16 year old says she doesn't hate me but...(31 Posts)
my god, she's low level horrible to me. I was just writing this morning's exchange down and it sounded really feeble so I scrapped it. She's not abusive. She has never said she hates me, but her body language, her facial expressions, her tone of voice, the way she interacts with me says different. I feel like I have fecked up with her and I don't know how.
We are opposites and she doesn't like the kind of person I am. She's quiet and withdrawn, I'm fairly garrulous. But I wasn't at her age, so I know how she feels to some degree. My mum was borderline abusive, and I have tried so hard not to be that mum, but sometimes I feel like screaming in her face about how disrespectful she is and making her feel crap, but I know it won't achieve anything.
Just lately I've responded by moving myself away from it all...leaving the dinner table earlier with the excuse of work (I'm just finishing a college course) and shutting myself in the living room rather than putting up with the eye-rolling sarcasm of any rare morning exchanges.
I'm just venting...but if anyone can offer any advice on how I deal with this without getting pissed off with her, I'd be so appreciative. Even if it's just 'get a grip'.
feel for you op have you tried talking to her about her actions/behaviour towards you? is it just you she's like this with or is it the whole family? sending hugs
Screaming in her face not great, but have you tried sitting down with her and telling her how what she's doing makes you feel? Ask her if she treats her friends that way, and reminding her that you do in fact love her quite a lot?
I have to do this periodically, just point out I know that she thinks I'm completely embarrassing and out of touch and that I don't understand anything, but even so, I'm still human, and I expect common courtesy even if she does actually hate me.
And then if I have to, I point out that an awful lot of what I do is entirely voluntary, and that if she can't pull herself together to ask politely, I won't be giving her lifts anywhere, or handing out pocket money, etc.
I try to balance those reminders with random lovely things - bag of her favourite sweets on her pillow, or a new pen tucked into her pocket - something I know for certain she loves not something I just think she might like. Small tangible reminders that I always love her without demanding a response.
What do you think is going on for her? Do you ever see her happy, positive, engaged?
Hi there Thanks for the responses. I have talked to her about it a few times. She says that she loves me but I irritate her. This has led to me reigning in my usual enthusiasm for life when she's around and trying to be more understated but no matter how much I reign in, I annoy her. I can only change so much and actually, there comes a point, I've told her, where she has to compromise too. She says that she just can't deal with me. How do you deal with that?
She is a teenager. I take her to gigs and when we are travelling, we talk about all sorts and she is genuinely happy on the way to her gigs and whilst there.
In terms of issues, I think she may be bisexual, but has no relationships as yet. We are open about sexuality in our house and my husband and I are both supportive of her in this respect (I know...why wouldn't we be, but some parents aren't). I don't think that worries her, but she struggles a bit with relationships with others.
Her friendship group was solid in primary, absent first couple of years in secondary, leading to her being very depressed at around 13, which led to some really open discussions about mental health and such. She has a small but sold group of friends now. Has a lot she's made over the internet, based on her gigging. We've had a couple to stay here (when bands have been performing locally), which is nice. Her friends all think I'm cool and call me band mum so I can't be getting it completely wrong, can I?
We took our foot off the gas in terms of her academic performance around 13. I stopped saying or doing anything that could be seen as putting pressure on. She has only child syndrome and puts enough on herself, though now it's GCSE year, so both DH and I have talked more about what she needs to do. We have tried to be supportive with this, but it's bound to be contributing to the stress.
The difficulty is, I don't think she likes me. We don't have to like our parents, I know, but I can't do anything about it. You can't make people like you. And I'm old enough and ugly enough to have dealt with that kind of judgement before. I just didn't really expect it from my child.
You sound like a great mum to her.
GCSE year, and she's being pretty hard work. Not surprising.
You sound hurt that she doesn't like you. Actually she may love you and like you, but be irritated by you. Not because you're irritating, but because she's irritable. Hard not to take these things personally. I bet your relationship will look and feel totally different a couple of years from now.Hang in there.
