14 year old daughter...defiant and dangerous behaviour.(18 Posts)
Hi, I only just joined Mumsnet today because my teenage daughters behaviour is making me ill. We've had several instances when she has just stormed out of the house late at night and we don't know where she is - and usually for pretty much no reason. This happened Boxing Day when we were at her grandparents. She refuses to answer the phone and said she was staying at a friends house overnight but refused to say where. Of course we didn't know if this is true - she's 14 and therefore vulnerable but when we say we will call the police she holds us to ransom and says she will never come home if we do this. So many friends say, do this and do that - but ultimately even the calmest of showdowns over behaviour result in her storming out of the house. Aside from physically restraining her we have no way we can stop her doing it. Quite often these outbursts seem to come out of the blue. I don't know where to turn. Clearly we need to address this behaviour but everytime things calm down we are glad of this and try to avoid anything that will lead to another outburst. Safety is the big issue. We can't have her running off at stupid o'clock and risk something happening to her. Any advice would be so welcome or if anyone has been through anything similar? We lost a family member a few months ago and I have had it suggested that when this happens to teens they can question their own health/mortality and others too, making them act out.
Sounds a very difficult situation. In calmer moments does she say what is making her so angry? Can she articulate how she feels?
I think I'd ignore her threats of not coming home and call the police every time she runs off. 14 is very young.
At 14 the police can bring her home whether she likes it or not.
My DSD is 13 and does the same. Bottom line, she's not in a position to refuse to return home, call the police when she storms off. She's a missing child.
I know how hard it is when you're terrified of a kick off or of another showdown but you need to regain control of the situation. If she knows that you'll all dance to her tune, there's no incentive to stop. You have to make good your threat to involve the police, and refuse to tolerate her behaviour, change the wifi password, remove her phone, don't give in. It's hard going, but it needs to be done. Good luck.
So she's stayed out all night & you don't know where? But then comes home safe. If nothing else, she sounds very resourceful.
"In calmer moments does she say what is making her so angry? Can she articulate how she feels?"
Agree with that, it's a good starting place. Ask her what you could do better to help her not get so upset. Don't reply except to ask for more information, you Listen & take it on the chin even if you think she's spouting rubbish or even saying something venomous, you want to hear her perspective as completely as possible, it doesn't matter at that moment who is "wrong" or "right." Her response is probably tangled complicated & you can't fix it with a few special words.
Hi, thanks for the comments 😊 In answer to whether she says what's wrong when she's calmed down sadly it's no. She doesn't like sharing anything with us. It's weird to me because we've always been really really close, and I've told her so many times there's nothing she can't talk to me about but it doesn't seem to get me anywhere. Its like she's trying to keep me and her dad at a distance. Sometimes I feel bad that she's an only child and wonder if she's bitter about it as most of her friends seem to have two or more siblings.
How well can you handle her being horrible to you?
I wonder if you could ask her to tell you one thing she'd like you to do differently as her parents ("Stop nagging me" doesn't count).
Then tell her what you'll try to do that is at least partly what she listed, and after that ask once a week after that how you're doing at that one thing.
If you ask her to list what she doesn't like about you parents, she will talk.
If you can not take it personally, but see it as a way to (eventually) nudge the door wider to other communication, it could be the opportunity you need.
Also, try this book. It helps some people handle their teens better.
Thanks, I just ordered this book right now from EBay 😊 I hope we can get somewhere soon. I don't know if it's about us as although we're not perfect I really don't see what we do as parents that can be so bad. But then I guess she is a teenager . Getting her to talk is the challenge.
What are her friends like? Nice bunch, generally?
One of my DDs (15) is a very closed book, tells us very little, I sometimes manage to prise things out of her, usually in the car, but it's hard going.
No advice as such but my dd is exactly the same. I asked for SS support and received an early help worker who met up with her a few times and just gave her advice on staying safe really and basically she has to send me via text an address of where she's staying and parents number incase of emergency or I'm to report her missing to police. It has made a small difference she generally does send me an address and lets me know via text where she is but she still goes where she wants when she wants even when I've said no .
Also my dd seeks out arguments so she can storm out to whatever gathering is going on.
Have you spoken to school? They could refer her to camhs, counselling, offer mentoring?
Also my dd seeks out arguments so she can storm out to whatever gathering is going on.
I've heard there's quite a waiting list for cahms and also can I involve them without her permission? She has snuck out with alcohol today - just one can of Guinness but really blatantly lied about it. We don't keep much alcohol in the house but I'm definitely getting rid of it all. Again she says she is at one friend's house and my mum dropped her there but I don't trust a word she says. Also threatened again not to come back. This has all happened while I'm at work and her dad is at home. My sole concern is her safety. But being threatened with "I'll never come home" hits hard. It's been so hard working today trying not to just cry all the time. Feel lost and useless tbh.
My daughter ran off, wouldn't tell us where she was and we called the police. When we found her(she was at a friends house) we asked the police to come round the next day early. They explained how dangerous her behaviour was and gave some examples of what could happen to her. This shocked her and we haven't had a repeat of this. I believe this sort of behaviour needs nipping in the bud.
That's where we are at the moment. Can't have her holding us to ransom with threats when safety is the biggest issue.
I had one like this at the same age. Ironically now he's over 18 and can come and go freely as any other adult, he comes in early and heads to bed
It is terribly worrying, and absolutely frustrating that they won't solve this problem with a simple text "I'm as so and so's house, back about xx pm"
What I used to do was harvest any and every mobile number from his friends if they rang the house or if his phone was lying around. Yes - snoop if you have to!
When he didn't respond to a text asking where he was, I'd threaten to text his friends and ask them instead. Still no response? Then I did it, starting with his best friend, and working my way outwards to the more obscure ones, who were likely to be more surprised at my cheery "Hi there! I'm xx's mum. Have you seen him because he's not answered his phone. So worried because he hasn't had his tea. Thanks so much!"
In short - I behaved like a frenzied loon (he drove me to it your honour). But I did get replies pretty sharpish, albeit "What the are you doing mum?!" Proof that he was still alive either way.
Hang in there .... it does get better.
It's good to hear that other people have dealt with this stuff. It's trying to figure out what's normal teen rebellion and what's more serious like a mental health issue. Last night/this morning was our worst episode yet. She'd been fine all day and then decided she was going out with friends. No later than 10.30 home was the plan but we decided as it was New Year's Eve and she was being escorted home we wouldn't stress out till 11. Constant phone calls and texts after that and she eventually was at the door at 12.45am. At this point me and her dad were feeling sick with stress and angry too but we have learnt by now that we can't get heated at times like this or she will scream and argue and potentially run out of the door. She had clearly been drinking. We told her calmly to go to her room and she started being argumentative and really aggressive straight away. We also discovered she had her dads medication in her pocket (he's on blood thinners). Thankfully they seem untouched but obviously you don't mess around with stuff like that. I know so many people say take their phones, etc but honesty she flips out to the point where if neighbours heard they would probably call the police because they would think something horrendous was happening. The rebellion etc is one thing. I get that teenagers are full of hormones and some act up enormously, but it's the defiance and anger that worries me so much. Don't most children who do this stuff maybe argue but then go and slam their doors? We don't get this. The answer is always to run off no matter when it is or tell us she's never coming back. This makes us scared to rock the boat because a child alone at night is the biggest nightmare. Sorry for this long post. But any well meaning advice about talking to her is impossible. I continue to try but it doesn't work. Does anyone think I should be considering if this is a mental health issue?
Join the discussion
Please login first.