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How to deal with teens & changine behaviour

(23 Posts)
fozziebret Thu 11-Jan-18 20:04:01

Hi - I am new to Mumsnet and am looking for advice. As a professional woman, I thought I could handle anyone and anything with a change in personal style and approach. How wrong am I?! My DD has gone from 90% great & 10% nightmare to completely the reverse. It doesn't matter whether I go in calm and collected, objective and supportive to super-arguing which I know gets no-where - nothing changes. She has just suddenly turned. She's 14 in July.

We have just moved house which I know is stressful enough (DH and I feeling it too), but this new place gives her a level of independence she ought to enjoy and she will. But all the ground rules we discussed before moving (tidy room / limited food in room etc) have gone completely by the way side.

And the way she talks to me (and DH who is also a stepdad) is crackers. Almost every day I am pulling her up on her behaviour and it's so different from before I just feel I don't have the answer.

She is a lucky girl in the sense that we share a horse, so I can't use that as a threat as then it doesn't get exercised or looked after. Also, as I work full time, I can't really do any grounding as I have no idea when she is coming in before 6pm and she's never been allowed out beyond that anyway (in fact in our previous location that would never have case as there was nothing to do where we lived).

We try to monitor social media (well - that the intent) but the reality is that she sees this as her personal space, and that we should trust her enough to know if there was any bullying she would say. I actually trust her in this respect but DH is totally anti-SM and therefore it's hard to put forward her point of view.

Bottom line is that I really want to get the relationship back to where it was without the grunting and general angst that comes with living with the expectation that she will tidy her room / sort her washing out on a daily basis and speak to us in a respectful way.

Another issue is that she has inherited her Dad's genes in anger - in that she gets angry really quickly and - just like him - has taken to punching walls when she is angry which leaves horrible scars on her knuckles. He (dad) would punch holes in walls and wreck furniture - my conflict style is not the same - I'm into talking, but when things get really bad for her - and it's not often - this is what she does, and refuses any thoughts about anger management (which I presume feels like she has failed in some way and needs help).

She is a model student at school - top set in most things; is confident, resilient (has needed to be through her life), gets on with anyone and in ordinary circumstances, from the outside would be a dream child. But I am unhappy with how her behaviour is changing. I know it's expected, but I don't know what to do to keep everyone happy (esp. as Step-Dad is a bit of a Victorian dad LOL)!!!

What can I / we do?!!!

lljkk Thu 11-Jan-18 20:13:04

Soz, it's late, I should be heading to bed. Just that I struggled to understand what had changed, what are your specific conflict moments. All I've got is her sudden sassy lip & "all the ground rules we discussed before moving (tidy room / limited food in room etc) have gone completely by the way side."

At same time she's a model student. confused

You need to choose your battles.

Exactly what do you do to "monitor social media" that she objects to?

GreenTulips Thu 11-Jan-18 20:18:43

So what if her rooms a mess? Leave it - shut the door!
If she wants clothes washed she has to bring them out of her room - guess what? No washing - no clean clothes!

2 weeks ago 3 teens were ment to bring cups and plates etc down and none did - guess what? They had to wash up before they could have any drinks or food - they have brought stuff down straight away since

As for the anger - she wants to fight with you - she is angry and wants to test her skills (subconsciously)

Don't engage - ignore - agree - OK dear and she'll walk away.

You can only change your reaction to her - you can't solve the issue - you can ignore and not react

fozziebret Thu 11-Jan-18 20:26:40

Greentulips - thanks for your input. Suspect I need to change DH point of view first but I get what you say. Thank-you!

fozziebret Thu 11-Jan-18 20:31:51

To LiJKK - DH wants to monitor Snapchat which is met with huge resistance, so we're not doing that (and I am not sure I am ready for that argument). On Istagram, I follow her, but don't have all her followers). She is worried we will ban her from it if there is swearing etc. DH banned when she was in primary school because there was a particularly bad fight which demonstrated bullying so his perspective is based on that - as a justification why social media is bad. Do other parent monitor snapchat? If so - how are you doing it without creating this ridiculous response? We want to do it for her best interests, and it is what is recommended from a parent viewing social media, but the intent and the doing is entirely another matter !

Doublevodka Thu 11-Jan-18 20:51:02

My dd is 14 in July and I'm having very similar issues with back chat, disgusting bedroom, ignoring simple requests, arguing about everything. I feel she has become a completely different person and I'm finding it very stressful. She is also obsessed with social media, snap chat etc.

I have found snap chat virtually impossible to police. So now I have had to let go a little and trust that she is using it responsibly. I advise her and encourage her to talk to me.

Everyone tells me that her behaviour is completely normal and it will pass. I'm clinging on to that. I'm also trying to pick my battles and keep calm.

sarahjconnor Thu 11-Jan-18 20:53:02

If she's being perfect at school it will build up and she'll need to blow off steam. Also, at that age they are pushing away from parents. I'd try and arrange some fun relaxed time together and see how it goes - just the two of you.

GinnyWreckin Thu 11-Jan-18 21:01:48

Limit her social media.

