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Apparently its me being unreasonable

(38 Posts)
sillygiraffe Wed 07-Oct-15 10:00:18

Dd16 is like a lodger in our house. She spends as little time as possible here, usually going out straight after college and coming in later, having some food and then going to her room. She thinks this is perfectly OK and its me who has the problem. If I dare to bring the subject up it ends up in a row where I get accused of not trusting her and treating her like a baby.
She thinks I am prying all the time when I ask about friends and what's going on so I try not to but I want to know what's going on in her life.
She has said she hates living here and is moving out when she is 18. This all stems from her previously being given boundaries and the resulting rows. That is so hurtful to hear but quite frankly I am looking forward to it! I hate to admit it but she intimidates me a bit so although I am not a total pushover, I do tend to tiptoe around her to make things more comfortable at home. Then go and have a secret cry when she upsets me again.
I know there are people around who are dealing with a lot more than this, and I apologise if you think I am stressing about nothing but what do I do? Should I just totally back off and leave her be?

Sparklingbrook Wed 07-Oct-15 10:06:40

What would you like her to do? Are you upset because she's not pulling her weight in the house or because she's not involved in family life?

FuckYouChrisAndThatHorse Wed 07-Oct-15 10:09:41

I have similar with ds. He wants to be treated as an adult. So we try to. It means he has certain jobs that he does for everyone, in return he mostly gets cooked for (he will occasionally cook), he does his own laundry.

He also does what we do when we're going out, he lets us know when he'll be home and whereabouts he is (not a minute by minute account, just vaguely where and vaguely with who). We've said this is about showing respect to everyone else so we know when to expect him and where to look in an emergency.

He's pretty good about it all. He humphs sometimes, which we don't usually engage with. If he's rude, I remind him that adults don't talk to each other like that, and if he wants to continue to be treated as an adult, he's expected to give respect, not just receive it.

It's a tricky age, because they aren't mature enough to deal with things, but believe they are. They have to make their own mistakes. But you don't want them to get hurt.

Sit down with her, ask what she thinks is reasonable, explain that you miss her being a part of your family life. See what suggestions she comes up with. If her answer is "I'll do nothing, you won't question it", then ask why on earth you would accept an adult in the house who expects to be waited on, and who doesn't contribute. That's the definition of a child, not an adult.

sillygiraffe Wed 07-Oct-15 10:24:04

I'm upset that she does not want to be involved with family life and does not seem to care about anyone but herself. She does not pull her weight but that doesn't bother me as much.
The thing is she thinks she is being totally reasonable. There is no point sitting her down. We've tried that and it gets us nowhere as she cannot see anyone's point of view but her own. I've told her that we miss her etc but it falls on deaf ears.

Sparklingbrook Wed 07-Oct-15 10:27:14

I have a 16 year old DS who I barely see. 6th form all day, home then school work/footy training/PS4 then bed.
At weekends he plays football and has a P/T job.

I had always envisaged that this is how it would be. When i do see him he is chatty and pleasant. He does join us for meals mostly.

titchy Wed 07-Oct-15 10:32:15

You're not being very specific. Are you spelling out exactly what you expect from her, cos teenagers are kind of designed to not want to spend time with parents, so coming home and spending time in her room is actually pretty normal.

So, be specific. What is pissing you off? Does she rant and rave at you? Swear at you? Hog the TV? Expect you to clear up after her? Are you worried about her college work? Her friends? Is she going out and not coming home till midnight? What?

sillygiraffe Thu 08-Oct-15 17:14:46

I wouldn't mind if she was busy doing something like working, hobbies or schoolwork but she's doing nothing. She can lie in her bed for 5 hours straight on her phone!
She used to be at some friends or others house all the time but now they are hanging around the park all the time. I suspect there must be boys they like - which is fine, only natural I suppose.
It has been quite a challenge this past year with one thing or another. Don't want to be specific and give too much info but she has worn me down with all the confrontation and lies and stubbornness.
I wish I could just let her get on with it and not dwell on things too much.

Clare1971 Thu 08-Oct-15 17:23:54

Could you have one non-negotiable family time slot such as Sunday lunch or something that suits you and then accept that she's not involved much the rest of the time? I do know what you mean.

sillygiraffe Thu 08-Oct-15 17:46:59

I don't want to force her to spend time with us. Relationships between her and her dad are strained to start with and I don't think I could anyway. I will just try and encourage her to join in with something and one day she just might.

