16yo with major attitude(15 Posts)
I badly need advice for how to deal with my 16yo daughter - things are getting out of control. I separated from her dad last year and he has moved 300 miles away. I am pretty much her sole parent now. She is doing the usual teenage things like getting drunk sometimes, weed, backchat etc, but has recently started being absolutely foul to me all the time - I mean awful - Ive tried to be nice, understanding, sit down and talk, offer to go for a walk or go out shopping etc, but she just turns me dow. Came to a head last night when I bought a takeaway and she just kept rolling her eyes, sneering, pulling faces and being so rude... I told her Id had enough, I wasn't going to keep giving her social- life lifts everywhere (we live rural), I wasnt going going keep getting up early to wake her for school (I usually have to wake her twice at least) and I said she couldnt go to a gig on Friday - she just kept turning up the music on her phone while I was talking to her, in the end I took it off her so she would listen to me, and she went completely mental!! I have never seen her so crazy. She went off looking for my phone to 'take something of mine', she was struggling with me to get it back. In the end i handed it back because I was afraid she would hit me or damage something. Then she just flounced off. I don't know how to treat her - she's obviously miserable and upset but she wont accept any of my help and just fights me
Personally, I would get her into therapy as soon as humanly possible. She is obviously not able to express herself in a proper manner and her fits of rage are quite alarming. Don't feel at all guilty that you haven't been able to help her. She needs a professional to help her deal with her emotions.
I would be cancelling her phone until she can act appropriately towards you.
I have a very limited number of options as to what I can do as a sanction - her dad pays for her phone, and has no interest in how she behaves when she's with me so won't cancel payments. I don't give her any money as she gets EMA from school, paid direct to her. I have refused to pick her up apart from obviously dentist appointments etc, she went out this morning calling me a 'dickhead' because I won't pick her up early from school.
She already sees the school counsellor, but I don't know how much 'therapy' this is and how much just her sounding off about her horrible mother! I cant afford private therapy and I dont think she would go anyway.
Living rurally has huge advantages for parents of teenagers- you get to retain control of where they go and when. You do know where they are and who they are with.
I feel slightly concerned that you think smoking including marijuana is normal and are quite so dismissive of it. Where is the money for smoking coming from? In my experience it is a) not normal and b) not acceptable.
You have a few options- explicit expectations around behaviour (no smoking, drinking only at family events or parties where there are adults, schoolwork completed, set time to be in, embarrassment factor etc). You also have sanctions to impose if rules are broken - no lift to town, no money, no internet).
In past we have certainly turned off internet for a day if a child was unresponsive to our conversation. Luckily no mobile phone reception here so works well. I'd throw and cigarettes I found away and stop money for a week. If they weren't at agreed pick up place at set time, I wait 5 minutes and go into party to find them. Usually only happens once. Now is not the time to take off the security blanket of effective parenting and clear rules.
She's not buying ciggies etc, she's smoking and drinking at parties. We've always been quite open so she has told me what she gets up to. I refused to take or pick her up from a gig this Friday and she just says she'll go anyway, straight from school, I will be at work then. She'll get herself a taxi or stay at a friends. Short of marching into the gig and physically removing her I am at a loss as to how to stop this. (It's a small local gig for under 18s, they keep an eye on the bar and dont serve to under agers).
Turning off internet is an idea but my son wouldnt be impressed!!!
It really is hard when she just disobeys and does whatever she wants. I work long hours and cant always be there to keep an eye. And she blatantly does whatever she wants anyway. With attitude.
With your ex out of the picture you're bearing the brunt of this.
She sounds angry and appears to be pushing you away but that could mask sadness and insecurity. I am glad you've already enlisted the help of school with a counsellor. Did her behaviour kick off when her Dad left? Has she ever expressed a wish to go live with him?
My twopence worth. Flouncing off is better than getting physical. It's no good trying to talk when it gets to the point she very plainly isn't listening. She hears you all right. So much of school life is about self control and reining in temper, she knows you'll still love her if she is stroppy.
Privacy and space are important for all of us and she will let you know when she wants comfort or company.
Our children are forced to live where we settle. Until they get a driving licence they either walk or, (especially if living in the back of beyond as she probably calls it) depend on (often unreliable) public transport or us to taxi them. Unless they find a job they can get to, we are completely holding the purse strings.
I don't know what your DS is like but evidently for DD her friends are her support and she enjoys their company more than family right now. There's some stuff she gets up to with friends at parties but you don't mention her bunking off school or dropping grades.
Her generation is wedded to the mobile phone so if you're living in a rural area as long as her phone's charged it's even more of a lifeline. Trying to remove her phone is liable to end badly as you discovered.
You care about her and want to get through to her. It can't be easy. No wonder some parents hesitate to give consequences after a divorce because they don't want any more strife and feel guilty about what the impact of separation on their DC. The tough part of being resident parent is being the constant authority figure when the other parent so often represents escape and fun. It is a very testing time .
I would try to get her some therapy asap.
Her having someone "safe" she can mouth off about you to might help. As will someone else giving her other strategies for coping.
At 16 lots of young people are quite stressed. And that is before her parents split, and her father moves away (and rarely sees her?).
She cant go and live with her dad, he has moved 300 miles away and is actually having a 3 month trip to the far east, her behaviour has got worse since he left I know, and I actually think she is depressed. But what can you do. She is 17 soon, says she wont see a doctor, wont see a therapist apart from the guy at school.
Her schoolwork is ok and she isnt bunking off (if she doesnt go, she doesnt get her EMA payment!). I have tried again today to talk to her, we had a hug and I guess I will just have to keep trying to be nice in the face of this, up to a point!
That really is the beauty of EMA, isn't it?!
You have all my sympathy - they really have no idea of how horrible they can be at times.
One thing a friend of mine did was to have a tin in her bedroom and every time her daughter was horrible to her she'd put £1 in it. When her daughter left home to go to university, she counted up the coins to remember all the bad times, to stop herself getting upset, then went and blew the lot on herself - there were hundreds of pounds in the tin by then
If she is talking to someone in college - Great! That is probably as much as she would get on the NHS, unless she is suicidal.
She is going into college - Great!
The next bit is hard. But try to bite your tongue when she is horrible. Ignore her and get out of her way, go to your bedroom, the bathroom, and try to ignore.
When she is calm you can ask that she treats you with basic respect.
Do complement her if she does well, looks good, is kind to others or whatever. But make it genuine rather than too effusive (although if you are as crap as me at giving positive feedback you may need to practise).
Don't criticise her Dad. If he lets her down you can ask "are you disappointed about that".
Find friends to let off steam to, or do it on here.
The best to aim for in these years is keeping communication open, and her getting through them.
Thanks guys for good and supportive advice. I dont criticise her dad so that's ok, I know she misses him and I try to be sympathetic (even though I think him buggering off to Thailand is beyond selfish!!) - and I do try to be nice to her.
The only thing I'm not sure about is giving her lifts - the alternative to me doing it is that she beds down at unspecified friends or gets exorbitant late night taxis, I want to know she is safe so I'd much rather pick her up myself. How to do this without looking a pathetic doormat though?!
I am a total doormat - BUT my DD needs it. She has had mental health issues, and does need the lifts. She does still have random sleepovers, but actually I'd prefer just to give her lifts.
It is a really hard judgement call. You need to do what is best for you and her, regardless of what others think.
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