Meantime, if you want the dynamic between you to change, you can only change what you are doing.
I was once given advice to stop getting angry and trying to control a teen, but instead let him actually see how I felt. Not tell or lecture, let him see. So instead of reacting to him swearing, I just sat there, said nothing, and was close to tears. Almost unbelievably, he saw it, got it and apologised. Of course our stormy relationship continued to be hard work, but he stopped swearing at me.
A judicious mixture of responding to some things, and water off a ducks back to others .For me it would be eye rolls, cause I hate those. "I feel hurt when you do that". Also humour ; do it back, more have a contest- but humour only works if you're not hurt.
I think you have to give emotionally in teen years, and , whilst not accepting crap behaviour, not be too hurt that you're not getting much positive emotion back.
Sorry for essay.
Bet she loves you to bits. Bet she's secretly proud of you. Bet things will get better once she's through this difficult bit of her life.
* She says that she loves me but I irritate her.*
Have you tried telling her that thats the same for you as well? Would she like it if you rolled your eyes etc at her when you think shes being irritating? It probably hasnt occurred to her that this works the other way as well.
Perhaps you just need to give her some space. She's developing as an adult and wants to try and be herself. A garrulous mum who is 'cool' and friendly with her mates sounds like a nightmare for some 16 year olds. She probably just wants some space to be herself without you being involved.
Be disinterested for a while - give her space to grow and stop trying so hard. It'll reduce friction
Thanks dancingledge I think I just need to put it into perspective.
She's generally respectful; never swears; rarely shouts. She's just withdrawn from family life to some degree. We eat our evening meal together and sometimes it goes o.k and other times she storms off to bed because I've said the wrong thing or done the wrong thing. She's seen me tear up a few times over it. Stormtreader I've told her how it makes me feel and that I feel the same about her at times. She will apologise occasionally, but more often than not, she just steamrollers on in that fabulous self-centred way a lot of teens have. We have 10 days til her last exam and then I'm contemplating a few days off, then a sit down and a discussion about attitudes. She won't have the stress of GCSEs to blame any more and we'll put some ground rules in place. Nothing unreasonable...just mutual civility and an agreed action plan for when things go tits up, which they undoubtedly will. It doesn't help that I'm studying and under pressure too. Deadlines are looming for me in the same way they are for her so perhaps we are both a bit more sensitive than we should be. Thank you for letting me get this off my chest. I'll go away and sort myself out for now. Get a grip.
Thanks Veterinari. I don't mix with her regular friends...just her gig friends, so that doesn't happen too often. I've started being more of a taxi service since she started making friends, rather than going to the gigs with her (yes I did this for a while, because she had no-one to go with). I now wait at the end of gigs with her so she can meet her idols, often til the early hours. I stand well back, but some of her gig friends know me. I have also dropped her in strange cities and countries, but only once she's with her friends. I think that's why I got the rep. It does make me sound too involved though. And we have talked about me not going into the gigs now, but my dd has said that if I like the music, I should keep going. I try to keep my boundaries but I do sound knobbishly involved, don't I? She turned 16 in January so maybe I am clinging a bit. Guess I need to sort out our boundaries and limits. Thanks for that advice. Again, something to discuss after exams.
You don't sound knobbish at all!
She loves you. Hang onto that. She also doesn't object to you sticking around at the gigs of you like the music. That's great!
Give it a few more years and let her come through the angsty but, and I'm sure you'll have an adult friendly relationship as well as the mother:daughter one.
Isn't it a 16 YO's job to be irritated and embarrassed by their parents? I think it sounds like you're doing pretty well to me.
She won't be 16 forever and I think you'll find you get a lot less irritating the older she gets!
Chuck out a throw away line ("You'll miss me when I'm gone", "You secretly adore me" or some such) smile broadly and leave it.