Louboutin37 Thu 08-Oct-15 21:45:46

I'd maybe try a bit of reverse psychology here. Teenagers are so up and down that I bet if you leave her to her own devices and ignore the current situation for 10 days she'll wonder why she's not getting any attention. That might open up a reasonable and adult conversation

DelphiniumBlue Thu 08-Oct-15 22:03:23

Teenagers are wired to be very self-centred, and i do sympathise, my youngest has just reach that stage. My older 2 were like that, and still spend a lot of time in their rooms on various devices, but can now admit that it's reasonable for me to ask them to pull their weight, even if they don't always do it.

I'v always insisted on everyone being at the table for dinner if they are in, and that's accepted. As far as the rest of the time is concerned, I think if I'm asking them to spend time downstairs with the rest of the family, then there needs to be something concrete on offer - eg playing a game/cards/watch a movie, or even a walk culminating in buying chocolate. This seems to work better than shouting at them to get off the PS4, which is what I'm often tempted to do.

I am aware that most of the conversations I have with them at the moment are along the lines of " have you done your homework?/tidied your room/applied for a job" and have to consciously remind myself to talk to them about other things first - something that's interesting to them.

It's phase for most teenagers, and most will grow out of it - not always easy when you're going through it though!

sillygiraffe Thu 08-Oct-15 22:30:22

Not sure if the reverse psychology will work in her case. She really does not care and I'm not sure she would notice if I ignored thingssad.
I can't go on line this though as its getting me down but there is no point feeling sorry for myself. At least if we don't speak we won't argue hmm

Hudson123 Fri 09-Oct-15 11:41:45

Dear sillygiraffe, I know exactly where you are coming from. I have been in the same situation with my daughter for nearly a year and know how upsetting and wearing it is. Mine is nearly 18 and can drive so feels as if her freedom is limitless, which considering she's still at school and doing her A Levels it isn't. We are very close but also extremely combative (which I'm embarrassed to admit to but, there it is). A few times over the years I have written her a letter outlining my feelings. I include everything that is upsetting me about the current situation; attitude, behaviour, selfishness etc. I wrote my last letter two weeks ago as the situation was really getting me down. I stressed all her good points and how lovely she is to everyone outside of the family and suggested ways she could be more considerate and less hostile. So far so good. We have had several issues with her coming in late since my last letter but on the whole she is communicating much more, making an effort to engage with me and getting over the difficulties quickly and carrying on in a reasonably friendly manner. I don't know if this would help in your situation but it's worth a go. Pointing out the strain she puts on family life, your marriage (if you are?) and making her see the other stresses and strains that you are under may appeal to her softer side and hopefully help her to consider her position in the family. Good luck xx

gamerchick Fri 09-Oct-15 11:48:33

Well it's normal at that age. Their brains are still rewiring so they become independent adults, they come back eventually.

However that doesn't mean she can treat the place like a hotel and just come and go as she pleases. This is the time to show them how to work the washing machine and clean up/wash up/load dishwasher after themselves. Do their rooms properly once a week etc. They don't get it all their own way.

The opting out of family life for a while is something you have to get a thicker skin for though.

mariposa10 Fri 09-Oct-15 12:48:56

Don't force her to spend time with you, it will only push her further away. It's a phase, she will come back eventually, don't you remember being 16?? She's acting up because of her age. Yes try to be insistent she does her fair share of housework, but getting upset about her lack of involvement in the family all the time won't help.

sillygiraffe Fri 09-Oct-15 19:40:09

Thank you everyone. It really helps to know that I am not the only one going through this.
Hudson, I also have written her letters and long texts from time to time. I suppose something might sink in although she thinks I am a nutter for doing this. At least its a peaceful way of communicating but its a shame that its come to this.
Pulling her weight at home is a whole other issue which I don't feel able to tackle until the other stuff is sorted and I would not force her to spend time with us, I couldn't stand the sulking!

titchy Fri 09-Oct-15 19:50:47

Oh God quit the long letters and texts - trust me there is nothing more suffocating, particularly at an age where you're trying to pull away from your parents.

A quick 'Love you lots, have a good day' as they disappear out the door, no more really.

gamerchick Fri 09-Oct-15 19:58:45

Yeah man stop with the letters. There really is no need and it's a bit like emotional blackmail.

