrong, I only read trashy books too, can't handle anything else these days, as I only read for ten minutes at bed time! )

nowitsenough Sat 07-Feb-15 15:28:40

Thanks Ledkr smile I've already applied for the book grin

BackforGood Sat 07-Feb-15 15:34:14

My dd listens to a lot of audio books - she borrows from the library that which she hasn't put on her Christmas and Birthday wishlists. We don't buy them.

BubbleGirl01 Sat 07-Feb-15 15:49:23

She has turned out very spoilt, does no chores unless reminded, and then she glowers and stamps. And that's just when I ask her to take the plates into the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher.

I have 3 like this although with the DTSs (aged 13 next week) I get a similar response just from asking them to get dressed/eat dinner/get in the shower/go to bed etc.

If anyone has any tips on how to restrain myself from strangling them, I would greatly appreciate them! I don't drink either which just makes it all worse grin.

Honestly I rue the day that social media/internet/mobile phones were invented. I think it must have been a lot easier to parent teens when they didn't exist.

TheWordFactory Sat 07-Feb-15 15:55:26

We get our audio books from the library; free when using an under 18 card (even when the audio book is clearly an adult one).

I just pick up a selection, not necessarily, in fact not often, a 'classic'.

My intention is solely to keep reading alive grin.

pasanda Sat 07-Feb-15 17:15:37

Sounds exactly like my 13 year old Year 9 ds.

It's like he literally has slight brain damage (the teenage brain…!) He has a kind of glazed look when I try to talk to him about packing his school bag the night before for example. He can't seem to focus on anything, except his phone!

He does the bare minimum for homework, although at school I think he is better (they obviously have him better trained than me), would not in a million years think of reading a book, never does any chores unless asked, drops all clothes/towels on the floor and never picks them up, is always running late in the mornings, then gets pissed off with us if we dare to get even slightly agitated about him missing the bus and is the most disorganised person I have ever met! I am highly organised so find this incredibly frustrating!

I am hoping against hope that it is a maturity thing. I have heard that Year 9's tend to slack off a bit because a number of subjects are dropped with options so they 'don't even matter' hmm

I bloody well hope he gets better at organising his life, he is the eldest of my four and I can't contemplate them all being like this…..shock

You have my sympathy.

chocoluvva Sat 07-Feb-15 17:59:30

now the only thing I'd say isn't 'normal' from what you've written is her teachers' comments about her being very emotional.

Get her a good quality vitamin and mineral supplement for women of child-bearing age from a company such as Higher Nature, Solgar, Viridian or Biocare - I don't work for any of these btw! It might not make a great difference but it will definitely help a bit with hormone ups and downs and it won't hurt her.

Is she very sensitive in other ways? to loud noise or tastes/smells for example? Psychologists now recognise the concept of the highly sensitive child (and adult) - 15-20% of the population according to various sources.

Another thought and apologies if it's irrelevant - do you know what time she gets to sleep? I speak from the bitter experience of having a DD who thought it was boring to be sleeping at asleep by a sensible time and was overtired for about three years.

Does your family do anything for Lent? Perhaps she could cut down on her phone time during Lent while you do something for Lent too. if she's like my DD she probably won't even agree to do that but you never know

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