It's not you, it's her. Don't take it personally, or waste too much brain space on it. Try not to feel hurt. You're performing your maternal role perfectly for this age and stage by being the person she rolls her eyes at. She's just really uncomfortable in her skin and working out her place in the universe and it's expressing itself as limitless disdain for her tragic everything g is (including you).
It will pass. In the meantime engage with her when she's pleasant to engage with and detach when she's not
It's a stage which allows them to leave home. If they didn't go through this as teens, they wouldn't have the get up and go to get up and go. They have to snap their own apron strings to give them the confidence to make their own way.
In other words, it's her job to be a pain, and yours to sigh and get on with it!
Thank you all so much. I guess self doubt creeps in and you start wondering where you went wrong as that 10 year old who hung on your every word starts hanging you with every word instead.
Silence (great name by the way) thank you. You're right. She is accepting at times and I sometimes forget that when we haven't been gigging for a while. Damned GCSEs getting in the way of our road trips!
Bitoutofpractice I am nothing, if not embarrassing :D Always have been, probably always will be. I used to say it was to toughen her up a bit, in the absence of siblings. I guess it's pay-back time for that now.
SerfTerf I think we clash a bit because I appear to be naturally at ease with people when I meet them, when compared to her self perception of being 'socially awkward'. As much as I've stressed that I was worse than she is at 16, she won't have it. And we are different. I'm warm and fuzzy and she tends to be aloof and practical. I'm a morning person. She's a night owl. Yep...plenty there to piss her off already!
Pickle We have always encouraged her to be independent, but I don't think I expected to go through bloody rude to the point of hatred before we got there.
I know you are all correct. I just need to stop my pity party and think about where she is and why she's being a pain in the arse...breathe deep and let it go. Off to practice my breathing now!
My 16 year old ds is a bit like this at times, I know it can make me feel undermined in my own home. When I have spoken to him about it he is usually a bit surprised, like he doesn't realise how he comes across. He also gets a bit irritated with his dad, he finds watching his dad eating hard to tolerate as he says hes too noisy !But I was also a bit like this at his age, my mum irritated me immensely just for breathing. If she told me I looked nice I'd go and change. As others have said, it's the stage they're in, but if it goes too far he gets told off
I don't have any advice really but between 14-17 I was a nightmare and my mum openly admits to wanting me or her to just disappear. I was horrendeous and would constantly scream at my mum and tell her how much I hated her and must've worried her to near breakdown with my behaviour. I'm now mid twenties and shes my favourite person in the world. I honestly dont think there is a more saintly person on this earth. I thank her so much for everything every opportunity I get. I'm so sorry she's making you feel that way I'm sure things will get better there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Neckless I know she's being truly awful when my husband gets cross with her. Til then, I always wonder if I'm being a bit oversensitive. He has threatened to sanction her, but it's really hard to do. She doesn't go out much, so that's not a sanction. If there are gig tickets to be bought, that gets threatened, but she soon smartens up her act then. If there are not gig tickets to be bought, there is little you could take away from her that would be proportional and would hurt. Maybe her phone? But even at my age, 52, I'd think that's proper messing with her human rights. Also, I am trying the kid gloves approach, what with it being exam season and all. Once the 16th has gone, we will be having a little chat about family rules I think. Figure out how we minimise stress all round and avoid pissing each other off. Fingers crossed, that'll help.
Oh, CrispPacket your story gives me hope. I'm not convinced she'll ever see me that way (though it's what I aspire to ...I won't lie) but I'd be happy if she just popped in every now and again and said hi, once she's grown up. I'm figuring I'll have this til she leaves home. I didn't get on with my mum til I left and though our relationship was fairly awful, (she was borderline abusive) I still had a lot of time for her when I grew up and could see where she was coming from. I suspect me being menopausal isn't helping. Damn these hormones. Or lack of them. I really need to read up on menopause at some point. Thank you for your story though. I need that straw to clutch at.