Hunker down and wait it out. Neediness is tiresum for a grown adult to deal with never mind a teenager who is developmentally exactly where she is supposed to be.

sillygiraffe Fri 09-Oct-15 20:56:55

I am taking all of this advice on board.

junebirthdaygirl Sat 10-Oct-15 09:44:51

Mine past that stage now. Agree with ignoring it for a bit. Get really busy for a while doing your own stuff. So when she comes in look up all distracted and act surprised to see her. In other words step out of the pattern ye have fallen into. My most important decision as a parent of teens was to treat everyday as a new day. So even if they drove me mad today l woke up tomorrow and acted like they were wonderful carrying no resentment forward. Could you engage with her by asking her advice on outfits.. Does this color go with this type of thing. Or have you any idea what l could get Gran for her birthday. Take the focus off her. Try to say one good thing to her everyday. And as already said call out bye love you as she leaves or as you hang up on a call. Teenagers are selfish. Some more than others. But getting on their case constantly will not work. Does she have friends around to yours. Make sure she is free to do that and that you are never onto her when they are there as that is a total no no!

TheBunnyOfDoom Sat 10-Oct-15 10:21:11

It sounds normal to me. I was exactly the same as a teenager. If I wasn't out, I was in my room on my phone/PC or watching TV or reading. I didn't really want to spend time with my parents.

But when I got to about 17/18 things changed. I started spending more time with my mum and we went out and did things as a family (or just me with my mum or dad). It will get better - just be there when she needs you. Don't text her massive essays - if she's anything like me, she'll just roll her eyes at them. She won't take it in the same way an adult might do.

Teenagers want to be with their friends, they don't want to hang out with their mum and dad. It's normal. But it will change as she grows up and finds herself a bit more. Just give her time.

sillygiraffe Sat 10-Oct-15 11:51:18

It really isn't about her not spending time with us. I wouldn't expect her to want to do so tbh and its great that she has lots of friends. I just have to back off and leave her alone. So what if she doesn't like living here and wants to move out as soon as possible.
Just tried to have a conversion with her and it ended up with her shouting at me and getting upset. I was only asking about college/homework/friends (I just don't know when she ever does any work as she is never in!). I have to go into her room to speak to her or catch her in the kitchen and she resents this but its the only way i get to see her. I should just learn to keep my gob shut as we had big dramas over GCSE's and no revision and I swore that once they were over I would leave her to mess up her future or not as the case may be. I can't seem to help myself.
So in order to keep my sanity, I just have to stop, in her words, hassling her. I will never see her but I will be here if she wants me and I'll just have to live with it. Otherwise we will be constantly battling and I will end up pushing her away.

ImperialBlether Sat 10-Oct-15 12:08:46

Sometimes it helps just to hold back a bit. Think of her a bit like a boyfriend - you get further if you play hard to get.

Don't make yourself so available to her. Chat to her (as far as you can) when you do see her but don't ask her any questions at all. She will notice the difference. Try it for a couple of months and see how it goes. Make her realise you have things going on in your life that she doesn't know about - that will get her going! Don't volunteer information and she will eventually ask. Just go for the quick, Hi, how are you? and then move off out of the room. If she wants to talk, she will follow.

Think about it. She does exactly as she wants, doesn't she? If she wants to talk, she will follow you or text you to talk to you. Play hard to get and she will realise that she misses you talking to her.

Hudson123 Wed 14-Oct-15 18:57:18

I do feel that some of the contributors on here are really not getting you sillygiraffe. Titchy and gamerchick, I thought the whole point of MN was to offer advice and share your thoughts and tips on things you think you might be able to help with. If you think writing your child a letter to try to help sort out a difficult situation at home when they just won't listen to you is 'emotional blackmail' then you clearly don't get it. This has helped my daughter to understand my point of view and I therefore passed on this advice as it has 'helped' us. Telling someone to hunker down and wait it out is particularly unhelpful in my opinion. I wouldn't bother commenting unless I thought I had something useful to pass on. Everyone is different (obviously) no two relationships are the same and some people find it much more difficult to deal with their teenagers. Don't be so quick to judge!

Georgethesecond Wed 14-Oct-15 19:01:46

Sorry if I've missed this but - what do you do for meals?

Mine spend time in their rooms (I think all teens do?) but they come down for meals because we have never eaten meals anywhere other than the table.

I don't expect them to do chores in term time, they work hard and travel to school which is enough I think. They do some in the holidays.

What do you want from her? Many teens don't like family events, it's a phase, it will pass.

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