It’s proven to disrupt neural pathways and cause addictive behaviour pathways to form. Bill gates, Steve jobs etc had no screens for their teens untill they were 16 and even then everything was heavily monitored.
You need to lay down some really clear boundaries. No screens in her room, cut her WiFi access for an hour a day. All devices in a basket outside her room all night.

Seriously, you’re the parent here. She’s far too young to be unmonitored social media.

Get her out with the horse and with her pals, screen free.

Hire a tutor or a cm if you’re working late. She sounds bored and addicted.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Thu 11-Jan-18 21:04:51

GreenTulips is spot on.

JoyceDivision Thu 11-Jan-18 21:07:57

Watching this with lots of interest andcready to take lots of hints tips and advice

lljkk Thu 11-Jan-18 22:11:53

I'm reading that the Gates let their kids have mobiles from age 14 (their eldest was 14yo in 2010), and that Steve Jobs was considered a bully by colleagues & family alike.

This is saying Gates' 10yo daughter had 45 minutes/day on the poota, after an experiment of 2-3 hours/day before that.

lljkk Thu 11-Jan-18 22:13:10

Will you ban your DD from snapchat if someone swears?
Some parents act like swearing was only invented by people born after 2000.

fos6mo3 Fri 12-Jan-18 09:33:34

Seriously I am a foster carer as well as a mum I have not met a teenaged girl with a clean room my daughters is still a mess at 19! She is not in drugs or pregnant she is attending school and is model student leave it be ...

Don't let her drag you in to arguments as it's so easy she will do this to justify her behaviour as you are then the bad guy.. this is hard work I promise you but years ago I started putting the phone down on my daughter it stopped the shitty comments..

This will get better but unfortunately there will be moments in between but Could take years my daughter is now 19 and our relationship is significantly better but it took work on both our parts ..:

fozziebret Fri 12-Jan-18 09:50:50

Thanks for all the input. Lots of food for thought. I think that having a forum like this will be so useful in terms of support; just to know you're not the only one utterly exasperated!!

corythatwas Fri 12-Jan-18 10:06:50

It's difficult to give good advice because you are not very specific in explaining how bad her behaviour is. Your language about her is quite negative and I am getting the impression that you have got into a bit of a circle with constant grounding and negative vibes. Your narrative about her seems to be very much that the aspects of her that you don't like come from her father (with whom, presumably, you had an unhappy relationship). I'd say that narrative is something that needs to go straightaway, even from your inner monologue. It can't possibly help either of you if every time she kicks off you see her father rather than her. Just forget about her father: she is not responsible for the fact that things she does brings up memories of him.

To me there are two things you should focus on:

* You have just over 4 years to bring her up into a confident streetwise adult who can negotiate the dangers and the moral pitfalls of this world.*

This doesn't mean you should throw her into the deep end straightaway, but it probably does mean that gradually you need to hand over more and more control to her. Thinking about social media: what are the actual dangers here? Surely not the swearing: she will be hearing far worse in the school playground every day and possibly not just from classmates, but from parents, too. The serious dangers is either that she will get dragged into bullying (as a victim or perpetrator), that she will be at risk from sexual grooming or that she will get so addicted that she neglects other aspects of her life. That has nothing to do with swearing and banning her from social media is probably not an answer either. Talking to her is. Explaining the dangers, being upfront about it, talking about plans to keep safe. You can choose to monitor, and that is probably not a bad idea, but make it clear to her what you are monitoring for. Again, restricting hours is probably not a bad idea, but again make it clear why.

To control an older teenager, you need them to trust you and believe in you as a decent sensible person This doesn't mean you have to be a pushover: teens like boundaries too. But it does mean you might have to pick your battles, it does mean that it is more crucial than ever to differentiate between what is important and what is not.

If you've already had three arguments that evening about the tidiness of her room, it is less likely that she will listen to that really vital stuff you have to tell her about keeping safe at her best friend's party.

Might also be worth looking at her relationship with her step dad. How long has he been her step dad? If it is fairly recent his expectations of imposing his views should be much lower than if he has been bringing her up from a baby and she thinks of him as her dad. "Quite Victorian" sounds as if you are trying to make him sound a bit of an endearing joke, but how useful are "quite Victorian" attitudes in keeping a modern teenager safe, physically, mentally and morally?

crazycrofter Fri 12-Jan-18 10:12:58

My daughter is 14 in June - it’s a hard age! I’ve given up monitoring social media. For a while I checked all her Instagram private messages. Snapchat seems to be impossible to check though? Anyway, there was nothing untoward so I’m leaving her to it on that score, knowing she has nice friends and is quite sensible.

I do try to make sure she’s phone/gadget free at night though and encourage her to do her homework etc. As for her room - at the moment she’s keen on keeping it tidy. I do collect cups etc - I can’t be bothered with that battle.

The moodiness and rudeness is tiresome and I do wish I could avoid all conflict but I guess it’s just the phase we’re going through?