One thing that stands out is you've said at least twice that you know what it's like to be her. That's a really annoying thing at any point of life but a true red rag for a teen. Because actually, you don't. You could be in an identical situation at the very same time of life and be the same gender and age as someone and you STILL don't know what THEY feel when they experience it. You know what YOU do. So don't ever ever try to say you know what it's like. Say you don't know what it's like to be a 16 year old today, you don't know what it is like to be her...and if she would like to tell you you will listen. Not comment, not suggest, not fix- just listen.
But equally she doesn't know what it's like to be you- to be 52 and a mum and a student and all that you are.
I often say the biggest favour i did my teens (ds 19 and dd16) was carry on having kids (7 and 4) as I am not able to put all my efforts or attention on them and so I can do benign neglect. Lol
Isadora I had 4 miscarriages. I'd kill to be in your position and to have done her that favour but I was a bit crap at the whole having babies thing. She's an only child and I never wanted that for her or for me, but it is what it is and I can't change that. As much as I try to avoid the navel-gazing the sheer proximity of the relationship is unavoidable to some degree.
You're right. I don't know exactly how she feels and she is a very different child to me, but there are similarities. I might have mentioned an odd characteristic to dd, but I think we're all guilty of saying, God I was just like that at your age. I think we talk enough for her to know that I don't think we have the same experiences. I never thought I was bisexual. I didn't grow up in an age of technology. I was one of 6...hence the reason why I wanted a big family for her. And I was bought up on a council estate by a mum who didn't want me and made that perfectly clear. Our experiences of childhood could not have been any different. But your'e right...it's something I need to be watchful of.
You sound like a great mum, she feels safe to be horrible iykwim. My ds listens to his dad more than he does to me. Sometimes I just snap tho. I know what you mean about sanctions, mine doesn't go out either. I think there are peaks and troughs, I just try not to take it personally but it's easier said than done
Badasahatter. I'm sorry I only
managed the first half of what I was trying to write before needing to do some weird minecraft digging for ds...
I am sorry for your losses and I didn't mean to be flippant. I was meaning that I would find dd16 a helluva lot harder if I didn't have the distraction of her siblings.
It sounds like you do have a good relationship and she has that secure base to kick off at you and know you love her fiercely and unconditionally. I often say this stage is what helps our previously bonded and lovely children who never wanted to leave us ever get away from us- and us them!
I am already telling teen dd that littler dd(7) will be moving in with HER when she turns 14... that's my ultimate revenge!
I'm a quiet person most of the time, I think the phrase "I'm not doing nothing I'm reading" was invented for me. 'Garrulous' people as they call themselves or 'loud annoying fuckers' as we call them are okay in short doses but more than a few minutes is just annoying.
Maybe your dd isn't a morning person. Get her hooked on coffee.
Neckless Thanks. I thought I'd get slaughtered for the no-sanctions thing! It's so hard. Isadora...it's ok. I confess I am oversensitive about the only child thing but I know you didn't mean anything by it. I'm an oversensitive bastard generally, as you can probably tell from this whole thread! cdtaylornats You are right. I am a loud annoying fucker. And her dad is so quiet. No wonder she's drawn to him. She doesn't do coffee. But every morning she gets herself up. I wait til she's back in her room before I get up or, if I need to be out early, I get up half an hour earlier, so I can be out of her way. I never speak to her in the mornings unless I have to. Luckily, she's been self sufficient since primary school, so she gets herself out and sorted. If I have to remind her to take her key...well, if looks could kill, I'd be dead a dozen times a day, but the most painful death would be the morning one. DD often accuses me of shouting, when I'm just excited or making a point. I have to point out that it's just my voice, in the same way she looks arsey whenever I open my mouth and it's just her face (her words, not mine). I am a loud fucker. I'd annoy the shite out of many a quiet person, I'm sure. I'd like to apologise for me and all my kind whilst I have this forum. I can understand how tasking we must be :D She was moody yesterday, but I was relentlessly cheerful in the face of adversity. What everyone on here has said helped enormously, so thank you all.
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