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dd15 constant challenging behaviours, what best to do?

(8 Posts)
subterraneanalien Fri 13-Jan-17 20:37:54

Hi All, I'm a "returner" to Mumsnet and I desperately need some advise or points of view on my 15yo dd. she'll be 16 in June but, as with many teenage girls, she is desperately trying to live the life of an independent, mature young woman and is thereby taking part in underage activities (not sex as far as I'm aware). In the scheme of things, she could be so much worse, but her attitude to what she is doing is so difficult to manage that I struggle to have anything like a reasonable chat with her about it.

Since the end of last term (summer) she has been smoking; baccy roll ups and weed, when she can get hold of it. Her friends are beginning to turn 16 so there are parties where alcohol is available. Now dh and I are quite liberal minded people and we chat to dd about these activities and have told her that we are aware we can't stop her smoking, we're not so naive as to think that us saying "No - forbidden", that she will stop, period. We have decided to keep chilled about it - make sure she knows we really don't like it; her health and the fact it's illegal at her age, but we'd rather keep the talk out in the open and avoid it going underground. As for the odd drink at a party, we told her the same as we advised her db (19) - to avoid spirits please!

Also, dh has taken up smoking again over the past year or so, as he has a workshop amongst a group of laid back folk, where weed is also indulged in. Both our dc are aware of this environment so we are aware of the double standards at play here. dd of course simply doesn't want to see the situation from any point of view but her own and she has "reasons" (teenage angst stuff) for wanting to smoke and has a "who gives a shit" attitude to health and legal issues.

Well of course, there is diminishing trust as she lies about what she has in her possession, and I now have suspicions about other aspects of her activities. She has just received a package of baccy in the post which she ordered online ffs - I only know about it as I picked the post up and the envelop was sodden, it having been delivered in yesterday's deluge - and pretty much disintegrated in my hands. I have confiscated it and have tried, and thus far failed, to have a convo with her about it. Meanwhile she is texting me asking for her baccy and saying if she can't have it, she won't come home tomorrow (after going out into town with a friend).

This is a bit rambling but I'd really like to hear some thoughts. Thanks.

katieS44 Fri 13-Jan-17 22:17:02

Mines the same , plus no respect for curfews she just does as she pleases 😬 As she's "nearly an adult , stop interfering".

unlucky83 Fri 13-Jan-17 23:11:51

Mines very nearly 16 and thankfully not into stuff like that - mainly cos she has sensible friends. I also hope she will never smoke - very anti at the moment and I smoke (now vape) and so hopefully she knows what a foolish thing to do it is.
However I do get the 'I am nearly an adult' etc and she doesn't tell me where she is/when she is home etc. Doesn't answer her phone, tells me things are none of my business etc...
She also has ADHD and so I got to go on a 'parenting a teen with ADHD' workshop (apparently ADHD teens show normal teen behaviour just 10x worse...) and a lot of it was useful for any teen.
One useful thing is to look at their behaviour and categorise it - they use a traffic light system - so red for behaviour which puts them or others in danger -you must take immediate action. Amber is behaviour you would like to change. Green is behaviour you (might not like but) can ignore -pick your battles and the trick with this is if you do make something green behaviour you do let it go, don't hold a grudge or feel resentment. Doing that means you aren't constantly having a go at them., arguing with them. Never have a conversation that doesn't turn into an argument -you keep communication going.
Cos they are nearly adults you need to give them (or at least make them think they have) a say in the rules.
The first thing to do is to say how their behaviour makes you feel - why it is a problem, then ask them for solutions - even if they are crazy solutions -then work through it to come up with an agreement .
So if they are late back/ignore a curfew don't launch into a tirade of how dare you not let me know where you are etc . But take the approach (calmly) of I would really like you to come home on time. I feel really worried when I don't know where you are, I know you are good at looking after yourself but when you are late I worry that you have had an accident or are in some kind of trouble. (you can throw in something about how would they feel if you weren't home when they expected you to be etc - would they not worry? Be a little concerned -letting the people who love you know you are ok is the adult thing to do). Listen to their solution - they might say well you shouldn't worry, I can take care of myself - so you say but I can't help feeling worried because I love you..so what can we do to stop me worrying so much? When you have reached an agreement (and be prepared to compromise a bit - so if you want them home for 11pm say 10pm) then you get them to sign a contract with you. This is how you deal with Amber behaviour.
Depending on what you want to change you could have a consequence for their actions -I won't give you a lift to XYZ or they get a reward - both carrot and stick -and try it make it equal amounts. It doesn't have to be a formal 'contract' you don't even need to call it that but you put your agreement in writing. This gets rid of the 'I thought you'd said' or 'you said I could ...' when as far as you are aware you said no such thing...or they 'misinterpreted' something you said and when they do do what they agreed to - make sure you thank them. Thank you for letting me know so I am not worrying about you. And praise them for things too.
Try and get I feel in to any discussion - think about how you do feel - so it can be feel really pleased when... I feel really sad when, I feel really disappointed when. It really does work - or works better than shouting and getting angry. (Just sometimes need the patience of a saint to carry it through...)

subterraneanalien Sat 14-Jan-17 17:37:43

Thanks for you replies. Unlucky, there is some really good advise there, I am going to study what you have said again and hopefully follow some of that through! She's out with a friend today and I'm hoping she won't see through her threat of "not coming home" tonight. Dh and I plan to have a good chat with her tomorrow. I do feel that some new, defined boundaries need putting in place. Thanks again.

specialsubject Sat 14-Jan-17 20:21:45

Cannabis is illegal for you as well. Tobacco is also dangerous for your partner.

You won't like this - but why should she give a shit for health and law when she sees this?

datingawidower Sun 15-Jan-17 15:37:25

So glad to find this discussion!
I have no kids of my own, but have been dating a widower for a year who has 2 teenage daughters. The 17 year old is lovely, the 14 year old is a Jeckle and Hyde. We are thinking of moving in together, and have just been on a one week away holiday to test the waters, particularly with the 14 year old.
We booked a very expensive villa, and we have both been at their beck and call all week (both in action and financially). To say it has been a horror holiday would be an understatement!
The 14 year old told both my partner and myself to F off on several occasions, she also calls him by his first name rather than dad in a sarcastic tone which I find incredibly offensive. She was on her phone 24/7, including when out to dinner, and was only ever happy for the first 10 minutes of going somewhere while she did a 'photo shoot' and then became sullen and abusive again.
We gave the girls the best room with ensuite in the villa, but she wanted to use our bathroom as it had a bath, and each time threw my things on the floor, which got soaked in the process. She also barged in shouting on several occasions to our room early in the morning without knocking, which as we were sleeping seemed an invasion of space. (Most days she didn't wake up until 10, but these episodes would be around 6am)
I am at the end of my tether, and have no idea what to do. I am a teacher, so am used to dealing with teenagers, but this is different. I am gentle and kind with her, and always put the girls first.
In her normal home setting she is rude, aggressive (sometimes volatile to the point that violence of some kind seems possible), she is also handing out with the wrong crowd, and was in trouble with the police twice last year.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

subterraneanalien Sun 15-Jan-17 23:23:35

Dating, I'm so sorry to hear of your difficult situation, it sounds complicated. I think you might find it useful to start this as your own thread with a suitable heading, and then you are likely to reach the best, broad audience and get some proper feedback. I wish you luck.

datingawidower Mon 16-Jan-17 00:51:26

Thank you so much. I have started a new threadsmile

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