The fact they’re good students etc is a positive thing. I’m also aware that I can’t control her and she has to learn self-motivation and self-discipline at some point. I think my husband finds it harder to let go!

acornsandnuts Fri 12-Jan-18 10:17:29

Just want to add add was a nightmare from 13. She is now nearly 16 and coming back from the dark side. Her bedroom s still disgusting but I have learnt to pick my battles. It’s hard when the change seems to happen so quick but it is normal for teenagers to push boundaries. I would be worried if they didn’t.

Cherryminx Fri 12-Jan-18 10:24:41

This is a good book

It might not change her behaviour but it might make you feel better about it and give you some good ideas about how to deal with it.

averylongtimeago Fri 12-Jan-18 10:33:45

Pick your battles.
At 14 she will be pushing boundaries, her own and yours.
It's her room, her mess. Just keep the door closed.
If she won't bring out her washing, it stays dirty. Ditto dirty plates.
Social media: they all use it, and quite frankly reading her private messages isn't on. Imagine how you would have felt age 14 if your parents had insisted on reading your letters from your friends or your diary. It is possible to limit screen time and to not allow internet access at night, most people do this.
The surly behaviour and inability to talk other than in grunts is also pretty normal, try and ignore it. They do grow out of it!
As for swearing, I will let you in to a secret: teenagers all swear, you did, I did, your DH did, our grandparents did and so do today's teens. As long as they don't swear at you or at inappropriate times, pretend you don't know. We all know the words, but we all learn when not to use them!
At least she is doing ok at school!

To be honest I would be more worried about her picking up on your DH's anger - punching holes in walls? That's not on, are you sure that your problem here is your DD, not your DH?

fozziebret Fri 12-Jan-18 13:51:44

Thanks again for the advice. I've downloaded the book onto my kindle app. I do accept I was probably not as specific as I could have been in my original posting - probably bourne more out of venting and downloading my frustrations at that time than an objective appraisal of the situation, but I will reflect on some of the comments made in earlier posts, and my attitude / perspective.

midnightmooch Sat 13-Jan-18 09:07:54

Bottom line is that I really want to get the relationship back to where it was without the grunting and general angst that comes with living with the expectation that she will tidy her room / sort her washing out on a daily basis and speak to us in a respectful way.

Your looking at a long term goal here, when they have moved beyond their "teenage" years.
My teens rooms and laundry is a matter for them, not me. I do expect them to speak to me in a respectful way but I know that it won't always happen and when it doesn't I remind them of my expectations and walk away - requests are unfulfilled until they can treat me like a human being. This takes practice - to learn the new rules of an adult relationship, they want their independence but they haven't got the knack of getting what they want and remaining civil.
Do not engage with arguments and try not to punish it's a waste of time, it doesn't work and you want your dd to do the right thing because it's the right thing not because she might get punished - consequences of poor decisions can be allowed to play out. Grounding causes no end of bad feeling and that annoyance and resentment keeps on simmering and bubbling the longer you ground a teen for - use with extreme caution. Looking after and spending time with animals helps a teen reconnect with their humanity and improves their mental health, I would not use the horse for punishment.....the horse will improve your teens mood.
Victorian attitudes belong in Victorian times, take your dh in hand and educate him about modern parenting or she will end up lying and being quite devious to get around what she perceives to be unreasonable rules, you can protect her more when you know what she is doing.
Read How to talk so that teens listen - it's a short book.

fifipop185 Sun 14-Jan-18 00:55:04

Oh wow I'm so glad I'm not alone with a nuclear 13yo DD!! She is the sweetest kindest caring girl one moment and then WHOOSH she goes up like a firework when challenged on literally anything.

She flipped out tonight by being incredibly rude over nothing, she turned her music speakers on really loud in her room at 8:50pm when I'm trying the get a hyper ASD DS to sleep. I asked her to turn it off as it's too late for loud music and she exploded with rage. It was very similar to a toddler tantrum thinking about it. Within 20 minutes she was calm and playing with the cats while DH and I are frazzled and wondering what on earth we did wrong and a little anxious about when the next explosion will happen. confused

I'm heartened to read we are not alone and this phase shall pass eventually. I will carry on hoping and praying we can find a way through the moods and the rage and one day be able to laugh about it - maybe when DD has a teenage DD of her own. grin

Thanks for allowing me to rant. blush

pasanda Mon 15-Jan-18 18:55:43

Gosh I can relate to all of this!

DD is 14 next month and tonight I have had to have strong words with her about telling her younger sister to fuck off when she was only trying to help! She too has a horse which she doesn't look after well enough as far as I'm concerned and I told her tonight I was extremely close to selling it seeing as she is not showing the responsibility I expected. She stormed off and about an hour later I went into her room and asked her if she had had a chance to think about what was said. 'No' she said, looking totally bemused. Then I remembered she once told me she says things she knows will wind me up, on purpose to see my reaction. So I left her room and ignored her.

Half an hour later she comes down saying she hasn't got her friend a present and it's her birthday tomorrow, have I got anything she could use! As if all the cross words from before never happened!

Bit of an essay there, but I am finding this part of parenting so bloody tedious. I know why she does it but fuck me it's boring!

You are not alone OP. And listen to Cory - she is very wise that one!

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